21 & Change Honors Champions of Inclusion at Annual Event

 In Events, National, News, State & Local

Supporters Recognized for Advocacy and Service for Children with Developmental Disabilities

TAMPA, Fla. (June 6, 2023)- Over the weekend, 21 & Change conducted their 5th Annual Champions for Change Challenge with a record-breaking attendance and new levels of sponsorships and fundraising. It was also a time to recognize community partners and individuals that have gone above and beyond to serve the non-profit and hundreds of children and young adults with developmental disabilities in Florida.

The Saturday event brought together professional and amateur athletes, partnering up with athletes with disabilities. A highlight of the event included five prestigious awards, given to supporters in recognition of their devotion to the organization’s mission: to champion inclusion, education, and human rights for people with developmental disabilities.

TECO was awarded The Champion Advocate of the Year, Florida Senator Jay Collins and State Representative Allison Tant were awarded the Champion of Advocacy Award, 21 & Change Board Member Colleen Baughn was named Volunteer Advocate of the Year, and Creators and Advisory Council Members John and Yani Bodor were honored with organization’s highest award, the Founder’s Award.

Each award recognized excellence in several of the organization’s endeavors, including advocacy, volunteerism, and community outreach. The Founders Award, presented to Yani and John Bodor, is a spotlight award recognizing outstanding belief and commitment to the cause. The Bodors, both US Army Veterans and parents of children with Down syndrome and autism, have been unlimited in their impact on Floridians with developmental disabilities. John also volunteered as a © DS-Ambassador for the National Down Syndrome Society and Yani as a certified IEP advocate and member of the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates (COPAA).

21 & Change President, Clayton Clemens said, “With immense joy, 21 & Change celebrates its 5th year by honoring the champions that have propelled us to new heights. Thanks to the unwavering dedication, financial support, and sweat equity of our incredible volunteers, donors, and community. We have made a forever mark in 19 counties thus far and together; we will continue to expand and support Floridians with developmental disabilities and continue to thrive.”

21 & Change is proud to honor such dignified members of their organization and continues to set an example to others on the importance of advocacy and inclusion for people with developmental disabilities. With 39 sponsors, the event raised over $61,000 that will go directly to children and families in need of fully paid Individualized Educational Plans (IEP). An IEP is a plan or program developed to ensure that a child who has a disability identified under the law and is attending an elementary or secondary educational institution receives specialized instruction and related services.

Thanks to Our Sponsors
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tampa Movement Lab, TECO Energy, Mosaic, AMSCOT, HCP Associates, Pepin Academies, Simply HealthCare, Comcast, Floodgate Medical, Florida Blue, Italiano Insurance, The Able Trust, Traci Koster, Port Tampa Bay, Red Sash Group, Nasatka Security, Florida Oil, Compass, Tampa General Hospital, Florida Internet & TV, RSA Consulting, Vein 911, Masonic Lodge, University of Tampa, Cynthia Henderson, Parks Motor Group, Stephen Gay + Associates, Maschmeyer, Brenda Wade, Hillsborough County Fire Fighters & Tampa Fire, KUDUCOM, Johnson Pope Law, ViaTeK Solutions, PDQ, Deborah Goodies, Hillsborough Classroom Teachers Association, STS, Orlando Health, Voices of Change, Jennifer Wilson, Focus Academy, Glute Factory, Bryan Moll, Matt Miller, Michael Canavan, and Dale Thompson.

Thanks to Our Board of Directors
Clayton Clemens (President), Michelle Richards (Vice President), Jorge Vicente (Treasurer), Madelin Ghomshe (Secretary), Eric Polins, Kristen Peebles, Colleen Baughn, Shannon McKallip Moss, Emily Amell, Nicholas Coccodrilli, Janet Caramello, Amy Armstrong, and Raquel Caramello.

Thanks to Our Advisory Council
Sylvia F. Diehl, Ph.D., John and Yani Bodor, Tampa Mayor Jane Castor, Paul Anderson, Rep. Jackie Toledo, Jorge Santeiro, Councilman Luis Viera, Rep. Allison Tant, Commissioner Ken Hagan, Arthur F. “Chip” Diehl III, Brig. Gen. USAF Ret., and Rob Kriete.

Our Mission
21 & Change champions inclusion, education, and human rights for people with developmental disabilities.

To learn more about 21 & Change or how to become a future sponsor, volunteer, or board member, please visit www.21andchange.org.

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