Able Community Bios
Steering Committee Members:
I have a disability affecting my speech and mobility, but not my spirit. I majored in English and Creative Writing at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I struggled to find employment after graduating from University of California Davis School of Law to promote civil rights and social justice in 2008. I interned at the White House and volunteered for various legal organizations. I am originally from Skokie, Illinois. I enjoy writing poetry, eating good Chicago food, watching movies, and traveling. I am very invested in Able Community since it addresses issues directly affecting me, as a person with a disability constantly struggling to find adequate housing, personal care, and employment.
Hi! I’m Carmen! I have a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation from the University of Illinois. I am originally from Naperville, Illinois, by way of Canada. I have a passion for supporting persons with disabilities in having more fulfilling lives. Currently, I live out that passion in Ontario, as the lead in running various for individuals with disabilities over 16. Ultimately, my role is to create fun, meaningful experiences for others and then have a blast participating in those experiences alongside them. I also love good T. V., good music, and good food. I am invested in Able Community because while living with my parents works currently, I would like to have other options to live in the community. I also think having a good community of people in one’s life is essential for a person’s emotional and physical well-being.
I am volunteering as a Paralegal for a legal services organization in Chicago. After graduating from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Psychology and Philosophy, I have been living in the heart of Chicago. I am originally from Lombard, Illinois, where I graduated from Glenbard East High School. I am a sports fanatic, especially for football and soccer. I enjoy eating out with friends. Some of my favorites are Cheesecake Factory and Claim Jumper. I am invested in Able Community because I experience difficulty finding paid employment, as many of my friends with disabilities do.
My name is Jonathan. I am originally from Oak Brook, Illinois, but I spent a few years in Exeter, New Hampshire. I studied biotechnology at Northwestern University. I am also a licensed patent attorney. I am invested in Able Community because quality personal care assistance is important to me. Quality personal care assistance is necessary for persons with disabilities to be productive members of society.
My name is Michele. I received my undergraduate degree from Illinois State University in Human Services and Education. I obtained my master’s degree in Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois in 2008. I am now working at a public library as a Reference Librarian and Senior Programs coordinator, planning programs for seniors in the community. I enjoy being able to provide services and programs to individuals in the community. In my spare time, I enjoy spending time with friends and family and take part in many recreational sports, including wheelchair basketball, adaptive water skiing, and adaptive downhill skiing. I am invested in Able Community because I am interested in finding accessible housing.
Advisory Committee Members:
I am a Teaching Assistant at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I am getting a Ph.D. in Sociology. I am passionate about improving the rights and opportunities of people with disabilities and have worked on many disability issues while interning with the National Council on Disability and US Department of State in Washington D.C. I am originally from Charleston, Illinois. I enjoy watching sports, traveling, and watching movies. I am invested in Able Community because I am motivated to improve community living opportunities for people with disabilities.
I am a mother of three children and an Orthotist, making orthosis equipment like ankle foot orthosis, “AFOs,” to maintain maximum joint function. I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Kinesiology, where I was a personal care assistant at the dorm for students with disabilities for three years. I am originally from Rockford, Illinois, and have been living in Chicago since 2004. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, especially at Chicago parks and beaches. I cook delicious vegetarian meals for anyone who stops by. I am invested in Able Community because as someone who works with people with disabilities, I care about their empowerment, improved independence, and quality of life. As a former personal assistant, I also am invested in improving the quality of life and benefits for personal assistants so it becomes a sustainable career.
I am currently the Treasurer of the National Association of Housing Cooperatives, Inc. I am the President of Economic Consultants for Housing Opportunities, Inc. (ECHO, Inc.), a full-service Homeownership / Economic Development Consulting Firm that works with Residents, Housing Authorities, Cooperatives, City Governments, County Governments, Non-Profit Organizations, Financial Institutions, United States Department of Housing and Urban Development,and other organizations to develop Strategic Plans, Self-Sufficiency Programs, self sustainingWelfare Reform Programs, Economic Development, Homeownership Pro self-sustaining programs for low-income families to support the development of affordable housing, including the development of housing cooperatives. ECHO, Inc. has written and received over 90 grants totaling over $7,000,000.00 from grant funds. I also work directly as a national speaker for the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development in training and working with the agencies to provide the successful development of homeownership opportunities.
I am a Physical Therapist, working with elderly people in Chicago. I graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and University of Illinois at Chicago. I am a proud father of three. I enjoy riding my bike around Chicago instead of driving. I also enjoy good vegetarian food that my wife makes.
While on a family vacation in Mexico, Reveca fractured her spinal cord in an automobile accident and was paralyzed. Reveca finished high school and started college unsure if she could physically pursue the career she had always dreamed of: fashion design. With a few adaptations, she was the first student using a wheelchair to complete the fashion degree at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois, where she featured collections and was a representative and finalist at the Fashion Group International Costume Design Competition. She continued her studies in Theater Arts at the University of Arizona, where Reveca met others with spinal cord injuries and became interested in adaptive sports and fitness. Reveca has worked with Shriners Hospital for Children, Mobility International USA, Athletico Fitness and Performance, and the University of Illinois at Chicago’s National Center for Physical Activity and Disability to provide resources on recreation, disability rights, college, travel, employment, and fitness to people with disabilities, specifically teenagers. Reveca stays active and healthy by following a fitness routine and practicing yoga. She loves shoes and music festivals. Whether it’s surfing in California, scuba diving in the Bahamas, cleaning beaches in Costa Rica, attending fashion shows in Paris, or coming up with ideas for BACKBONES, Reveca loves to try new things and encourages others to do what they love too!
Brooke: former personal care assistant, and Postdoctoral Fellow at University in California San Francisco and the National Institute of Mental Health on autism research.
Jamie: former personal care assistant, and current Campaign Coordinator at Enlace— strategizing and mobilizing communities to break the lobbying power of the private prison industry at all levels of government, to make it possible to halt unjust incarcerations of immigrants and people of color.
Susan: Executive Director at Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF), and President of the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, California.