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.
Kendra Garcia, COTA/L, ECHM
"The OT Strategist"
Kendra Garcia COTA/L, ECHM, "The OT Strategist" is an Amazon's #1 bestselling author of the book Life beyond the Diagnosis. She works as a pediatric-adult occupational therapy provider, Autism mom-advocate. She is also a home modification consultant, public speaker, Autism parenting expert/coach and contributor for the Huffington post & Autism Parenting Magazine. You can connect with Kendra at Kendra@TheOTStrategist.com and on social media at @TheOTStrategist on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Annie Warner is currently serving as the director for Stephen J. Wampler Foundation’s Camp Wamp. She is a graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi where she earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Recreation with an emphasis in Administration. Annie has a varied background in Non-Profit and Summer Camp management. She has worked with numerous camps throughout the country over the last 15 years and has served as a member of the National Council of leaders, Heart of the South District Chair of the Local Council of Leaders, and Mississippi State Chair for the American Camp Association (ACA). Annie loves working with the campers of Camp Wamp and continues to be an advocate for camping and providing rustic recreation experiences for individuals with disabilities.
Camp Wamp is a residential, summer camp in northern California for persons living with physical disabilities. We offer one-week sessions each summer for varying age groups. Our mission is to provide life changing experiences to children with physical disabilities.
Margarita Elizondo, is a motivational speaker, founder of Rolling With Me, model, dancer, and writer. She was paralyzed in 2006 and began speaking in churches and schools shortly after her injury. In 2013 she was crowned Ms. Wheelchair California 2013 and in 2019 she was crowned Mi Modelo Especial. Margarita has used her titles as a platform to educate the public on the importance of fully including individuals with disabilities in our communities. She was a dancer before her injury and later discovered wheelchair dance through the San Diego Wheelchair Dancers Organization.
I give families with special needs travelers one-on-one guidance and support, so they can discover the world together. Family travel already gets complicated fast with the challenges that special needs families face—it’s enough to make many parents put off a trip altogether—but no more! While travel with a special needs family member isn’t always easy, it IS possible with the right guidance and expert planning. Your family deserves an extraordinary travel adventure together—I’m here to make that happen for you.
Srin is a Product Manager at Airbnb after the startup he founded, Accomable, was acquired by Airbnb in November 2017. As he says:
I love trying to make and build stuff that people hopefully(!) find useful or interesting. These are usually web and tech based products.
I originally graduated with a degree in Genetics and Biochemistry; and then retrained to qualify as a corporate lawyer. I practiced in the City of London for four years at a leading international firm and left in 2012 to do an MBA at Oxford University. My MBA focused primarily on entrepreneurship, product development and early stage investing in sectors based on cutting edge science and technology. While at Oxford, I also started to learn to code and was the original developer of Accomable, which I created from scratch.
When I get the chance, I enjoy writing on a mix of subjects ranging from travel to technology and have had articles published in the BBC, The Guardian and a number of specialist blogs and publications.
Mark R. Thompson, AIA, is PVA's 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, healthcare 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.
Mr. Thompson is a licensed architect in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Architectural Studies and a Master of Architecture from Oklahoma State University.
Dr. Linda M. Schultz (Nurse Linda)
Linda M. Schultz, PhD, CRRN is a leader and provider of rehabilitation nursing for 40 years, most recently developing Activity Based Rehabilitation strategies. She has directed programs at an international level including the Christopher Reeve recovery project at Washington University in St. Louis. She is certified by the Association of Rehabilitation Registered Nurses. Dr. Schultz writes the interactive Ask a Nurse Blog, an evidence-based community forum, conducts monthly international webinars hosting discussions and questions from individuals with paralysis and has created emergency pocket cards concerning the topics of sepsis and Autonomic Dysreflexia, in coordination with the Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Foundation. As a researcher, Dr. Schultz focuses on the concepts of promoting bladder and bowel continence and skin integrity. She has completed a national analysis of urinary continence in the elderly population utilizing NIH data. The results of these findings have been used to establish protocols by the AHCPR.
Linda Bollinger joined the Sunrise Medical team in the fall of 2018 as a Clinical Education Manager for West and Central regions. 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 include developing and operating a seating and mobility clinic for individuals with disabilities at UCP Long Island and successfully creating a pediatric seating clinic at a local school for students with disabilities. Linda has shared her knowledge and experience providing seating and mobility services local community events, guest lectures with local PT and OT programs, and regional conferences.
