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Miami-Dade Board of Trustees

 

Bonnie Blaire

Bonnie Blaire is an attorney, author, and advocate for persons with disabilities.
Admitted to law practice in State and Federal court since 1978, Ms. Blaire is an accomplished trial attorney and negotiator. Ms. Blaire is a published legal author of two volumes: Business Law – Text and Cases; and Business Law – The Uniform Commercial Code.  Ms. Blaire served as a Florida delegate to the 1986 White House Conference on Small Business.  Ms. Blaire lectured at the University of Miami, and was an adjunct professor at Florida International University where she has taught litigation techniques, legal research skills and family law, in the legal assistant (paralegal) continuing legal education program.

Having retired in 2015 from active practice as an attorney, Ms. Blaire heads Blaire Consulting Group, which provides clients with practical solutions to life issues including disabilities and elder care issues, wills and trusts, and lifetime/testamentary continuity plans for families. A frequent lecturer and panelist, Ms. Blaire focuses disability consulting services to provide training, information and programs to numerous municipal, corporate and not-for–profit entities.    
 
Ms. Blaire has been immersed in civic and charitable work throughout the past 40+years. Local civic memberships include: Coral Gables Community Foundation, Rotary Club of Coral Gables, Association of Agencies (for disabilities services – Miami), Garden Club, Coral Gables and Greater Miami Chambers of commerce, Baptist Health South Florida – Community Benefit Committee, Coral Gables Museum and Junior Orange Bowl Committee. 
Ms. Blaire has served on numerous Boards of Directors throughout her business career, including current tenures at Doctors Hospital, Center for Independent Living of South Florida and Apparent Abilities Foundation. Having served on the Disability Affairs Board for the City of Coral Gables for over 30 years, she is now Citizen Advisor to that Board.

Ms. Blaire is currently participating in local projects to uncover and/or create housing options for persons with disabilities in Miami-Dade County, Florida.


Damian P. Gregory

Damian P. Gregory is a journalist and community advocate for people with disabilities. Mr. Gregory is a twin who was born with Cerebral Palsy and uses a wheelchair as a result. He has been a self-advocate his entire life.

Damian earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Broadcast Journalism and Political Science from the University of Miami. After graduation, Damian worked as a journalist for several South Florida based publications, including the Chicago Tribune’s South Florida Sun-Sentinel and Caribbean Today.

For the more than 15 years, he has worked in the disability advocacy arena. His work has included stints as a Medicaid Waiver Support Coordinator, Travel Trainer, and Disability Rights Consultant.

The overall mission of Damian’s work has been to improve the quality of life and inclusion of people with disabilities in all aspects of community life, including in the areas of transportation, education, employment, housing, and political & civic engagement.

In 2015 he joined CCDH, Inc.—Miami-Dade’s oldest non-profit organization serving those with developmental disabilities—as the Director of Outreach and Family Engagement.

In addition to serving on the ROOF Board of Directors, Damian remains active on several local and statewide boards. Damian is the immediate past chairperson of the Miami-Dade County Commission On Disability Issues (CODI), an official advisory board to the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners. Mr. Gregory currently is the Chairperson of the University of South Florida’s Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC) Community Advisory Committee.


Pippa Milne

Pippa Milne is the mother of Alexander, her oldest son who was born in 1987 with Down Syndrome. At three weeks old Milne enrolled Alexander in the infant stimulation program at the Miami Learning Experience School (MLE). Now at age 32, he attends the MLE adult program three days per week. Over the past 32 years, Milne has been involved in all aspects of volunteering at the school, including fundraising, without which the school could not survive. Milne worked to create the Association of Parents and teachers at the school, and worked as the Parent Representative on the Board of Directors at the time and as such became the first Chairman of the APT. Milne worked to start the school’s first major fundraiser, a fashion show and luncheon, now in its 26th year. Today, this event nets over $350-$400K per year.

Throughout the past 32 years Milne has continuously helped fundraise for MLE and has volunteered in various ways. Milne also began an extra-curricular reading program intended to foster reading at home. This program is still running today and also expanded today as a Book Club that tailors to adults. In this program all aspects of reading are encouraged; including newspapers, magazines, and audio books. The goal of the program is to have all students participate to whatever degree possible. In 2014, Milne organized monthly Parent Workshops at the school where she opened these to the public, and is still doing this today.

As a full-time mother, Milne has dedicated her time to research and afford her son many different opportunities for mainstreaming outside of his special needs school. Four years ago Milne’s son Alexander was able to transition into independent supported living with two of his friends from MLE. The living situation has proved to be highly successful for the men and their families.


Lori Sanchez

In 1992, Lori Sanchez gave birth to her second child Alec who was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. From there, Sanchez began thoroughly researching Down Syndrome. Sanchez attended the International Down Syndrome Convention in Orlando shortly after her don was born. At this convention, Sanchez met with people from around the world and attended classes where she began to vision Alec’s future of living in a neighborhood with friends of his choosing,

Since then, Sanchez has been active in both the PTA at her daughter’s school and her son’s school. She was the PTA president and then on the board of directors at The Learning Experience School that her son used to attend.

Sanchez was in the first class of Partners in Policy Making by the Developmental Disabilities Council. It is a year-long class that teaches families and persons with differing abilities how to advocate. The following 2 years, she returned back to the group to give a seminar about communication.

After this, Sanchez was on the Developmental Disabilities Consortium, which is a group of people from all over Florida who meet to come up with a platform that all would agree upon. Sanchez and a group of representatives from this organization traveled to Tallahassee to meet with Representatives at the state capitol.