Justice For All

           AAPD Honors Leaders in Disability Community 
       $110,000 Awarded to Continue Leadership Activities

Washington, D.C.- Today the Washington-based American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) announced the winners of the 2000 Paul G. Hearne/AAPD Leadership Awards, each of whom will receive a $10,000 cash grant to continue their leadership activities. AAPD is a national membership organization working to promote political and economic empowerment of the more than 56 million children and adults with disabilities in the United States.

Selected from hundreds of U.S. applicants, a diverse group of eleven people with disabilities won the prestigious award. The list of awardees is attached. They will travel to Washington, D.C. on December 8 for a reception, where they will be presented with the award, and paired with a nationally recognized leader in the disability community who will support them through mentoring. 

The Paul G. Hearne/AAPD Leadership Awards Reception and Awards presentation will be held on December 8 from 6:00PM - 9:00PM at the Grand Hyatt Washington, One Thousand H Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. Press is invited and interviews with awardees may be scheduled upon request. 

The Paul G. Hearne/AAPD Leadership Awards program was established in 1999 in honor of the founder of AAPD, Paul G. Hearne. Mr. Hearne was a tireless advocate and visionary leader who achieved success as a lawyer, non-profit executive, foundation president, federal agency director, and mentor to countless people with disabilities. He spent his life opening doors and removing barriers for people with disabilities. 

The Awards program recognizes emerging leaders with disabilities who demonstrate leadership while having a positive impact on the community of people with disabilities.

The Paul G. Hearne/AAPD Leadership Awards are sponsored by the American Association of People with Disabilities in Washington, D.C. Major funding for the awards was provided by the Milbank Foundation for Rehabilitation in New York, N.Y.

American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
1819 H Street, NW Suite 330
Washington, DC 20006
(202) 457-0046 v/tty
(202) 457-0473



Olegario D. Cantos, VII Age 30, West Covina, CA Olegario Cantos is planning to create an outreach internship program with the Hearne Award. He believes that strong leadership is the ability to connect with other people and instill in them a commitment and drive to make a difference. He plans to mentor others to establish a Disability Rights Clearinghouse, place an interactive disability rights training online, and lay the foundation for a united voice to address disability-related issues. 

Matthew Cavedon Age 11, Bloomfield, CT Matthew Cavedon believes that the most serious barrier for children with disabilities is the lack of opportunities to interact with other kids. He has worked as the spokesperson for Boundless Playgrounds, a non-profit organization that promotes universal access in playgrounds, so that all children can play together. The Hearne Award will help him continue his work, and the support of a mentor will help him with public speaking. 

Robert E. Coward, Jr. Age 36, Washington, D.C. Robert Coward is dedicated to full societal integration for people with disabilities, and recognizes that lack of education and employment are two serious barriers to achieving integration. The Hearne Award will support his activities as Chairperson of Capitol Area ADAPT, which is working to change a system that supports segregation in nursing homes rather than providing home and community based services.

Tamar Michai Freeman Age 29, Berkeley, CA Tamar Freeman recently founded a non-profit organization called Glad To Be Here, dedicated to personal empowerment of women with disabilities. The Hearne Award will support the work of this growing organization which places a strong emphasis on motivating women with disabilities to live life developing who they are, what they want to become and leadership skills through example and service.

Kyle Glozier Age 14, New Freeport, PA Kyle believes that the greatest barriers for people with disabilities are segregated classrooms and lack of jobs, noting that kids without education end up in group homes, nursing homes, and sheltered workshops. An eloquent speaker, he has testified before Congress, spoken at the Democratic National Convention, and will continue to speak about policy changes needed in education, community based services, and employment.

James Sato Harrold Age 30, Iowa City, IA James Harrold is a writer who has published stories and articles about mental illness in newspapers, periodicals, and most notably a memoir of his experience with schizophrenia titled, The Dream Eater. The Hearne Award will support his efforts to produce a children's book and other activities related to promoting the art form of the written word and dispelling myths surrounding people with mental illness.

Tim Holmes Age 37, Grand Ronde, OR Tim Holmes views himself as a bridge and role model between cultures, and is committed to focusing on disability rights in Native American communities. He will continue in his many activities, including increasing public awareness of disability issues and promoting the Native American Vocational Rehabilitation program. The Award will be used to fund peer advocacy groups in unserved areas.

James R. Meadours Age 33, Baton Rouge, LA James Meadours is a pioneer in the self-advocacy movement, and seeks to change public policy and attitudes so that people with developmental disabilities have real choices to live and work and be integrated into the community. He will use the Hearne Award to support regional Self-Advocates Becoming Empowered (SABE) groups, and a Louisiana People First Group, as well as a mentoring program in his state. 

Sharon Lynn Nguyen
Age 24, Anaheim, CA Sharon Nguyen recognizes that in her life, the most serious barrier has been the experience of negative attitudes towards disability. She has sought to change people's perception both in her Vietnamese community and the community at large. The Hearne Award will allow her to carry this torch, and work towards improving the lives of many people with disabilities both locally and nationally, as well as within her Asian culture.

Lauren Teruel Age 22, Northridge, CALauren Teruel recognizes two serious barriers for the Deaf, despite new technology and accommodation laws: lack of awareness and lack of adequate literacy for people who are Deaf . She is dedicated to improving the quality of education for Deaf students, increasing job opportunities for Deaf people and improving access in public places. Seeking a graduate degree in journalism, her goal is to write about her many experiences.

Sabrina Marie Wilson Washington, D.C. Sabrina Wilson is the founder and director of H.E.A.R.T. (Helping to Encourage Abilities and Recognizing Talents) serving people with disabilities in the Washington Metropolitan community. Her focus has been on teaching minority youth and young adults with disabilities about their role as citizens of their communities. 

Jennifer Burnett
(717) 335-3340 v/tty
(717) 335-3336 fax

Fred Fay
Chair, Justice For All

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