Adapting With Alex Garrett

Adapt With Alex!

Tag: disability

Alex Garrett Podcasting Loves LA!

It may be becoming an old adage to just buy that plane ticket , but it’s so true!

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d have the guts to take time for myself and yes a significant other and decided she and I should get the plane ticket to…Los Angeles ! Yet we did!

Adaptability in Los Angeles was not bad , really as my girlfriend was in a power wheelchair and I’d say 90% of the trip was accessible !

I described our experience on my podcast ( and my YOUTUBE under the beautiful Palm Trees of LA!

WithMedia Shows Us Disabilities Are Not Just Something We Honor Every July 26th!

I’ve had the pleasure to talk with Howard Renensland , founder of WithMedia, the media company founded for AND BY people with disabilities!

Find out about WithMedia at!

He is driven to give people with disabilities a chance in media that the mainstream may still be hesitant to hire in 2021! Hear from Howard about his passion to provide opportunities to those with disabilities and cover their stories on WithMedia!

I’ve also gotten the chance to talk with VP of Content Development, Sam Tavarez! Sam , a graduate of the Henry Viscardi School, discussed what it’s like being a creative in the disabled community and his passion also for providing a voice for the voice-less in the community! Take a listen to our conversation HERE

Being Selective While Being Disabled

Next month, the disabled community works towards gaining more acceptance 31 years after the signing of the Americans With Disabilities Act. While the work is never done smashing stigma and gaining acceptance, let’s adapt the goal! Let’s be selective!

Selectivity is a topic that has come up over the last week, so I feel compelled to write about this idea! I also think God has put us where we are meant to be in life, and gives us the intuition to be selective !

I promise you , I am not jaded about people. I LOVE people, I love socializing. This pandemic has made me too anxious about not seeing friends again if I’m honest. Yet, I am more eyes-open about people’s motives having about 11 years into adulthood now.

To be widely accepted has been excited , to be able to announce in college had been exciting has heck. I was happy-go-lucky and wanted to be friends with everybody because that is my nature . All my life , I never thought I couldn’t make friends because I have one leg . If I didn’t think people would gravitate and I couldn’t get the nerve to gravitate toward people, I would have just stayed home!

Yet, in college , there were a couple people who saw the energy I was putting out there and DRAINED me. I was pushed around on my skate by a ‘friend’ and he almost knocked me over. I had enough of that friendship, especially when it felt financially tied together. Friendship shouldn’t be bought, it’s a lesson I’ve learned for years. It also was my awakening to the fact that maybe I did try to be friends with everybody . Again, I did that just because that who is I am. Regardless, some I feel in the disabled community consciously try to become friend with everyone because they are scared to be selective . It’s 2021, DON’T BE SCARED TO BE SELECTIVE!

On the outside looking in some might think we have trouble making friends. So, I’ve seen they take that thought and try to be buddy-buddy only for ulterior motives to be revealed as things move along, specifically someone like my former college friend . On dating, some might think we try too hard instead of point blank putting in the effort to get to truly know us and to understand us!

While we want acceptance, knowing our worth in this world will gain acceptance even more and move our life forward. We also have to face the fact , not all can accept us as is, and it’s ok to not accept all into our sphere. Let me write that again, not all can accept us as is, and it’s ok to not accept all into our sphere.

If we are selective, it can also help us stay healthy. Mentally trying to make a friendship work will actually deter us from staying healthy. Being wrapped up in relationship worries that don’t work out because we feel we can’t do better will bring us down a few notches also.

Let’s keep smashing stigma in 2021. Prove that we don’t have trouble , we just really are selective! I’ve got a good corps of good friends that I can rely on and just have fun times with, that’s all I can really ask for!

Adapting With Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame

Two years ago today, the world grieved with France as the iconic spire of Notre Dame went up in flames . The meme above popped up in my Facebook memories!

It’s amazing this was posted a day and a year before the spire of Notre Dame burned. As kids, Notre Dame Cathedral was introduced as home of The Hunchback of Notre Dame…while the bells may be silent this truth rings true every day! Let’s smash stigmas like the Hunchback while remembering the grief of 2 yrs ago!

When I first posted the meme above in 2018, below is the message I wrote!

“Not all heroes where capes : they have power chairs and wheelchairs too; they have walkers or scooters ; they have a Dynavox to help their message get out into the world …it’s true Hunchback was a rarity in the Disney family as it wasn’t someone like Hercules or Tarzan or even John Smith but a Hunched back man. Disney turned what some viewed as a horror because the whole idea of a hunched back man trying to help is just sooo taboo into a glorious movie ! let’s stop normalizing Normal because that’s already been done. Let’s start smashing stigmas together , on and off the screen!”

