21 & Change Adds to Board of Directors

 In National, News, State & Local

TAMPA, Fla. (Nov. 18, 2020) — The 21 & Change, Inc. Board of Directors unanimously appointed Amanda Sagarian, M.S., BCBA, LBA, a Regional Director at Applied Behavioral Innovations in Tampa, and Jorge Lastra Vicente, an Auditor with Tampa-based accounting firm Prida, Guida & Perez, P.A. on Thursday, Nov. 12 during the virtual monthly board of directors’ meeting.

President John Bodor said, “After such a challenging year, it is with great thanks that we get welcome two incredibly talented board members to our family at 21 & Change. We are so happy to have such a diverse group of professionals that are willing to serve and champion our mission. With their help, we will continue to challenge the status quo and fight for inclusion, diversity, and human rights for ‘differently-abled’ children and adults.”

Sagarian joins 21 and Change with experience in both volunteer and leadership roles. While completing her undergraduate degree in Psychology at the University of South Florida, she sat as the president of an organization called PEERS (Providing Education Empowerment Resources and Support). During this time, she was a certified PEERS educator, trained in suicide prevention, and nominated for the leadership and engagement award. This organization assisted the Wellness Center in providing workshops and training on how to make healthy and safe decisions. Sagarian led mandatory events educating students on the effects of alcohol and how to be safe during spring break as well as stress management, sexual and mental health, body image awareness, and nutrition.

“I am always looking for ways to give more and now this amazing opportunity has presented itself. After reviewing and researching 21 and Change’s mission statement and vision, I wholeheartedly believe that we share the same values and passions. I work every day towards the same mission. I take pride in wanting to help advocate for others, provide support for families, as well as help spread awareness within our communities. I want to provide opportunities, where individuals can experience the best life our world has to offer, without society labeling and stigmatizing them as abnormal,” said Sagarian.

Sagarian also possesses experience volunteering at her church as the youth group coordinator. She worked towards empowering youth to become more involved within their community and helped give them a sense of family and friendship. She coordinated bible studies, family events, and fundraising events.

Sagarian received her Master’s in Counseling with a concentration in Advanced Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) at Nova Southeastern University. She received her Board-Certified Behavior Analysis Certification (BCBA) and License of Behavior Analysis (LBA) shortly after. She has worked within the field of ABA for over six years serving many clients across different intellectual abilities, age groups, as well as families from different cultural backgrounds. She also possesses experience in working directly with clients who have active military parents and who experience difficulties with change and understanding. She helps teach her clients a variety of coping strategy tools and self-management skills. Sagarian takes pride in advocating for her client’s and family’s best interests, while helping teach and create an opportunity for a more socially significant life for her clients.

For fun, she started her own company Tazasaurus Biscuits & Co., which makes healthy, limited ingredient, homemade dog treats for dogs who struggle with stomach sensitivities in memory of her German Shepherd, Taz. Her interests include Parent Training, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and alternative modes of communication (i.e., Picture Communication Exchange System (PECS) and AAC devices).

Jorge Vicente joins 21 and Change, Inc. with experience in financial reporting and auditing. Jorge is a 2018 graduate from the University of South Florida with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting, as well as Biomedical Sciences. Originally from Puerto Rico, Jorge is a dedicated and detail-oriented accounting professional, who has been meeting the accounting needs of businesses and individuals in the Tampa Bay area. He currently works as an auditor for Prida Guida & Perez (CPAs and Advisors) handling financial services for businesses in the area. He specializes in maintaining client service and relationships, performing auditing tasks and ensuring that financial transactions are accurately represented.

Jorge got his start in the accounting industry when he was a junior in college, where he interned for a nationally recognized accounting firm. During his internship he learned to communicate with clients, leading to long-term trusting relationships. Additionally, he worked as part of a team to fulfill all necessary tasks, including financial reporting. After he graduated from the University of South Florida, he worked for Cherry Bekaert as an audit associate. There, his duties were to perform auditing tasks, checking the accuracy of all financial documents provided to ensure accuracy and transparency. After leaving Cherry, he joined Prida Guida & Perez, where he currently serves as an auditor.

“21 & Change’s vision statement resonated with me. I truly believe in the value of all human lives and that all should have the opportunity to discover their full potential. As a board member, I hope to bring a unique perspective to the approach of tackling the challenges we will face along the way to a brighter future. I know that our efforts will encourage those who need help and those who would like to help. I am excited for the opportunity to really make an impact in our community and honored to be a part of something great,” said Vicente.  

21 & Change, Inc. is dedicated to ending the Down syndrome ‘syndrome’ and other developmental disability stigmas through advocacy, support, and niche services in the Greater Tampa Bay-St. Petersburg area and beyond. The organization is seeking additional board members, volunteers, strategic and local partners and both corporate and individual sponsors.

For more information, please visit www.21andchange.org.


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