November 2015      
Volume 11      
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Table of Contents

A Note from Matt

DIG in the News

Kids Crusaders

Make A Wish
They are Always Glad You Came
Kiddle Ordinance passes in Hallandale Beach

Guardianship Video

Find Something You Love To Do

Domestic Violence Grant

Out and About with DIG

ADL Jurisprudence Award Luncheon 

Give Miami Day 2015

The Wallet Card

My Favorite Time of the Year
Congratulations to Samuel Rony
Giving Thanks
Gratitude is the Healthiest of all Human Emotions
What is a CWIC or Benefit Planner?
A Taste of Home

Your Upward Journey

Litigation: The Cuddle Effect 

A Parcel of Penguins


     notefrommattA Note from Matt.....
"There is no passion to be found playing small - in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living."  - Nelson Mandela
At DIG, our mission is to expand opportunities, to ensure that the quality of life, for all, reaches the greatest extent possible, and is not limited by stereotypes or other perceived limitations.   Many barriers are created by the world in the view of those who walk, see or hear.  Its time to tear down those barriers and create a barrier-free world that allows everyone to live the life that each person is capable of living.

"I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself.   For I Girl in wheelchair on the beach with her arms outstretched toward the waves have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition." -Martha Washington


diginnews clip art of a newspaper that is folded   DIG in the News 
Lawsuit Claims Jungle Island Charges More to Accommodate Disabled,  Daily Business Review, October 27, 2015 -
Housing Rights Organization Sues Jungle Island for Disability Discrimination, Miami New Times, October 23, 2015 -
11.13.15 AAIDD Legal Clinic Breakfast Roundtable: The Disability Rights Movement in a Post-Olmstead World, Brooklyn Law School,
julie  Kids Crusaders Corner Kids Crusaders Logo
Happy November and welcome back to the Kids Crusaders Corner. We woke up to our first snowfall of the season today, ugh. It feels like last year's snow just melted and we somehow missed summer and fall altogether.

As we enter into these "holiday" months, November is typically the month that everyone focuses on what they are "thankful" for (keeping with the Thanksgiving theme). There is nothing wrong with feeling thankful. It honestly should be something we do 12 months of the year instead of one, so this month's newsletter will be focused on the positives.

When I contemplated what I was going to write, I found myself stuck on not wanting to sound too cliché. I always try to write from my heart and keep things real. In a "special needs world" a lot of the times keeping it real doesn't always come across sounding positive or uplifting. Going into my 25 th year of raising a child with a disability, I can attest to the fact that it is far easier to be consumed by the sadness and overwhelmed by the responsibilities that are present daily than it is to sit and feel grateful.   (read more)

  Nick and his entire family smiling outside at an event.   
Jen Seid and Adam Mcdonald smiling and Jen is holding up her hand showing off her engagement ring.  nick wearing his Kyler Koat.

I Run for Michael ( )

The Kyler Koat Project

In closing, I would just like to extend my gratitude to all of the friends I have made along this journey. There is always strength in numbers. During your times of reflection, try to stay in the present moment and embrace all of the love that is within you. Reach back and grab a hand of someone that needs it, offer up a smile to someone who has lost theirs. Pay it forward. Make memories.

May your holidays be surrounded with family and friends, love and laughter...and memories. Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!

"To be a star you must shine your own light, follow your own path and don't worry about the darkness for that is when the stars shine the brightest." (Unknown)

Make A Wish Make A Wish logo 

Make-A-Wish® Southern Florida grants wishes for children who have life-threatening medical conditions to provide a necessary infusion of hope, strength, and joy. Any medically-eligible child from one of 13 Florida counties or the U.S. Virgin Islands can 'wish to be' (something), 'wish to meet' (someone), 'wish to go' (somewhere), or 'wish to have' (something) and the local chapter will make that happen for the child and his/her entire family at no cost to them.
To refer a child, please visit .

