Disability Mentoring Day 2015: Expanding career mentoring nationwide

Disability Mentoring Day logoDisability Mentoring Day (DMD) is a large-scale national effort coordinated by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) to promote career development for students and job-seekers with disabilities through hands-on career exploration and ongoing mentoring relationships. DMD officially launches on the third Wednesday of each October during National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). Founded in 1999 through a White House initiative, DMD was originally a small program with less than three-dozen students participating to increase the awareness of NDEAM. Since that event, DMD has spring-boarded from a one day event for a small group of students to an extensive national mentoring program for young professionals with disabilities across the United States, territories and abroad with more than 10,000 participants each year.

The growth of DMD was made possible by the unwavering work of DMD Coordinators across the country who volunteer their time to host and manage the logistical requirements for a DMD. These events produce life changing results for mentees, such as full time employment and internship opportunities. AAPD continues to increase the reach of DMD through growing its network of DMD coordinators.

Joyce Bender is an AAPD Board Member, the Founder and CEO of Bender Consulting Services, and a long-time participant in DMD. Additionally, Joyce was an inaugural inductee of the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame. “I am a passionate supporter of Disability Mentoring Day and am proud to say that Pittsburgh was one of the first cities to participate. Over the years I have seen the impact, not only for the student with disability, but also for breaking down barriers with employers who host students during the job shadowing experience. When you mentor a young person with a disability, you empower them…that’s priceless!”

Throughout October and in the days ahead, DMD events are happening in cities around the nation. A partial list of events is posted on the AAPD website at: www.aapd.com/dmd2015.

Looking to the future, AAPD will continue to support coordinators and businesses around the country while also encouraging disability mentoring to be more than just one day. The more young people with disabilities interact with mentors and receive job training skills, the more likely they are to find internship and employment opportunities. Economic self-sufficiency is a critical piece to independence and a better quality of life for people with disabilities.

Whether it’s through serving as a sponsor, host, and/or mentor, corporations, local businesses, government agencies, and other organizations have been the driving force for moving the success of DMD forward. To learn more about the opportunities to have your organization get involved with DMD in a local community, please visit www.aapd.com/dmd or email us at DMD@aapd.com.

About the American Association of People with Disabilities: AAPD is the nation’s largest disability rights organization. We promote equal opportunity, economic power, independent living, and political participation for people with disabilities. AAPD members, including people with disabilities and family, friends, and supporters, represent a powerful force for change. Learn more about AAPD at www.aapd.com.

About the National Disability Mentoring Coalition: The mission of the National Disability Mentoring Coalition (NDMC) is to increase the awareness, quality and impact of mentoring for individuals with disabilities across the nation. Member organizations share core values and align with the Coalition’s objectives to streamline communication, standardize and systematize data collection, reduce duplication of efforts, increase mentoring opportunities, and improve outcomes for youth and adults with disabilities. Members include: American Association of People with Disabilities, Association of University Centers on Disabilities, Broad Futures, Career Opportunities for Students with Disabilities, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, D.C. Public Schools, Easter Seals, Institute for Educational Leadership, Keep the Music Playing, Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, MENTOR: The National Partnership, Mitsubishi Electric America Foundation, National Council on Independent Living, Partners for Youth with Disabilities, PolicyWorks, Inc., The Viscardi Center, and United States Business Leadership Network. Learn more about the NDMC and its Members at: www.disabilitymentors.org.

25 leaders inducted into Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame

NDMC logoAustin, TX (October 1, 2015) – To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the National Disability Mentoring Coalition has named 25 outstanding leaders as the first inductees into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame. Selection criteria included the individual’s demonstrated commitment to mentoring and the impact of his/her contributions on improving the lives of people with disabilities.

Awardees were announced at the 2015 USBLN 18th Annual National Conference & Biz2Biz Expo on September 28, 2015. They are:

Continue reading “25 leaders inducted into Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame”

Andrew Imparato, Association of University Centers on Disabilities

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the National Disability Mentoring Coalition has named 25 outstanding leaders as the first inductees into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame. These inductees were selected for their demonstrated commitment to mentoring and for the impact of their contributions on improving the lives of people with disabilities.

Photo of Andy ImparatoWe are proud to induct Andrew Imparato, Executive Director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities, into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame’s 2015 inaugural class.

Andrew Imparato has served as executive director of the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD) since September, 2013. As a disability rights lawyer and policy professional with more than two decades of experience in government and advocacy roles, Imparato has worked with bipartisan policymakers to advance disability policy at the national level in the areas of civil rights, workforce development, and disability benefits. Prior to coming to AUCD, he was senior counsel and disability policy director for Senator Tom Harkin on the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. Before that, he spent 11 years as President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities, a national membership organization working to grow the political and economic power of the disability community. Imparato’s perspective is informed by his personal experience with bipolar disorder.

Since joining AUCD, a national network of over 100 university-based programs that conduct research, training and advocacy to improve the quality of life of children and adults with disabilities, Imparato has helped the organization broaden the scope of its advocacy and expand its leadership capacity. Imparato is currently serving on two bipartisan panels developing recommendations for reform of the Social Security Disability Insurance program and has spearheaded a national “Six by ‘15” campaign designed to leverage this year’s milestone anniversaries of the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to focus public attention on the areas where the disability community wants to see more progress. This campaign has been endorsed by 160 disability organizations and the website is www.sixbyfifteen.org.

