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WEBINAR: Lessons on Putting Faith to Work

A Conversation about Faith, Disability and Inclusion Resources with Bill Gaventa, M.Div and Joe Timmons

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Watch the webinar on YouTube with live embedded captions


Bill Gaventa, M.Div., Summer Institute on Theology and Disability, National Collaborative on Faith and Disability, Texas Faith Inclusion Network on Disability
Joe Timmons, Research Fellow, Institute on Community Inclusion

Years ago, Rev. Bill Gaventa said, “in every faith community, there is a scriptural basis for welcome and hospitality.” Over the course of his career, he has worked hard across the country on issues at the intersection of faith, disability and inclusion. He has worked with dozens of congregations of different faiths to promote the lives and value of people with disabilities.

Faith organizations have a unique role supporting job seekers with disabilities. Not only can religious organizations drive inclusion, they also can help prepare people for work.

Special Conversation about Faith, Disability and Inclusion

Joining Rev. Gaventa was Joe Timmons of the Institute on Community Inclusion. Together, they discussed their cutting edge research on the role faith has to play in the lives of diverse communities across the country.

About our Speakers:

Bill Gaventa headshot

Bill Gaventa

Bill Gaventa is currently the Director of the Summer Institute on Theology and Disability and the Director of the Collaborative on Faith and Disability, along with consulting and writing roles. He served as Director of Community and Congregational Supports at the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on Developmental Disabilities, and Associate Professor, Pediatrics, Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey until June 30, 2013. He now lives in Waco, Texas. In his role at The Boggs Center, Bill worked on community supports, initiatives in cultural competence, aging/end of life issues, supervision of a program in Clinical Pastoral Education, faith community leadership, and inclusive congregational supports. He has been active in initiatives in workforce development, support of direct care staff, self-directed supports, and staff training.

Joe Timmons head shot

Joe Timmons

Joe Timmons has worked with adolescents and adults with disabilities in rehabilitation and educational settings for over 28 years. Since 2002, he has worked at the Institute on Community Integration (ICI) at the University of Minnesota where he does research and provides technical assistance to individuals and organizations focusing on academics and assessment, work and careers, mentoring, and the transition from secondary to postsecondary school settings. Joe has a master’s degree in rehabilitation teaching and is currently completing coursework for a master’s degree in social work.

Meet the Author

Lauren Appelbaum

Lauren Appelbaum is the VP, Communications and Entertainment & News Media, of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so all people with disabilities can fully participate in every aspect of community. As an individual with an acquired nonvisible disability – Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy – she works at the intersection of disability, employment, Hollywood and politics. She regularly conducts trainings on the why and how to be more inclusive and accessible for entertainment executives throughout the industry. Appelbaum partners with studios, production companies and writers’ rooms to create equitable and accessible opportunities to increase the number of people with lived disability experience throughout the overall story-telling process. These initiatives increase diverse and authentic representation of disabled people on screen, leading to systemic change in how society views and values people with disabilities. She has consulted on more than 100 TV episodes and films with A&E, Bunim-Murray Productions, NBCUniversal, Netflix, ViacomCBS, and The Walt Disney Company, among others. She represents RespectAbility on the CAA Full Story Initiative Advisory Council, Disney+ Content Advisory Council, MTV Entertainment Group Culture Code and Sundance Institute’s Allied Organization Initiative. She is the author of The Hollywood Disability Inclusion Toolkit and the creator of an innovative Lab Program for entertainment professionals with disabilities working in development, production and post-production. She is a recipient of the 2020 Roddenberry Foundation Impact Award for this Lab. To reach her, email [email protected]

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