NYLN is proud to introduce our new addition to the NYLN family: the Volunteer Team! This team of aspiring leaders from around the country is committed to the following goals:
· Serving as local educators about who NYLN is and what we do;
· Being peer mentors to other emerging leaders and community members;
· Serving as advocates for the larger disability community; and
· Keeping the NYLN community up-to-date about what is happening in our local areas.
This team was created in conjunction with fulfilling our new theory of change. For more information about our new mission, vision, and theory of change, click here.
Katie Griffith is 26 years old and currently lives in Gilbert Arizona. She have a disability known as Cerebral Palsy which makes life challenging at times but that does not stop her from being the strong person she is. In 2004 she earned an Associates degree in Biblical Studies from Andersonville Theological Seminary. She is currently the Vice Chair of People First of Arizona and President of the Youth Action Council of Arizona as well as a mentor of young adults with disabilities through Arizona Bridge to Independent Living and is involved in much more. When she is not doing advocacy work, she enjoy’s dance, hanging out with friends, music and doing the best she can to make someone’s day a little brighter.
Teresa Pichardo is 23 years old. She is Deaf because her mother had a high fever during her pregnancy. She was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. When she was 13 years old, she moved to New York from Dominican Republic. Her family never learned American Sign Language, however she is able to speak some Spanish. For the longest time she didn’t know how to speak English or American Sign Language (Fluently). Her cousin searched for a school for the Deaf. She started going to school at Lexington School for the Deaf when she was 13 years old and eight years later transitioned to high school. She currently attends LaGuardia Community College with hopes of transferring to Rochester Institute of Technology and major in art of Deaf education.
Playing volleyball is her favorite hobby. While in school she was a cheerleader. She also participated in a variety of fundraising activities and community service projects with the Junior National Association of the Deaf (NAD). She also participated with the Close Up program. In 2011 she went to Madrid, Spain to participate in the Mobility International USA program. She hopes one day she can travel to other countries.
Zachary Inkeles , 25, lives in the metro-Denver, Colorado area. He has participated as a committee member for NYLN for two years. Prior to that he worked on the local level to bring awareness about the ADA to local businesses. The initiative explained the basics of ADA law and showed how simple changes can make businesses, stores, and restaurants accessible.
Zach is an abstract expressionist painter, working in acrylics. His work has been exhibited in several shows, including Art Ability at Bryn Mawr Rehab Hospital in Pennsylvania, a one-person show highlighting Autism Awareness Month, and at various galleries in Denver. As well, Zach is an artist in-residence at VSA Colorado/Access Gallery where he works with other artists who have disabilities. Zach asserts that he is not a disabled artist, but an artist who happens to have challenges.
Recently Zach participated in a reality-TV show called A Model Guru, working with host Yogi Cameron to learn how to step out of his comfort zone and engage more fully in the world.
Maggie Sheets is a Public Affairs Intern with Easter Seals of Massachusetts and has a passion for advocating for individuals with disabilities. As an intern she researches issues concerning Medicare and Medicaid reform in Massachusetts and attends meetings and hearings on these topics to ensure that Easter Seals’ staff are kept up to date on policy developments. She has also testified before the Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services to support the maintenance of funding for assistive technology and vocational rehabilitation services in Massachusetts. Maggie has conducted further disability policy research as part of an adult healthcare advocacy group sponsored by the Boston center for Independent Living, that seeks to find ways to ease the transition from pediatric to adult care for young adults with disabilities in Massachusetts. As an NYLN volunteer Maggie intends to continue to research and disseminate information concerning disability policy issues to an even greater audience and hopes to continue to learn more about other disability rights issues. Maggie is originally from Michigan and moved to Boston to obtain a Master’s degree in Health Communication through a program from Emerson College in collaboration with Tufts University School of Medicine, which she finished in 2010.
Noah Seidel is a 24 year old living in Seattle Washington. Noah graduated from the University of Washington with a degree in Disability Studies, Political Science, and Comparative History of Ideas. Noah is on the Washington State Governor’s Committee of Disability and employment and works in offices that helps support students with disabilities. Noah has Cerebral Palsy and works towards Disability Justice and Universal Design In his free time Noah enjoys playing games, reading comics, and watching sporting events
Hannah Mikesell is 20 years old. She is hard of hearing/Deaf. She grew up in Twin Falls, Idaho.
She found out she was deaf at the age of 2 and got her first hearing aids at the age of 5 which helped her hear peoples voices. She went to public school in Kimberly, Idaho for 2 years then moved to the Idaho School for the Deaf and Blind in Gooding and attended for 16 years.
She graduated on May 31. 2012. ISDB was a place that made it much easier for her to learn without having to struggle to understand the teachers.
She loves to help people and loves to work with kids and helping older people. She loves to hang out with her friends and family. She is hoping to become a CNA with training at Job Corps in Nampa.
Adam Farris believes that No one has a (dis)ABILITY, Everyone has Abilities! And runs his business called Ability Shirts with this same motto. Adam has 15 years experience in the disability related field. Including a Camp Counselor at Children’s Association for Maximum Potential from 2003-2006, the Tourette Syndrome of Texas Weekend Camping Volunteer for 8 Years and Counting, A Project Advisory Committee Member for the Texas Youth Leadership Forum and Texas Advanced Leadership and Advocacy Conference, I am also a Council Member on the Henderson County Mayors Advocacy Council for People with Disabilities, as well as an Advisory Board Member for Disability Partners. Please take a look at his website at www.abilityshirts.com.