2005 Winner - Michele Johnson

Winner Michele Johnson

Michele Johnson is not the sort of person to take no for an answer. When she sets her mind to something, she plows full-speed ahead, determined to achieve her goal. 

Such is the case with Michelle’s search for employment. After her job search didn’t turn up any 
offers, the 24-year-old Silver Spring, Md. resident, who has cerebral palsy, decided to pursue her lifelong dream and start her own art business. A budding artist since her teens, Michelle is in the process of creating a business plan and has already made prints of her artwork that she has sold at craft shows and bazaars to gauge the response. 

When Michelle and her mother, Peggy, learned Michelle had won an Eric Fund grant to purchase a Dynavox voice output device, Michelle signed her response, “Thank you for helping me make all my dreams come true.” She is looking forward to using the device to get her business up and running. She says the Dynavox will help her communicate with potential investors, suppliers and customers to help her business be a success, many of whom don’t understand sign language, which is her primary means of communication at the moment. A self-described “people person,” Michelle is also looking forward to using the device to maintain her existing friendships and make build new ones. “Being able to participate in social activities makes me feel more normal and accepted by others,” she says.