Felicia is a long-time cannabis patient, a patient advocate, cannabis educator, activist, and community organizer. While holding such positions as patient access director, collective operations manager, patient liaison/community engagement coordinator she realized the need for more accountability for the medicine with education being the key. Having worked with countless California patients, caregivers, dispensaries and cannabis industry investors to find the best methods to ensure patients get knowledgeable information, quality medicine, and that compassion remains in California Compassionate Use Act. In 2013 she was honored by being named one of The Advocate Magazine's 40 under 40 LGBT leaders for her work in Cannabis.
Help Hope Live
Celebrating 36 years of service and a perfect charity rating, Help Hope Live offers a safe and proven way for you to raise funds for your mobility needs while maintaining key coverage such as Medicaid and SSDI. Don’t let finances stand in your way: explore what fundraising with a supportive nonprofit can do for you.
In order to bring you a stellar conference program, we have selected presenters whose individual lives are as relevant to the Community as the issues they are addressing. The majority of our speakers hold advanced degrees in their field. 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.
Ainsley's Angels of America
Perhaps you used to run. Perhaps you have never ran. Either way, Ainsley's Angels of America aims to ensure that everyone can experience the joy of going for a run. In addition to ensuring everyone can experience endurance events, Ainsley's Angels of America aims to build awareness about America's special needs community through inclusion in all aspects of life. Serving as advocates to providing education and participating as active members in local communities, we believe everyone deserves to be included. Stop by our booth to experience this today and together, let's counter the claim that it is impossible and remove "can't" from the equation! Deal? Can you envision it now? The positive energy, the other athletes smiling from ear to ear, the togetherness of every member preparing to 'roll with the wind', the normalcy of the family, and the love everyone shares ... it is a therapy like no other! Oh, and the impact reaches the entire family, as many have discovered first-hand the therapeutic effects of these races.
Learn more at www.ainsleysangels.org.
Earthquake Country Alliance
The Earthquake Country Alliance (ECA) is a public-private partnership of people, organizations, and regional alliances that work together to improve preparedness, mitigation and resiliency. ECA provides information and resources to help everyone who lives, works, or travels in earthquake country get prepared to survive and recover quickly, by following the Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety.
Learn more at www.earthquakecountry.org
Creator, Director and Producer, Donna On the Go
Peggy Lane is the Creator, Director and Producer of the EMMY submitted Donna On The Go. It is a show she is immensely proud of and developed for her friend Donna Russo. Donna is an Actress / Dancer who requires a walker or wheelchair and still dances. This inspired Peggy to create a show around the everyday challenges and victories she faces. Peggy is an Actress and Singer/Musician who began her career at the age of 5 doing theatre and commercials in Chicago. She was a member of Second City and moved out to Los Angeles to pursue a recording contract with her band. She has appeared in many Primetime TV shows including Will & Grace, The Middle, Ellen, and recurring roles on King of Queens and Seinfeld as a coffee shop waitress. She also works as an Acting and Dialogue Coach for many Award winning actors, including Margo Martindale, Richard Dreyfuss and Molly Shannon. She has Produced films that have screened at Cannes and qualified for an Academy Award. Peggy is a member of The Television Academy: ATAS, Women In Film, SAG-AFTRA and AEA.
Star, Donna On The Go
Donna Russo is the star of the series Donna On The Go. It is a show about her challenges and victories. It was submitted for an EMMY. Donna was born with Turner Syndrome and now has adult onset FSH Muscular Dystrophy, a condition that robs your muscles of movement slowly. She is 4' 5" tall, many women with Turner are of small stature. Donna started dancing at age 10 taking ballet and tap later including jazz, modern and acting classes. A graduate of Mercyhurst University with a BA in Dance she toured as Alvin in Alvin and the Chipmunks and the Magic Camera, performed in Lord of the Rings, Passions, Power Rangers and in multiple roles as characters in television and film. Though she had her heart set on joining a ballet company, she found that, for many companies, she was considered short. Determined to dance, she did find a place in the dance world performing as elves, aliens, dolls and monsters in television, film and music videos. Donna is also a Delegate for the Actors Union SAG-AFTRA and currently serves on two committees. As part of the community, Donna believes in supporting the arts and became active in The Entertainment Industry Group Los Angeles Kiwanis Club. The Kiwanis Club brings arts and culture to school children and exposes the children to performances in local theaters and music centers. Donna can also be seen on You Tube in the video choreographed by Tam Warner, "I Won't Give Up." To date it has over 60,000 views. "It is very exciting and an honor to be an Ambassador for the Abilities Expo where I have had the pleasure of performing "I Won't Give Up" live," said Donna."I'm thrilled to have Donna On The Go at the Expo this year !" Visit the Donna On The Go website at www.donna-on-the-go.com.