Adapting To , Not Ridding, Disability

Below is a portion of a transcript from my January 15th podcast, ‘Adapting To, Not ‘Ridding’ Disabilities’.

Article referenced in the DurangoHeraldOpinion by Tara Kiene on 1/8/21


‘I want you to be introduced to a woman named Tara Kiene. She’s the president CEO of Community Connections and in the Durango Herald she writes this incredible piece about changing the perceptions of the disabled community.

I think that is always what we need to do. We need to continue to smash stigma, but listen to how she writes about it. This is so cool. She wrote a great story. And what I would like to highlight are a couple of points that she made. ‘By focusing on people and ridding them of their disabilities, we discount the capabilities they offer right there.’

I’ve often been encouraged to get a prosthetic like personally that has always been like someone saying, why don’t you do this? And I tried it and I wanted to try it on as an adult. But then I thought that wouldn’t be the real me, that rollerblading would stop if I had a prosthetic leg. And more importantly, it would not be me and who God made. So there’s a lot of reasons why I enjoy rollerblading around the city. I enjoy not having a prosthetic because I don’t believe in ridding anything I believe in overcoming it.

I believe in continuing to love it, roll with it and continue to roll on with it. Let me put it that way. The whole idea that we can reshape reframe abilities and disabilities is great to hear. I want to hear more of that. I want to hear you’re this and we’re going to make it so that you can do this. We’re going to love on you and you’re going to do it. That’s how luckily my family raised me. I feel, and that’s how my friends were raised in the disabled community.

She said many people with learning disabilities find that they have struggled with reading. And because of that, they developed extraordinary memories and that benefits them in their later careers. Also, can we stop hiring people just because it feels good. It’s a feel good story. Hire them because they deserve to be hired. Hire them, not just to talk about diversity, or to meet a quota, hire them because you see something in them that maybe someone, a business down the road doesn’t see in them or refuses to seeing them hire them. Because you know, they can do a good job. Not because it’s some nice community service award.

The disability community is more than inspirational. It’s more than a community service effort to get them included. We’re just here we are amongst you. And the moment we say, yeah, he’s being hired or she’s being hired because of what she can do. Not because she’s overcoming what she can’t do. We’ll be in a better spot. The more we say I’m hiring you because I want to, I know you can do something. I know you’re working on whatever you’re dealing with and I want to see that work in my company, not to get some newspaper article about how this company hired this person. I mean, it’s nice, but that’s not why we exist.

The community and the adapting exists because we choose to exist. We choose to adapt to whatever we got going on.

And I hope you realize that. I hope you feel it. I hope if you’re a business owner listening to this, that you feel even more inspired to bring on people differently, abled, disabled people, whatever you want to say. And not because you want to feel good about yourself because you know, they can do the job. You know, they are equal opportunity for a reason, not just because it says so on some plaque, but because you know that they can do it. And I’m glad there are programs to help people who get frustrated, who get down, who don’t know if they can do it. There are programs there to help. I love that, but you know what I love even more. The fact that companies can take a risk on someone, not the average, Joe, not your regular someone who’s been stigmatized.

Those who see the stigmatizedfor more than just what’s on the cover. It takes a community effort, but there’s also no doubt that community embraces not memorializes it or highlights it as some great community service. It should be accepted that people with disabilities can do something amazing. It shouldn’t be some shock to people. It shouldn’t be like that meme that says it takes one disabled person to screw in the light bulb, and five others who are inspired by it. It shouldn’t be that way.

Let’s stop as a society assuming disabled people can’t adapt. Can’t learn. Can’t relearn. Can’t restudy. Can’t get themselves back on track, but let’s hire because we know they can do great things and not just for a photo op, but for the betterment of a company. Kudos to Tara Kiene for this article. I definitely want to bring her on and see what we can do and see how we can cover neurodiversity. We’re adapting, we’re re-framing. And we are living. Come with us as we live together in these crazy, crazy times.’

Bringing EB Awareness With Robbie Twible

Pic by Alicia Gonzalez (@iamaliciagonza)

welcome a family friend , Robbie Twible, who discussed his journey living with Epidermolysis Bullosa. The below transcript put together by Rev Transcripts!

Link to the full interview here: (

Alex Garrett:
I remember when you were just a little kid running around the campus at Queens college and doing the athletics. Now you are in college yourself, first of all, tell us your journey and then how things have been.

