October 2014 
Vol. 10
Table of Contents


A note from Matt 

Give Miami Day 

Kids Crusaders Corner 

Art and More 

Book: Living Life with Autism... 

Paws in the Court 


Shark Tank Update 

American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial 

Disability History and Awareness Weeks

Medical Model v. Social Model for Disability

Taiwanese Delegation Visit 

Your Upward Journey 

 Litigation: Speak Up! 

note Matt dressed as a service dog and Debbie dressed as a Gypsy for Halloween 2014 Save Dade Party A note from Matt....       
By: Matthew Dietz   



Happy Halloween!!  We love feedback on our newsletter, or if you have any suggestions on what we should do, please email or call us.  Our programs are growing by the day, and we frequently speak with community groups and other organizations, so if you have any questions, or would like information, I can promise - no tricks, only treats!





give Miami day logo with the date 11.20.14


DIG has officially been approved to participate in The Miami Foundation's Give Miami Day on November 20, 2014! This is our first time participating in the 24-hour online giving event, and we are so excited to make this day a success. Be sure to check out our Facebook and Twitter leading up to the event for updates about the projects we are working on. Also be on the lookout for the link to our direct donation page, which we will be receiving soon. Gifts can be made through our individual link using either a credit or debit card and must be a minimum of $25. We can't wait to see how much money we can raise, but we need your support!

julie Kids Crusaders Corner  Kids Crusaders Logo

One of the greatest joys I have learned on my journey of raising a child with special needs is the magic of "paying things forward." The act of doing something for someone who least expects it, without expecting anything in return. Often on this journey there is great joy in knowing that the smallest act of kindness can truly turn a person's life around.

We have always been blessed by people that surround us in times of crisis with Nick and that feeling of knowing we are not alone has often been the lifeline that has saved us. Being conscious of being that kind of person for others has always been at the forefront of my daily living. It doesn't require the act of kindness to be limited to someone with special needs. Truth be told, we all have special needs. We all have really bad days that can be turned around by someone taking a few extra seconds to acknowledge our presence. I read a quote once that has stuck with me. It said "Some of the shells that wash up on the beach were once very beautiful. You never know what kind of journey they had to take to get them in the fragile shape they are now in. Same with people. Be kind."  (click here to read more)

  Nick with diner owner      Menu from Rio Grande Diner

Art and More

By: Chris Stein 

Chris has started his own blog!
Next month we will have the link so that you can follow Chris.
Marc Pulver standing at a podium at Books & Booksbook
Book Review
Stay tuned for a book review by Lester Langer on Marc Pulver's first book. 
The Title is: Living Life with Autism - The World Through My Eyes
Marc was at Books & Books in Coral Gables on October 5, 2014. 
Marc is an eloquent speaker and would love to share his story with the world. 
If you would like more information about Marc and his book, please email Bob Shostak at rshostak@comcast.net.
 Book cover for the book -Living Life with Autism, the work through my eyes by Marc Pulver
Animal Partners Logo

         Like our animal partners Facebook page at:




The logo for the Kozyak Minority Mentoring Foundation Annual Picnic
Minority Mentoring Picnic 

November 1, 2014 from

12noon - 4pm

at Amelia Earhart Park,

401 E. 65th Street

Hialeah, FL 33013


click here to see the flyer




Dog paw print Paws in the Court

11th Judicial Circuit of FL and

Children's Courthouse & Juvenile Justice Ctr

This project is a collaboration between the Humane Society, Volunteers, Court Teams and Administrative Office of the Courts. This project will provide victims and witnesses comfort and reassurance during court appearances including depositions and trials. Research has shown that interaction with pet therapy has helped many persons by reducing anxiety, providing comfort and a calming presence so that the victim or witness can testify; reduce apprehension or fear of the court process especially when testifying against an alleged abuser, as well as assist in the healing process. To meet the dogs click here.

symbol for twitter, a blue square with a white lower case t. a blue twitter bird in a white square. Follow us on Twitter:  




visit Two people holding a rope trying to pull a man using a wheelchair up a set of stairs.


By: Sharon Langer


I LOVE THIS WORD, "VISITABILITY," and I am hoping that it will become the next buzz word for the idea that universal design of buildings is not just good, but great.


There is a growing (slowly growing but still growing) trend in this country to change construction practices so that virtually all new homes and apartments are built accessible. What does that mean? It is very simple:

  1. Every home or apartment must have one zero step entrance
  2. All doors are 32 inches wide so that a wheelchair can get through (most doors are that anyway)
  3. There is one bathroom on the main floor that is wheelchair accessible


The spirit of this movement is what I find the most important, that "IT IS SIMPLY UNWISE TO BUILD NEW HOMES OR APARTMENTS WITH BARRIERS... GIVEN HOW EASY IT IS TO BUILD THEM WITHOUT THOSE BARRIERS." We build so well these days that a building could last 100 years, so why not construct buildings that don't need to be retrofitted for our elderly or disabled population at an added expense, but simply build them accessible in the first place?"