Imparato’s work has been recognized by the Secretaries of Health and Human Services and Transportation, the US Junior Chamber of Commerce, the National Council on Independent Living, the National Association of the Deaf, and the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation. He has testified nine times before Committees of the US Senate and House of Representatives and has been interviewed on a wide range of disability issues by national television, radio and print media. He cultivates grassroots activism on social media and is known for seeking out and mentoring emerging leaders with disabilities. He co-authored articles that have been published in the Stanford Law and Policy Review and the Milbank Quarterly, and wrote a chapter on the Supreme Court’s disability rulings in The Rehnquist Court: Judicial Activism on the Right (Hill & Wang 2003). He has been an adviser on accessibility, recruiting and corporate social responsibility to Verizon, AT&T, Time Warner, Walmart, and other leading businesses. Imparato graduated summa cum laude from Yale College and with distinction from Stanford Law School. He lives in Baltimore with his wife, historian Elizabeth Nix, Ph.D., and their 16 year-old son Nicholas. Their older son Gareth is a writer in Los Angeles.

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

Kirk Bauer, Disabled Sports USA

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the National Disability Mentoring Coalition has named 25 outstanding leaders as the first inductees into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame. These inductees were selected for their demonstrated commitment to mentoring and for the impact of their contributions on improving the lives of people with disabilities.

Kirk Bauer photoWe are proud to induct Kirk Bauer, Executive Director of Disabled Sports USA, into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame’s 2015 inaugural class.

As a disabled Vietnam veteran and Executive Director of Disabled Sports USA for over 30 years, Kirk Bauer firmly believes that the military philosophy of leadership by example is the most effective way to inspire others to dream big and achieve their goals. True to this, at age 64 he still leads an active sports life participating with wounded warriors, you th and others in skiing, biking, hiking, golf and other sports.

As DSUSA’s executive director since 1982, Kirk has taken a small, all volunteer organization, and made it the nation’s largest sports and recreation organization for physically disabled individuals. For his achievements, Kirk has been awarded the Gene Autry Courage Award and selected as the 1986 “Healthy American Fitness Leader”, an honor presented yearly by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports. In 2008, he was awarded the “George M. Steinbrenner III Sports Leadership Award” by the U.S. Olympic Committee in recognition of his outstanding contribution to sports. In 2013, Kirk was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the President’s Council on Fitness (Link).

In 2010, he led a team of all amputee veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on a successful summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro (19,341’) the highest mountain in Africa. Between them, the three wounded warriors from three wars and two generations had only “one good leg”.

In 2012, Bauer lead a team of 5 wounded warriors, with “four good legs” on a climb of Alaska’s Mt. McKinley, which at 20,320’ is the highest mountain in North America and has some of the most severe weather in the world. The team reached 15, 500’ before having to suspend the climb due to severe wind and snowstorms.

He participates in the Bataan Memorial Death March, a one day 26 mile hike in the deserts of southern New Mexico; and in the “Three Notch Century” ride, a 100 mile, one day bicycle ride over three mountain passes in the White Mountains of Northern New Hampshire. He bikes with only one leg.

In 2006, Bauer received a Presidential appointment to serve on the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports; and in the 2006 Torino Winter Paralympics and again in the 2008 Beijing Summer Paralympics, was appointed by President Bush to represent the United States.

While serving in Vietnam as a non-commissioned officer in the 9th Infantry Division, Bauer was awarded 2 Bronze Stars for heroism and the Purple Heart for injuries incurred in combat. Bauer holds a Doctorate of Law Degree from Boston University School of Law.

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

Jason Olsen, Federal Employees with Disabilities

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the National Disability Mentoring Coalition has named 25 outstanding leaders as the first inductees into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame. These inductees were selected for their demonstrated commitment to mentoring and for the impact of their contributions on improving the lives of people with disabilities.

Jason Olsen photoWe are proud to induct Jason Olsen, President of Federal Employees with Disabilities (FEDS), into the Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame’s 2015 inaugural class.

Jason Olsen is a nationally recognized expert in the field of disability employment policy.  He is currently lending his expertise to the Office of Equal Opportunity within the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (via detail).

When not assisting the EEOC to be a model employer for people with disabilities Mr. Olsen works as a Senior Policy Advisor at the Department of Labor.  Here he has served as an authority in the national employment policy forum for over 5 years. Due to his dedication, Mr. Olsen received the Secretary’s Exceptional Achievement Award.

Prior to joining DOL, Mr. Olsen worked for over 5 years at the Social Security Administration’s Office of Employment Support Programs. Here he has served as a team leader, a policy maker, a mentor, an advocate, and in numerous other leadership roles which resulted in Mr. Olsen receiving numerous Associate Commissioners Citations, a Deputy Commissioners Citation, and the coveted Executive Recognition Award.

In his personal time, Mr. Olsen is the President of Federal Employees with Disabilities (FEDs). FED is a national not-for-profit organization focused on ensuring that the rights, privileges, benefits and opportunities for people with disabilities employed by the Federal government are equal to those of their Federal sector peers. He is a passionate advocate for all people with disabilities and views employment as an option that should be available to all those that desire it.  Mr. Olsen holds a B.A. in Sociology and a Masters in Communications. He is also an alumnus of the Graduate School’s Executive Leadership Program and looks smashing in a fedora.

Susan M. Daniels Disability Mentoring Hall of Fame: Information and Inductees

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