Absolutely Accessible Kent

Breaking down barriers to build business. cultivate community. create access. foster inclusion.

Thank you to our Sponsors: Kendall College of Art and Design, Behler-Young Company, Downtown Grand Rapids Inc, Michigan Economic Development Corporation, Wolverine Building Group, AIA Grand Rapids, CopperRock Construction, Fair Housing Center of West Michigan, Fishbeck, Gerald R Ford International Airport Authority, Heartland Builders, Mathison and Mathison, Mobile GR, Peckham, Pioneer Construction, Spark 43 Architects, Viridis Design Group, Whiting Turner, Savvy Sliders, and AHC Hospitality

If you would like to sponsor Absolutely Accessible Kent Technical Workshop, please click the button below for more details. 

Being on the cutting-edge of design doesn’t mean extra costs. In fact, universal design means more access to more clients, customers, and family members. Whether you’re a builder, business owner or person with a disability, the following topics apply to you and could change your current view.

Why The ADA Isn't Enough

How universal design goes beyond ADA and why you should care…

Future-proof Your Space!

No organization is immune to the challenge of staying relevant.

How can you help?

If the idea of an “accessibility disconnect” was not apparent before, it likely is now.

The start of a movement

Disability Advocates Launches Absolutely Accessible Kent

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. 

DEIA: A Disability Perspective

Disability Advocates of Kent County is now offering diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) training for local businesses and organizations. This training helps professionals learn how to interact with people with disabilities. Disability affects one in five individuals. Any individual can acquire a disability at some point in their life.

In this training, we focus on disability. Most DEI presentations address race, socioeconomic status, and gender issues. However, disability can intersect with each of these areas, and it is a topic that people often overlook.

We also add a focus on accessibility. Accessibility deserves mention because it ensures equity and inclusion for people with disabilities. Disability is an expansive topic, and we know we cannot address everything one needs to know. However, we can offer a helpful overview and useful information for addressing disability issues in the workplace.

Our presentation covers disability definitions, signs of ableism, and basic tips for creating a more welcoming environment. 

Don’t miss your opportunity to be ahead of the curve! Book your training with Community Education Specialist Jon Cauchi today at jonathan.c@dakc.us.


Get Involved

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

Business Development Coordinator

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

Accessibility Specialist

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

Community Engagement & Advocacy Manager

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.

Jon Cauchi

Community Education Specialist

Jon Cauchi received his B.S. degree in disability studies from Western Michigan University. He previously worked as a Youth Transitions Specialist supporting young people with workforce development training. Today, Cauchi delivers diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA) workshops to local businesses and organizations. Cauchi serves on the board of the Michigan Athletic Association and provides summer camp programming to visually impaired students. Cauchi also participated in the recent class of the Grand Rapids Chamber of Commerce Leadership Program.