With great sadness, The Whole Person (TWP) announced that Candice Minear, Development and Community Relations Specialist, Resource Development Department, passed away unexpectedly on January 1, 2017 at her home. Candice began her career with TWP on December 9, 2013, as a Disability Rights Advocate, passionate to use her life experiences to champion independent living for individuals with disabilities seeking a more inclusive and accessible Kansas City community.
Ms. Minear received her Bachelor’s in Sociology from Missouri Western State University in 2009 and MPA from UMKC in 2013, with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management and Health Administration. She received certification as a peer mentor through the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, was a facilitator for teaching Living Well with a Disability classes, and became an Individual Education Plan Specialist through Missouri Parents Act (MPACT). Prior to being hired by The Whole Person in 2013, Ms. Minear was an intern in Senator Claire McCaskill’s Kansas City office, as well as a fundraising and resource development intern for the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City. She served on various Kansas City committees as an advocate for people with disabilities, including Vice Chair for the Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities, Recreation Council of Greater Kansas City, and KCPT Community Advisory Board, and was a representative for the Greater Kansas City Spinal Cord Injury Association in Washington DC for “Roll on Capitol Hill.”
Candice started the Life with Spinal Cord Injury or Related Disabilities Peer Group, piloted Youth Transition classes at Grain Valley High School, and attended IEP meetings upon request at area schools to help provide resources and work one-on-one with students on the independent living skills they need in preparation for their transition to adulthood. Candice was a member of the Kansas City Revolution Quad Rugby team and was a strong advocate for adaptive sports and very active in a variety of disability advocacy organizations throughout Kansas City. She coordinated an Adaptive Sports Day that featured quad rugby (KC Revolution), wheelchair basketball (KC Treadz), wheelchair softball, adaptive tennis (Wheel It Forward), hand cycling (Midwest Adaptive Sports), adaptive skateboarding and adaptive yoga. She would say, “If we got at least one person more involved in adaptive sports, then we achieved our initial goal.”
In her role as TWP’s Development & Community Relations Specialist, Candice shared her successes and challenges as well as resources with people with disabilities who also live with a spinal cord injury or diagnosis of a spinal cord related disorder. She was an avid speaker to the community about people first language, disability awareness and etiquette. Candice believed that people with disabilities should not be taken for granted. “While they may not have the same abilities as you, people with disabilities have strengths that make them viable assets to society. Having a disability did not change who I am, and I’m not your inspiration. I’m a strong, independent, hard-working woman, and I am the same as everyone else,” said Ms. Minear. “Candice embodied the TWP mission of living and working as independently as one can, despite her spinal cord injury. She was a great face to our organization and will be greatly missed.”