Robbie Twible:
So right now I’m at Farmingdale State college. I’m studying sports management and I actually just completed my first semester today. It felt like Groundhog day with the COVID.

Alex Garrett:
If you’ve ever been to Queens College Softball on EB Awareness Day, that’s a day, we honor Robbie,. How are you doing with the EB? And maybe give us a little bit about the condition as well as how you’re overcoming that to do college, to do life, to do the podcast.

Robbie Twible:
Yeah. I was born with Epidermolysis Bullosa. So like Alex said EB for short. It’s a rare genetic skin disease where I’m missing the glue that holds the layer of the skin together. So any friction or any, any trauma to the skin comes off very easily. Over half my body is missing skin. I’m doing well. I’m blessed because there’s like clinical trials, over at Stanford university in San Francisco. They injected collagen seven into the skin. They actually grasped it and that’s, and that’s, uh, I’m still in a process of that as going well, you know, I just take it day by day.

Alex Garrett:
Talk about Ellen, I mean, she was, she’s a very influential part of your life. So she had you on, am I right?

Robbie Twible:
Yes. I have to mention Justin Timberlake. Such a nice guy, came backstage and met with me for 10 minutes. Talking Broadway and just reall nice. And, uh, that would never have happened without him. It was my dream to meet him and to meet Ellen and to be on her show. His publicist has her friend, a producer on the show and she told him my story. And so my mom got a phone call from the Ellen DeGeneres show saying, Hey, uh, we heard Robbie’s story. We would love to have you come down here just to have you in the audience.

Robbie Twible:
it was a big commitment for my parents because they had to pay for, uh, travel and hotels. So just to have me sit in the audience that was, you know, in their mind, that first was a big commitment on their part, but thank God we did. They hid me in the green room and they were prepping us for questions. They were prepping us and told us they were going to do it as we’ve just been featured on EllenTube. We went into the audience. I knew something was up when Ellen went on and invited me up with my family. And it was a fortunate experience. Uh, I’ll never forget. And she actually even invited me back for her famous probate giveaways, which was even, uh, another experience. That was amazing.

Alex Garrett:
You mentioned your parents and obviously Rob, um, has been a very good father and you’re your mom as well? A great mom. What does, what have they meant to you in your life so far in your very young life? I should say,

Robbie Twible:
Oh, everything. Uh, my parents always support me and they’re always there for me and they care of me. I don’t have a nurse. Without them. I, you know, I really wouldn’t be where I am today. I would not, I would not be in a good position. They are on top of taking care of me and my sister.

Alex Garrett :
There’s people out there who are overcoming daily and Robbie Twible is no exception now for the fun part, your podcast. Tell me about it.

Robbie Twible:
So I started at the beginning of the pandemic. It’s called Robbie interviews. It’s found on YouTube and it’s basically like a zoom interview. 20 minutes each person, which is sports people, uh, like, basketball head coach of Hofstra. And Iona head baseball coach, Paul Panik, but then, uh, we transitioned to, Survivor season 39 Winner, Tom Sheehan. I’ve done 11 of them, uh, as the episodes go on, I’m sure you find this out too. It’s hard to get people to come on. Uh,

Alex Garrett:
I know Robbie you’re out there, any organization that you think you could recommend that you’ve worked with as well to help the cure for EB.

Robbie T:
Yes. It’s called EDRP, and they really do tons of research. They are really the backbone of research . Uh Keneally they are funding many, many projects that are really looking good, you know, getting cures. So I would, if you could donate that really mean a lot. And for all the other kids who suffer from EB, that would be great.

How Adapting With Alex Began: Part 2

Somewhere out there the saying exists that “90% of life is showing up.” Spending nearly 100% of my time rolling up daily, there is this constant reminder that yes rolling up or showing up MATTERS, it moves YOUR life’s ball forward.

In 2000, as our family’s adaptation to rollerblading continued, so too did the blessings come of numerous opportunities. As I was starting to roll my wheels, my family and I would have the opportunity to roll to Variety the Children’s Charity’s special telethons AND radio-thons as a junior spokesperson for the organization. These wheels, after Cousin Bruce Morrow took me under his wing, went to support Variety at Trump Tower, at different golf outings and the wish well dinners that got the movie theater chains involved in helping kids in the tri-state area! Brucie encouraged us to go wherever Variety was, including in Queens. From age 8–18, Variety had asked us to join their Christmas party. Without fail, every December included a trip to Variety Boys and Girls club in Queens. I loved rolling on that stage to address the kids who may not have seen someone differently-abled, and I even loved their questions afterwards!

