A non-profit organization, “Ability 360”, is run by individuals with disabilities and focuses on addressing the needs of people with disabilities in our community. We spoke with the new President and CEO, Christopher Rodriguez, about taking over the organization.
Ability 360 prioritizes empowering people with disabilities in a variety of different ways. They are involved with legislative advocacy and they plan to analyze legislative laws that may impact people with disabilities. They provide support groups that help people better understand how to be more independent in the community.
They have a sports and fitness center open to people with any disability to go train. The facility is only one of two facilities in the world like it and it is home to a couple Paralympians. They also offer different programs to help people with disabilities gain employment, and so much more.
Rodriguez mentions that he has spent his entire career working in the disability space and growing up with an older brother with intellectual and developmental disabilities put him at a vantage point as he was able to see the challenges his parents faced raising a child with disabilities. His experience has provided him the tools to advocate for the disability community. So with Ability 360, Rodriguez is planning to get acquainted with the disability community in Arizona and understand how each part of the organization works to create positive change for the community.
Rodriguez says that Ability 360 is a unique center compared to other across the country thanks to his predecessor. Most recently Rodriguez was in a federal funded law firm that protects the rights of people with disabilities in Louisiana.
He emphasizes that the community is very diverse and its needs vary from state to state. So for now, he is just focusing on listening and understanding the Arizona community at a deeper level, in order to start making change.