Peer Mentor is Reaching for the Stars!

THe Joys of Jennifer

Roxanne Riggio has been on a mission to provide peer support to young adults with disabilities and now her hard work has paid off! Roxanne was presented with the Peer Mentor of the Year Award at the 2013 “Reaching for the Stars” event hosted by the Detroit Wayne Mental Health Authority (DWMHA) last month. She was nominated for her commitment to “Band the r-Word” campaign as well as her efforts to advocate for others with disabilities and promote independence. “I am honored to receive this award,” said Roxanne.

The “Ban the r-Word” campaign has been Roxanne’s greatest accomplishment. “People in my past used to bring me down with words, especially the “r-word,” said Roxanne. “I want them to know it’s hurtful and people with disabilities are just like everyone else with hopes and dreams.” She has created a “Help Me Ban the r-Word” Facebook page and encourages others to take the pledge.

Roxanne has organized several small fundraisers by selling t-shirts and created a poster for people to sign to pledge banning the “r-Word.”

Her efforts have also earned her a “Spirit of Support" position at Community Living Services, where she assists with training direct care workers how to work for people with disabilities. “It’s so important to treat everyone with dignity and respect, disability or not.”