Jane Vermeulen Leadership Award
Who is Janey Vermeulen?
Jane "Janey" Vermeulen was an advocate for disability rights. She was a vibrant, positive person who believed all people with disabilities should be respected and supported to live actively in their community. Jane was an ardent supporter of Self-Determination, self-directed services and supports, and community living. She shared her experience and knowledge with others as a Peer Mentor, supporting others to direct their lives.
What is the Jane Vermeulen Award?
Shortly after Jane's death in 2022, the Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute (MI-DDI) at Wayne State University established the Jane Vermeulen Leadership Award in her honor. Jane was an active member of MI-DDI's Community Advisory Council. This award will be presented annually to a Michigan resident with a disability who exhibits leadership in their local and/or disability community. The award recognizes Jane's passion for Self-Determination, self-advocacy, support for person-centered supports and community living for persons with intellectual or developmental disabilities - just the way Jane lived her life. The person chosen will receive a scholarship of up to $500 to attend a leadership training event or conference.
How to Nominate Someone or Apply for the Leadership Award Yourself
If you are a self-advocate, or know a self-advocate, who reflects the essence of Jane, please nominate yourself or them for this distinguished award.
The 2023 nomination period has closed.
The winner will be announced on the MI-DDI website on September 1, 2023. The award will be presented to the winner at the September 2023 MI-DDI Community Advisory Council meeting. The recipient will receive a scholarship of up to $500 to attend a leadership training event or conference.
2023 Jane Vermeulen Award Winner: Alex Kimmel
The inaugural winner of the Jane Vermeulen Leadership Award is Alex Kimmel. Alex was selected from a group of applicants to receive the award through a blind judging process. The selection committee was made up of members of the MI-DDI Community Advisory Council, on which Jane was a long-time member. Selection criteria include how a person exhibits leadership in different areas of their life and work. These areas include living the ideals of self-determination, self-advocacy, person-centered supports, supporting community living, and other leadership qualities.
Alex, also known as “The Self-Determinator”, is a speaker, trainer, and advocate for himself and others in the disability community. His core philosophies include supporting inclusion, celebrating neurodiversity, self-determination as a basic human right, and having no limits on one’s life regardless of disability. Alex exemplified these ideals when he was featured in one of MI-DDI’s Possibilities videos in 2017. Like Jane Vermeullen, Alex has a positive impact on the lives of those he comes into contact with on a daily basis. In addition to his community involvement and volunteer work, Alex provides training to health and human service professionals on the importance of self-determination and assisting individuals with disabilities to lead full, self-directed lives. Learn more about Alex on his website, https://www.alexkimmel.com/.
If you have any questions about the award nomination process, please contact MI-DDI staff at email@example.com or call (313) 577-2654.
The Jane Vermeulen Leadership Award has been officialy approved by Wayne State University.