When I thought about this chapter, I was thinking of where exactly have these wheels been put to positive, foundation-building use. One place that I honestly love rolling to every December is HVS. While going to school there was exciting, getting to do the wheelchair basketball sportsmanship tournament every year as an announcer is always special. Especially when you get to see the K-12 kids‘ smiles after they make baskets to win and then wheel up the court with that smile as they get set to play defense. As a student, I couldn’t ride a roller-blade or public transportation to school due to safety risks, but to do it in adulthood for a cause even bigger than a grade is always special!

Competing in the Games for the Physically Challenge was great and fun and yes character-building until age 21. Being aged out competitively hasn’t stopped my passion to be around these athletes and around the Games family. To be able to roll to Mitchel Field each and every June as a volunteer is just as enriching. It’s a weekend where adapting looks EFFORTLESS a chance for kids to be kids, feeling loved and accepted in their own skin!

For me it’s one thing to say how fun it is rollerblading, but it’s even more exciting to share that these wheels haven’t been just for fun. They are my lifeline and help me help those around us give back! I’m very honored and feel blessed that those around us have been there whether at HVS, The Games, Variety and the other organizations giving back to the community!

How Adapting With Alex Began: Part 1

Over the years , many have paved a path in my life for me to follow along right up to this blog post. That is where the backstory of ‘Adapting With Alex ‘ starts. Because of all the kindness, love and opportunities from all around, I can say God has me here writing you tonight and looking to pay it forward through this network!

That kindness, love and opportunity for life was firstly created by my mom and dad and entire family! They believed in that NICU fight that we would get through it, 77 days later we did and we DO nearly 30 years after the inaugural January release from the NICU.

My family wasn’t alone in that belief, the NICU unit and the amazing Doctors and nurses at then- St. Luke’s Roosevelt cared and made sure round the clock care was there for those in the NICU. We as a family are very blessed to have that connection, which we maintain ever year by visiting the remaining nurses on 10/20, my birthday.

Physical adaptations were provided over the years from the encouragement to walk to a walker to the uniqueness of the rollerblade. In between those years and beyond, our family has been provided numerous crutches thanks to WalkEasy each year. WalkEasy has even helped us when the crutches would break down due to active use! We were provided multiple tries at a prosthetic leg by Charlie our orthotics maker through the Henry Viscardi School. Eneslow has helped us with adaptive shoe insoles over the years as well.

The brainpower of my father, the approval and support of mom and my stepdad Vic as well as my family paved the way to rollerblade, that to me is the most natural adaptation ever made starting at the age of eight. Not only has it saved my foot YEARS, it’s also brought me to different experiences which I’m sure our tiny cluster never thought imaginable.

The social adaptations were made available to us through the love and care of so many and ramped up soon after the wheels took off in 1999. Adaptive sports has been my true love! I want to thank my dad for installing running into my life at the age of 2.5 at NYRR Pee Wee Races. The New York Road Runners also helped us and many in other groups like Achilles make running adaptable!

I want to thank the Henry Viscardi School for giving us all a chance to be adapting in baseball, football, hockey and wheelchair basketball! Our gym coach, Mike Sweeney is awesome and wheelchair basketball lead Joe Slaninka as well as Joy Krebs have inspired us to stay adaptive and active for all these years!! Anthony Fitzgerald, HVS associate, runs adaptive football at Eisenhower Park, for those interested!

I want to thank the likes of Susan Maxwell, Nassau CountyGames for the Physically Challenged founder the last 30+ years at Eisenhower Park and Mitchel Field. Volunteer Dominic introduced my dad and I to the competition at the age of 4 and 5. The Games family has grown, and I highly recommend you check us out if you have friends or family that might find it time to get out there, compete and enjoy a late May, early June competitive weekend! (,join%20us%20again%20in%202021.)

The thanking doesn’t stop there, but I’ll make this a series because I want to hone in on the adaptive sports for now. Having been born with just the one leg, seeing amputees overcome having an ENTIRE limb removed and kick ass in life, is what has inspired me to start ‘Adapting With Alex’. I’m ready to pay the adaptation opportunities forward to those who are still unsure how to adapt, or afraid to!

It takes a network, and I’d LOVE you to join this journey whether you are a company that helps people adapt and want to share your story OR have a story of your own of adapting, I’m all ears !


