Disability Connection


“Disability Connection goes out of their way to give you the comfort to know that someone is wiling to help. We need more of this type of treatment in this world… Thank God For Disability Connection.” – Barbara.

“Disability Connection helps the community get more involved.” – April.

“They are sweet and very concerned for families.” – Mary.

“[O]ur classes had an amazing time … while at the Ability Fair. Our students were so excited to be able to take home a picture of themselves all dressed up looking like a pirate or even a princess, paint a picture or even leave their mark on the trash cans that will be donated to the Knights Nonprofit Center. Thank you again for reaching out to our students. What a blessing your organization is.” – Toni Lawshe, transition specialist with Hancock High School.

“…We enthusiastically recommend…the Disability Connection Resource Center…community events and workshops and the development of the Disability Connection Community Playground. I recognize your additional commitment to also provide referrals and hands-on assistance…I understand the value that Disability Connection is to the communities of South Mississippi…”- Phil Bryant, Governor of Mississippi.

“… Your initiative…provides a modern method of training, information gathering and networking among those with disabilities and the families that care for them.  Your organization is an essential component in rebuilding the Gulf Coast.”  – Haley Barbour, Former Governor of Mississippi.

“…Through its broad range of outreach programs, Disability Connection is committed to helping the disabled become full participants in the communities in which they live…demonstrated by the many needs that these programs help fulfill such as: housing, educational, occupational, health and wellness, social, recreational and transportation…” – Senator Thad Cochran, United States Senator.

“Thank you for your efforts to support people with disabilities, especially our veterans. I encourage funding programs and philanthropic organizations to support OEM in its efforts to improve the life of residents with disabilities in South Mississippi..” – Congressman Steven Palazzo.

“…MS Dept of Rehab has been an active partner in most every event and program that they host. We recognize the need for these inclusive events to encourage and support individuals with developmental disabilities… to be an actively involved in our community.” – Kathy McDonald, District Manager, MS Dept. of Rehabilitation.

“…we have recognized the need for more inclusive recreation opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities. Brandi’s Hope supports the programs and events of Disability Connection. Our individuals look forward to participating in the many events and sports clinics…the internet resource center and the film…will assist individuals to find new exciting recreational opportunities…” – Brenda Cowart, Owner, Brandi’s Hope.

“…your insistence for inclusivity and play value make it (the Disability Connection Community Playground) the onlv playground in the state to include all of these fantastic inclusive and sensory components on one playground.” – Laurie Alley, President, Playscapes of Mississippi.

“… Thanks to O’Keefe Educational Media, Corps members received hands-on training focused on the various disabled populations in Mississippi and how they live their lives…”– Rich Smith, Americorps NCCC, Deputy Region Director for Programming.

“…Janie is a good friend and a great partner to UW. She also has a great understanding of the needs in the community as it pertains to people with disabilities…”– Markus Jones, Former Director of Resource Development, United Way of South Mississippi {Client Services}.

“…Thank you for getting back with me…Thank you for helping the senior citizens and the disabled people of this area…” – Ms. Walker.

“…I want to thank you for your time and support for finding the services I need to help my child.” – Ms. Johnson.

“…‘ Disability Connection’ is a positive step to educate citizens including our Veterans and seniors about resources available that can help them become more active participants in our community…” – Former Congressman Gene Taylor, United States Congress.

“…really enjoyed Saturday. We made several contacts that will help us better serve our parents.” – Cindy McNeeley, Autistic Angels.

“…Thank you so much for coming to speak at our club meeting… The things you are doing for the disabled community are remarkable. Thanks for all you are doing to better our community.” – Eric Collum, Biloxi Kiwanis Club.

“…Together, we can make a difference both in our local communities and abroad – one life at a time… Since the forum we have already helped rescue a victim…” – Suzie Harvill, Advocates for Freedom.

“…Thank you so much for including VA Mental Health in the Mayor’s Disability Awareness Fair. It was a lovely event that gave us great opportunities to spread the work in the community about Mental Health programs for Newly Returning Veterans and their families.” – Leigh Ann Johnson, Mental Health Recovery Coordinator, VA Healthcare.

“… I want to thank you for giving my daughter, Charlotte, such a lovely teddy bear. She was scared to do the eye screening but gathered up her courage once she realized it was totally painless…The fair was very informative and thoroughly enjoyable. I have close friends with disabilities; I will be passing on some of the info to them. I would so much love for them to find ways to make their life, even if only a little bit, more comfortable and independent…” – Isabelle Parker, Wonga Studios.

“…SO glad for your presence on the coast!!…” – Shirley Walker, Disability Rights, Jackson Mississippi.

“…Reference the request for assistance made earlier this week from Keesler:  you guys are AWESOME!!  Talk about the power of teamwork!  It is a perfect example of one of my favorite quotes:  ‘Alone we can do so little.  Together we can do so much.’ Helen Keller” …  I know the gentleman seeking assistance appreciates it, and I know I certainly do!…” – Paula K. Tracy, Family Advocacy Outreach Manager, Keesler AFB.  

