Little People of America — 2017 Ballot

Welcome to the 2017 Little People of America election.
You will be electing the following four positions to three-year terms:
Senior Vice-President
Finance Director
Membership Director

And these four positions to two-year terms: 
Programs Director
Public Relations Director
Development Director
Advocacy Director

Thank you for your attention to these important matters that will affect the future of Little People of America.
Ballots will be in your Spring 2017 LPA Today.  You may also print more ballots here.

Ballots must be postmarked by
Saturday, June 3, 2017
Exercise your rights!

President – Mark Povinelli

alt  A couple of years ago during an interview in St. Louis, I was asked a seemingly simple question: What does LPA mean to you? Perhaps it was the exhaustion, but about three sentences into my answer, I found myself getting choked up. LPA is where I found out who I was outside of my size. Ironically, the organization my parents and I entered as a toddler to help us all understand my dwarfism, allowed me to understand who I was without having my dwarfism define me.  What became apparent to me as I struggled through my answer was that I have a passion for LPA and all that it has provided for me. Now, I want to use that passion to continue to help the organization as President of LPA. I am asking for your vote and a vote for my lifelong friend, Jon North, as Senior Vice President.

For the past three years, I have served as Membership Director after a previous stint as Finance Chair for LPA. This position has given me an insider’s view of how the organization works, the duties of the presidency and the needs of the members. Among other accomplishments, as Membership Director, I’ve helped institute the Teen Ambassador Program, produced an informational video for, and created the Membership Committee to bring structural support and vision to LPA. I was also honored to be the Keynote Speaker at the Boston Conference. These experiences coupled with the 40+ years as a member of LPA give me the perspective to understand the responsibility of this office.

In my opinion, LPA has never been in better shape. Gary Arnold, the board, the staff, and the legions of volunteers, have placed LPA on solid footing. However, due to medical technology and a changing world, the next few years aren’t going to be without challenges. As president, it is my goal to continue the strides we have made supporting our mission, while also tackling some of the profound issues we have facing our community.

The rapidity with which medical technology is reshaping what we know is astonishing. Those advances won’t stop but as an organization I believe, it is vital that we keep sight of what binds us together and makes this organization so unique. We have a responsibility to give our children better and greater options of self-worth and belief than ever before while addressing and working with the medical community to promote our perspective along with their advances.

I also want to expand our reach to new members and especially new parents. In today’s world of information at one’s fingertips, our interpersonal stories, experiences and commonality has never been more important to offset the fears and trepidations of those just entering the world of LPA.

On a less emotional note, as President, I will work hard to continue the progress made in restructuring the organization to allow it to run more efficiently from National to the local chapters. With greater organizational alignment and cohesion we can give our volunteers a better opportunity to succeed and our members to have a more enjoyable experience.

As I try to convince you that my background, experience and goals make me the choice for President of LPA, I want to stress that my greatest attribute for the job is my passion. I have met my life partner and some of my greatest friends in LPA. I have gained confidence, empathy, understanding, and a ton of laughs through LPA. My children are going to grow up in the LPA we build in the next few years. As President, I hope this passion is infused into the board, its policies and ultimately its members. Thank you for your consideration.

President –
 Dan Verscha

alt  Hello, my name is Dan Verscha and I am running for President of Little People of America (LPA).  I was first introduced to LPA when I was only 6 years old. I was at the Iowa State fair and a woman approached my mom and said, “is that your son over there?" "Of course," she replied. The kind woman took her time and explained to us all about LPA and how this organization has assisted her family. At the time, I lived in Coal Valley, IL, right on the border of Illinois and Iowa, so it was easier for us to attend Iowa LPA events. We became members of the Tall Corn Chapter and attended several LPA National Conferences throughout my childhood.

Currently, I am a member of District 6, the MadRock Chapter. I have served one term as the MadRock Chapter President and I'm currently completing my second term (6-years) as the District Director. As District Director, I have planned and organized 11 financially successfully regionals. Two of which were joint regionals with District 9. As District Director, I have developed and currently maintain our website and Facebook group page, was instrumental in going print free and developed online registrations to save on printing and mailing costs. I also served one year as the Central Regional at Large Director, on the LPA National Board.

