Cultural and social attitudes still represent the biggest barrier to the inclusion of people with disabilities, says DeAnna Julian. The Deputy Director of the Albany Advocacy Resource Center strives every day to change that.
“Changing attitudes and perceptions are key if our community is to experience a shift in mindset,” she says. “There is a clear need for education and engagement that will build awareness and understanding in our community.”
No stranger to the education system, DeAnna spent 15 years working in Special Education with Lee County Schools.
Health and fitness are important to this avid lover of the outdoors. Improving the quality of lives for all individuals is an important part of who she is, she says.
“A lifestyle based on good choices and healthy behaviors maximizes quality of life. It helps people avoid disease, remain strong and fit, and maintain their physical and mental health to live happy, productive lives.”
Having grown up “all over the place,” DeAnna enjoys the since of community in Albany and the people who have become her extended family. She went to high school in Lee County, and has lived here since 1988. She and her husband, Steve, have two children, Marley, 14, and Miles, 12. She lives life to the fullest, she says.
“I believe when there is passion behind the work we do, it fuels us to fight for the change we believe is possible,” says DeAnna. “I’m a fighter.”