MO Project: Contextual Branding

Governor’s Council on Disability Names Annual Award Winners

February 28, 2019

Winners exemplify standards of excellence in enhancing life for individuals living with disabilities

JEFFERSON CITY, MO - The Governor's Council on Disability (GCD) has selected the award winner and honorable mention of the 27th Annual Inclusion Award and the 6th Annual Youth Leadership Award.

The Inclusion Award and one Honorable Mention are presented annually to recognize private and public employers, individuals, and organizations that have successfully included people with disabilities in education, employment, housing, leisure activities, and website accessibility. Individuals are also encouraged to nominate state and local government divisions or employees they truly feel excel in inclusive practices.

The annual Youth Leadership Award and one Honorable Mention are presented to recognize an outstanding Missouri youth (age 16-26) with a disability that has demonstrated exemplary leadership by making a difference in their community.

2018 Inclusion Award winner: Bloom Café, St. Louis

Bloom Café is a universally designed restaurant owned and operated by Paraquad that provides job training for adults with disabilities, and serves as a model of integrated employment. Approximately 60% of Bloom Café’s staff have disabilities. In addition to the restaurant, Bloom Café provides individuals with disabilities a pathway to economic independence through a formal job training program which includes job skills training, soft skills training and paid internships in the community as well as assistance with finding permanent jobs. Through this program, Bloom Café is promoting inclusion and equal participation for people with all types of disabilities.

Honorable Mention: Jim and Theresa Edwards/Sophie’s Run

Jim and Theresa Edwards are prime examples of community leaders for students with disabilities. In memory of their daughter, the Edwards started Sophie’s Run, a non-profit organization to raise funds to support families and students who need augmentative and alternative communication devices in the Park Hill School District and throughout their transition to college and post-secondary opportunities. These devices allow nonverbal students to have a voice, independence, and the opportunity to advocate for themselves and live a meaningful, purposeful life.

2018 Youth Leadership Award winner: Kaci Conley

Kaci Conley has dedicated much of her personal time to bring awareness to her community regarding accessibility and advocacy for individuals with disabilities. As a student at Maryville University, she joined the ABLE campus group to advocate for campus awareness and increasing accessibility features on campus. Kaci was elected co-president of ABLE and hosted a Disability Awareness event on campus, and was the only student chosen to join a faculty/student committee for accessibility for individuals with disabilities. Kaci demonstrates that her disability does not limit her ability to succeed and reach her goals. Her next goal is to ensure that the graduation ceremony is accessible to all students.

Honorable Mention: Madelyn Hubbs

Madelyn Hubbs is a dedicated advocate for all abilities. A freshman at Maryville University, she is a role model for other students, giving presentations at area schools about disabilities, prosthetic limbs, and anti-bullying. For the last ten years, Madelyn has been a patient ambassador for Shriners Hospital for Children. She has volunteered hundreds of hours working at Shriners events, raised more than $5,000 and collected over 2,180 new toys for the children at Shriners Hospital. Madelyn has demonstrated exemplary leadership skills, won numerous awards, and is an alum of the Missouri Youth Leadership Forum. It is her goal to become an occupational therapist and make this a better world for individuals with disabilities.

The awards will be presented to the winners on April 2, 2019 at the Power Up Assistive Technology conference in Columbia.

For more information on the Inclusion Award, go here. For more information on the Youth Leadership Award, go here.

For additional information, please contact the GCD at 573-751-2600 or via e-mail at