Adapting With Alex Interview Transcript One: Able News

As I continue to launch ‘Adapting With Alex’, I look forward to bringing you the transcript of each conversation that has taken place and that will be my blogpost content! We first kick this off with Angela Mellady, publish for Able Newspaper, a prominent paper which helps the disabled community adapt! 

Interview Aired 11/2/20 on ‘Adapting With Alex Garrett’ 

Alex Garrett (00:00): 

We’re going to talk about the adaptations to the election process for those with disabilities. And I couldn’t think of a better paper, a better organization to talk to then Able News. That’s right. If you’ve ever been to the games for the physically challenged, or have you ever been to Henry Viscardi school? You see Able News right there and I’ve got the publisher, Angela Mellady on. It’s so nice to have you on. And finally, I get involved with Able. Thanks for joining me today. 

Angela Mellady (01:29): 

Thank you, Alex. 

New Speaker (01:31): 

You guys are iconic. You’re seen everywhere, but you are focused on this election. So let me first ask about the adaptations that you guys have noticed at the election booth has been easy for people with disabilities to vote this year. Have you had any problems, have you heard of any problems or help people? Even 

Angela Mellady (01:51): 

We, we usually hear about it after the fact, but I know that there were many adaptations. I’ve been on an adapt voting Zoom every week where they have been preparing and they were able to get online applications and mail-in ballots and voting online. So this, there were plenty of ways to do it. I’m just not sure how, if there were any glitches and we won’t know that until after the election, after tomorrow, probably 

Alex Garrett (02:26): 

So it’s easier to maneuver around the city and the voting booth, but I will say New York City has this fast pass for people with disabilities. We didn’t know how they knew, but they gave us a fast pass. And I’m sure you’ll hear some of that too. In New York city, that they were able to do that for people with disabilities, they gave you a fast, they did, it was kind of like a ticket. And I would able to go to the front of the line. I’m not sure how many others got it, but I know that I had been able to use that. So I’m great. 

Angela Mellady (03:00): 

You know, my son, my son lives in Brooklyn and he had some kind of card also. He’s not disabled, but he waited online actually for two hours. But, but I didn’t know what that card was. Cause I’m on long Island. I’ve never seen that before. We don’t need any ID here to vote. So I wonder if everyone got a pass and, and you’re the ones for people with disabilities we’re special. 

Alex Garrett (03:24): 

Now, Angela, I gotta ask it made the front page of able on the newspaper. Why is this election front page material for the disabled community? 

Angela Mellady (03:38): 

Well, the presidential election is always an issue. It’s always on our front cover in this month. We actually featured it in October and November. We compare the two presidential candidates and their policies and the November one is just kind of reminding people to vote and to look back at the November issue to see what, what the policies are. 

Alex Garrett (04:10): 

And what did you guys find? 

Angela Mellady (04:13): 

Well, this healthcare is important. Healthcare is very important to people with disabilities. I think normally Democrats are a little bit more sensitive or a lot more sensitive to people with disabilities. All of the issues that people with disabilities have, the discrimination factor and the affordable care act of course is important. Economic security; paid leave for caregivers; disability programs, SSD and keeping people in their homes rather than putting them in nursing homes. It’s always a big issue trying to keep people out of facilities. 

Alex Garrett (05:56): 

It’s a little nerving when you find out that your caregivers are on the COVID floor and then come to you and you pray. 

Angela Mellady (06:23): 

Yeah, that would be pretty unnerving, even, even just people going from one home to another is a little scary people with disabilities, many are so vulnerable and in poor health to begin with. Having attendants go from one place to another or coming back and forth on the subways or buses, public transportation really has to be very, very careful. 

Alex Garrett (07:05): 

We are talking with Angela Mellady, she’s the publisher of Able News. Now you guys have always been sort of seen as an advocate for the community. What have you been advocating for, especially during this time election aside during COVID alone? 

Angela Mellady (07:21): 

Well, we like to think of ourselves as, uh, an independent news organization rather than advocates, but we actually started the paper in 1991. As time went on, I think, I think we’ve turned into more advocacy settings than just plain news. We try to be even handed. We try to supply the news without bias, but much news about people with disabilities is biased towards helping people with disabilities. 

Alex Garrett (08:00): 

How do you hope to shape the message for people who aren’t in the community, how do you try and get it Able News to the able-bodied community? 

