Employing decades of technical subject-matter expertise, Disability Advocates of Kent County has built a stellar track record of providing ADA accessibility consultations of the highest quality. Yet, our commitment to continued process improvement revealed that we were underutilizing one of our strongest assets and comparative advantages: individuals with disabilities themselves!
With this in mind, we created the Absolutely Accessible Kent project to capitalize on the invaluable lived experience of user experts with disabilities. Check out this video for a sample of their work!
Our movement above has indeed built strong foundations and forward momentum grounded in expertise and experience. Yet, that expertise and experience are only possible due to the support of the individual, community, and organizational partners we have the pleasure of working alongside every day in this vitally important work toward building a more accessible and inclusive world for all.
Only in working collaboratively via shared experiences, skills, and wisdom from those with direct, first-hand perspectives are we able to make the most impact toward advancing best practices in diversity, equity, and inclusion that are grounded in and enhanced by complete accessibility. As such, while we look forward to connecting with all who might be interested in partnering with us, we especially relish opportunities to connect directly with individuals with disabilities, their families, and friends—who are admittedly our work’s real “secret sauce.” Whether you seek regular or occasional involvement, we want to hear from YOU!
Patrick Parkes oversees all things Absolutely Accessible Kent as the project’s unofficial “point person” and official Business Development Coordinator. As a wheelchair user born with cerebral palsy himself, Patrick brings lived experience to this role that was brand-new to Disability Advocates of Kent County as of June 1, 2020. He supplements this lived experience with professional experiences in the finance, public policy, and education sectors.
Specifically, he has worked in Broker-Dealer Operations for the global investment management and research firm Alliance Bernstein in Nashville, TN; as a Guest Teacher for districts throughout the Kent Intermediate School District in Grand Rapids, MI; and as the Fiscal Policy Analyst for Kansas Policy Institute in Overland Park, KS.
Patrick holds both a B.A. and an M.A in Political Science/Civic Leadership from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Additionally, he is a current MBA student at the University of Illinois’ Gies College of Business.
Outside of work, Patrick has enjoyed competing both nationally and internationally as a member of the U.S. National Team in the Paralympic sport of Boccia. Relatedly, he also serves as the Vice President and Athlete Representative on the USA Boccia Board of Directors.
Jackson Botsford has worked as Accessibility Specialist at Disability Advocates of Kent County since January 2015. His duties include organizing Accessibility Plan & Site Reviews, providing Information & Referral Services related to the Fair Housing Act, Accessibility Renovations & In-Home Accessibility; Consulting on readily achievable barrier removal; and Accessibility Training.
Jackson is Certified Aging in Place (CAPS), and earned his B.A. in Studio Arts from Aquinas College, Grand Rapids; and his B.A in Illustration from Kendall College of Art & Design of Ferris State University.
Kim Davey has worked as the Independent Living Services Manager at Disability Advocates of Kent County since March 2019. She oversees the organization’s Advocacy and Accessibility efforts, as well as the Information & Referral and Nursing Facility Transitions programs.
Prior to joining Disability Advocates, Kim worked for an organization in Denver and Omaha that serves people with developmental disabilities, served the United Way in Grand Rapids for eight years, and worked as the Public Information Director for the State Bar of Texas.
Kim earned her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Houston.
More about Rich
Rich Jones received his M.A. degree in counseling from Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. He served for over 40 years in human services as a minister, counselor, advocate, and administrator in both private and non-profit organizations including as Regional Director for the Office of Protection & Advocacy for the State of Nevada, and Director of Compliance & Quality Improvement for Mojave Mental Health Services in Las Vegas, Nevada, before retiring in 2015. Rich ended his retirement in 2018 to join Disability Advocates of Kent County where he oversees Community Education and Training.