Advancing the transformative benefits of ABLE
Ambassadors are CalABLE account holders who represent the diversity of California by the type of disability, age, gender, ethnicity and geographic region. Using their personal stories, they promote the benefits of CalABLE, empower individuals with disabilities to have greater independence, more financial security and an overall better quality of life.
Meet Your CalABLE Ambassadors
Ashley, the mother of Dylan, a nine-year-old boy with autism and rare chromosome duplications, is from Butte County. Dylan also has joint hypermobility and other medical issues.
Ashley is passionate about advocating for people with disabilities so that they can have the accommodations they need to be a part of their community. “Because of CalABLE, we were able to save for and buy a bigger car that fits my son’s new wheelchair!”
Brenda is from Los Angeles and is the mother of Gael, a 10-year-old boy who was diagnosed with intractable epilepsy at the age of five.
As a single parent and full-time caregiver, she found out about CalABLE from her Social Security Administration (SSA) office. She is saving for her son’s future and is excited about the program and what CalABLE can provide long term.
Patty is from Alameda County. Her son, Alex, is an individual with autism. Alex is pursuing a BA Degree in Art with a concentration in video and animation at Cal State East Bay and works part-time.
After Alex’s old laptop suddenly froze, he recently used his CalABLE account to purchase a new laptop so that he could complete and submit his homework assignment in a timely manner. Alex continues to be able to enjoy the benefits of having a CalABLE account for the different needs throughout his life.
Stephen is from Shasta County and the father of Bradley, his 22-year-old son who has autism. Bradley enjoys playing the game Candy Crush, swimming, and going for long walks.
“Having a CalABLE account helps Bradley live his best life and pursue his goal of Independence. His goal is to buy a house and a car.”
Dominika, who is 41 years old, is from Alameda County and works for a local government office. An immigrant from Poland, she has been disabled with a mobility impairment since birth.
Recently, Dominika used her CALABLE account to help fund her first home purchase and create an emergency fund for unexpected expenses. She also has a PhD in English and Disability Studies and is a writer and performer.
Jennifer is 33 years old and from Los Angeles County. She has multiple health conditions that result from what she describes as a “body built of pieces from a generic parts junkyard and old carpenter's glue.”
Jennifer became a CalABLE account holder as a result of an unfortunate experience that presented her with excess funds. Jennifer wants to make sure she can help others in similar situations. Trained in radio journalism in high school by an amazing non-profit, she loves food, music, dancing, animals, history, game shows from the Goodson-Todman library—and travel to wonderful places that makes life thrilling. If she has Minnie Riperton, ABBA, Marvin Gaye, or Ethel Merman on her record player, don't even knock—come back in 6 days!
Héctor Manuel Ramírez
Héctor is Apache and Mexican from Los Angeles County and resides in Yaanga, Tongva on the unceded ancestral lands of the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians.
Héctor is an individual with autism, a psychiatric disability and is hard of hearing. Also, he is systems-impacted, formerly homeless, and a formerly institutionalized person.
Héctor uses his CalABLE account as a wellness and transformational tool in his life. The CalABLE account also helped him put a down payment on his house because of donations from friends and family for his birthday. When he is not working, Héctor co-parents alongside his sister for his niece and nephew, a time-consuming but rewarding responsibility.
Héctor is on the board of directors with Disability Rights California and the National Disability Rights Network where he provides oversight & accountability of the nation's only legally based advocacy organization established by Congress to protect the rights of all individuals with disabilities in every state and U.S. territory.
Ryan M Hoag
Ryan is from Siskiyou County. He has had several head surgeries as a result of being born prematurely.
Ryan enjoys riding his electric bike and hanging out with friends and family members. Ryan is self-employed and an avid photographer. He uses his prepaid card and is saving money for emergency items and future vacations.
Valerie is 24 years old and from San Diego. She identifies as having numerous disabilities including being legally blind, a power wheelchair user, and lives with several chronic illnesses. Despite all of this, she continues to thrive!
Valerie is finishing up her general education at San Diego Mesa College and expects to transfer to CUNY School of Professional Studies to earn a BA in Disability Studies. She is a CalABLE account holder so that she can save money and makes a monthly contribution to her CalABLE account to afford the travel expenses for when she receives her next Service Dog. Related to her Service Dog, she is working on her own nonprofit “Respect the Vest”, which is another reason for saving money, in addition to the safety net of savings everyone should have.