Welcome 2022 Leaders Program Participants


BACKBONES is proud to announce that it has been awarded a multi-year grant from the Craig H. Nielsen Foundation as part of the Creating Opportunity & Independence (CO&I) portfolio which supports non profit organizations providing programs and services that are community-driven, empowering, and inclusive of all ages and backgrounds to enhance quality of life.

BACKBONES will use the funds for their Leaders Program which equips ten adults with spinal cord injuries and disorders (SCI/D) with skills to become leaders in their communities. The participants commit to a year-long development program where they learn from guest speakers and participate in educational in-services on topics like advocacy, self-care, public speaking, conflict resolution, community organizing, intersectionality and more. In summer 2022 BACKBONES will also launch the Youth Leaders Program with the goal of supporting ten teenagers with SCI/D as they learn skills in leadership and a knowledge base on how to navigate employment, apply to college, practice self-care, health & wellness, recreation and advocacy. BACKBONES Youth Program emphasizes the importance of supporting disabled youth and helping them reach their goals and potential. 

“Now in its third year, the program alumni have utilized what they learned and been able to find internships, gain employment, get involved in policy, and speak on panels or conferences. This grant ensures that we are able to continue this work and support more individuals with SCI/D on their journeys to reach personal and professional goals.” says Reveca Torres, Executive Director of BACKBONES.

The Leader Participants for 2022 include: Matt Ludolph (Illinois); Sergio Muniz-Munoz (Wisconsin); Shannon Chisholm (North Carolina); Maria Sutter (Ohio); Jason Leuck (Nebraska); Ashley Llorens (Illinois); Cory Moses (New York); Nicole Llorens (Illinois); Jose Alzati (Illinois); Vanessa Osman (California). Read their bios here: https://backbonesonline.com/leaders-program2022/