About - InFocus Advocacy

InFocus Mission

 

InFocus is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that works with self-advocates, families, and communities to enhance the image of people living with a disability.  Our work contributes to the creation of inclusive communities, where everyone is welcome and valued.

 

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 The InFocus Team

 

Stuart J. Schleien, Ph.D, LRT/CTRS, CPRP, is an Executive Director for InFocus. He is also Professor and Chair in the Department of Community and Therapeutic Recreation at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro since 1997. As a Licensed Recreational Therapist and Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist, he has developed best practices that have helped parents and professionals design inclusive recreation, physical activity, friendship, and volunteer programs for children and adults with diverse skills and abilities. He has specific expertise as a systems change agent for inclusive service delivery, helping agencies manage successful organizational change and development. Dr. Schleien has published extensively on recreation, friendship, and advocacy skills development and the social inclusion of individuals with disabilities. He has written seven books and over 125 journal articles and book chapters on these topics. He has presented his work throughout the U.S. and Canada, and in Australia, England, Germany, Israel, Spain, and Sweden.

 

gingerGinger Walton, M.S.N., RN, FNP, CNLCP is Co-Founder and an Executive Director for InFocus. Through her earlier work with The Arc of Greensboro, Ms. Walton assisted adults with disabilities in connecting with their community. Previously, she provided clinical care as a Family Nurse Practitioner for 17 years in both primary care and subspecialty care settings. Prior to specialization, her work was with children in public health clinics as a Guilford County Public Health Nurse, Specialty Clinic Coordinator, and as a Nursing Consultant establishing agency policy and protocol. She was a Co-Founder of Outstanding Kids, LLC, with a focus on early detection of developmental disability. Her most recent clinical practice was with children, teens, and young adults challenged by intellectual or developmental disability, learning disability, and mental health concerns. Ms. Walton has expertise in developmental asessments, developmental disability, parent education, community education, interdisciplinary teamwork, and life care planning. She is a fellow in the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine (AACPDM) and completed a fellowship in leadership education for neurodevelopment disabilities (LEND) at UNC- Chapel Hill.

 

Lindsey Oakes, M.S., LRT/CTRS, is the Coordinator for InFocus. She has served as the Student Support Coordinator at Beyond Academics (2012 – 2016), where she coordinated and provided supports for college students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities through the four year Integrated Community Studies certificate program at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Lindsey is currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in public health education at UNC Greensboro. Lindsey received her Master’s from UNC Greensboro in therapeutic recreation (2012), and her Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Florida (2010) in recreation programming. She has worked with the InFocus team and colleagues to complete four publications and has completed multiple professional presentations. Her passion for person-centered services, advocacy, and inclusion for all is reflected through her day-to-day work.

 

Stuart, Ginger, and Lindsey are joined by Board Members:

Kristy Andraos, Esq., Robin Barefoot, Allyson Clayton, Grey Cockerham, Vincent DiSandro, and Kimberly Miller.

 

 

 

History

 

The program began in 2010 as a collaborative initiative between the Arc of Greensboro and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro’s Department of Community and Therapeutic Recreation, to gain a better understanding of the barriers and supports to community inclusion of people with varying abilities.

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As two organizations with a vision of increased community participation and inclusion for all its citizens, the program methodology was a good match. A group of 7 self-advocates from the Arc of Greensboro were the pioneers of InFocus. This initial project grew into the program that it is today: one that uses advocacy and photography to empower individuals of varying abilities to have a voice and share their ideas about access, participation, and community inclusion.

 

 

 Endorsements

 

“This program is such a positive example of self-determination, with individuals with IDD speaking for themselves through their stories or perspectives on any given topic.  Further, the emphasis on bringing together a community of citizens with and without disabilities to communicate their perspectives through photography is a powerful message in valuing diversity and inclusion! We are thrilled that our students can access this invaluable experience.  This is such a positive way to surmount stigma and educate!” – Joan Johnson, Executive Director, Beyond Academics, UNC Greensboro

 

“InFocus Advocacy’s mission is so powerful – to provide individuals with disabilities with a platform to share their perspectives, while at the same time engaging with the community to bring greater focus to the importance of, and benefits associated with, inclusivity within the community at-large.  My family has participated in a number of different InFocus programs and we couldn’t be more impressed with the energy and passion that this group brings to both the participants in its programming, as well as to the larger community.  I look forward to seeing this organization grow and continue to carry out its very important mission for many years to come.”  – Vince DiSandro, Family Member of Participant

 

“I love how InFocus showcases the incredible talents of people with disabilities and reminds us to appreciate one another for our unique gifts!” – Marisa Sclafani, College Student