Angela Mellady (08:22): 

We have two editions, a New York City edition and a Long Island edition. And we, we also, we don’t know, we, we put the paper in all the libraries. So it used to be in New York when the New York edition is now only online, but when it was a print edition, it would be in all libraries. So that’s how we get to the able-bodied community. They pick it up in library sometimes, you know, when you go to a diner or something or some or grocery store, sometimes there are papers out there. So we try to distribute to able-bodied people as much as possible because people just don’t understand that unless it’s happening to them, it is getting into a restaurant. One step is like a mountain to a person in a wheelchair. Most people who are able-bodied don’t understand. So we try, we try to get the word out that way. 

Alex Garrett (09:39): 

Angela, I have been trying to focus this podcast back to adapting and really making sure people know there are resources for adaptation and you guys deal with that. Like you partner with people who have adaptive leanings and can help people adapt. Do you want to weigh in on that? Like, cause I see all the ads and all the people that you have in there. How do you guys help the community adapt? 

Angela Mellady (10:10): 

How do we help the community adapt? I guess just, just getting the word out and, and telling people how to adapt. I mean we have ads like TracFone, which is available to people with disabilities ramps. We even have dating ads, um, and all kinds of different, different, um, kinds of, uh, adaptations. Actually, most of our ads in the paper and in our stories are geared toward people, making their homes or their businesses more accessible. 

Alex Garrett (11:01): 

What goes into the process of choosing what story is fit to print in Able News? 

Angela Mellady (11:13): 

We get a tremendous amount of, emails and we searched through that and, um, we have people pitching stories to us. Whatever’s relevant to the community is what we use. We try not to do any stories that are general stories. Like if, if there’s not an actual disability content or link, we don’t use the story. 

New Speaker (11:45): 

Focused on that mission to narrow in on that helps you guys expand in the community. 

Angela Mellady (12:07): 

I would, I would think. Yeah. Yeah. 

Alex Garrett (12:10): 

How many people would you say look to Able News for their stories, for things that maybe even can uplift them during this time? 

Angela Mellady (12:20): 

We put out 8,000 print copies every month and we have about, uh, 5,000, I think readers online. 

Alex Garrett (12:33): 

That’s a, that’s a great number. And again, it’s sort of like a hidden gem because to me, I find that the, the adaptation world, the good news from the disabled community is kind of like not on the mainstream. And that’s, that’s why I want to bring you guys into the light and tell people, yes, there is an outlet. And also for people who let’s say are afraid to adapt, would you say there’s that too? Like, we want to inspire people to adapt. And, and because there is a number of people that don’t know how to adapt a certain situation. Wouldn’t you agree? 

Angela Mellady (13:03): 

Are you talking about people with disabilities that are afraid to adapt or organizations or businesses? 

Alex Garrett (13:11): 

Well, I think all three, but certainly people who may have had an amputation or who became disabled or families. I mean, it’s not an easy thing to adapt. So how do you guys help them ease into that process? 

Angela Mellady (13:24): 

Well, we were through the different stories we run. I know that people who, who have a new disability are always, always very frightened. They don’t want to accept it. Um, and it takes time. It’s like a mourning process even, uh, sometimes. And, um, they, their families have to help them and work with them and, and try to understand what’s happening. It’s, it’s a lot to learn and a lot to, to go through to figure out everything that needs to be done and what everything that’s available to them. 

Alex Garrett (14:02): 

And again, the powerful stories in addition to the people that you work with to help the powerful stories, I think give a uplifting feeling as well. Wouldn’t you say? 

Angela Mellady (14:11): 

I would hope I would hope that’s really, our goal is to help people and to have them, uh, uplifted and, and just to really just get good information. 

Alex Garrett (14:24): 

Well, any favorite stories that you’ve printed election aside, any favorite stories that you’ve printed over the last couple of months that, that people should really keep their eyes on for some uplift during this time? 

Angela Mellady (14:37): 

Well, I personally love our tribute to Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the things that she’s done for disability community, the decisions, that she’s made as far the Olmstead decision she did, she did, uh, she wrote the decision instead and, um, she was an advocate. Um, a lot of our stories are about legislation and what’s happening for people with disabilities. We have back to school tips. And since COVID hit, we’ve been doing a lot. I mean, at the beginning, we, had almost halted issues about COVID and how to make your way through and how to get what you need. Um, there’s one, one story we did in the October issue where families who, um, were concerned about losingtheir home care, uh, and possibly having their loved ones put back into institutions,. We did a story of an automobile rally that I think started in Montauk and went all the way up to Albany. They referenced Willowbrook as, as a horrible, horrible situation that they don’t want to go back to. 

