Charlotte, N.C., July 23, 2015
Kristen Dineen is an inspiration to so many.
She was born with Cerebral Palsy. While coping with her disability she graduated high school and college earning a BA degree in early childhood. Kristen taught children for two years but realized it wasn’t her calling after all. Her life took her through a series of jobs. Currently she works as an administrative assistant and receptionist at Easter Seals UCP’s Charlotte office.
Easter Seals UCP is not a new organization to Kristen. In 1994, she began volunteering at Easter Seals UCP by helping out at fundraisers including the annual auction and participating in every Walk With Me Charlotte event. Early on someone told her, “Once you walk through the doors here, it’s hard to walk out.” Kristen said she is a perfect example of that.
Despite her disability, Kristen, who is 50-years-old, gets around quite well and only occasionally uses a walker. Kristen said, “Working for Easter Seals UCP is a big challenge and I enjoy working and talking with individuals who come to our office. When some of the individuals see me, they realize we are more alike and they can inspire to feel accomplished like I do.”
In the wake of the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Kristen and many individuals like her are able to work to their fullest potential. While the ADA has helped men and women with disabilities get jobs without the issue of discrimination, there is still more work to do. Kristen said, “It’s still not a perfect situation everywhere. There are still heavy doors that are hard to open, not enough curb cuts, poor lighting and lack of accessibility in many locations in my community.”
Easter Seals is looking back and moving forward during the ADA Anniversary Campaign. The goal is to raise awareness to the things that still need to make our world easier for individuals with disabilities.
As for Kristen, she will continue to fight for rights of people with disabilities. Meanwhile, she’s grateful for the opportunity she has working at Easter Seals UCP. What makes her smile is when a parent from the Children’s Center looks at her and then back at their tiny child. Kristen said “I think I give them confidence that if a child works hard, they can reach goals and be a fulfilled member of society.”
Return to ADA web page.