"Everything has its wonders, even darkness and silence, and I learn, whatever state I may be in, therein to be content." -Helen Keller Woman smelling a rose


They Are Always Glad You Came Storefront of Chocolate Fashion
By: Sharon Langer

"MAKING YOUR WAY IN THE WORLD TODAY...Takes everything you've got. Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot. "The famous theme song from the iconic CHEERS comes to mind when I visit my favorite HAPPY place for breakfast most weekend mornings. It is a small French bistro that is both bakery and restaurant. While you enjoy your meal you look at counters and display cases filled with gorgeous pastries, cookies, candies, croissants and breads. The smell of Italian expresso fills the air when you walk in. It isn't fancy, just comfortable. When you arrive at the door you are greeted like an old friend and welcomed in to take a seat. The waiters know my order and bring it to me without me having to ask. I see familiar faces. I call them my Saturday friends. We have come to know each other. Sometimes by first name sometimes just by familiarity. We talk sometimes, as one does to strangers when you sit next to each other. We always smile hello and appreciate the common love of the place. I always get the same meal. There is a comfort in the routine that balances the chaos of the world outside. The theme song goes on to say that "taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot". It is so true. My 45 minutes of my CHEERS helps me regroup, take a breath and center again. And as the song says "They're always glad I came." Do you have a HAPPY place? I hope so.
Kiddle Ordinance Passes in Hallandale Beach Michele and her dog  
I have always wanted to fight for those who could not fight for themselves. Once I realized that putting an official title in front of my name would be the best way to impact change, I ran for political office. I am now a Hallandale Beach City Commissioner. I fight against all animal cruelty, but mostly I fight against the sales puppy mill puppies in pet stores.

One afternoon while I was at an event in Miami, I met Debbie Dietz and she told me about Kiddle's Law. Hardly hearing about it and before I had even read it, I said yes without hesitation. I wasted no time asking our city attorney to a draft a version for Hallandale Beach. I told our attorney that whatever obstacles there were, we needed to make it work. She worked with Matthew Dietz to draft the best law possible for our first responders and residents. (read more)


scales of justice  guardvideoGuardianship Video


Recently the Disabilities Independency Group partnered with the Dade County Legal Aid Society and the Statewide GAL Office to present the training "Guardianship and Guardian Advocate Training for Attorneys." The training features a distinguished panel including the Honorable Maria M. Korvick. The presentation includes identifying developmental disabilities, everything you need to know about plenary guardianship and guardian advocates, and how to interview children with disabilities. The training was approved by the Florida Bar for 3.0 Hours of CLE credit. Watch the video on the Florida Statewide GAL Program website. 

And then click the link to the video:

"Happiness is not something ready-made.  It comes from your own actions." -Dalai Lama Girl with her hands outstretched to the sky

Find Something You Love To Do Lester with 21 of his golf friends
By: Lester Langer
About 12 years ago I helped form a group of guys to play golf on Saturday. There were about 8 of us and we began to play. As time went by we invited others to join us because we could not get everyone to play every Saturday.
We have now grown to 38 to 40 golfers. Every Saturday we pull together 16 to 24 guys to play golf, have lunch and have fun. We are all serious, competitive and average weekend golfers who keep handicaps, range in age from 30 to 70 and have a grand time. Most of us are still working and we love this group getaway once a week. (read more)  
If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at
symbol for twitter, a blue square with a white lower case t. Follow us on Twitter: a blue twitter bird in a white square.


a black circle with the words Domestic Violence in white with a red slash across the diagonal dv Domestic Violence
What is Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)?
  • IPV refers specifically to violence and aggression between intimate partners
  • IPV can include physical, sexual, psychological abuse, or stalking
  • It can happen to men or women
  • It can happen no matter your age, income, race, ethnicity, culture, religion, or disability
  • IPV can be a single event or last for years
NO MATTER WHAT ... no one deserves to be treated that way!
DIG will share with you, our readers, what we are learning on this important journey. Any questions? Please email Sharon at
outandabout clip art of a suitcase covered in travel stickersOut and About with DIG 

12- 7-15        Professor Barrow's Class Presentations at MDC

12- 7-15        Int'l Visitor Leadership Program, People's Republic of China

12-18-15       3rd Annual Balloons and Tunes Party

TBD              MDC, The Lab Miami, lecture on technology and accessibility 

adlSharon Langer & Alan Dimond win the
2015 ADL Jurisprudence Award

Alan and Sharon received this award because of their outstanding contribution to the legal profession and the community while exemplifying the goals of the ADL .
Debbie Dietz standing and giving Sharon Langer her award on stage at the ADL event Matthew Dietz, Sharon Langer, and Debbie Dietz standing at the ADL Luncheon