As far as my life outside of LPA, I have been married for 17 years and we have two awesome boys who are 5 and 9 years old. I have been working for Sedona Technologies, for the past 18 years as a Dealer Solutions Account Manager. My wife and I also own Action Photo of the Quad Cities. I am the one that shoots all the photos at LPA National Conferences and create videos for others to enjoy, that may not have been able to attend.

I am really excited about being your Little People of America President. I know that I have the knowledge, experience and dedication that makes me an excellent candidate for this position. I have 8 years of experience at the local level as a Chapter President and District Director to see the pain points that our officers face at this level. In addition, I can provide solutions to resolve these issues. My strengths are communication, organization and experience. I know when and how to lead both large and small groups, when to be a team player and when to delegate. As your President, my responsibilities would include leading national meetings for the members and meetings with the Board of Directors. This excites me, because I can listen and provide insight to each group to help move LPA forward. I will also coordinate the District Directors by encouraging and providing support to all Districts and their Directors. I know first-hand how important this is; as the District Directors and Chapter Presidents are the local faces of LPA.

They are whom our members and new members look to first, for support. I want to help them, as I know many members cannot financially afford to attend LPA national conferences, so they attend local events. I would also like to look at how we, as a national organization can be financially stable, yet make the LPA national conferences more affordable for all our members.

I am really looking forward to being your President of Little People of America for the next 3 years. Help me take LPA to the next level.

Thank you,
Dan Verscha

Senior Vice President -
April Brazier

alt Hello, my name is April Brazier and I am running for Senior Vice President of LPA.  Unlike many members of LPA I did not grow up in this organization.  I was in my senior year of college, driving back to Wisconsin from my internship in Washington DC and we stopped to grab something to eat.  A woman approached me, asked if I had ever heard of LPA and got very excited telling me about how wonderful it was and how much it helped her and her family when her child was diagnosed with a skeletal dysplasia after birth.  In my head I thought I need to find out more about an organization that makes this woman so happy, so I went ahead and checked it out.  I attended my first D6 regional that fall and then my first national conference that summer in Minnesota 2000 and I was hooked!

I had the honor to serve District 6 for a number of years.  My first position was MadRock chapter president in 2004.  I found it very rewarding to meet people locally because so few get the privilege of attending a national conference.  In 2006, I became a part of the core planning committee for the Milwaukee national conference.  I was responsible for the logistics, off site events and banquet.  In 2007 I moved into the role of assistant district director and eventually took over as District Director later that year.  While District Director I organized approximately 12 regionals, 5 of which were joint regionals with two different districts.  Not only has this increased regional attendance but I’ve found the joint regionals have many benefits since districts can learn from one another about what has worked for them as well as offer ideas for improvements.

Prior to my involvement with LPA I was an active member of the Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation.  I’ve conducted several workshops for teens and young adults at their bi-annual conferences.

As far as my life outside of LPA, I earned my bachelor’s degree in communication and computer technology from the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.  This year marked my 9th year at UW Health and I’m currently employed as a Senior Clinical Analyst. 

As a UW Health employee I’ve been able to forge a relationship with the Community Relations department.  I’m proud to say in the Fall of 2013 I organized a mini-medical conference in Madison, WI and it was fully funded by UW Health.  With 5 physicians in attendance as well as 2 UW staff and students providing hearing screens, we were able to provide more than 70 doctor appointments to LPA members that weekend.  This spring our joint regional with D9 also has a donation from UW Health to offset the two physicians that will be in attendance. 

I’m very excited to run again for the position of Senior Vice President.  I feel that my dedication to LPA combined with my education and work experience would make me an excellent candidate for this position.  My strength is analyzing a current system and looking at ways to improve it.  As senior vice president I am responsible for all matters concerning the general membership; in addition to working with district directors and local chapter presidents.  My primary concern has always been at the local level.  I know that even though LPA is expanding and spreading in leaps and bounds however it’s the local chapters that make a difference in so many people’s lives.  I am really looking forward to the next three years in LPA and to continue building on this great organization.  I’m so happy I took the risk and checked LPA 17 years ago.  I wasn’t born into this organization however it’s the great people and positive things we do that keep me coming back.  I hope you feel I will continue to be a great asset to the executive committee and elect me as your next Senior Vice President.

