50th Anniversary Spotlight on Maria Kemplin

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Individuals with disabilities are the experts. Constantly examining the way we do things and broadening our perspective is how we innovate, integrate, and improve our world.
Maria Kemplin, Project Director

How did you come to know HDI?
My son, who is an autistic self-advocate, spoke at an HDI conference several years ago and we got to know the people and the important work they do.
How long have you been at HDI and what is your role?
Two years ago, we began serving on HDI efforts as a volunteer. We participated in several autistic self-advocacy conferences that were life-changing. Looking to the future, my son and I began serving on the KentuckyWorks Postsecondary Committee. This year, I accepted a position at HDI as the project director of the Transportation Initiative, an effort funded though a grant from the Commonwealth Council on Developmental Disabilities.
During your time at HDI, of which accomplishments are you most proud?
We are creating a Transportation Initiative web page to serve as a resource for individuals with disabilities to connect with transportation options across Kentucky. I am also very proud of everything that my son does as a advocate to ensure that autistic individuals are represented in decision making.
Looking back, can you please share with us a fun or fond moment you had at HDI?
Dancing with my son at the HDI 50th Anniversary Gala!
What do you think the future holds for HDI?
Under Dr. Sheppard-Jones’s leadership, HDI is developing so many of our young people to lead empowered, self-directed lives. They are our future.