Abilities Expo Presents Experienced, Highly Knowledgable Speakers
For the Abilities Expo workshop series, we select presenters whose individual lives are as relevant to the Community as the issues they are addressing. Our speakers have years of experience and are highly knowledgeable in their fields. Their accomplishments precede them and many are recognized nationally and within their state for their ongoing work with people with disabilities. All our speakers have apparent and non-apparent disabilities, work in the disability field or are the sibling or parent of a person with disabilities.
Ashley Lyn Olson
Ashley Lyn Olson created wheelchairtraveling.com in 2006 to empower people with limited mobility, their friends and loved ones to access and experience the world of accessible leisure and adventure travel. Growing up hiking and camping, Ashley has a deep seeded love for the outdoors and exploration. She has been to more parks than she can count, including over half of the national parks. Her website, wheelchairtraveling.com, features reviews, guides, tips, pictures, and videos of parks, as well as destinations from around the world. Explore accessible tours, cruises or plan a custom trip of your own with the many resources available. Know before you go, so you can go access the world.
Felicia is a native Californian, Latinx, and a values-based community organizer, social entrepreneur, and cannabis patient who has been affected by the justice system. They have over two decades of experience in California's cannabis market, getting their start in both the LGBTQ liberation and the medical cannabis movements in the mid-1990s. Felicia was named one of The Advocate Magazine's 40 under 40 LGBT leaders for their work in cannabis. Felicia has consulted on numerous cannabis brands and is a trusted resource for the Autism, LGBTQ, Latinx, and disabilities communities on the potential of cannabinoid therapies.
Jay Gupta, RPh, MTM Consultant, C-IAYT is the Director of Pharmacy & Integrative Health at a health center in New Hampshire. He is also the President of www.YogaCaps.org and www.RxRelax.com. Jay is a pharmacist, medication expert, DePrescription leader and international speaker. He has been recognized by Cardinal Health, by the National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations (NASPA) and by Next Generation Pharmacists/Pharmacy Times for excellence in integrative therapies. His clinical trial in 2020 studied the effects of therapeutic telehealth yoga for healthcare professionals during a pandemic and indicated significant reduction in anxiety, depression, insomnia and PTSD symptoms.
Jennifer Kolar has been surrounded by animals and active in their training and rehabilitation since she was a child. Just as she's seen many a stray or shelter dog through fear and reactivity issues, they have seen her through hard times too. Jennifer recognizes that working with service dog teams is at least as much about the person as about their animal. She is deeply committed to positive, ethical treatment of both dogs and people. She is a co-founder of Atlas Assistance Dogs and excited to redefine the notion of service dog training to benefit as many people as possible. She has more than 10 years' experience as a professional service dog trainer and instructor. She is a Karen Pryor Certified Training Partner, Certified Behavioral Adjustment Training Instructor, Atlas Certified Trainer, Diabetes Alert Dog Certified Trainer, and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA).
Jeremiah Raxter, Esq.
Jeremiah Raxter is the founder and principal attorney of RAXTER LAW, P.A. Admitted to both the California State Bar and the United States District COurt of the Central and Southern Districts, and a Certified Veterans Attorney with the Veterans Administration. Mr. Raxter has been chosen as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers in 2019, 2020, and 2021. The Super Lawyers list recognizes no more than 5 percent of attorneys in each state. Mr. Raxter has served as a Special Master, is a Law Professor in the subjects of Real Property, Ethics, and Wills/Trusts. Mr. Raxter represents the Riverside County Public Administrator and serves as Court appointed counsel in conservatorship and probate matters. Mr. Raxter is proud to present regular legal education and estate planning classes in conjunction with the Alzheimer's Association.
John Mews is the founder, music therapist as well as associate marriage and family therapist at Mewsic Moves. John has been working with individuals of all ages and all abilities for over 17 years and have seen the benefits of music therapy with clients from physical, developmental as well as intellectual disabilities.
Kelly L. Green
Kelly L. Green joined Help Hope Live as its executive director in November 2017. The daughter of a transplant recipient, Kelly not only believes in the mission of Help Hope Live, she once used the service and it "completely changed her life." She feels honored and proud to lead an organization that provided hope and help to her family during her mother's journey to transplant in 2007.
Kelly describes herself as a mother, a daughter of her hero, a battle-tested unifier, and a thought leader. She has more than 20 years' experience working in and leading nonprofit organizations and has dedicated her life to civic engagement.
In the last decade, Kelly has proudly served as the CEO of Variety – The Children's Charity; director of Montgomery County, PA Voters Services; and deputy director for the Institute for the Study of Civic Values in Philadelphia.
In 2018, Kelly was recognized with Main Line Today's Women on the Move Award for redefining success around Philadelphia's Main Line and western suburbs.
Kelly is a connector, a person who needs to infuse each day with a lesson and inspire others to be the one makes someone else's day just a little brighter. She places value in small acts of kindness. She is a self-proclaimed activist, but most people just see her as someone who believes everyone deserves dignity and respect. She knows firsthand how broken our healthcare system is and is determined to help place medical needs in reach to those in need!
