I had the privilege of attending a LEAD seminar at the College of Education last week where graduate students hosted disability advocates Sarah Castle and Ann Cody. These women described effective advocacy and the policy making process. A crucial component is a lucid legal understanding. Advocates need legal expertise, and you can build a better understanding of legal and social policy by engaging in these groups in your local community. Check out their advice for being an effective advocate in the PowerPoint link below, and please email me this summer to let me know how you are advocating in your community – I’d like to spotlight these endeavors by Pre-Law students next Fall.
Ann Cody, MS, CDSS: As Director of Policy and Global Outreach for BlazeSports America, Ann Cody oversees the Washington, D.C. office, develops relationships with major national and international partners, shapes the organization’s policy efforts, and supports the organization’s sport development initiatives overseas.
As a Washington veteran and Paralympic sport expert of two decades, Ann has extensive knowledge and experience in sports management and governance, community-based sports, policy and advocacy, international development, as well as governmental and international affairs.
Ann is widely known and respected throughout the world as a leader in sport and human rights. She has led a number of national and international advocacy initiatives on sport with a focus on girls and women with disabilities. Through her leadership, the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) established a policy on gender equity and several initiatives aimed at increasing participation by women in Paralympic sport and the movement. Ann’s significant international sport network and project experience anchors BlazeSports’ international programs in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
Ann serves on the International Paralympic Committee (IPC) Governing Board and is the highest ranking American and highest ranking woman in the IPC worldwide. She is a member of the International Olympic Committee 2018 Evaluation Commission. Ann holds a bachelor of fine arts and a master of science degree in leisure studies and therapeutic recreation from the University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign. She is a Paralympic Gold Medalist in Athletics and competed on three U.S. Paralympic Teams (Basketball ’84, Athletics ’88, ’92).
Prior to joining BlazeSports Ann served as a Vice President with B&D Consulting where she designed federal affairs strategies for amateur sports, health, and disability-related organizations and provided representation before the United States Congress and the Executive Branch. (from: http://www.blazesports.org/about/our-team/)
An interview with Ann: http://youtu.be/Vp13KA2PoyU
Sarah Castle, J.D.: Current Position: Special Assistant, United States Attorney. Education: Doctor of Law (J.D.) at University of Missouri at Kansas City – 2012. M.A. in Political Science and Government (emphasis and certification in Civic Leadership) – UIUC 2008. B.A. in Political Science and Government (emphasis in Disability Studies and Civic Leadership) – UIUC 2008
Sarah Castle is a four-time Paralympian, as well as a recently licensed attorney. Sarah is presently employed by the United States Attorney’s Office as a Special Assistant US Attorney. She also serves as a member of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association (NWBA) Board of Directors, and is a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) Athlete Advisory Council. She was recently asked to be a panel speaker at the NCAA National Convention, and spoke on the importance of inclusion of adapted athletic programs in the NCAA.
In 2002, Sarah began college at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. While there she was a member of the Women’s Wheelchair Basketball Team and won 5 National Championships, in addition to earning her Bachelors of Arts and Masters of Arts in Political Science and Civic Leadership. As a part of the Civic Leadership Graduate program, Sarah interned for United States Senator Ken Salazar (presently Secretary of the Interior) and for B & D Consulting, where she worked on disability issues. In 2008, Sarah joined the Campaign for Real Choice in Illinois as a Community Organizer, and helped organize initiatives around the state of Illinois promoting the rights of people with developmental disabilities.
Sarah is also a four-time Paralympian. She competed in the 2000 Sydney and the 2004 Athens Paralympic Games in swimming, and in the 2008 Beijing and the 2012 London Paralympic Games in wheelchair basketball. While unsure if she will pursue a fifth Games, Sarah is presently spending her free time coaching a junior wheelchair basketball team in Kansas City and working with the University of Missouri Wheelchair Basketball team on development. She is also actively involved in working with children with disabilities and their families, teaching skills and providing guidance about ways to help children with disabilities achieve independent lifestyles.