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06-04-2005
  1
V.I.P.
 
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Miss Wheelchair America 2005
I thought this was cool, so I just thought I'd share it...
Quote:

photo courtesy of Patti DelCastillo

From covering and coordinating national news stories as a journalist to being selected by an organizing committee of the Atlanta Olympic Games to carry the Olympic torch through downtown Dallas, Juliette Rizzo, Ms. Wheelchair America, 2005, has proven that personal dreams and goals are within reach for people with disabilities when the appropriate supports are in place. Juliette empowers Americans with disabilities by sharing her experiences and adventures with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma and fibromyalgia through her platform, "Power through Participation: Illuminating Opportunitites for People with Disabilities," She believes participation is more than having a physical presence in your community. It is about finding your identity through your involvement in and personal contribution to community life. She enlists people with disabilities by sharing personal and professional examples of participating in her own life and encourages others with disabilities to find their courage, share their vision and help her change the world!


With a strong background in media outreach, accessible events planning and strategic communication targeted at raising awareness of issues of importance to persons with disabilities, Juliette has worn many hats and promotes a continuous dialogue speaking throughout the nation about disability issues with diverse audiences, including people with disabilities, policymakers, family members, teachers, advocates, service professionals and the media. She recently delivered remarks at American Airlines Corporate Headquarters and at Medtrade.


While employed as a public relations director in Texas, Juliette was recognized with a "Best of Texas" award from the Texas Public Relations Association for her contributions to a comprehensive marketing toolkit to increase patient education and awareness of orthopedic surgical procedures. Her work also received local and international recognition.


Juliette also served as Coordinator of Disability Support Services at Texas Woman's University, during which time she managed a large caseload of students with disabilities and was recognized by the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) for her development of materials and events promoting academic support services for students with disabilities in higher education. In this capacity, she also served as a press representative during the Paralympic Games.


In 1999, Juliette was asked by renowned disability leader and then Assistant Secretary Judith E. Heumann to relocate to Washington, D.C. as Director of Communications and Media Support Services in the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services in the U.S. Department of Education. In this capacity, she developed unique expertise in the workings of the national disability and mainstream press as they cover issues critical to persons with disabilities. She responded to thousands of media requests from major newspapers and magazines around the United States, coordinated productions with numerous media outlets, such as 60 Minutes and National Public Radio, and has even been an audience member on ABC's Nightline Viewpoint. In addition, she also has coordinated national outreach efforts with the Department of Education and other federal agencies, the White House and Congress to celebrate key anniversaries of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other national disability awareness months and events.


She also served as Communications Director to Assistant Secretary Robert H. Pasternack and was instrumental in placing messages in Time and People magazines and helping to coordinate a cover for Exceptional Parent magazine. In this capacity, she assisted with the development of a national disability-specific media and outreach list for the White House under President George W. Bush's New Freedom Initiative for persons with disabilities.


Juliette currently is a special assistant for communications in the Office of Internal Communications in the Office of the Secretary in the Department of Education and recently appeared on "Education News Parents Can Use: Keeping Kids Healthy, Physically Fit and Learning Throughout the Year" broadcast on The Learning Channel and the Public Broadcasting Service. Collaborating with other federal agencies to ensure people with disabilities are informed about initiatives important to them, Juliette recently provided input to the Surgeon General;s Call to Action to Improve the Health and Wellness of Individuals with Disabilities and is currently working on disability-related national outreach projects and iniative with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


Juliette holds a Master of Journalism degree, focusing on public relations with a unique minor in rehabilitation studies from the University of North Texas, and a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism from Texas A&M University, Juliette has received employment specialist training and has served as a peer counselor, mentoring and assisting young adults with employment strategies, transition issues and self-advocacy techniques. As a frelance journalist, Juliette covered Healthcare Reform under the Cinton Administrationa and was published in Allied Healthweek, Nurseweek and Occupational ADVANCE magazines.


Prior to moving to Washington, D.C., Juliette served as a long-time officer of the Texas Association of Mayor's and County Committees (TAMCC) for People with Disabilities and is the previous President of the Ms. Wheelchaair Texas Achievement Program. She also is a 1997 graduate of Texas Partners in Policymaking, a competency-based national leadership and training program for adults with developmental disabilities.