Thank you,
April Brazier

Senior Vice President –
Jonathan North

alt My family attended our 1st local LPA event when I was a baby, and our first national conference when I was 9 years old. I’m sure my parents were nervous and full of questions but thanks to the many families who welcomed us, we were quickly embraced into the community. And so began my passion for LPA. I hope to continue that spirit which is why I’m running for Senior Vice President, along with my lifelong friend Mark Povinelli who is running for President.

LPA has helped me at every stage of life: as a young kid playing in the lobby with kids my own height, as a teenager and young adult finding my place in the world through friends with shared experiences, and now as a father connecting with other parents. I have met countless lifelong friends, found the love of my life in Melinda, and LPA’s adoption program connected us with our amazing daughter Annaliese.

LPA’s success is due to the countless volunteers and donors at every level of the organization. Thanks to all previous board members who have made LPA the great organization it is.

I’ve served as Finance and Programs Director, and have consistently worked to ensure balanced decision-making and financial solvency. My wife and I are committed to new members and have sponsored the Newcomers Reception at national conferences. If you don’t know me personally, I encourage you to reach out to current or past board members.

This is an exciting time for LPA, and I hope to be part of making our support organization even stronger.

My three goals for the next board are:

1) Continue my passion for making LPA welcoming to all new members. I have challenged people to meet at least three new families at each event – thank you to everyone who has accepted that challenge.  Our organization thrives because of our newest members and a coordinated effort to reach new parents quickly and positively is increasingly critical.

2) Stay engaged with medical changes. Medical developments could force introspection and even disagreements within our population. The next board will need to listen to, empathize with and acknowledge the differing opinions on medical changes and the deeply personal decision that each family makes.

3) Focus on the organizational foundations. This is the boring work, but we must continue to align all our documents across the organization; share best practices among committees, chapters and districts; ensure financial checks and balances at every level of LPA; ensure our long-term financial viability; and revisit and strengthen national LPA’s overall operational processes.

I believe these goals are core to our future success, and hope to have the privilege of serving again on your board. 

Again, thank you to all the people who embraced my family then, and those today who welcome our newest members.

Finance Director – Bryce Schelhaas

alt Fellow members of Little People of America:

My name is Bryce Schelhaas, and I am running for the national Little People of America finance director position. I have been a member of LPA District 9 for as long as I can remember. As a child, my love for LPA came from the life-long friendships I developed. LPA also provided my family with support and encouragement. My family found it important to raise me with regular access to individuals with dwarfism. Through LPA, we learned not to focus on what made a person with dwarfism different, but on how one chose to interact in a world that does not always accommodate to individuals of short stature. I was raised to manage challenging situations with grace and discernment. LPA has provided me with the courage and strength to not dwell on my difference, but to use it as a tool to encourage and support others, both within and outside of the LPA community. LPA has held a very special place in my heart and if elected, I hope to share that passion with its members for many years to come.

My passion for numbers led me to Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, where I pursued a Bachelor of Arts degree in business administration with an emphasis in accounting. Following graduation, I studied for and passed rigorous examinations in order to become a licensed Certified Public Accountant (CPA). I currently work as a CPA in a public accounting firm, where my position expertly prepares me to serve as the LPA finance director. At this time, my job duties include managing accounts receivable, payroll, and bill pay for over 50 small and large businesses in order to maintain accurate financial records and reports. I also collaborate with my team in order to perform audits of municipalities, nonprofit organizations and schools, to examine and confirm account balances, inventories, and transactions to eliminate errors. Through this process, I am able to ascertain the validity and reliability of third party financial information.I also provide tax planning and preparation services for approximately 500 clientele in order to minimize tax liabilities and increase cash flow in compliance with state and federal tax laws.

I have also been serving as treasurer of LPA District 9 for the last two consecutive terms (since October of 2011). This role has granted me the opportunity to see Little People of America from a new and different perspective and has shown me how vital the organization is to all of its members. In serving as district treasurer, I complete financial statements which are submitted to the national office quarterly and organize financial record keeping including district fundraising, event revenue, vendor payment, etc. I have also implemented and currently oversee an online payment system for accurate and timely conference registration.

