The Raw Beauty Project Empowers Disabled Women

When she was 19, Wendy Crawford’s life as a model changed forever, after a car accident left her a quadriplegic. Thirty years later, she’s not only posing in front of the camera, but empowering other women with disabilities to discover their own Raw Beauty.

The co-creator of The Raw Beauty Project NYC told TODAY.com that after her accident — she was hit by a drunk driver — she initially remained optimistic that she could have a future in modeling with a disability, but was disappointed that the industry wasn’t as receptive to the idea.

Walter Chin
Wendy Crawford is one of the people behind The Raw Beauty Project NYC, a photo exhibition designed to empower women with disabilities.

Crawford, now 49, went on to found the mobileWOMEN advocacy group for women in wheelchairs in 2002, and in 2006 she helped created “Uncensored Life: Raw Beauty,” a Miami exhibit featuring photos of 20 disabled women that aimed to create new perceptions, shatter stereotypes and raise awareness for women with physical challenges.

“[Models] become empowered by it, and realize there are so many other things they can do,” Crawford said.

This year, mobileWOMEN.org partnered with the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation to develop The Raw Beauty Project, a spinoff that features 20 women with disabilities to emphasize their “beauty, empowerment and sensuality,” according to the project’s website. Showcased last month at ACA Galleries in Manhattan, photographs from the series have been sold to benefit the Reeve Foundation, which raises money and awareness for people living with spinal cord injuries and paralysis.

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Reinventing The Challenged America Program

Reinventing The Challenged America Program
&
Introduction of Challenged Sailors San Diego

Dear Challenged America Participants, Volunteers & Supporters,

As many of you know, the past few years have been extremely challenging for the Challenged America Program. With charitable donations and contributions down dramatically, fundraising events barely breaking even, and awarded grants only funding a fraction of the requested amount, coupled with rising costs, we are at that point of reinventing the Challenged America Program – operating at a pace equal to the level of public support and charitable giving … how we operated in the 1980’s and early 1990’s as, then, a big boat program.

With this, we have transferred (gifted) our entire fleet of small boats – eight Martin 16 sailboats – and all related equipment, supplies and gear to Mike & Sylvia Swall (as interim owners), who are helping a new small boat program under a newly proposed groups calling themselves “Challenged Sailors San Diego.” (CSSD). This new group is now formalizing its organizational structure.

If you or your group is scheduled to sail as a participant, companion sailor, or volunteer in the (Martin 16 sailboat (Small boat program (with Challenged America, please contact CSSD right away to reschedule and learn more about this new (small boat) sailing program:

Challenged Sailors San Diego
Mike & Sylvia Swall
Phone: (619) 764-1604
Email: mfswall@Gmail.com

The Challenged America program will continue operations as a Big Boat program, with Challenged Sailors San Diego being our referral to small boat sailing.

Challenged America is one of five programs of the charitable and educational Disabled Businesspersons Association (DBA), and the board is currently strategizing the future of this program, with more of an emphasis on its mission, financial self-sufficiency, future staffing, and the rebuilding of its fleet of donated vessels, carrying it to another 37 years of operations.

If you would like to be part of the charity’s advisory on reinventing the Challenged America Program, please email us your background, experience, and how you believe you can add value to the advisory group.
Thank You

Urban Miyares, President
Disabled Businesspersons Association
Urban@DisabledBusiness.com

Building a monument to wounded warriors

Our nation’s wounded warriors need time to heal; and the rest of us need a place in which to reflect upon their sacrifice. Here’s David Martin:

It’s a thing of beauty designed to honor an ugly fact: the wounds of war. The name of Washington’s newest memorial — American Veterans Disabled for Life — makes the point.

Project director Barry Owenby gave Martin an advance look at the memorial, which opens next Sunday. It’s for disabled veterans of all wars, of whom an estimated three million are alive today.

“It doesn’t end with the war; they live with it forever,” Owenby said.

“They have a trauma of injury, a healing process, and then their rediscovery of purpose. So that’s the story that we’re trying to tell here.”

Blind Students Sail With Challenged America

BLIND & VISUALLY IMPAIRED STUDENT DO MORE THAN TAKE A RIDE AT CHALLENGED AMERICA

Imagine eight, nine and ten year old, blind and visually impaired elementary school students steering and trimming a sailboat all by themselves as the navigate they busy and tricky waters of San Diego’s Big Bay.

“We’re not a go-for-a-ride sailing program,” says Dave Meyer, volunteer coordinator of the therapeutic Challenged America program.  “These kids’ first-time experience sailing will be an instant reality happening as they learn to steer and trim the sails, even though they can’t see, with their sailing instructor sitting behind them in the two-person, Martin 16 sailboat.”

 

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