(click here to read more)


If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at Sharon@justdigit.org
Jodi Engelberg, Diane Adreon, Debbie Dietz, and Lt. Barta holding a checksharkShark Tank Update...   

By: Debbie Dietz  

We have finished filming the video and we are now in the editing stage.  The video looks amazing!  We want to thank all of our actors.  They did an amazing job.   


Coming soon: our wallet card commercial.


You can order your own wallet card for free on our website at: http://www.justdigit.org/wallet-cards/.


Just fill out the online form and we will have them mailed to you within a week.  If you want to customize the card, please add the details in the comments section.


The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial Logo 'Courage Endures' The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial

By: Jonathan Cohn


The American Veterans Disabled for Life Memorial was just opened in Washington D.C. The Memorial, which sits at the corner of Washington Ave. and 2nd Street, is the first of its kind in the nation's capital to honor both living and deceased disabled war heroes. The project was initially proposed in 1998 by the Disabled Veterans' Life Memorial Foundation, Inc. It was immediately endorsed by many in Congress, who sought to get the project to President Bill Clinton's desk, which they finally accomplished in 2000.


The Memorial consists of a star-shaped fountain and pool with a flame protruding towards the sky in the middle of the star. Surrounding the reflecting pool is a grove of trees "signifyinBronze art showing a soldier missing a legg the persistence of hope." The Memorial uses granite pieces, glass panels showing important quotes and images, and bronze sculptures depicting disabled warriors in action. All of these pieces are meant to "convey a combination of strength and vulnerability, loss and renewal" and remind us of those who have given great sacrifices for our freedom.


More information can be found at avdlm.org 

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Rachel Goldstein
rachelDisability History and Awareness Weeks

By: Rachel Goldstein


On June 13, 2008, in large part due to the advocacy efforts of Florida Youth Council, Governor Crist signed into law Senate Bill 856, creating section 1003.4205 of the Florida Statutes, entitled "Disability History and Awareness Instruction". This law requires school districts to designate the first two weeks of October as "Disability History and Awareness Weeks" and gives the school districts discretion to determine how the history and awareness activities will be provided. The law promotes providing instruction for students in public schools to expand their knowledge, understanding, and awareness of individuals with disabilities, the history of disability, and the disability rights movement.  (click here to read more)                         


Headshot of Aaron Bates dressed in a suit and tie. aaronMedical Model v. Social Model of Disability

By: Aaron Carter Bates


A big issue in the disability rights community is self-determination and representation within key community stakeholders. In the disability arena there are two models organizations follow: the medical model and social models of disability. An organization that ascribes to the medical model compares a disability to a fatal disease and places its inordinate resource priorities on seeking a cure for people with disabilities or "patients." It starts from the assumption that those living with certain disabilities are not capable. These groups ground the disability experience in human physiology, viewing disability as a physical condition intrinsic to the individual which decreases a person's quality of life. The top priority of this model is to focus on a "cure," or, in the words of the WHO, make the person more "normal."  (click here to read more)




International Visitor Leadership Program

Taiwanese Delegation Visit 

DIG was honored to spend the afternoon with Tarry Lee, Chun-Chieh Lin and Grace Chang.  They came to the United States from Taiwan to learn about protecting the rights of the disabled.  They were visitors to the United States under the auspices of the Department of State's International Visitor Leadership Program. 


      International Visitor Leadership Program with the Taiwanese Delegation with Tarry Lee, Grace Chang, and Chun Chieh Lin.


The videos have moved! 

We have moved the fair housing videos to our website. 

Please click


A basket of colored chocolate medallions and 3 chocolate hand that say I love you in ASL. 


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: www.yourupwardjourney.com 


Facebook and Twitter: Your Upward Journey



Litigation: Speak Up! Matt and Debbie standing with Save Dade Supporters after the Doral Commission meeting  

By: Matthew Dietz


This month, I am sharing an article that the Miami Herald's Columnist, Fred Grimm, wrote about a very irritating experience that Debbie and I had in the City of Doral when the city commissioners voted against a domestic partnership benefits ordinance. Even though I was at the meeting about a disability issue, I was a witness to hate, intolerance, and hypocrisy. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr stated it best, "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."

Next time, speak up when your coworker, friend, or client makes an assumption or denies a benefit or privilege that anyone should receive solely because of a stereotype based upon race, religion, national origin, gender, disability, and yes - sexual orientation and gender identity. Do not sit back and passively allow injustice to occur. You are not only speaking up for what is right, but you are speaking up for justice everywhere.

Click here to read the full story 

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 debbie@justdigit.org.

Disability Independence Group, Inc.
Expanding Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.

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