Born with a birth defect that affected her spine but not her mind, Katherine Magnoli is the perfect author to tackle issues of disability and acceptance. Thus, at the age of 26 Katherine set out to write stories about a superhero in a wheelchair, entitled “The Adventures of KatGirl”. KatGirl is a superhero who helps kids who are being bullied for being physically different.
Though KatGirl originally was written to solely tackle disability issues, it has expanded into a collection of stories that helps create inclusion for all those who may feel excluded from time to time. This premise has opened many doors for Katherine, allowing her to share her stories with thousands of children of all ages and abilities sets.
Katherine has also expanded her advocacy from stories to so much more! The first being that Katherine has received her AA degree in Exceptional Student Education from Miami Dade College. In addition, Katherine received her certificate completion from the Emerging Transformational Leadership Program and the Self Advocacy Leadership Training held by the Mailman Center for Child Development located at the University of Miami. Completing these fellowships gave Katherine the confidence needed to take her advocacy to the next level, and in 2017 Katherine was crowned Ms. Wheelchair Florida.
Over the last three years, Katherine has used her title as a catalyst to get so much done in the promotion of inclusion for ALL people. Some of her accomplishments include advocating for beach access in several locations in South Florida, helping residents with physical disabilities as well as the elderly and those with new born babies have an easier more fun-filled experience at the beach.
Lastly, Katherine created a PowerPoint presentation entitled the Youbilities Program, whose name recently changed to the Abilities Program. This program is to educate children on both historical figures and celebrities who have accomplished great things while living with a disability. Recently the program’s activities were adapted by Miami Dade County Public School District to fit their Kindness Matters criteria for both their Disability Awareness Month and Inclusion Week. Other local schools that are privately owned have shown interest and recently adapted the program to their school as well.
Katherine was a co-host for an online radio show entitled, Behind the Chair, that helps other advocates from around the country share their stories and change the perception of disability by showcasing that we can live well-rounded lives as well as anyone else.
Lastly, Katherine continues her mission through her stories, and she is looking to expand her collection that help bring inclusion for those living with different disabilities in addition to those who use wheelchairs for mobility.
Currently, Katherine is a liaison for the Miami Inclusion Alliance. She is also making strides in taking her stories and lessons for children and turning them into a kids show that focuses on inclusion for all!