Accurate bookkeeping is vital to the functionality of LPA – keeping detailed records at the district level creates precise financial records at the national level. If elected, I will do whatever it takes to ensure that there is financial transparency within all areas of LPA.

Given that LPA is in the nonprofit sector, I plan to use my background in accounting and knowledge of this field to verify that LPA’s financial statements are in compliance with the latest federal standards. I will ensure that LPA’s financial audits, in accordance with the LPA bylaws, continue to occur on a timely basis. I believe that my educational background and work experience have given me the tools and knowledge I need to successfully serve as finance director.

Little People of America is a fantastic organization that provides vital resources and opportunities to individuals with dwarfism and their families. I am honored to be a member of such a wonderful community. I have truly appreciated serving as treasurer for District 9 for the last two terms and look forward to serving as your national finance director.

Membership Director –
Daniel Aum

alt My name is Daniel Aum, and I am running to be the membership director for the Little People of America. I am interested in the position of membership director for the opportunity to help bring as many little people and allies into the LPA as possible. To give a little background about myself, I received my B.A. in visual arts at Duke University and then went on to get a master’s degree in art and technology from Carnegie Mellon University. Upon graduation, I worked for a creative agency in New York City.  Currently, I work as a photographer specializing in fashion and portraitures and a creative consultant for brands and clients. In my free time, I enjoy volunteering at a school for blind children as a guide and a fitness trainer for individuals with blindness.

Having been born with achondroplasia, I am aware of some of the many challenges that little people are facing. It is more important than ever that we have a safe, welcoming place to connect and communicate with each other. I remember my first LPA national conference so clearly. I had previously never had the opportunity to meet with so many people who so readily understood my life on such a personal level. By attending the workshops and events, I gained so much valuable information about topics I cared about such as the health issues related to dwarfism and public accessibility. At the same time, I had a great time making friends. Above all, I saw a desire to help and encourage one another. It was an amazing, life-changing experience that opened my eyes to how much good we can do by working together. From then on, I became motivated to involve myself with the LPA. Since then, I have attended several more LPA national conferences where I have volunteered with the Dwarf Athletic Association of America and coached one of the youth soccer teams. It has been incredibly rewarding to see the inspiring courage and spirit of the next generation of little people.

As membership director, I would work to increase the visibility and accessibility of the LPA. There are several areas I would like to pursue as membership director. First, I believe youth and family outreach is a critical component of LPA’s mission. Families with little people often face difficult challenges. I would strive to ensure that all children and their families know that the LPA can provide a wealth of resources to aid in every way. When families learn about a child being born with a form of dwarfism, the physicians should know about mentioning LPA as a tremendous resource. Informing health care professionals about what the LPA has to offer would foster lasting partnerships that could bring many new members. Finally, I want to listen to what our LPA members want and need. The mission of the LPA is to improve the quality of life for all people with dwarfism. Our members are our greatest means to carry out that mission. Our members’ suggestions for improvements and changes would be extremely important to me as membership director. I would duly communicate the input from LPA members to the president and other executive officers in order to fulfill the advocacy component of LPA’s mission.

I would be greatly honored to help bring the next generation into the LPA and serve all of our members as membership director. I hope to work with fellow executive officers within LPA to continue improving the quality of life for little people everywhere.

Daniel Aum

Membership Director – Cyndi Demitruk

alt I am running for the LPA Membership Director because I would like to give back to the organization that has transformed my life in so many wonderful and extraordinary ways. This position has been a dream of mine for a long time.  I was introduced to my local chapter the South Florida Minigators by Ellen Fernandez in 1983.  I am a single mom who raised two children (both LP’s) both have been members since they were born.  Our family went to our first convention in San Antonio 1994.  We had the joyous experience as other LPA members have experience of being included and accepted.   

