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Table of Contents

A Note from Matt

Kids Crusaders


Law Day

Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava

Fair Housing Award

FAWL Seminar

Cool Ways to stay cool

Legal Aid/Put Something Back Award

The Regis Little Act

The Market You're Missing: Incentives for Business


The Wallet Card Project

UM-NSU CARD Community Award


Your Upward Journey

A Parcel of Penguins

Legislation: Florida's New Service Animal Statute

Matt and KANE, the pitbull, shake hands note A Note from Matt.....


In Florida, the summer brings tropical squalls, as well as the quiet that marks the end of the legislative session in Florida.  Out of the 65 bills that mentioned disability, seven bills passed both houses, most notably a broad state protection for users of service animals, a guardianship program for dependent children with disabilities, and the Florida version of the ABLE Act to increase financial independence for persons with disabilities.  In this issue, we will discuss the impact of the guardianship provisions and service animal law for Florida residents.  

julie Kids Crusaders Corner

Welcome friends to this month's edition of Kids Crusaders. My goal is to introduce you to an amazing organization, give you just a few of the stories and introduce you to a few of the many people that make up this "family" and encourage you to consider joining, or referring someone you may know that could benefit from the unconditional love and support that is given and growing each day.

The group is something that I stumbled upon in my Facebook feed one night and am so glad that I took the time to look into it further. The official Facebook page is called I Run 4 Michael and you can request to sign up as a runner or a buddy (Please note: Buddies are DESPERATELY NEEDED!!) at

(click here to read more)

Watch a video:

Founder of I Run 4, Tim Boyle pictured with his (buddy) Michael Wasserman. Lesley and Troy
Ambassador of I Run 4, Jodi Stoner pictured with her (buddy) River AllenRunner -Team Nick- is Adam Macdonald and Jen Seid pictured with their (buddy), my son, Nick Fioravanti

AIDS Walk Logo aids AIDS Walk -  April 26, 2015
Debbie and Matt joined Richard Milstein and Eric Hankin  to walk in the 27th Annual AIDS Walk on Miami Beach.  This event is  Miami's largest HIV/AIDS awareness fundraiser and continues to attract thousands of participants to support Care Resource and Food For Life Network food bank and its work to prevent new infections, maximize the health outcomes of those infected, and end the epidemic here in South Florida.
   The AIDS Walk mascot spearheads the beginning of the walk with a large banner that read AIDS Walk Miami  Matt and Debbie Dietz pose with a group of participants and the AIDS Walk mascot, a life-sized teddy bear An auditorium full of AIDS Walk participants
lawday2Law Day - May 1, 2015
L-R (bottom row) Clay Roberts, Laurel Isicoff, Matthew Dietz, Middle row, Russell Koonin, Top Row, Henry Hunnefeld, Mary Lawson, Nathalie Remulus, Candace Duff (president of the Federal Bar Association, Miami Chapter (co-sponsor), Walter Harvey


Over 100 students from Miami Central and Hialeah High Schools met with U.S. District Court Judge Laurel M. Isicoff, and several attorneys, at the James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building for a five-hour Law Day program that included watching court in session.


Students also honored the rule of law on the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta as well as learned how it inspired basic rights including due process. The Law Day events were a collaboration between District Court Judges Beth Bloom and Bankruptcy Court Judge Laurel M. Isicoff, the Southern District Court of Florida, the Federal Bar Association and Miami-Dade Public Schools. Disability Rights Attorney, Matthew Dietz, assisted in organizing the event.

commissioner District 8 Commissioner Daniella Levine CavaCommissioner Levine Cava, Debbie Dietz, Sharon Langer, and Maria Elena pose for a picture

Debbie and Sharon went to meet Commissioner Levine Cava and her team to discuss our work with individuals with disabilities and to discuss The Wallet Card Project and Animal Partners.

