April is Autism Awareness Month

Meet Katie O’Connell: Disability Advocate and Client Council Vice President

I’m 28 years old, and I just joined Jubilee this past Fall. Right away I thought that I want to make friends here, and I want to help people speak up for themselves just like I do. I’m really involved with advocacy. I go to Annapolis often to talk about how having a disability affects my life and to ask lawmakers to support the disability community.

When the opportunity came up to run for Client Council vice president, I went for it! I was a bit of an outsider at first since I’m new to Jubilee. But then people got to know me as I gave my election speeches. I shared that growing up I was bullied for who I am. I want to change things so nobody is bullied for being different.

I’m excited to meet more people at Jubilee and to be involved through Client Council. I moved into my new house in September. I get along really well with my housemates Susan and Mary. We went to see the Christmas light display at the Mormon Temple together this winter and it was a lot of fun. The people who help me from Jubilee are very supportive. They help me out with daily tasks like taking my medications and healthy meals so that I can be independent.

I’m always on the go! I work hard at the library on the cleaning crew, and I have a great boss. Of course, I also advocate at the library for everyone on my team.

I call myself a Daddy’s girl, but it feels good to stand on my own too. I wanted a job, and to make my own way in life. With Jubilee’s help, I’m living on my own. With my advocacy work and now Jubilee’s Client Council I am making a difference for people like me.

Originally published in Jubilee’s Winter 2024 Connections newsletter.