DD Awareness Day
A one-day annual event to raise awareness at the Capitol about the needs of persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families
Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, organizations, and the public join the Council in raising awareness about critical issues impacting their lives.
Archived DD Awareness Day Events
Disability Advocates to Demand Fair Wages During Upcoming Virtual Event
Shining a spotlight on the direct support workforce shortage thousands of Floridians with intellectual and developmental disabilities are facing, individuals, family members, support organizations and disability rights advocates called on lawmakers to “Pay Fair for My Care” during the 2022 Virtual Developmental Disabilities and Awareness Day (DD Day).
Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) fulfill many critical roles, especially for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as well as serve as the bedrock of the many supports and services provided through Florida’s Medicaid Home- and Community-Based Services iBudget Waiver. However, advocates say DSPs are leaving the profession in large numbers due to a lack of pay increases and sustainable wages.
“For more than 20 years, DD Day has been a staple among disability rights advocates and we are dedicated to providing a platform to make voices heard at the state level,” said Valerie Breen, executive director of the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC). “While we were hoping to be back at the State Capitol this year, the Florida Legislature must understand the critical importance of funding to help alleviate workforce shortages among direct support professionals.”
With nearly 1,000 attendees in 2021, this is the second year the FDDC hosted the event virtually.
Recordings of the virtual event can be found at ddday2022.org (opens in new window)
Guardianship Challenger Honored with Disabilities Advocacy Award
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – The first Florida resident to terminate his guardianship using Supported Decision-Making (SDM) has received the 2022 Idelio Valdes Leadership and Advocacy Award, the state’s most prestigious award in recognizing an individual with a developmental disability.
The Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC) has chosen Michael Lincoln-McCreight of St. Lucie County as this year’s winner of the Idelio Award for his self-advocacy efforts to facilitate and support community integration, employment, independence and inclusion for Floridians with developmental disabilities.
In 2016, a professional guardian petitioned McCreight to receive a restrictive guardianship due to his disability – leading him to an overall worse quality of life. Having suffered from the restricted lifestyle of his guardianship, McCreight sought out help from Disability Rights Florida to gain his independence back. With their support, alongside his lawyer, he was given the opportunity of SDM as a less restrictive alternative to his guardianship.
Since then, McCreight has become a compelling self-advocate and co-chairs Supported Decision-Making For Florida (SDM4FL), a coalition working to pass a SDM law so other Floridians with disabilities can have the same opportunity as he did to direct their own lives.
In addition to co-chairing SDM4Fl, McCreight works with organizations like Stand Up for Independence, Family Care Counsel, Special Olympics and Disability Rights Florida to promote SDM and defend disability rights. He graduated from Indian River State College in 2020 with a certificate in Security and is now fulfilling his lifelong dream as a security guard for Universal Security Services.
“McCreight is an exemplary self-advocate and inspiration to all throughout the state of Florida through his commitment to giving people with disabilities a chance at a more independent lifestyle,” said FDDC Executive Director Valerie Breen.
He was recognized during FDDC’s Virtual Awareness Day and rally on February 9.
Proving resilient even during the toughest year, nearly 1,000 Floridians concerned about quality care and funding for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities made their voices heard virtually on March 30 during the 2021 Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day.
Hosted by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council, Virtual DD Day featured guest speakers, breakout sessions with nearly 20 exhibitors, information on various legislative priorities and messages from key legislators.
Attendees heard from notable speakers such as disabilities advocate and empowerment speaker, Sara Gaver, Speaker of the House Chris Sprowls, Senator Aaron Bean, Representative Robin Bartleman and many more.
Recordings of the virtual event can be found at ddday2021.com (opens in new window)
Two Disabilities Advocates Receive Top State Award
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Two Florida residents from Tampa Bay and South Florida have received the annual Idelio Valdes Leadership and Advocacy Award, the state’s top honor recognizing an individual with a developmental disability.
Presented each year by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC) — usually to just one individual — Arizona Jenkins and Katherine Magnoli are both being recognized for their “tremendous efforts to develop partnerships for the facilitation of community integration, employment and inclusion for Floridians with disabilities,” said Valerie Breen, executive director of FDDC. The awards were presented during a virtual dinner meeting on March 29, the precursor to the annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day, which also was held virtually, on March 30.
Tampa resident Arizona Jenkins is an active member of several self-advocacy groups in the state, including the Florida Self-Advocates Network’d, the Mayor’s Alliance for Persons with Disabilities Board of Directors, the Florida Center Community for Inclusive Communities and the DD Network Collaborative Leadership program.
In addition to being involved in these organizations, Jenkins developed the Health Care Passport where he helps train medical students, mentors youth through the school system, was a judge for Ms. Wheelchair Florida and is a board member for Hartline Plus.
The other recipient of the 12th Annual Idelio Award, Katherine Magnoli, is a self-advocate from Sunny Isles Beach. Magnoli is the District 11 Representative of the Commission on Disability Issues Board for Miami-Dade County, a liaison for the Miami Inclusion Alliance, a Link 20 Leader member, a “Bold Beauty in Action” advocacy group member and a Self-Advocacy Leadership Training alumni member. In addition to her roles as a self-advocate, Magnoli wrote and published the children’s book “Pete the Private Eye” and co-hosted the “Behind the Chair” radio show.
Currently, Magnoli is in the midst of getting signatures in a letter to urge the county mayor to make available COVID-19 vaccines for people with disabilities.
Both Jenkins and Magnoli were selected to receive this year’s award because of their exemplary work in promoting disability awareness throughout their communities and impressive personal achievements.
They also were recognized during FDDC’s virtual Awareness Day and rally on March 30.