The Bigger Picture, Issue 25

Welcome back to The Bigger Picture! We’re back, and this week we have some great content for you that includes a Staff Spotlight for the newest member of our team.


Disability Advocates Rip Kylie Jenner Wheelchair Photo Shoot

Model Kylie Jenner is under fire from disability advocates across the world this week for posing in a wheelchair (even though she does not use one for mobility) in an editorial photo shoot for Interview magazine. The sexualized nature of the photo shoot also brought comments from advocates. Read here on CNN for more, and for photos of the shoot. (Kylie poses in fetish-type fashion clothing, in a gold-plated wheelchair. She has a blank stare in the poses, akin to a doll.)

*What do YOU think about this photo shoot? Got something you need to get off your chest? Like it? Loathe it? Tell us in the comments below!

Planning For Future Transportation Needs

In local news, the Rome–Floyd County Metropolitan Planning Organization is in the process of updating the Long Range Transportation Plan for Rome and Floyd County, and this is an issue very near and dear to the hearts of those of us here at NWGA CIL and our consumers. It’s no secret that transportation and access to it is a big barrier in this area (and other rural areas across both the state and the nation). This article from the Rome News-Tribune details a meeting open to the public on December 8th, where people from the Rome/Floyd area can come and speak up about their needs for transportation. Staff from NWGA CIL will be present at this meeting to represent the needs of people with disabilities in our area.

New TV Series Features Young Adults with Down Syndrome

The Southeast ADA Center has an article with details on a new TV series premiering on December 8th, at 10:00pm on the A&E channel (check your provider for listings, or you can visit A&E’s website). The show is titled Born This Way, and it chronicles the lives of several individuals who have Down Syndrome as they make their way through life.

Staff Spotlight – Ralph Jarrell

Our interview this week is with the newest member of our team, Ralph Jarrell, Information & Referral Coordinator. If you come into our office, you’ll meet him as soon as you walk through the door. He greets our visitors with a warm smile and ready to provide whatever information they need. Read on to find out more…



How long have you worked with NWGACIL? I began working with NWGACIL in July of 2015, first as a volunteer then as an employee. I’m originally from Dallas, Texas but really enjoy living in northwest Georgia.

What do you do at NWGACIL? At NWGACIL I am the Information and Referral Coordinator, which means that I work with our consumers and their friends and families, NWGACIL as well as outside agency staff, and the general public to improve the physical, social, emotional, and overall experience of life for residents of northwest Georgia.

Do you have a disability? No, I don’t have a disability, I am blind. I’ve been fortunate to have had adjustment to blindness training for adults. I spent 10 months learning and relearning the skills of blindness such as the use of the long white cane and folding canes for safe travel and mobility, Braille for independent communication with self and others via the slate and stylus or braillewriter. I also studied the use of computers, tablets, and cellphones with screen reading software such as VoiceOver and JAWS, which read aloud whatever is on the screen. My favorite course of study during this time was carpentry and woodworking where I learned the use of many manual and power tools to mill, join, and work lumber into finished pieces in a woodshed. WoW!!! Long answer, but I’m trying to explain that for me, I believe that people are people, some have disabilities-some don’t — we’re all people.

What topic of independent living do you find most important? The most important topic within the independent living movement for me would be “nothing about us… without us”. I like this concept because it places power and responsibility where it belongs, with the individual. People are people, and all people deserve the same rights and responsibilities.

What is the best part of working at NWGACIL? Hum, the best part of working at NWGACIL would probably have to be the chance to be around such cool people and service dogs. I love animals in general and dogs most especially. However, I know that a service dog in harness is working and doesn’t need to be distracted.

What have you learned from working here? Hum, short answer… It doesn’t happen unless you write it down”. I’m honestly amazed by what I learn each day I’m associated with NWGACIL. I try to learn something new each and every day.

What do you do for fun? I enjoy listening to music (wide ranging-every thing from classical to hiphop), my hobbies are woodworking, computers, and cooking.

Do you have any pets? I don’t have any pets right now, maybe I’ll obtain a guide dog at some point. However, I know that such a companion is much more than, and not really a pet.

Would you rather be a tiny elephant or a giant hamster? That’s a tough question, as I really like being a human. If I had to choose, I’d rather be a tiny elephant than a giant hamster. Even though the elephant is tiny it still would have quite the memory, I’d imagine.

If you could vacation anywhere in the world, where would you go? Hum, you can vacation in your own home. If I could travel anywhere in the world I’d go on pilgrimage to the Christian shrines in Europe and the Middle East. I’ve always wanted to be in Jerusalem during Eastern Orthodox Easter services at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher or Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity during Christmas.

What is the best advice you ever received? Best advice I’ve received is this. When making coffee it’s not how much coffee but rather how much water which either makes or breaks the pot. In other words, it’s not what you or I have or don’t have that matters, the more important thing is what we as individuals can add to the mix of life.


Give the Gift of Dignity

If you have not yet heard about our current donation drive, for our Community Closet Program, please click this link to read more about the program, our needs for the program and how YOU can help! Are you, your family, friends, group or faith organization looking for a way to give back this holiday season? If so, please consider helping over 50 people in our area in need of incontinence supplies, through our Community Closet Program.

That’s all she wrote for this week! (Quite literally, it’s all I wrote.) Join us again next week for more news, updates and photos from both the world of independent living and our little world here at NWGA CIL!

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