Angel City Sports
Angel City Sports began in June 2013 when Clayton and Ezra Frech were on the track at the Endeavor Games in Oklahoma City and asked the question, "Why do we need to come to tornado alley to run, jump, and throw things? Why aren't there more programs in Southern California?"
This began our journey to create the Angel City Games, Southern California's own multi-sport Paralympic style competition and celebration of Adaptive Sports. In 2015 we expanded our vision and pivoted our brand to Angel City Sports. We hope to address the myriad of challenges that exist - lack of events, programs, training, and coaches, transportation and access, the high cost of equipment, and the expansive geography of Southern California - and spark the Paralympic and Adaptive Sports movement in our community.
Today we're offering a year-round schedule of introductory adaptive sport clinics, giving athletes opportunities to participate, learn and train in a variety of sports. We've expanded the Angel City Games from two to four days, adding new sport clinics and competitions including Archery, Swimming, Wheelchair Tennis, Track & Field, Wheelchair Basketball, Table Tennis and Sitting Volleyball. We're building an inventory of Adaptive Sports equipment to be loaned or rented to other programs and individuals who want to get into the game. As more participants join us throughout the year at clinics and events we look forward to learning about their goals and aspirations to participate in Adaptive Sports.
L.A. Goal is a non-profit agency that provides Inside Out Productions, that teaches visual arts: drawing, painting, ceramics, sewing, quilting, weaving, embroidery, photography, woodblock prints and multi-media. Through ongoing art exhibitions, Inside Out Production artists are able to share with the world the talents of people with developmental disabilities. The act of creating something beautiful that the outside world can connect with becomes an effective tool for fostering communication, acceptance and inclusion.
Learn more: www.lagoal.org
Canines for Disabled Kids
Public awareness and education are very important to CDK – so important that they travel the country to talk to students of all grade levels, civic groups, religious groups, and businesses about assistance dogs. CDK also offers different ways to help educate the public about service dogs including Educational Presentations, Booth Event Participation, Americans with Disability (ADA) consulting. Members of CDK staff and volunteers travel all over the country for these opportunities. Please contact us to learn more about how we might participate in your school, business, or community event.
Learn more at https://caninesforkids.org.
Rollettes Dance Team
Founded in 2012 by Chelsie Hill, the Rollettes are a group of young women making a difference - breaking new ground and inspiring the next generation. They are a community, a sisterhood, a family. Role models and trail blazers in dance, fashion, make-up and fitness. These women have created a community that redefines what it means to be strong, female, and resilient. With dance they dazzle and push the boundaries that others place in the way.
Learn more at www.rollettesdance.com.
Infinite Flow is a professional inclusive dance company and non-profit org based in Los Angeles, Founded in 2015. They use dance as a vehicle to mainstream inclusion and eliminate the stigma associated with disability. Their vision is a world where the word "inclusion" does not exist, a world where dance is accessible to all, and a world where everyone celebrates each other's differences. Their mission is to build a world class inclusive dance company that leads a global social movement for inclusion and to empower people of all abilities to #BeINFINITE through dance & human connection. At Infinite Flow they believe each person has a dancer inside, and believe there are infinitely different ways to dance. They break barriers socially and artistically, and know that inclusion creates a better future. They believe in each person's infinite potential, and create an environment where each person can thrive and make a difference. Infinite Flow was founded by Marisa Hamamoto, a professional ballroom dancer who was temporarily paralyzed from the neck down with a rare stroke called spinal cord infarction in 2006.
Learn more at www.infiniteflowdance.org
The Skate Connection
The Skate Connection is a Federal Non profit 501(c)(3) committed to providing opportunities for people with and without disabilities to skateboard together and cultivate an integrated community deeply rooted in the love for skateboarding. Founded in 2011 by Adam Grijalva, The Skate Connection is a simple, dynamic organization that has sprouted from a small crew of skateboarders to a movement that is reaching communities all across southern California and connecting the hearts of skateboarders worldwide. At The Skate Connection, we don't create skateboarders or make friendships rather we just receive new members into our community and provide an authentic skateboarding experience so they may encounter the transforming love of skateboarding.
Learn more at www.theskateconnection.org
Abilities Recovery Center
We work with people who have become paralyzed following a severe injury or illness, by enhancing the connection to their nervous system, so that they may move, feel, function and walk again. Our facility, The Abilities Recovery Center, in Los Angeles California, offers specialized fitness programs combined with cutting edge equipment that allows our clients access to the essential standing exercises, and to safely learn how to walk again.