“…This will truly enhance education, independence, and quality of life for persons with disabilities.  It will also encourage greater facilitation of tourism experiences for that population and hopefully will make providers in the hospitality and tourism industries more aware of the needs of persons with disabilities…” – Richard Forester, Former Executive Director, Gulf Coast Convention and Visitors’ Bureau.

“O’Keefe Educational Media is an established pacesetter in providing support to people of diverse backgrounds in this community.  As an advocate and service provider of the senior and handicapped population of Harrison County, our agency will continue supportive services for the segment of population that we share…” – Janice Green, Executive Director, Harrison County Human Resources Agency.

“…The Disabilities Internet Resource Center is a viable concept that seeks to build an interconnecting community using technology and providing services to disadvantaged segments of the community… a worthwhile initiative that will provide opportunities for economic and community development across the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast.” – Larry Barnett, Former Executive Director, Harrison County Development Commission.

“…We are interested in working collaboratively to inform and educate elderly and disabled citizens concerned available resources on the Mississippi Gulf Coast… SMPDD/AAA also anticipates participation in ongoing, systematic outreach efforts to inform the elderly with disabilities and their families of available resources…” – Barry Dixon, Director, Area Agency on Aging.

“…It will be wonderful to have one website that people can go to and find out information on so many different topics…a way to come together and promote what this gulf coast has to offer.  It is also a way to communicate to the public that people with a disability are vibrant members of our society that can participate in activities and have fun…” – Kay Daneault, Executive Director, Mental Health Association of Mississippi.

“…Certainly this…is needed to educate people with disabilities to all of the many recreational possibilities on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi…We recognize a need for this…and expect organizations and individuals coastwide to use it to help people with disabilities achieve their full potential and enjoy coast recreation to its fullest…” – Jane Siders, Professor and Director, Institute for Disability Studies, Univ. of Southern Miss.

“…[This work] is valuable to those who are suddenly thrust into the challenges a disability can create…allow the community at large to grow in their awareness and support of a segment of our population that is often times ignored…” – Cynthia Minton, Executive Director, Lynn Meadows Discovery Center.

“… Even before Katrina, many people with disabilities were not participating in many recreational opportunities. The work that you are doing will certainly support a more inclusive society for everyone.  Information, opportunities, and tools for professionals to use, will help overcome the lack of opportunities that currently exist…”  –  Mike Montgomery, Director of Special Projects, The ARC of Mississippi, Association for the Rights of Citizens with Developmental Disabilities.

“…we are constantly discussing at our Board of Directors meetings, ‘How can we get the word out?’…Your organization has a modern solution that is long overdue… People with disabilities have the right to have a lifestyle that is enriching and accommodating.  Your project will create an information link for everyone and the connections could be endless…” – Lindsay and Troy Trigg, Founders/Executive Director, DREAM Program.

“MG & A is a national network…working with the disability field to enhance…employment…The proposed…is a viable concept that seeks to build an interconnected community using technology and providing services to disadvantaged segments of the community…” – Michael Callahan, President, Marc Gold & Associates.

“…The Gulf Coast area can only benefit from such a program.  The proposed Internet Center will increase access to a large database of accessibility information…  This is an all win situation for both the disabled community as a whole, and the business community at large.  It will not only serve to enhance the opportunities for the disabled resident and traveler, but also serves to increase local business customer base through improving accessibility to their establishments…” – David Sherrer, Owner, Qchair’s Traveler.

“Thank you for all the work you do in our community. You put your whole heart into this… [what] a blessing you guys are in our community…LOOKING FORWARD TO WHATEVER IS NEXT!!!” – Tiffany, Virginia College.

” [T]hank you so very much…this is the most food I’ve had in my house in years.” – Deborah.

“I think the work you guys are doing is simply amazing.” – David.

“Thanks for contacting us about the upcoming Job Fair your organization is planning here in Biloxi. Last year there were several job fairs held here, but yours was the one with the fantastic turnout! Your event had great attendance  from the Veteran Population as well as potential employers. We are so appreciative that you are holding the event again and we appreciate your collaboration in helping Veterans.” – Leigh Johnson, Veterans Administration {about the People with Disabilities, Disabled Veterans Job Fair Program}.

“You guys really impress me!!” – John Hosey, M.S. MDiv, Director, United Way South Ms. Volunteer Center.

“Thank you! Thank you! Every aspect of the employment fair project has been a major!!! blessing to the clients. They are fired up! We appreciate your service.” – Hilton Glass, Gulf Coast Industries.

“I really appreciate all the help I was able to find with ‘Disability Connection’.” – V.

“I think your Connection Resource will be very beneficial in MS’s movement towards de-institutionalization and MS@Home program to prevent institutionalization for those with disabilities at risk… Thanks also for the calendar you have on the sight! You[r] doing a great job.” – Michelle.

“We (CWC) Truly appreciate your support in sharing toys for our youth in our community. Times are difficult for parents. The need is great and what was given put a smile on the children faces because it wasn’t expected.” – Sharon Hanshaw, Coastal Women for Change.

