As part of our Ms. Wheelchair America series, we caught up with a former state representative who has since started a project designed to educate America’s youth. Katherine Magnoli was crowned 2017 Ms. Wheelchair Florida and has since created Youbilities, an educational program for Disability Awareness month that occurs in October. Every March, schools who offer Youbilitites have the opportunity to motivate kids through an interactive learning experience.
Katherine has always had a passion for writing, and prior to winning Ms. Wheelchair Florida authored “The Adventures of KatGirl,” a children’s book series that follows a superhero in a wheelchair. Her main character KatGirl combats bullying while encouraging young people to never give up on their dreams. She also hosts a weekly radio show “Behind the Chair” that covers a wide range of topics including accessibility and features advocates from across the country.
During last year’s Ms Wheelchair America competition, Katherine’s platform revolved around educating and inspiring America’s youth. Her thoughts and plans around this idea began to evolve, ultimately creating “Youbilitites”. The educational platform highlights 16 current and historical figures who all overcame some form of a disability.
The Youbilities program features famous historical figures such as Franklin D Roosevelt who contracted polio which confined him to a wheelchair and deaf and blind activist Helen Keller. It also focuses on well-known actors, athletes, and celebrities that kids may not know have overcome physical and mental obstacles.
Youbilities is currently being taught in several school districts around Florida and is also expanding into Katherine’s home state, New York. Her hope is that school districts across the country will continue to improve upon their disability awareness education programs.