"True not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose." -Helen Keller Meditative happy face


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givemiami give Miami day 2015 logo
Thank you to all of our supporters.
DIG raised $4,100.00 in 24 hours.
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Jon Kent, Dr. Diane Adreon, Alex Kent, Debbie Dietz (standing) and Lt. Barta and Haley Moss (sitting).  The crew and actors for the 2nd Wallet Card video. walletcard   The Wallet Card Project


Go to our website to watch the video and sign up for a wallet card: 



 Ocalicon - November 2015  


  Debbie, Matt, Bart, and Diane standing under a sign that says Ocalicon 2015 Matt, Diane, and Bart standing at Ocalicon

My Favorite Time of the Year 
By: Lisa Goodman  children_s blocks that spell out the word family

November and December are my favorite time of year and I know many of you feel the same way. With the holidays around the corner, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on what I am thankful for and share a few of those things with you. -
I am thankful for my family- My family has been such a positive influence in my life and I know I would not be where I am today without them. They made me who I am and I appreciate everything they have done. I know how fortunate I am to have them.
I am thankful for my friends. - I feel weird separating my friends in to their own number because those who I call friends are more like family. All my friends have had monumental impacts on my life and I am so grateful for each and every one them. (I might just be saying this because my friends are helping me move at the moment- Just kidding!!)
I am thankful for the opportunities I have been provided with. - I do not want to minimize the hard work it took me to get where I am today but it was that hard work accompanied with the opportunities I was given that got me here and for that I am b the actors from the TV show FRIENDS sipping ice cream sodas eyond grateful.
I am thankful for being able to make a difference. - These last two months at DIG, I really feel like I am a part of the change we so desperately need for people with disabilities.
What are you thankful for?

Congratulations to Samuel Rony   Samuel Rony poses with Esq. Nikisha Pryor and Esq. Sharaine Sibblies while accepting his award

Each year, the Caribbean Bar Association (CBA) awards various Judicial and Legal Services Internship opportunities to law students. In the summer of 2015, the CBA awarded three law students in South Florida with either an eight-week Judicial Internship in South Florida, or an eight-week Legal Services Internship with Legal Services of Greater Miami. In addition, each recipient received a $3,000 stipend. To be eligible to receive the scholarship for the 2014-2015 academic school year, the applicants were asked to write an essay describing how redistricting negatively affects Caribbean-American voters. After reviewing multiple essay entries, Samuel R. Rony, a St. Thomas University School of Law second year student, was selected as one of the recipients. Samuel was placed with The Honorable Magistrate Judge Patrick A. White in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida. We are pleased to announce that Samuel is one of Disability Independence Group, Inc.'s Fall 2015 Interns.

Giving Thanks Fall leaves on a tree that are red with the words I am thankful under the leaves
The inherent principle in celebrating Thanksgiving is giving thanks­- as the name implies- to the people who add value to your life. Family and friends may be the primary people who come to mind on this holiday, but the value of giving thanks goes beyond that. Our lives are shaped and improved by people such as teachers, employers, coworkers, and a myriad of others whom add value to our life through simple everyday interactions that challenge us to become better people. At this time of year, it's important to show gratitude- and not simply by gathering around and sharing a meal on Thanksgiving (although that is a plus!). Showing thanks can be as simple as actively listening to someone when they need to express themselves, or asking how they are doing that day. Offering to do a chore they usually do for you or others can be another way of expressing gratitude. And of course, a straightforward "Thank you for everything you do" will make those around you feel appreciated and loved. It's important to express these feelings not only on the holidays, but year-round so that everyone in your life knows you appreciate their role in your life.
I'd like to thank everyone at DIG for making my first work experience as satisfying and rewarding as I have experienced it to be! Happy Thanksgiving!