Dream Catcher of Los Angeles
The mission of Dream Catcher of Los Angeles Therapeutic Riding Center's is to improve the lives of children, adults, and veterans with cognitive, physical, and emotional disabilities through the benefits of therapeutic horseback riding and other equine-assisted activities, while serving the therapeutic riding profession through training and education.
At Dream Catcher of L.A, therapeutic riding and other equine-assisted activities benefit the bodies, minds, and spirits of people with disabilities. Physically, the horse's movement has a dynamic effect on the rider's body. A horse's movement closely resembles the normal gait of a human and can be used to produce specific physical changes in the rider, including the normalization of muscle tone, postural and balance improvement and increased strength. The horse's movement can also help mitigate sensory integration issues. A smooth-gaited, consistently paced horse can provide the input needed to help a rider establish a rhythm. A rough-gaited horse may provide the stimulation needed to help organize and integrate sensory input. Analyzation of movement while on a horse can help improve overall body awareness.
Learn more: http://www.dreamcatcherla.com
In 1992 Auti Angel, a professional dancer on her way to stardom, faced devastation when she experienced a life threatening auto accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down. However, through years of many trials, Auti Angel has been able to reinvent herself as shining star. Auti Angel has experienced life challenges that would later become her tool to help mentor others through their struggles. Returning to her first love of dance, she pioneered wheelchair hip-hop dancing worldwide and has continued to pursue her career in music and acting; showing this industry that she is Unstoppable! One of the stars on the critically acclaimed docu-series "Push Girls" (Critics Choice Award Winner), Auti has also appeared in the HBO film "Musical Chairs," where she not only stars as Nicky but also wrote, sang, and co-produced the movie's song "Baile Baile" (available on the movie soundtrack at iTunes). Auti Angel has been seen on several major TV talk shows sharing her story of triumph over tragedies. She has been featured on: "Good Morning America", "The Marie Osmond Show", "The Jeff Probst Show", "OMG Insider", "Access Hollywood Live", "CNN", "The Katie Couric Show", "Latina Magazine", "US Magazine", "New York Times", "Los Angeles Times", and "Los Angeles Magazine" just to name a few. Auti Angel has become a true symbol of survival and overcoming adversity. She inspires, motivates, and empowers audiences. She shares how perseverance and setting goals have helped her overcome obstacles, embrace change, and how to maintain a productive life. "Once a dancer … Always a dancer!"
Learn more at www.autiangel.net and www.autiangel.com
Tiphany Adams is an American television personality, an influencer, fitness trainer, empath coach, actress, model and speaker. She has been seen on many public platforms including but not limited to Dr.Phil,Good Morning America,Extra,Access Hollywood,Entertainment tonight, and CNN. Tiphany Adams experienced a spinal injury at the age of 17 after a traumatic car accident caused from a drunk driver. Tiphany created a coaching business where she takes a holistic approach to well-being, considering everything from nutrition and exercise, to stress and spirituality. The responsibility of helping her clients through their battles is something Tiphany can attest to, as she admits that silencing her own negative self-talk and finding the tools to regain the ability to love herself after the accident was a challenge. It was when she accepted her wheelchair not as an enemy, but as an extension of her own self, that progress could begin.
Learn more: https://tiphanyadams.com
Long Beach Beauties
A special needs cheer squad for kids 8 and up. Guys are welcome too!
Along with her TV Program, “Happy Yoga with Sarah Starr” (appearing nationwide on Public Television, Amazon Prime, & ION Life TV) Sarah’s inspiring work has also landed features in national and international publications, radio and news segments including contributing yoga expert for SELF Magazine, Mondetta Performance Gear, AntivewearUSA, YogaVibes and MindBodyGreen& a mention in Vogue. Having began her Ashtanga based practice in 1998, Sarah excels at making the ancient practice of yoga an accessible, safe and effective practice for beginner to experienced yoga enthusiasts.
Lean more: https://www.happyyoga.tv
We Adorn You
Painters from "We Adorn You" have been face painting for Abilities Expo shows since 2009! They are based out of Los Angeles and New York City and have been in operation since 2007. Their experienced California-based artists will travel to your home or event site, whether in Los Angeles or somewhere throughout Southern California. Each event is unique and they can tailor to any theme, style or idea; children and/or adult birthday parties, bar/bat mitzvahs, company picnics, photo shoots, trade shows and many more! Learn more at www.weadornyou.com.