December 2014 
Vol. 12
Table of Contents


A note from Matt

Give Miami Day 2014

Kids Crusaders Corner

2nd Annual Balloons & Tunes Party

Domestic Violence Outreach

ABLE Act -- Update

Aaron Bates -- My New Years' Resolution

Unity on the Bay

Nature Links

Shark Tank Project

Your Upward Journey

Litigation: Forced Institutionalization of a child

Happy Holidays!



Debbie and Matt standing in front of a Gingerbread House. A note from Matt....       
By: Matthew Dietz   


Happy Holidays!  We hope that all of our friends have a healthy and happy holiday season and new year.  In the past, when I was a private attorney, I used to always hope that I would never see the same client twice, as seeing an attorney is usually when something bad may occur.  However, at Disability Independence Group, we also have the opportunity to advance rights and opportunities without litigation, but instead by education, legislation and cooperation.  So if you have a question, please feel free to write or call.  We are here for you.


Logo for give Miami day 2014

By Debbie Dietz


Thank you to everyone that supported us on Give Miami Day 2014.  We were able to raise $5,479.67 from 24 different donors and the bonus pool.  We used some of the money to buy balloons and music for our 2nd Annual Balloons & Tunes Party at Broward Children's Center.  We were also able to buy a binding machine and a lamination machine for our wallet card project.  We will now be able to laminate the wallet cards in our office.

julie Kids Crusaders Corner  Kids Crusaders Logo

Tis the season! It's hard to believe that an entire year has gone by yet once again. Festive parties, cookie exchanges, twinkling lights, gently falling snow (depending on where you live...ours doesn't generally "gently fall"-it usually buries us overnight), time spent with family, shopping (way too much shopping), more shopping, wrapping and for a lot of families the traditional trek to the mall to wait in ridiculously long lines to have their little ones see "Santa". (click here to read more)

Nick sitting on Santa's lap and smiling


balloonsandtunes Rachel, Matt, and Devontee

2nd Annual Balloons & Tunes Party at Broward Children's Center.

By: Rachel Goldstein  


On December 19, 2014, Disability Independence Group celebrated the holidays with the infants, children, young adults, and employees at Broward Children's Center for its 2nd Annual Balloons & Tunes Holiday Party. It was a fun-filled day with DIG playing with the residents and giving each resident a balloon, with balloon options ranging from Disney princesses to snowflakes to Marvel superheroes, a DVD, with choices ranging from Diary of a Wimpy Kid to Superman to My Little Pony, and stickers. The 2nd Annual Balloons & Tunes Holiday Party was an unforgettable day and allowed DIG to make a difference in the lives of the infants, children, and young adults we serve by celebrating the holidays with them and spreading holiday cheer at Broward Children's Center.

Young girl with a santa stuffed doll and wearing an elf hat  Holiday party at BCCMatt and one of the girls at BCC


scales of justice

By: Sharon Langer


Miami Dade County created a one-stop center for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in 2008. It is centrally located at 2400 S. Dixie Hwy. It is called the CVAC, which stands for Coordinated Victims Assistance Center. There are over 30 organizations ranging from Dade Legal Aid for legal advice to The Millennials, a group of young men dedicated to eradicating family violence. They are open Monday through Friday, 9 to 5. You can obtain a temporary restraining order for your protection there, as well as services for you and your children. Since Miami Dade is a huge community, there are four other sites where you can get a court order of protection. (click here to read more)


There is HELP out there... you do not have to be alone and fearful. If you need assistance, call or visit the CVAC.   The phone number is: 305 285-5900.   They are there for you. If you have any questions, email me at


If you are interested in volunteering please contact Sharon Langer at

symbol for twitter, a blue square with a white lower case t. a blue twitter bird in a white square. Follow us on Twitter:  






Clip Art of a piece of paper curled at the ends that says the word law in the middle. ABLE Act -- Update


On Friday, December 19, 2014, President Obama signed the ABLE Act int law.  This law will allow eligible people with disabilities to have 529-style savings accounts to pay for disability related expenses.  To be eligible, the person must have a qualifying disability by the age of 26, the maximum contribution is $14,000 per year to a total of $100,000 at any time.  Once detailed regulations are available, we will provide additional updates.  

Headshot of Aaron Bates dressed in a suit and tie.My New Years' Resolution

By: Aaron Bates  

With the year 2015 right around the corner, I thought it would be nice to address the journey that was 2014 and what's ahead. 2014 was a big year for moving the needle on issues critical to the disability rights movement. In addition to various disability-specific laws passed and/or reauthorized, and States begin to pursue state-specific resolution(s) to the issues confronting our community. Most importantly, however, the United States Congress finally passed, and the President signed into law, the ABLE Act. The ABLE Act is a strong attempt to at least begin to address the financial disincentives to having a disability and being independent and/or gainfully employed. (click here to read more)


Alain and Chris Arroyo standing next to Matt Dietz at Unity on the Bay. Logo for Unity on the Bay

Thank you to Chris and Alain Arroyo for inviting us to Unity on the Bay on Sunday, November 30, 2014.  


The Church honored Matthew at their morning services at 9am and 11am.

Unity on the Bay    

411 NE 21st Street

Miami, FL 33137



Logo for Nature Links for lifelong learning Nature Links Food Truck with students working the truck and customers waiting in line to order food.

Saturdays By The Bay Graduation Ceremony & Celebration on
Historic Virginia Key Beach.

Jodi Engelberg, Diane Adreon, Debbie Dietz, and Lt. Barta holding a checksharkShark Tank Update...   

By: Debbie Dietz  


Our video is done!  We are so excited to share it with you.   You can watch the video on or website or at:


He is a teaser about the new video.


You can order your own wallet card for free on our website at:


Just fill out the online form and we will have them mailed to you within a week.  If you want to customize the card, please add the details in the comments section.

Animal Partners Logo

         Like our animal partners Facebook page at:



Amazon smile logo.  
                                      Shop Amazon Smile

A basket of colored chocolate medallions and 3 chocolate hand that say I love you in ASL. 

The videos have moved! 

We have moved the fair housing videos to our website. 

Please click


The cover of the book Your Upward Journey by Patricia Bochi       Head shot of Patricia Bochi. She is in front of a boat that is in the water.


In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey: It Is Easier Than You Think!, is a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale). I intend to promote the book through self-help seminars and sale of merchandise, such as mugs, journals etc.


The website is: 


Facebook and Twitter: Your Upward Journey



M.F. in her wheelchair smiling with a straw hat on her head  

Litigation: Forced Institutionalization of a child is a violation of constitutional rights


By: Matthew Dietz


Disability Independence Group vindicates the constitutional rights for a mother with a disability who lost her child to governmental abuse.


In 2011, the State of Florida removed a child, Marie Freyre with a severe disability from her mother Doris Freyre's care because of Ms. Freyre's need for additional assistance to care for her child due to her own disability. Doris Freyre has a back injury consisting of six herniated disks from a car accident and because she suffers from carpal tunnel syndrome. For fourteen years, Ms. Freyre cared for Marie in her home with additional supports and caregivers that were provided to Marie by virtue of a Medicaid Waiver. (click here to read more)

Group picture of DIG staff.  Jonathan, Sharon, Debbie, Matt, Rachel, Adriana, and Anastasia.
Not pictured: Aaron Bates & Erynn O'Brien


DIG would like to wish everyone a safe holiday season and a very Happy New Year!!!

see you in 2015! 


For more information about DIG and to find out how you can be involved, please call or email our executive director, Debbie Dietz at 305-669-2822 or

Disability Independence Group, Inc.
Expanding Opportunities for Persons with Disabilities.

Donate Now!

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