I graduated from the University of Central Florida in legal studies with a minor on computer technology.  At UCF I was involved with event planning for local elections and campus functions.  My job experience includes over 20 years of managerial, program planning, and administrative experience.  In addition, I have worked as a Marketing Coordinator for ION Television, Production Coordinator for the Palm Beach County Film and Television Commission, as an auditor for Chase Manhattan Mortgage and as a program assistant for Behavioral Health Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center.  At the film commission, I obtained permits for production shoots which included following city, state and federal regulations and generated expense reports for the PBC Board of Directors and assisted the film Commissioner in all meeting planning and conventions logistics.  At Behavioral Health, I established and ran programs for the inpatient recovery community.  At ION Television, I worked with contractors, ad agencies and was responsible for all accounting functions for the production department including budgeting and invoicing. 

I am currently working as a Compliance Coordinator with Palm Beach State College for the last four years.  I am responsible for the college’s compliance with federal, state and board policies.  Before that I was an office manager at Florida Atlantic University for the Honors College Housing department.  At FAU I was delegated with accounting and data-tracking tasks, created the database invoicing system for the Housing Department and responsible for hiring staff and working with contractors.  I also was responsible for organizing events for the students and their families. 

My plans include programs for recruiting new members and a program for retention of current members.  Also, I would like to focus on potential and new members that are baby boomers to create programs to keep them involved and more activities at the national level during our conferences.  And I would like to work with the district directors and chapter presidents on recruitment of new members including international chapters.  My goal is that new members receive a warm welcome and are included with members that have been around for a long time to give the new members hope who are feeling excluded.  My campaign is one of inclusion. 

I look forward to the prospect to work for the members of the LPA community and working to create programs for actively creating marketing plans for enticing people to become members of LPA and I look forward to overseeing the Membership, Parent, Young Adult, Teen and Older Adult, International and Information Technology and working with the Board of Directors.

In closing, I am honest, loyal and a proactive individual.  I always act and work to the greatest benefit to the future and current members of the LPA community.  With my dedication it has always benefited me to keep myself informed of LPA Board Policies and use Best Practices in my work.  I possess the experience, dedication, and commitment for the role as Membership Director.

Thank you for your consideration.

Cynthia “Cyndi” C. Demitruk

Membership Director – Ben Woika

alt My name is Ben Woika and I am running for Membership Director. To those that may not know me, I am a longtime LP member, volunteer, and lifetime advocate for LPA. I have been volunteering on the local, district and national level for years now. I started small, volunteering as a counselor many years at both the Painted Turtle Camp in California and Camp Little People in Pennsylvania. After moving to California in 2011, I hosted a several chapter events. More recently, I was the chapter president for the San Francisco Bay Area Chapter from 2014 to 2016. I have been on the planning committees for several regionals, including some trifectas. I have presented a variety of workshops at the regional and national levels. For the past two years, I have been the proxy District 12 Director at the National Conferences, representing D12 (California, Nevada and Hawaii) at the national meetings. Currently, I am the acting Assistant D12 Director and I am a co-chair on the regional planning committee for the D12 2017 Spring Regional in Walnut Creek, CA. Other than my work with LPA: I am a software engineer in my professional career, I love to travel, and I enjoy spending time with my lovely wife, family, and friends.

I love LPA and really enjoy giving back to our non-profit organization. Through LPA, I have met lifelong friends, received great medical resources, and met my amazing wife, Lucy (Williams) Woika. The Membership Director position on the LPA board is a great fit for me to continue my work with LPA. The given responsibilities outlined in the by-laws are all things and tasks that are all well within my knowledge base and wheelhouse; however, one of the cool things about this particular position is the freedom to do with this position what one makes of it, since many things can fall into the category of "membership". Knowing that, I find that this position is perfect for me, as I can put in the extra effort to really make something out of this position. 

If elected, I know I can meet this position's demands and beyond given my inherent energy and passion, as well as, my history and knowledge from years of work within our organization and my professional career. If you vote for me, in addition to continuing to make our organization work for its members, I promise that if contacted I will respond with the utmost promptness and do my best to help any member concern that is brought forward to me. I will also work to further continue, improve and/or expand the several committees that I will oversee. I plan to go forward, working cooperatively and effectively with the rest of the board, to make our already great organization even greater. 

I look forward to serving you in the future.

Programs Director – Danielle Frank

alt When founder Billy Barty created Little People of America in 1957, I don’t believe he thought that his organization of 20 people at the time would have turned into the fantastic organization that LPA is today of 6,000 plus members and their families from all over the globe. Mr.Barty would be so proud of the organization that we have created and in honor of the 60th anniversary of LPA, I am proud to be running for LPA’s Programs Director so that his legacy continues.