fairhousingaward Fair Housing Award - Florida Fair Housing Summit 2015
Advocacy Award Winner to Matthew W. Dietz, Esq. 
Advocacy Award Winner to Ajit Bhogaita & Kane
 KANE, the pitbull, licks the Advocacy award that he and Ajit Bhogaita were given at the 2015 Florida Fair Housing Summit  Matthew Dietz' Advocacy Award from the Florida Fair Housing Summit
the logo for the Florida Association for Women Lawyers
FAWL FAWL Seminar - May 8, 2015  

The Florida Association for Women Lawyers held an inclusion Webinar titled: Recognizing Different Abilities for Leadership.  Matthew Dietz was one of the panel members.  The webinar discussed how distinct physical characteristics and abilities impact people and influence leadership.  The panel explored how to best open a dialogue about physical differences, what challenges are faced both individually and together, and how to recognize and accommodate them so as to create a community in which differences are accepted and recognized as an asset to the legal profession. 


the word summer is spelled out and floating in the water with hot air balloons in the air. Sharon Cool Ways to stay cool

By: Sharon Langer 


Summer is here and while it can be lots of fun it also means heat..heat.. heat. For many folks with a disability this heat can actually be a health risk or even life threatening. There are many personal cooling devices on the market that can help!

(Click here to read more)


If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at
Legal Aid/Put Something Back Award

Congratulations! DIG has been selected to receive the 2015 "Dade Legal Aid/Put Something Back" Pro Bono -- Outstanding Community Partner Award.

 Disability Independence Group received the Outstanding Community Partner Pro Bono Award at the DCBA luncheon.

DIG would like to thank:

Karen Josefsberg Ladis, Esq. - Executive Director of Dade Legal Aid/Put Something Back and Herman J. Russomanno III, Esq. - President, Dade County Bar Association.  

Elizabeth Hubbard and Wendy Robbins sitting at the table preparing for the seminar.
Elizabeth Hubbard and Wendy Robbins
guardian Guardianship Seminar - May 6, 2015


On May 6, 2015, Dade Legal Aid and Disability Independence Group Inc. presented the first training for Attorneys and others in the child welfare system on the Regis Little Act and how to use it for our children with special needs.    
The Regis Little Act will now protect our most vulnerable foster youth by providing a process that not only protects them in the least restrictive way but also provides for the appointment of an appropriate guardian when necessary. The planning team for this was led by Alan Abramowitz and the Guardian Ad Litem Program.
(note: at the time of this newsletter, the bill is awaiting signature by Gov. Scott)   
symbol for twitter, a blue square with a white lower case t. Follow us on Twitter: a blue twitter bird in a white square.


Rachel Goldstein
rachel Disability: The Market You're Missing: Incentives for Business

By: Rachel Goldstein


Recently the Small Business Committee of the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce presented a seminar 'Disability: The Market You're Missing'. I was one of several panelists at the seminar who explained to small businesses how to best serve customers, clients and employees with disabilities. As an attorney, most of the questions directed to me were about the legal obligations of businesses with the underlying theme "What can I do so I do not get sued?" While that is certainly a loaded question, I am going to write a three-part series addressing some of the most commonly asked questions by businesses.

 Often times people as well as businesses approach things by thinking 'what is in it for me?' so I am going to start there. Individuals with disabilities are potential customers like everyone else however they are frequently overlooked by businesses trying to bring in new customers or develop their business. People with disabilities have often been excluded from everyday activities like shopping at a grocery store and going to a restaurant with friends and want to frequent businesses that welcome customers with disabilities as well as those that employ individuals with disabilities.  Businesses that not only comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) but are welcoming and have features that are usable by individuals with disabilities will get new customers who become repeat customers.

(click here to read more)

Panelists Will Beckham, Bonnie Blaire, Rachel Goldstein, Brenda Lampon and Lieutenant Colonel Tony Colmenares pose for a picture at the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce seminar.
Will Beckham, Bonnie Blaire, Rachel Goldstein, Brenda Lampon and Lieutenant Colonel Tony Colmenares.




3 arrows that say 1. your say, 2. my say, 3. compromise. mediation Mediation

So you have now decided to hire an attorney. First , shop around, speak with your friends and colleagues about their experiences. Make sure your attorney has handled cases and law suits involving your issues. Find out how many cases and the attorneys experience in that area. Discuss the fee and other charges. Make sure you understand your financial obligations for fees and costs up front.