Kendra Garcia, "The OT Strategist," is Amazon's #1 bestselling author of the book Life Beyond the Diagnosis. She is a public speaker, coach, Huffington Post/Autism Parenting Magazine contributor, Special Education parent consultant, autism mom, and advocate. She works as a pediatric-adult occupational therapy provider. Follow Kendra on Social media @The OT Strategist
Linda Bollinger joined the Sunrise Medical team in the fall of 2018 as a Clinical Education Manager. She has a BS-MS in physical therapy from Long Island University, Brooklyn. In May 2018, she earned her DPT from Utica College. In addition, she received her ATP certification in 2000. Prior to joining the Sunrise Medical team, Linda was the Director of Rehabilitation at Long Island Select Healthcare. Her previous experience includes successfully creating a pediatric seating and positioning clinic at a local school for students with disabilities and developing and operating a seating and mobility clinic for individuals with disabilities at UCP Long Island. Linda has shared her knowledge and experience providing seating, positioning, and mobility services local community events, guest lectures with local PT and OT programs, and regional conferences. In fall 2020, she became the West Coast Pediatric Sales Specialist at Sunrise. She brings her experience treating and positioning children with complex rehab needs to her role in supporting Leckey Positioning equipment.
Mark R. Thompson, AIA, is PVA's Senior Associate Director of Architecture Services. He joined PVA in 2016 after thirty years of private sector architectural design and construction experience as a lead project designer, business owner and real estate developer. Mr. Thompson developed his architectural expertise delivering public and private projects in the commercial, health care and educational markets valued in excess of $800 million. Since being with PVA, Mr. Thompson has successfully advocated to maximize accessibility on multi-family housing, commercial, government and healthcare projects serving veterans throughout the United States. He has also provided technical assistance to veterans and civilians who are planning renovations to their homes specifically focused on improving accessibility.
Molly Neher was introduced to the world of service dogs when she became in need of one herself after developing a severe seizure disorder while in college. Her service dog Reid was partially trained in a prison program, but Molly continued most of his training on her own with the help of a private trainer to ensure Reid would properly fit her needs. As a college student, Molly became a passionate advocate for people with disabilities and for service dog education and access. She has seen first-hand the benefits and the empowerment a service dog can bring, and it is her strong belief that people do not thrive despite their disabilities, but rather with them. Throughout her college years, she worked with other local disability rights organizations and also worked to make her campus more accessible to disabled students through the leadership and advocacy group she was part of. Molly joined Atlas' board of directors in 2017 as a means to continue her advocacy efforts and help more people like herself who could benefit from a service dog. She presently serves as Director of Operations and Programs for Atlas.
Sarah is an educator, author, and podcast host. Sarah supports families and students through her role on the advisory board for the Charcot Marie Tooth Association, an organization helping those with her neuromuscular disease, CMT. Sarah's passion is for changing people's perspectives on ability and inclusion. She's an award-winning teacher and executive function coach. Sarah lives in California with her husband, cat, and chickens.
Learn more: sarahkesty.com
Sonny Mullen is from the Philadelphia area and spent the first part of her career in New York City working in television. She joined Help Hope Live in 2016, first working in the Finance Department and now proudly serves as the Outreach Manager. In this role she has helped build the Outreach department with the goal of bringing Help Hope Live's mission to a wider audience. Growing up with a younger brother living with GRIN1 Disorder, Sonny has a personal connection to Help Hope Live's mission. She is happy to use her experiences, both at home and with Help Hope Live, to connect and speak with individuals in the disability community all over the country, with the goal of helping them safely fundraise for their medical and related expenses.
Straight Up Abilities
Straight Up Abilities provides professional performance art training to students of all ages and abilities. They are based in Los Angeles and service surrounding areas, and have a virtual program for those in different States and Countries to be able to participate as well. They have performed with The Royal Ballet, Special Olympics, Very Special Arts Festival Los Angeles, VSA Orange County, VSA Shreveport Louisiana, Festival of Human Abilities, and many many more events. Their students are living out their dreams and their passions, and proving There Are No Limits! Straight UP!
The International Jiu Jitsu Without Limitations Federation
The International Jiu Jitsu Without Limitations Federation (IJJWLF) provides opportunities for those living with a limitation to better their lives through the art of Jiu Jitsu. We also believe that life should be balanced and eating well and connecting with nature are important to understanding our true potential and what our bodies and mind are capable of achieving.
IJJWLF has several projects including the Para Jiu Jitsu Magazine. It was created to help educate the readers about the different limitations in our community and how Jiu jitsu helps them live with their altered lifestyle.
Learn more: IJJWLF.com, IG: @IJJWLF, FB: IJJWLF
The Long Beach Beauties
The Long Beach Beauties is a cheer program for differently-abled children and young adults ages 8 and up. The girls are from all over LA and Orange counties. They have been cheering for 3 years and we are always looking for some BEASTS (male cheerleaders)! They have cheered at several events including: Jamz Nationals in Las Vegas, Dodgers Stadium Cheer Day, the Southern California Special Olympics (SOSC) Summer Games and the LA Abilities Expo! The pandemic did not stop us, we have been practicing and socializing virtually for over a year now and look forward to performing for the public once again!
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