Two Florida residents from Tampa Bay and South Florida have received the annual Idelio Valdes Leadership and Advocacy Award, the state’s top honor recognizing an individual with a developmental disability.
Presented each year by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC) — usually to just one individual — Arizona Jenkins and Katherine Magnoli are both being recognized for their “tremendous efforts to develop partnerships for the facilitation of community integration, employment and inclusion for Floridians with disabilities,” said Valerie Breen, executive director of FDDC. The awards were presented during a virtual dinner meeting on March 29, the precursor to the annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day, which also was held virtually, on March 30.
Tampa resident Arizona Jenkins is an active member of several self-advocacy groups in the state, including the Florida Self-Advocates Network’d, the Mayor’s Alliance for Persons with Disabilities Board of Directors, the Florida Center Community for Inclusive Communities and the DD Network Collaborative Leadership program.
In addition to being involved in these organizations, Jenkins developed the Health Care Passport where he helps train medical students, mentors youth through the school system, was a judge for Ms. Wheelchair Florida and is a board member for Hartline Plus.
The other recipient of the 12th Annual Idelio Award, Katherine Magnoli, is a self-advocate from Sunny Isles Beach. Magnoli is the District 11 Representative of the Commission on Disability Issues Board for Miami-Dade County, a liaison for the Miami Inclusion Alliance, a Link 20 Leader member, a “Bold Beauty in Action” advocacy group member and a Self-Advocacy Leadership Training alumni member. In addition to her roles as a self-advocate, Magnoli wrote and published the children’s book “Pete the Private Eye” and co-hosted the “Behind the Chair” radio show.
Currently, Magnoli is in the midst of getting signatures in a letter to urge the county mayor to make available COVID-19 vaccines for people with disabilities.
Both Jenkins and Magnoli were selected to receive this year’s award because of their exemplary work in promoting disability awareness throughout their communities and impressive personal achievements.
They also were recognized during FDDC’s virtual Awareness Day and rally on March 30.
For more information on the FDDC and the Idelio Valdes Leadership and Advocacy Award, visit www.fddc.org.