Next, tell you lawyer everything. Don't leave anything out. The lawyer needs to know it all so he/she can provide you with the best advice. Give your attorney all the documents, emails, texts, etc. (keep you own copies too).

Ask about the process...what is involved...what normally occurs so you can at least have some idea of how the legal system works in your case and what to expect from the other side.

(click here to read more)

walletcard   The Wallet Card Project

By: Debbie Dietz


At the beginning of May, a second video was filmed.  This video is geared specifically for law enforcement and first responders.  The video will be finished by the end of the summer.  Any law enforcement agency that is interested can contact Debbie Dietz by email at: debbie or by phone at: 305-669-2822.


To order a free Wallet Card or watch our video, go to the DIG website:


Lt. Barta and Haley Moss sitting in the filming studio and getting ready to film the 2nd Wallet Card Training Video. 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.



2015 Outstanding Community Service Award by CARD


UM-NSU CARD (University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities) gives out annual service awards to acknowledge the outstanding work of individuals and/or groups in our community that have formed a meaningful collaboration with CARD and made significant contributions to the community.  This year DIG and the Coral Gables Police Department shared the award.



DIG receives the CARD award for Outstanding Community Service from Dr. Adreon
Dr. Adreon, Matt Dietz, & Debbie Dietz



 Goodbye Jonathan and Anastasia!

We will miss you.


 DIGs graduating UM student employees spend their last day at the office.

leslyWhat is Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) according to the Social Security Administration?

To be eligible for disability benefits, a person must be unable to engage in substantial gainful activity (SGA). A person who is earning more than a certain monthly amount (net of impairment-related work expenses) is ordinarily considered to be engaging in SGA. The amount of monthly earnings considered as SGA depends on the nature of a person's disability. The Social Security Act specifies a higher SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals; Federal regulations specify a lower SGA amount for non-blind individuals. Both SGA amounts generally change with changes in the national average wage index.


Amounts for 2015
The monthly SGA amount for statutorily blind individuals for 2015 is 
$1820. For non-blind individuals, the monthly SGA amount for 2015 is $1090.   


(click here to read more)

Like our Animal Partners Facebook page
Animal Partners Logo


Tropical Nights UM-NSU CARD
Matt Dietz posing with other participants at UM-NSU CARD (University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities) ceremony
Matt Dietz, Keith & Robby Landon
Debbie Dietz posing with another particpant at the UM-NSU CARD (University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities) ceremony
Dr. Alessandri & Debbie Dietz

Amazon smile logo.

                                Shop Amazon Smile
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:                                 Facebook and Twitter: Your Upward Journey

Logo for the fair housing video series.   

Please click

A basket of colored chocolate medallions and 3 chocolate hand that say I love you in ASL.
penuinspenguins2 A colored drawing of an open box with 3 small penguins surrounded by stuffing.
A Parcel of Penguins
We have great news!  We are going to be able to sell more t-shirts.  Stay tuned for more information. 
If you already have a t-shirt please post a picture of you wearing the t-shirt on our Kids Crusaders Facebook Page.

A dog carries a flag litigation Legislation: Florida's New Service Animal Statute --

Section 413.08

By: Matthew Dietz 


This legislative term, Florida Representative Jimmie T. Smith, from Citrus and part of Hernando Counties, sponsored one of the most progressive service animal bills in the United States, Florida Statute 413.08 (2015). As a veteran, Rep. Smith has become a leader for the Florida House when it comes to issues dealing with veterans, servicemen and women with PTSD, and getting the young men and women who have defended our nation into the workforce after they are discharged from the military. Rep. Smith sweats, bleeds, and spits Red, White and Blue, and when voting on a bill that would mandate that the State of Florida and all of its cities and counties would have to buy American-made American flags, he made the comment, "the last honor the government will ever give me is a flag-draped coffin and God help me, I hope it's American-made!"


(click here to read more)


(note: at the time of this newsletter, the bill is awaiting signature by Gov. Scott) 
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 

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