Grant deadline approaching

Just a quick reminder that the deadline to apply for a UCP Research Initiative pilot grant is right around the corner. Individual grants of up to $20,000 each will be awarded. Check the research tab at for more details on how to apply. The deadline to submit your application is June 27. UCP affiliates are strongly encouraged to apply.

Inaugural UCP Latinos with disabilities conference planned

Planning is underway for UCP’s 2022 Conference on Latinos with Disabilities. The inaugural two-day event will happen this year in mid to late September (final dates will be announced soon).

The goal of the conference is to offer a platform for discussions and presentations — and eventually training — on issues impacting Latinos in the disability community. While many of the topics addressed would also be of interest to the general disability community and others, this conference will highlight the distinct ways (culturally, socially, economically and historically) that Latinos with disabilities, their families and service providers (Latino and non-Latino alike) shape the issues presented.

Among the key outcomes of the conference will be a report on the “2022 State of Latinos with Disabilities.”

For more information, contact UCP Communications Coordinator James Garcia at or 602-460-1374. Special thanks to our premier sponsor for the conference, Waymo. We greatly appreciate their support for what promises to be a groundbreaking event.

Charlie Duffy, 15, who has CP, served as the emcee for this year’s UCP of Central Arizona gala. Duffy is a champion softball player in Arizona. This year’s event raised approximately $130,000.

UCP of Central AZ marks 70th anniversary

United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona hosted its annual gala fundraiser May 21, the organization’s first in person since the start of the pandemic. The event also marked the organization’s 70th anniversary.

“The Champion Within: Cheers to 70 Years” gala was emceed by UCPCA’s Ambassador Charlie Duffy, 15, who shared her story at the gala of having cerebral palsy, which has entailed 20-plus surgeries and years of pain and struggle.

“Charlie embodies the ‘Life without Limits’ spirit UCP stands for and is an inspiration to everyone she comes in contact with,” said UCPCA Marketing Manager Karla Verdugo. “Her story demonstrates what UCP is all about — that everyone has a champion within.”

Most people look at Charlie now and see a confident teen. She’s an honor roll student and star softball player who dreams of earning a college sports scholarship. But life hasn’t been easy for her.

“When I first started going to UCP I was unable to skip, unable to gallop and unable to balance on one leg,” said Charlie. “I spent months learning how to move both arms just to be able to run. These are things most kids take for granted, but for me these relatively simple movements took months, even years, to perfect in physical therapy.”

“There was not one second I was ashamed or embarrassed for being different from other people,” Charlie added. “I was taught from a very young age that you don’t have to fit in or look like the person standing next to you.”

Charlie’s mother, Heather Duffy, admits that she and her husband, Charles Duffy, knew nothing about cerebral palsy, “let alone how it would affect our daughter and what her future would hold.”

In the beginning, the couple tried to educate themselves about CP online. “Charlie’s physical therapist at the time wasn’t familiar with the diagnosis. Nor did she have any training working with someone with cerebral palsy,” Heather Duffy said. “That’s when our case manager referred Charlie to United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona for physical therapy and family resources, which changed our lives forever.”

The Case for Inclusion 2022
Blazing Trails to Sustainability
for Community Disability Services.

Read the 2022 Case for Inclusion report.

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