Hello! My name is Hannah Rose Kandel. My family and friends sometimes call me Hannie or Rosie, but I also like to be called HannieRosie. I’m 27 ½ years old and live in Naples, Florida. I’d like to share with you some recent steps I’ve taken toward an office job and a bright, fulfilling future.

 When I was 25 years old, my mom asked me if I was interested in finding programs that would help me in the office world. My parents were so proud of me that I wanted to be an adult and to live more independently. We spoke with Kris, a family friend, and she agreed to live with me in Doral, Florida, for 10 months, so I could attend the Dan Marino Foundation Program. The Dan Marino Foundation serves college-aged students with additional needs.

 Dan Marino offers three different tracks: Hospitality, Microsoft Office, and A+. I enrolled in the Microsoft Office track because I knew I wanted a job in an office setting. I went to technology classes on the Florida International University campus multiple times a week for the 10-month period. I found these classes interesting.

 Also during this period, I spent six months at the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office as an intern doing office work so I could gain additional, real-world, real-life experiences. The internship was challenging in the adult world, but it was very helpful. The time in Miami was also a bit of a challenge, but it gave me the opportunity to live out of my parents’ house for the first time.

 In June of 2018, I passed all three certifications on the Microsoft office track – Word, Excel, and Outlook – and completed my internship at the law office. These completions made me feel happy and accomplished. Then, it was time to move back home to Naples.

 I thought it would now be easy to get an office job. Not so easy! I wanted to get a job at the courthouse like my internship in Miami, but the courthouse said I had to go through Kelly Services first. It’s a company that helps you find office work. The staff at Kelly Services said I had to improve my typing skills first at typing.com in order to become an office worker. Once I did that, I had several interviews but still no job offers. Idela and Jazmin at Interpreting & Application Services LLC helped me more with job searches and interviews. During the four months after Miami, I learned a lot about job-hunting!

 After four months of searching for a job, I accepted a job offer at the STARability Foundation as an administrative assistant. It was a great match for me and for STARability! STARability is a nonprofit organization that supports adults with additional needs. I work there three days a week, and I’m coming up on my one-year anniversary. I love to work on my assigned tasks at hand, such as paperwork, filing, shredding, and organizing.

 My colleagues have become my friends. One of them is Susan, who became my roommate! Now, we have an apartment together and she is helping me grow my independent living skills. We have so much fun together! Living with Susan is awesome and we are great friends.

 I’m looking forward to one day working full-time, having a family of my own, traveling and living independently, and continuing to make friends and learn from new experiences. I’m looking forward to the growth of my life!


Written by Hannah Rose Kandel

Vilissa Thompson Ramp Your Voice! is the brainchild movement of Vilissa Thompson, LMSW, a macro-minded social worker and prominent leader and expert in addressing and educating the public and political figures about the plight of disabled people, especially disabled women of color.  I strive to promote the importance of self-advocacy & strengthen empowerment efforts among disabled people. via Rampyourvoice.com 


I never thought I’d be the CEO of a tech startup. But after I wrote Life, Animated, I got thousands of responses asking largely the same question: “how can my family connect with our autistic child like you and Cornelia did with Owen?” So I gathered some of the best neuroscientists and technologists around, and got to work on something to help. Sidekicks is a mobile service that helps turn autistic individuals’ passions into pathways for social and personal growth. But it’s also the groundwork for the first AI — fed remotely with insights and information by context-deep coaches, therapists, doctors, family members and friends — that will support us, anywhere, in the act and the art of living. via his website ronsuskind.com

Steve Spohn is the Chief Operations Officer and Community Outreach Director for AbleGamers charity, award-winning author, and advocate for people with disabilities. Featured on CNN, NBC and other mainstream news outlets as an assistive technology and game accessibility expert, Steven brings all his knowledge and much more to championing for people with disabilities in the video game space as a means of defeating social isolation. via his website stevespohn.com

Former professional snowboarder Kevin Pearce is now an inspirational survivor, sports commentator, motivational speaker and advocate for brain injury and Down syndrome. via his website kevinpearce.com & visit LoveYourBrain

A come back story with a difference. 


Kelle Hampton: This blog grew from an itty bitty space to a bigger floor plan in 2010 when I wrote about the birth of our daughter, Nella, who was born with Down syndrome. From there, I wrote a book, Bloom, about our first year with her. via her website kellehampton.com

My name is Eliana Tardio, I’m the proud mom of Emir and Ayelén; both with Down syndrome. Having two biological children with Down syndrome is not a common circumstance, but a teachable experience as any other. via her website elianatardio.us

My name is Hannah, I am 26 years old. I had an injury as a young teenager, I developed several illnesses, then secondary complications and as a result I am disabled and use a powerchair. I aspire to make a difference in the world. via her HannahDeakin.blog


A former Captain of the Boston College baseball team and professional baseball player in Europe, Pete Frates was diagnosed with ALS in March of 2012, at the age of 27. via petefrates.com

“I’m a professional actor, dancer and model. I have Down’s Syndrome but that is not all I am.” Sarah Gordy