Alex Garrett (16:12): 

Sure. Well, let’s talk about the drive by, because I know that’s uplifted the community a lot because, you know, some people were, a lot of people with disabilities were afraid to go and because of the immune system and everything, but the drive-by’s really uplifted people. And I’m sure you wrote about that enable 

Angela Mellady (16:35): 

We did zooms more than drive-bys actually, we did do a drive by for Angela’s house. Um, I don’t know if you know, Angela’s house, uh, I know organizations, Suffolk County where, um, their children who are so medically fragile that they can’t stay in their own homes. Bob Policastro, uh, started the organization and they buy homes and they retrofit them so that these children can stay in these homes with aides and help. They did a zoom thanking their caretakers, and that was on our front page one month. 

Alex Garrett (17:23): 

That’s so, that’s so cool. 

Angela Mellady (17:26): 

Yeah, then also Angela’s house. They do drive by birthdays. Um, they put out big signs all over the front lawn, if it’s one of the children’s birthdays and the families come and, um, I’d spend time with them, 

Alex Garrett (17:41): 

You know, Viscardi, my, my Alma mater my home, my roots, they actually tried to get the Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, or however it was mixed schedule and, and have the kids back to school a little bit. I mean, that was quite an effort. 

Angela Mellady (18:08): 

I haven’t seen that Viscardi did that. Were they successful? 

Alex Garrett (18:13): 

They had a couple of cases, but it sounds like they had it under control. 

Angela Mellady (18:22): 

I’m very concerned about, about the schools. I know children with disabilities need to that, that one-on-one, they need the in-person attention. It’s just so hard with, with the zoom, uh, trying to, trying to teach them that way. 

Alex Garrett (18:42): 

I, yeah, I can only imagine it’s, it’s gotta be frustrating for the parents as well, but you said you did a lot of COVID coverage. Did you find a lot of people coming to Able for, uh, for something during this to, to hold onto to say, yes, we can get through this. 

Angela Mellady (19:03): 

You know, we don’t get a lot of feedback like that. I mean, we send the papers out and we, we, we get compliments very often, but we don’t usually get specific, um, back that kind of specific, uh, Oh, this helped me, or that helped me, but we did, we did. I’m sure. I’m sure. I mean, we have, we have, every month we have a letter from the commissioner of the mayor’s office for people with disabilities, (Victor Calise), talking about what what’s new. It started. He started to, yeah. He started writing when COVID started and he’s been doing it every month on our page in our New York edition. And he gives a lot of information. 

Alex Garrett (19:47): 

If people do want a story to give to Able, how can they do that? How can they be part of this, uh, mission and journey you guys are on and maybe, you know, get their word out through you guys, like, Hey, things are going to be okay. 

Angela Mellady (20:06): 

Whatever they have of interest to people with disabilities, they certainly can send it to That’s where our editorial comes in. 

Alex Garrett (20:19): 

And do you find that I’m sure you find a lot, especially during this time people writing to you? 

Angela Mellady (20:26): 

Yup. Yup. Hundreds, hundreds of emails we get every month 

Alex Garrett (20:31): 

How do you make the cut for Able news? 

Angela Mellady (20:42): 

I actually go through all the emails and, um, I just pick out the, the ones that, that are important, the ones that have good information. Um, it’s, I don’t know. It’s just, uh, there are a lot that come in and a lot to get discarded it. Again, some things don’t have a direct, um, uh, direct disability hook, so we don’t use, um, but the there’s a lot of good, good information, and it does come in that way. 

Alex Garrett (21:25): 

Obviously, you guys are very in tune with the Games for the Physically Challenged and I always love seeing your, your paper out there. What’s that mean to write that up on the keynote speaker every year, like you do really good work, great work on that. I’ve always wanted to know about the behind the scenes of that. 

Angela Mellady (21:47): 

We also have the athletes writing little pieces, um, about their experiences at the games. I don’t know if you ever saw that we do the keynote speaker on the cover. And then inside, we have the actual athletes doing, uh, we’ve used their picture and their school name and their age and how they feel about the games, which they, they enjoy that. The Games are really special to me. I was with the games before we started Able Newspaper, which started in 1985. And I I’ve been a volunteer ever since. And again, the games are really a very special program. I don’t know if you know, but there, there were 30, I think 30 committee heads that actually run the games. They’re all volunteers. They’re a one, two, three people at the top that are, that are not volunteers that are paid, but every aspect of the games has, has a committee head. So, uh, there’s a water committee. There’s a food committee. 

New Speaker (23:08): 

There’s the awards committee. There’s track and field basketball. All of them really. And they all put it together, you know? 

