Sheila serves as the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council’s Senior Director, Programs and Contracts, where she provides oversight and support for development, implementation, and evaluation of the Council’s Five-Year State Plan. Mrs. Gritz-Swift’s background includes 25 years working in the field of Exceptional Student Education as a practitioner, state-wide trainer, and Program Specialist for the Florida Department of Education, as well as 10 years with the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council. Her primary content expertise and contributions to the field are in the areas of employment, secondary transition, and self-determination and self-advocacy.
Natalie Jean has worked for the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD) since 2014. She is a self-advocate and is passionate about self-advocacy, person-centered planning, inclusion, and accessibility. She currently serves as APD’s Ombudsman and is the agency lead for activities related to self-advocacy.
Ms. Jean was a Keynote speaker at Ms. Wheelchair Florida 2017 and co-presenter at FL SAND’s (Florida Self-Advocates Network’D) 7th Annual Conference. In 2018, she became a member of a diverse cadre of current and emerging leaders through the Florida DD Network Collaborative Leadership Program funded by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council. Since 2019, she has served as the moderator for the Self Determination and Service Providers – Advocating through Life’s Journeys panel at Florida’s annual Family Café. Ms. Jean holds a Master’s of Science in Library and Information Studies from Florida State University.
Arizona Jenkins III
Arizona is the Founder, President and Treasurer of New Horizon Support Group. He is a FL SAND Fellow and advisor. Arizona is a strong mentor to others as well as a disability consultant and experienced public speaker. Arizona serves as a cadre member for the Florida DD Network Collaborative Leadership Development Program and is an inspirational friend to many.
Arizona was born in 1975 with cerebral palsy. Doctors told his mother not to bother taking him home, as he did not have much longer to live. After multiple surgeries and much loving care, Arizona grew up to become an inspiring leader.
The left half of Arizona’s body is paralyzed but despite the limited use of his right hand, he operates a motorized wheel chair and stays connected on-the-go with a cell phone and Bluetooth receiver in his right ear. He has difficulty with speech but does not mind repeating and enunciating until understood. Aside from requiring assistance from a nurse in the morning and at night, he leads an independent life, where he is a tireless advocate for people with disabilities at the local, state and national level. He is available for his group 24/7 and always helpful with an infectious smile.
Are you a person with a disability would like to work? Check out these resources!
- Employment First Florida: A Guide for Job Seekers (Summary)
- Employment First Florida: A Guide for Job Seekers (Easy Read Level One)
- Employment First Florida: A Guide for Job Seekers (Easy Read Level Two)