"Happiness lies in the joy of achievement and the thrill of creative effort." -Franklin D. Roosevelt A boy's head with stars on it

lorindaGratitude is the Healthiest of all Human Emotions
By: Lorinda Gonzalez Lorinda and Israel

Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for. - Zig Ziglar
A short cool breeze, early sunset, and pumpkins galore. It's November! One month before the holida Lazaro Muniz, Lorinda Gonzalez and Angel Pardo y madness begins, and only days after we've been "spooked" and indulged in candy and treats. Aside from pumpkin spiced lattes and Thanksgiving dinner plans, November is marked as a time to remember the people and experiences we are most grateful for. While having a mindset of gratitude is an attitude to embrace year-around, November marks the time where together as a community everything around us reminds us to appreciate the good rather than focu   s on the  b ad. Many times, ac   ts of kindness go unnoticed. This month, I'm going to share with you brief stories of two friends whose kindness has made a positive impact in my life.
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lesly What is a CWIC or Benefit Planner?
head shot of Lesly Quin
If you receive Social Security benefits and you have a job or are looking for one, there are specially trained professionals known as Community Work Incentive Coordinators (CWIC) to help you make sense of complex employment and benefit-related issues.

For additional questions please call the TTW help line at 1-866-968-7842 / 866-833-2967 (TTY) Monday through Friday from 8:00AM - 8:00PM EST. For general inquiries, you may e-mail .
A basket of colored chocolate medallions and 3 chocolate hand that say I love you in ASL.

Logo for the fair housing video series.   

Please click

danielleA Taste of Home casserole with marshmallow topping being scooped out with a large spoon
By: Danielle Fine

With everyone preparing and getting everything ready for Thanksgiving, which is later this month, it makes one wonder things, such as "Our family used to be so close in the past, but now we aren't as close anymore, so what happened?." In my opinion, one possible solution to this dilemma may lie in food. Yes, I said food, because the sight and smell and taste of delicious home cooked food that people haven't had in a long time, can stir up plenty of fond memories for everyone at the dinner table. One of my favorite dishes that I remember being at the Thanksgiving dinner table when I was a child is sweet potato casserole with marshmallows, which my late grandmother used to make and bring to the family's Thanksgiving feast every year. Just thinking about it, with its delicious taste and amazing texture, is enough to make my mouth water and wish she were still alive again.
Though I have yet to copy her exact recipes with my own cooking, I found an interesting recipe that is a bit similar to hers, but is different from hers at the same time. The recipe I found comes from and it is called "Brown Sugar-Glazed Sweet Potatoes With Marshmallows." It was also featured in Bon Appetit magazine in 1994 and got very good reviews on the website.

The cover of the book Your Upward Journey by Patricia Bochi     Head shot of Patricia Bochi. She is in front of a boat that is in the water.
In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey: It Is Easier Than You Think!, is a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale). I intend to promote the book through self-help seminars and sale of merchandise, such as mugs, journals etc.

 The website is:                                

"Your success in happiness lies in you.  Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties." -Helen Keller Smiling puppy


  litigation Litigation: The Cuddle Effect  Cuddles the cat laying down on his side
Cuddles, the Persian cat, was worth a million dollars to Izak Teller and his wife, Barbara. Because of Cuddles, they were rejected from the ability to live in a fully renovated unit overlooking the Intercostal in Palm Beach, and bought a less desirable unit that they were required to renovate. The matter settled, and the Tellers received a settlement of $275,000 to vindicate their rights under the Fair Housing Act. This equates to an amount that is worth twice of Cuddles' weight in gold.
Cuddles was Barbara's emotional support animal. For over 20 years, Barbara suffered from spinal injury which caused her extreme pain and limited her mobility. This caused her significant pain, depression and anxiety. She found that having Cuddles reduced her anxiety and depression, and lessened her reliance on psychotropic medication. In 2011, Izak Teller was diagnosed with stage three colon cancer, and while recovery from stage three cancer is difficult, with the support of Cuddles, Izak pulled through and was cured. (read more) 

penuins A colored drawing of an open box with 3 small penguins surrounded by stuffing.
A Parcel of Penguins
  You can now buy a copy of the book

For more information about DIG and to find out how you can be involved, please call or email our executive director, Debbie Dietz at 305-669-2822 or 

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