Angela Mellady (23:18): 

Yeah. And that, those, those, those committee heads are the same people that started in 1985. They keep coming back year after year after year, because they love it so much. 

Alex Garrett (23:31): 

And so you’re still obviously going to the games even at Able. You still come through and that it’s always special. I used to do that from five to 21 and I love coming back to volunteer and, uh, it was pretty cool. That’s the community we’re in. It’s a very tight knit. 

Angela Mellady (23:52): 

Yes, absolutely. Absolutely. Every year. I mean, people it’s like a family. It’s, it’s just, we all come back and just enjoy seeing each other again. After, after a whole year, we kind of missed it this year. Cause we had to cancel them. 

Alex Garrett (24:07): 

Well, I ended up calling a lot of, uh, a lot of our friends there just to catch up with my dad and I, we were all sitting together. We were sitting together calling all these different people like Susan Maxwell and it was just so cool to just hear their voice. At least, even though it couldn’t happen this year. Uh, but I would say the tight knit community overall is what gets us through these kinds of crises. Wouldn’t you say? And actually helps us with that. 

Angela Mellady (24:30): 

Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Even, even enabled by the community. People, your friends, your, your associates, everybody coming together keeps it, keeps us going. 

Alex Garrett (24:46): 

From Able News, Angela Mellady, I always like to ask all my guests this, what is one thing? You’re the community and your friends and family may not know about you that you’ve never shared, but are willing to like, what’s one thing people don’t know about the publisher of able news. 

Angela Mellady (25:04): 

Wow. I’d love to have someone else take over the paper so that I could retire, but I don’t think I’ve told anyone that, but, uh, 

Alex Garrett (25:26): 

Breaking News! We have a retirement announcement. Not yet, not yet, but I guess soon enough, 

Angela Mellady (25:32): 

Right. Hopefully I hate to just have to walk away from it and not keep it going. I know a lot of people do get a lot of information from it. So I would hate to have to just stop. So I’m about to start looking for ways to keep it going. 

Alex Garrett (25:54): 

Well, anything that Adapting with Alex Garrett could do, what can we do to help you in that process? 

Angela Mellady (26:01): 

I guess, find someone who’s interested in, in publishing a newspaper either. I think it would have to be an organization that’s involved with people with disabilities or a group of newspapers that would add it to their, to their collection of newspapers that they publish. 

Alex Garrett (26:24): 

Well, I will definitely keep an ear out and an eye out and I can, uh, I can put some feelers out if you want, but for now, you’re still there, your soul at the helm. I guess it’s really to figure out what December is going to be, but I’m guessing it’s going to be an election result, recap type of thing. And what what’s next. 

Angela Mellady (26:45): 

Yeah, yeah. Um, yeah, depending on who wins, uh, it’ll, it’ll either be really good for the disabled community or maybe status quo. Um, that’ll, that’ll probably be December and looking forward to the next year and, and how we can start. I don’t even know if we’ll be able to start getting back to normal. I mean, Dr. Fauci doesn’t think we’ll be able to do that for almost another year, which is a little disheartening, but, um, it’s a very hard time we’re going through an especially hard for people with disabilities. 

Alex Garrett (27:30): 

Well, and that’s why I think talking about things that could be that, that are uplifting like you guys are doing and it’ll distract us from, from the reality of things. That’s, that’s what my hope is to just yes, face reality, but also what can we do to just say, Hey, there is some light here in this very dark tunnel and we seem to be in, and, you know, as the clock turns every year, it’s very tough with the sun. It just sets at like four o’clock and you’re like, what do I do now? Because it’s so dark out right now, you got a pandemic that this is happening. And I can’t imagine, um, what what’s going through people’s minds, but I guess the hope is to ease their mind. Right? 

Angela Mellady (28:11): 

Yeah. Yep. 

Alex Garrett (28:14): 

And so I would say Able Newspaper does that. They give you the, the real news and they also give you some, you know, positivity and uplifting. They say the newspaper positively for, by and about the disabled community. Are you guys on Twitter at all? Or 

Angela Mellady (28:32): 

We are, we are. We’re on both 

Alex Garrett (28:35): 

At Able News. I’m guessing. All right, well, we’ll find you there and we’ll tag it here and I’m Alex Garrett, Angela Mellady. Thank you so much for joining and giving us an insight into this beautiful paper that you guys are and, and please stay in touch. 

Angela Mellady (28:51): 

Thank you so much, Alex. 

Alex Garrett (28:53): 

This has been Adapting with Alex and remember to adapt with us each and every episode.