“The toys that your agency donated for the young boys and girls attending our event found a very special home and were truly appreciated.  Santa was also able to stop in for a visit. Every child in attendance was blessed to receive a gift and this would not have been possible if it had not been for the generosity of you and your agency. Thank You Very Much for Your Kindness!!” – Myia C. Lane, Permanency Specialist Gulf Coast, Partners in Permanency.

“I called Janie O’Keefe with Disability Connection in hopes that she could maybe tell me some things to do to help mother once she was home.  She was able to share a list of contacts that really helped me.  It lifted my mother’s spirits and I know how much it touched her…” – V.C.

“Thank you so very much for speaking at our Parkinson’s Support Group meeting yesterday.  As I expected, you stimulated a lot of good discussion which I think is so important for our group.” – Rev. Warren Mueller, Resurrection Anglican Church on the Gulf.

“Thank you very much for speaking to our MS group today.  You have lots of great information to share.” –  Jim.

“A great organization is one that delivers superior service and Disability Connection is that type of organization.  You guys are committed to caring for the disabled.  You saw that my family had a need and you stepped in. You treated us with dignity and respect.  My family and I thank you for your generosity.” – Vanessa.

“Thank you all!  We had a great time [at the Art Ability Fair]!” – Dr. Leslie Beaugez, Pascagoula School District.

“I appreciate your efforts for our special children.” – Connie Rockco, Harrison County Supervisor, District 5.

“Thank you so much for all the great food, it is well appreciated. Also thank you for making sure I get it by delivering it to me… As Jackie Gleason used to say, ‘Baby, You’re the greatest’.”– Chaz.

“Within hours we were provided food, gas, money, and possible help with our future needs. This is a wonderful, helpful place which we pray grows to reach others in need. Thank you all so much for your God-filled love for others. These people are doing all they can to find me employment and also staying in contact to assure our success and well-being.” – D & M.

“[A]s a disabled coastian I like that this resource is here to keep up with what is happening in that community.” – Leslie.

“I had a chance to hear Janie O’Keefe inspire attendees at the Jeremiah Blackwell Memorial Banquet on Friday.  She spoke about how taking little steps towards success slowly get you where you aspire to be.  Great Job Janie!” – Greg Smith, thestrengthcoach.com.

“Thank you for sharing this list with us and we are so happy that Resource Guides are being used in the community.” – Priti Mehta, Director, Reeve Foundation Community Outreach Programs.

“On behalf of the students of West Harrison High School, Harrison Central High School and North Gulfport 7th/8th Grade schools, the students had a wonderful time…Thank you to all the volunteers and staff for making [The Art Ability Fair] possible.” – Kathy Williams, Employment Facilitator, Harrison County School Special Services Center.

“I want to again tell you how impressed I am with the work you are doing there.  I hope to work with you again in the future.” – Margaret S. Ager, Executive Director, Canine Companions for Independence.

“Thank you for distributing … information… I appreciate the help.” – Dr. Timothy E. Morse, Assoc. Professor, USM – Gulf Coast

“We are looking very forward to being [at the People with Disabilities/Disabled Veterans Job Fair]. I feel this could be a real great event for everyone involved. I am excited about being asked to be a part of this. Thank you so much.” – Carol, SMPDD.

“You guys are really going to have a wonderful event with the running club next week and your article definitely promotes an inspirational message and image for the coast.” – Thomas.

“I ran in this last weekend’s 5k and it was an absolute blast. It was my first race and I can’t wait for the next one. Thank you for sponsoring it and thanks for all you do in the community…Thank you so much for coming to speak at our club meeting. It was great meeting you. The things you are doing for the disabled community are remarkable. Thanks for all you are doing to better our community.” – Eric Collum, Vice President, Biloxi Kiwanis Club.

“Congratulations [on the Toyota 100 Cars for Good Commercial]… The commercial sends the message home and the ending speaks to the needs of the disable in a direct but light hearted way that we can all understand. Good luck.” –  Sandy Shaver, Caboose Art Gallery.

“Your enthusiasm for Disability Connections was VERY apparent. I know you touched a lot of lives…” – Miriam.

“Thanks … for allowing UHC to assist in the promotion of Disability Awareness in the surrounding communities of the Coastal area, I believe it was a success and you did a marvelous job with the coordination of everything.” – Kobie, United Healthcare Mississippi.

“I.. see the website and all you are doing to advocate for the disabled.  A HUGE THANK YOU.” – Tami.

“Thanks so much.  I have heard nothing but GREAT things about the fair… Claudia loved working it and the kids had an incredible time.  We look forward to performing at the mall at [the Mayor’s Disability Awareness Health Fair].” – Tonya Hays, Lynn Meadows Discover Center and Wings Performing Arts.

“I’m glad to see you doing what you can and more for the Gulf Coast with such an open mind.” – Andrew.

“The job fair was a success for students in Harrison County.  I look forward to being able to expose many more students to the opportunity to network within the employment community in one location.  Sometimes transportation can be another barrier to employment for the disability population and having potential employers in the Biloxi Civic Center makes it convenient.”– Kathy Williams, Employment Facilitator, Harrison County School Special Services Center.

“Wow! Thanks so much.” – Sandra, GCWCFN.