UCP’s 2015 Annual Conference Wrap Up

UCP’s 2015 Annual Conference, “Reflecting Our Mission, Focusing Our Vision,” concluded in Chicago on Friday with nearly 200 leaders of UCP’s membership gathering to discuss current affairs, honor distinguished colleagues and supporters and share knowledge to improve the network.

RJ Edited

Gloria_Jack

Several special guests, including UCP Celebrity Youth Ambassador, RJ Mitte joined in the sessions. Mr. Mitte is best known for his role a Walter White, Jr. in AMC’s “Breaking Bad.” He actively supports disability causes and speaks about his experiences as an actor with a disability to raise awareness. He just  wrapped several feature films over the last year, including DIXIELAND starring alongside Faith Hill and Riley Keough, which just premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2015 and was first role he’s portrayed a character without a disability.

In addition to sharing his views on the future for people with disabilities in a session called “Reflecting on Our History, Focusing on our Future,” he presented UCP’s annual Outstanding Youth Award honoring Daniel Lopez and Lake Periman and Life Without Limits Award honoring O’Ryan Case. Daniel and Lake have made a huge impact on their central Florida community of Lake Mary, raising thousands of dollars for United Cerebral Palsy of Central Florida over the past four years. They have worked tirelessly to organize events and engage the media and their community to raise awareness about cerebral palsy. O’Ryan Case is an individual with CP who has demonstrated leadership and achievement to such a degree that he is a significant role model to people with and without disabilities through his work at UCP’s national office.

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Dr. Eva Ritvo was awarded with the Volunteer of the Year Award for her work and efforts for UCP of South Florida. And, Dr. Charlie Law and UCP of Greater Birmingham were recognized for their Life Without Limits clinic with the Outstanding Program of the Year award.

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Lake_RJ_DanielAlso, UCP was honored to hear from Joe Russo, Deputy Commissioner from the Chicago Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities who spoke about the ADA’s 25th Anniversary celebration in Chicago. He joined a panel with Mr. Mitte, CEO of UCP of NYC Ed Matthews and the venerable Jack Schillinger to discuss the past, present and future of UCP.RJ_Joe Russo_Gloria_Armando_Central AZ
Jack Schillinger, Chair Emeritus of UCP of South Florida and current Bellows Fund Chair celebrated his 95th birthday with the honor of UCP’s Chair Award given by Gloria Johnson Cusack in recognition of the direct impact he has had on the lives of people with disabilities and their families during his long career.

Linda Johns, CEO of East Central Alabama United Cerebral Palsy was given one of the most prestigious honors this year, receiving the Kathleen O. Maul Leadership Award. This is presented to an affiliate leader who embodies the leadership characteristics that were embraced by Executive Director, Kathy Maul, for whom the award is named.Maul Award Winner

On Wednesday evening, the attendees were joined by the winning teams who competed in UCP Life Lab’s Innovation Lab, held on Tuesday and Wednesday And, on Thursday evening, UCP held a special screening of “Margarita With a Straw” – a critically-acclaimed film about a woman with cerebral palsy. The movie was inspired by the daughter of Sathi Alur, a member of the World Cerebral Palsy Institute who held an informal Q & A session after the screening.

Enjoy more photos from the event on UCP’s Facebook page and make your plans now to join us next spring in Las Vegas for the 2016 Annual Conference (dates to be determined).

UCP Thanks Our Sponsors!

Merz Pharmaceuticals

MetLife Center for Special Needs Planning

Careerbuilder

Therap

Uber

Infinitec, a Program of UCP Seguin of Greater Chicago

Ability Magazine and Abilityjobs.com

Blackbaud

“Who I Am” PSA Spotlights Disability Employment

This week, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment launched a new public service announcement as part of their annual Campaign for Disability Employment (October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month). The PSA debuted at a special White House event on October 14 and will be distributed to television stations nationwide in November.
United Cerebral Palsy is proud to be a partner in the campaign and our Celebrity Ambassador, actor R. J. Mitte makes an appearance in the spot. The PSAs are being distributed in English and Spanish and are available through the campaign’s website as well as You Tube and Vimeo. UCP will be sharing a short version of the PSA online using the hashtag #WhoIAmPSA.

Take a moment to read a message about the PSA from Kathy Martinez, Assistant Secretary of the Office of Disability Employment Policy, U.S. Department of Labor below:
“When we look at someone, do we see all of who they are?

This is the question the PSA “Who I Am” was created to address. “Who I Am” features nine people with disabilities who, with the notable exception of R.J. Mitte (featured in television’s “Breaking Bad”), are not actors. Not defined solely by their disability, each of these individuals is the sum of their many life roles—which includes working in jobs they love.

Given that nearly one in five Americans has a disability–many of which are not apparent–nearly all of us will be affected by disability at some point in our lifetime. Anyone may acquire a disability through accident, injury or aging and many people have a parent, spouse, relative, neighbor or friend with a disability. This inspiring PSA will resonate, particularly with those who may have a hidden disability or know family or friends who do.

“Who I Am” reminds us to see one another for who we are and what we can contribute. Employers and others watching the PSA will recognize the value of the diverse attributes, skills and talents that people with disabilities can bring to the workplace. The PSA will empower those with disabilities–especially those with non-apparent disabilities—to bring their whole selves to everything they do—including their work. “Who I Am” is the third in a series of PSAs from The Campaign for Disability Employment (CDE), a collaborative effort of the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy and leading business and disability organizations promoting employment opportunities for people with disabilities.

We are grateful that so many stations aired the CDE’s previous PSAs, “I Can” and “Because,” which achieved top ratings. Both helped demonstrate the value people with disabilities bring to the workplace. We hope you will do what you “can do” to help us continue spreading this important message by sharing this PSA.”

Sincerely,

Kathy Martinez

Assistant Secretary

Office of Disability Employment Policy

U.S. Department of Labor

www.whatcanyoudocampaign.org.