Letter from a Role Model
Disabled girls often do not have disabled adult role models to be positive influences in their lives. We’re changing that!
Disability EmpowHer Network connects girls with disabilities from across the country to receive a personalized letter from a positive disabled woman role model!
We match girls with role models based on their backgrounds, interests, disabilities, and personalities!
Teen Vogue and Spectrum Life Magazine have highlighted Letter From a Role Model because of the incredible impact this program has had on girls with disabilities and their families, as well as the Role Models!
Maddie & Mia
Maddie is a 14 year old transracial adoptee who uses a wheelchair. She excels in math, science, and creative writing. When it comes to being the center of attention, Maddie gets uncomfortable. In fact, Maddie is shy and really does not like public speaking.
We matched Maddie with Mia Ives-Rublee! Mia is a wheelchair user and a transracial adoptee. Mia is also a pro at public speaking! Her experience in public speaking spans from being the Founder and Coordinator for the Women's March on Washington Disability Caucus to speaking at Netroots Nation and more!
Mia wrote Maddie an encouraging letter, sharing her own story as a disabled woman and transracial adoptee. Mia even shared that she was a shy teenager who felt different and now she does public speaking! Maddie was surprised to receive Mia’s letter, and even more surprised that Mia went from being shy to speaking in front of large crowds!
Maddie’s mom told us “As Maddie’s mom, I deeply love all aspects of her identity, and I encourage her to take pride in who she is. I do my best to help her identify and navigate ableism and racism. The reality, however, is that I cannot know what it’s like for her to move through the world. I am so grateful that she now knows someone out there truly gets it and can reassure her it will get easier.”
Kimi & Victoria
Kimi is a 16 year old Autistic young woman. She's a good student who loves Star Wars. Kimi does not like being around a lot of noise or people. Kimi often says "I have a hard time understanding people and people have a hard time understanding me."
We matched Kimi with Victoria Rodríguez-Roldán! Victoria is a proud Autistic woman and a senior policy analyst in Washington, D.C. Like Kimi, Victoria was a good student too. Victoria graduated from the University of Puerto Rico and University of Maine School of Law.
Victoria sent Kimi a video letter sharing her own story and giving Kimi some great words of wisdom! “I signed up to be part of this program because part of my activism is to make sure younger generations have it better than we did. I wish I had positive role models growing up, so I feel it is my duty to try to be one now that I am all grown up,” said Victoria.
We know that Victoria has already had a great impact on Kimi. Kimi told us, “Victoria said having autism is like having the force and I agree!”
Charity & Tylia
Charity is a 16 year old young woman with cerebral palsy & intellectual disabilities. Charity's a foodie and hibachi is her favorite! She loves helping people. After high school, Charity wants to work in a field where she can help others.
We matched Charity with Tylia Flores! Tylia is an advocate and radio show personality with cerebral palsy. Like Charity, Tylia also loves helping others. In fact, Tylia was eager to be a Role Model with Disability EmpowHer Network!
Tylia said “Being a mentor with Disability EmpowHer Network means the absolute world to me. It’s an honor to get the opportunity to mentor someone who is going through similar obstacles that I went through.”
Charity was equally excited about being matched with Tylia. She was so excited to receive her letter from Tylia that she FaceTimed every family member to share the news!
“We all are so excited for her,” Charity’s mom told us, “Especially to find that she and her role model had SO MUCH IN COMMON! As a mother, I felt so much hope for her future and a sense of connection that someone who’s navigated the path she’s on will be there to encourage, celebrate with, and help her along the way. This is such a beautiful concept and organization. Thank you for providing a priceless treasure.”