“I am writing to inform you that you have been chosen to receive a Texas Rehabilitation Association 2019 Award for your efforts in the representation of people with disabilities in journalism.” ~Texas Rehabilitation Association (TRA)
Hi, my name is Stephanae McCoy and my business associate is Chelsea Nguyen. While Chelsea and I have never met in person we connected online last year. Through a shared passion to make the world more inclusive for people with disabilities we had this harebrained (do people even say this anymore?) scheme.
As I was saying, before Chelsea and I had a project name, website or team we had this idea. The idea was to create a fully accessible collaborative publication platform but we weren’t sure where to begin. All we knew was we wanted to provide a space for people of all abilities to collaborate, create, and publish professional digital publications. Since neither of us has the technical know-how to develop what we envision, we began with what we could do—enter CAPTIVATING! a fully inclusive digital magazine.
At the outset, Chelsea and I knew we wanted to change the perception of disabilities and the people who are living and thriving with them. We wanted to create opportunities beginning with an inclusive digital magazine that embraces disabilities with a focus on abilities. In addition, we also felt it was equally important to connect and enlighten people of all abilities. CAPTIVATING!’s inclusive digital magazine was the answer. It is for all—everyone.
WE ARE GO FOR LAUNCH
In December of 2018, we launched our magazine as a simple PDF by email. Since we didn’t have a website we used our existing online networks to get the word out. Then something amazing began happening: the team we didn’t yet have came to us wanting to become part of CAPTIVATING!
By the way, while we recently lost a team member who suddenly passed away, our 13 remaining members consist of a group of people spread across continents. We have only met virtually through online conferencing, email, and sometimes phone. To date, we’ve featured 27 different guests many of whom are living fulfilling lives with disabilities. Here are several clips created by talented legally blind filmmaker, Juan Alcazar of JC5 Productions .
Chelsea, me, and our team are passionate about bringing more understanding, compassion, and inclusion to our communities, it’s who we are. So we were blown away to find out we were going to be awarded for our work on CAPTIVATING! Being honored with a TRA 2019 Award for our efforts in the representation of people with disabilities in journalism is HUGE!
The 2019 TRA Annual Conference “Navigating the Rivers of Change” will be held in San Antonio, Texas from July 17-19. All honorees will be recognized at a luncheon on Thursday, July 18 at the Drury Plaza Hotel.
As President of the Houston Area Rehabilitation Association, Chelsea wouldn’t accept the award unless I was included as CAPTIVATING! co-founder. And guess what? The TRA agreed and are recognizing me as well, how cool is that?
Receiving an award for what we do to better the lives of people of all abilities is such an honor and we are truly grateful and humbled by it. We couldn’t do any of this without our phenomenal team who shares our passion. All of us believe inclusion is everything.
For the past seven months everyone at CAPTIVATING!has spent many volunteer hours working to promote the abilities of the disabled community. Because we strongly believe in the value of people with disabilities, we provide our time, talents, and content free of charge. We do this for the betterment of all people and to get our message out to the world.
Chelsea Nguyen is a professional stylist, makeup artist, bilingual educator, and business owner with 28 years experience in the beauty industry. Her involvement in the blind, visually impaired (B&VI) and the disabled community began with her volunteer work with Sight Into Sound in 2011. Her company, CN Vision Image Consulting, offers one-on-one as well as group training that empower B&VI or disabled individuals with the adaptive visual and non-visual life skills needed to become more independent and self-confident. In addition to being an advocate for equal employment opportunities for the B&VI and Disabled Community Chelsea also serves on several boards such as Houston Area Visually Impaired Network (HAVIN), National Women with Disabilities Empowerment Forum (NWwDEF), and the Fort Bend Women's Center (FBWC).
Along with being a co-founder of CAPTIVATING!Stephanae McCoy is a blogger and life-long abilities crusader. She is also the founder of Bold Blind Beauty an online community that empowers B&VI women while connecting sighted and non-sighted people. As a blind woman who loves style, Stephanae challenges misconceptions about blindness and proves “blind people can be beautiful” hence the tagline “Real Beauty Transcends Barriers.”
THE FUNDRAISING GOAL
We are requesting sponsorships through our GoFundMe called “CAPTIVATING!Receives Award In Journalism In Texas!” Our goal of $1,500 will help pay for our registration, travel, hotel, and parking.
THE WHY & WHAT WE HOPE TO ACHIEVE
Being able to represent our whole team by giving a speech and sharing in-person the importance of our mission will help us strengthen and grow the magazine. Acquiring valuable resources at the conference as well as networking with other rehabilitation professionals will help us to advance our mission. The timing couldn’t be better as we begin to enter the second half of our first year of publication.
When we began this project, we believed we could change the world by connecting and enlightening people of all abilities. With this award, it has proven to us that we are making a positive difference and important impact. So, if you have been looking for an opportunity to become part of something bigger than yourself, we would love for you to become part of team #WeRCaptivating.
Our big question and our big ask for this month are will you please help support our mission with a generous donation?
Image Descriptions: The header photo is from our June edition of the magazine. The article was written by Ron Graham of HAVIN. It's about the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Cane and Able which consisted of a group of 12 people, seven of whom were totally or legally blind, and one of them was on a motorized scooter.
Ana Calvo: Ana is smiling while posing for the camera in her wheelchair in an outdoor shot on campus. She looks awesome in a sleeveless black v-neck top with pink flowers and coordinating bottoms.
HAVIN (Houston Area Visually Impaired Network): The image is of the 2019 HAVIN Board of Directors and Members Group Photo. From left to right starting from the front row then the second back row: Chelsea Nguyen, Karen Eitel, Sayyida Victoria, Ron Graham, Stacy Gaillegos, Naomi Panarella. Second Row starting from the back right to left: Tamara, Dr.Swati Modi, Dr. Hooper.
The black lab guide dog who is sitting in the front row in front of everyone and the HAVIN Royal blue and bright yellow table cover with the HAVIN logo on it is named Cash.
Adaptive Recreation for People with Disabilities: Photo of a group of children sitting on a gymnasium floor in the Afterschool Program.