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Summer 2017 Fellows standing or seated in wheelchairs, smiling and posing for the camera

Janie Klein, Policy Apprentice

National Leadership Program, Summer 2015

Janie Klein smiling in front of the original RespectAbility banner

Janie Klein

Janie Klein was a Policy Apprentice with RespectAbility during the summer of 2015. She cites her older brother as her inspiration for wanting to work with people with special needs. He had ataxia telangiectasia before he passed away. Through Eye-to-Eye Organization, Klein has worked as a mentor and guide to underprivileged middle-school children who have learning disabilities through an arts-based curriculum.

Klein is studying for her Bachelor’s degree in Human and Development Engagement at Temple University. She is currently an education intern for the summer at The National Museum of American Jewish History. Later this year, she will also intern for the School Distrcit of Philadelphia’s Office of Family and Community Engagement. She is a mentor and tutor to a student with special needs at Temple University through the Institute of Disabilities, where she is also a receptionist. She was previously the new student engagement chair at Hillel. She founded a Best Buddies chapter at Temple University to create one-on-one friendships for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


RespectAbility is a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for and with people with disabilities. Learn more about the National Leadership Program and apply for the next cohort! Contact [email protected] for more information.



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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