Erin Butler was born with mild cerebral palsy. Erin uses a laptop and various applications such as Microsoft Office, Internet, and other software programs. She uses ‘Natural Reader’ to read her emails and Facebook. Erin also uses a Kindle to read books using a text-to-speech application.
In 2005, Erin graduated from Scranton High School in Scranton, Pa. with a regular diploma. For her senior project, Erin wrote a book to help school-aged children understand the meaning of cerebral palsy. After graduation, Erin decided to take a break from school and volunteer at United Neighborhood Centers in Scranton. Erin worked in the ‘’Angels Attic” program, which provides food and clothing to people in need.
In 2007, Erin Butler moved to Huntsville with her parents and the youngest of her three brothers. Erin volunteered at UCP of Huntsville 2008-2012 and worked with children in the preschool playgroup. At UCP, she joined the Young Adult Connections Group to help explore topics and develop ways for people with disabilities to feel more confident in the community, work places, and in social arenas. Presently, Erin is a proud volunteer at Madison Public Library where she shelves books.
Nanette Griffin was born with mild cerebral palsy. Although Nanette can walk very well to many areas, she uses an electric scooter to travel long distance inside and outside large buildings. Although she communicates well, she also uses a laptop with a voice synthesizer and other assistive technology (AT) communication devices for business meetings, telephone and brief conversations when needed.
Hello, my name is James Kelly, I am 25 years old and I just recently graduated from the University of North Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in biology. Since graduating, I have moved back home and have worked for UCP of Huntsville. I have also begun volunteering with Boy Scout Troop 361. I achieved the rank of Eagle Scout when I was in scouting and I want to share with other young men some of the experiences I had and teach them life skills that they can use and grow. While I attended college, I met a group of fraternity men (Delta Chi). This group of young men allowed me to step out of my shell and try new thing like step show and Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.
My name is Maria Valentina Mae Rivette. I was born in 1995 and lived the first two years of my life in a Russian orphanage until I was adopted by my parents, Paul and Sherri Rivette. I have a form of cerebral palsy, am legally blind, and have some other disabilities. My dad was in the army, so we moved around a lot. I have lived in Kansas, South Carolina, North Carolina, and both Birmingham and Huntsville in Alabama. I am in 11th grade with a homeschool group. I love to dance and listen to music. I also love art and have won many awards for my artwork. Most people remember me because they think I am so cheerful and happy. I am usually so happy because I know God loves me and I can feel him in the people around me. UCP Young Adults is a great group because it helps me to know that there are other people like me struggling with, and overcoming, their disabilities. I am proud to be a member and hope to share with others that we can all have a full, happy life no matter what disabilities we have.
Paula Montgomery Rodney was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Alabama/America on March 30, 2013. Mrs. Rodney, 35, was born and raised in Huntsville where she now resides with her husband, Andrew Rodney. They have two sons, Langston and Alijah. Mrs. Rodney has been using a wheelchair since 2005 due to Multiple Sclerosis. She graduated from Spellman College with a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a minor in creative writing. She was a NASA WISE scholar and has also worked as an educational curriculum specialist at NASA/ Marshall Space Flight Center. Mrs. Rodney enjoys traveling, Broadway productions, and singing. She is very humorous and has considered a career in stand-up comedy. Her motto is “Be Passionate in Service to Others” and five words to describe her are compassionate, action, driven, decisive, and champion. Her platform as Ms. Wheelchair Alabama is, “Designing the future for all abilities.”