Raquel Caramello is a 19-year-old senior at Bishop McLaughlin Catholic High School. She is a legislative advocate for disability rights, having been to Capitol Hill many times starting from the age of 14, talking to members of Congress and Florida Senators. She also happens to have Down syndrome, showing others every day that a diagnosis does not define us.
Raquel is the CEO of her business, Raquel Beautiful. Her company sells handmade and custom-designed jewelry, all with a handwritten inspirational note reminding the recipient that they are beautiful. She is a world champion cheerleader and a state champion equestrian and gymnast. As a model, she has rocked the walkway in front of thousands at Runway to Hope and Runway to Giving and has also had her photo featured on the Times Square Jumbotron three separate times. She was the winner of the Youth in Philanthropy in Central Florida for National Philanthropy Day 2022, the Prudential Spirit of the Community Bronze Finalist of Distinction, and a Presidential Volunteer Gold Service Award winner. She is a member of the National Art Honor Society, National Beta Service Club, and International Thespian Honor Society. Raquel is a past member of the Arnold Palmer Hospital Teen Leadership Council and the Down Syndrome Association Teen Leadership Council as well as a current member of the Special Olympics Athlete Leadership Council. She is a cancer survivor and is four and a half years cancer free.
“I’m so honored to have been invited to join the Board of Directors for 21 & Change. Knowing first-hand the challenges that families that have a loved one with a disability go through, the mission is important to me. I’m so privileged to be the first self-advocate with an intellectual disability on the Board. I hope to inspire others with my story while assisting this amazing organization and the difference it makes in our community.”