She is a previous board member of the Arthritis Foundation Metropolitan Washington Chapter, is newly appointed to the Governor's Commission on People with Disabilities in the state of Maryland and also serves as an appointed Commissioner on the Montgomery County Maryland Commission of People with Disabilities. Juliette also is a member of the National Association of Government Communicator's, the Federal Communicator's Network, the Women's Committee of the National Symphony Orchestra and has been recognized by the Tau Kappa Alpha National Honor Society in Journalism.


She served as the first runner up to Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2003, was Ms. Wheelchair Maryland 2004 and has been featured in publications around the world, including a recent feature story on assistive technology in The Washington Post, the cover of American Rehabilitation Magazine's "High Quality Employment" edition and Vegetarian Times, Woman's World, Exceptional Parent and On Purpose Woman magazines. She also recently appeared as the first person with a disabilty on the Discovery Health Channel's mainstream "National Body Challenge" series and related news break commercials advocting the benefits of physical fitness, nutrition and diet for America's 54 million people with disabilities. Juliette regularly participates in aquatics exercise and also sails with Chesapeake Regional Accessible boating(C.R.A.B.) and Shake-A-Leg Miami, promoting the benefits of accessible boating. She previously skippered a Colgate 26 sailboat with a two-man crew and has been featured in the sailing industry's Spin Sheet Magazine. As her most recent accomplishment, Juliette received the Presidential Active Lifestyle Award (PALA) from the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sport.


In her privite life, Juliette is an avid collector of Pez dispensers, which she uses to decorate her holiday tree!

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06-04-2005
  2
my loves a pony.
 
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That's sweet.

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06-04-2005
  3
tea time
 
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shes so pretty

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06-04-2005
  4
crossed wires.
 
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woah cool, omg she does alot of things hehe pez dispensers i remember those

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06-04-2005
  5
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i agree, she looks pretty!

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06-04-2005
  6
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Very inspiring. Thanks for posting

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06-04-2005
  7
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That is wonderful.

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06-04-2005
  8
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I'm so glad you guys enjoyed it.

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06-04-2005
  9
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very inspiring story. good for her.

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06-04-2005
  10
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I didn't read the whole article but a couple of days ago I read in a Swedish newspaper that a woman that had won the competition "Miss Wheelchair America" had been caught walking. So she was just faking it, have you heard anything about this? I don't think it was the 05 winner though.

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06-04-2005
  11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elli
...I read in a Swedish newspaper that a woman that had won the competition "Miss Wheelchair America" had been caught walking.

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06-04-2005
  12
NOE
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elli
I didn't read the whole article but a couple of days ago I read in a Swedish newspaper that a woman that had won the competition "Miss Wheelchair America" had been caught walking. So she was just faking it, have you heard anything about this? I don't think it was the 05 winner though.
Ha, ha...that was on the front page of the paper today in Chicago. It mentioned someone got a picture of her standing and that the committee now claims she is not disabled enough .....not sure what the outcome was...didn't finish reading the article:p

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06-04-2005
  13
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^That is really offensive, not that the woman may or may not be able to stand and walk some, but that she is being characterized as "not disabled enough." How does anyone here know to what extend another person is disabled? Some disabilities, such as Multiple Sclerosis can be nearly invisible on a good day, and almost entirely debilitating on a bad day. Ditto for certain types of arthritis, as well as the autoimmune disease Lupus. Judging by the very specific focus of the work she's done so far, I'd be willing to assert that she has very real and vested interests in disability issues, no matter how afflicted she may or may not be.

Fibromyalgia, one of the ailments she suffers, is one of those which can go into remission and come back out in full force without warning, and rheumatoid arthritis typically limits a person's range of motion as it slowly binds one's joints into knots of bone.

From the sounds of it, this woman has done more than most ABs would ever think of doing, and to discredit her achievements because of some rumor, or some writer's preconceived notion of what disabilities may or may not entail is just plain ignorant.


Last edited by As You Like It; 06-04-2005 at 10:48 PM.
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06-04-2005
  14
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Good for her

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07-04-2005
  15
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hahah

its like the Special Olympics
even though your a winner
your still in the special olympics

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