I have lived in the Philadelphia area and have been an LPA Lifetime Member since a child. LPA has helped shaped me into the woman I am today thanks to the incredible social, financial, and medical support that I have received. These past four years I became motivated more than ever to give back to the organization and afford other young adults the fantastic support I received during those crucial years. 

In 2013, I came onboard as LPA's National Teen Coordinator as well as Chapter President for District 2's Liberty Chapter (Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey). As National Teen Coordinator, I chaired teen programing for two national conferences (Washington DC & San Diego), created a teen perspective column for LPA Today Magazine, collaborated with Public Relations Director Leah Smith by putting together a successful teen Instagram contest in conjunction with Dwarfism Awareness Month and launched LPA’s Teen Ambassador Program with Membership Director Mark Povinelli. In recognition for my service as National Teen Coordinator, I was awarded LPA’s Distinguished Service Award in 2015.

As Liberty Chapter President, I currently represent 60 plus active members and their families. My contributions to the Chapter include launching its first website, co-organizing three successful fundraisers which raised thousands of dollars to help offset event costs, increased the number of yearly chapter events by 50%, and as well co-chaired the District 2 Spring 2015 Regional Conference in Atlantic City for 250 attendees. 

Along with my duties as Liberty Chapter President, I also serve as LPA’s National Young Adult Coordinator. My responsibilities include being a member of the Conference Management Committee and organizing conference programming for college-aged student attendees. With my responsibilities, I also have the pleasure of both mentoring and working with our National Teen Coordinator, Faith Pedersen. Lastly, this past February, I worked with LPA’s Development Director Eileen Norman to inspire our young adult members to give back to the organization through the #LOVE4LPA Millennial Giving Campaign.

Outside of LPA, most of my professional experience is in the field of higher education. I hold my bachelor’s degree in Sociology and my master’s degree in Counseling Psychology. This June, I will become a certified American with Disabilities Act (ADA) Professional Coordinator after completing an online program through the University of Alabama. Currently I serve as Arcadia University's Class of 2012 Alumni President and I am co-chair of our five year reunion happening this May. During 2014-2016, I served on Arcadia University's Board of Trustees. Both of these incredible opportunities allowed me to see the world of nonprofit through a different lens and inspired me to pave a positive future for the University.

I am confident that my non-profit leadership experience both in and outside of LPA along with the excellent mentorship relationship I have with current Programs Director Jon North will allow me to be successful in this position. I look forward to strengthening our adoption funds, college/vocational scholarships and conference travel funds to continue Jon’s and the committee’s message that LPA has your back when it comes to assisting certain needs of our members. As well as strengthening our current programs, I am eager to collaborate with LPA leaders to create programs such as a travel fund that will allow for members to visit LPA Medical Advisory Board physicians at their clinics across the country, as well as creating a special college scholarship fund that ties into young adult volunteer service hours in LPA.

I thank you in advance for your support of my candidacy for LPA Programs Director. I look forward to having the honor of serving you all in this capacity. Best of luck to all of the candidates running for Board of Director positions. Now let’s make our voices be heard and vote!

Danielle S. Frank
LPA Programs Director Candidate

Public Relations Director - Cuquis Robledo

alt My name is Cuquis Robledo, I am from Houston, TX and will be getting my B.A. in Psychology from Duke University in May 2017. In addition, I work part time remotely for a non-profit called Rooted in Rights based in Seattle as the Coordinator for their Storytellers Project. My role as Coordinator is I recruit people with disabilities from around the world and give them the chance to create their own advocacy videos on disability issues that are important to them. I have also created video content with Rooted in Rights on issues such as the importance of not discriminating Little People when it comes time for us to find job opportunities, why some Halloween costumes can stereotype people with disabilities, and a campaign called #CrappyCurb where I discuss why curb cuts are important to disabilities and asked people to post photos of their own “crappy curbs” in their neighborhood.

One reason I’m running for Director of Public Relations is that I can contribute my experience with Rooted in Rights on how to develop creative content that is eye catching that raises awareness on LPA events and issues to a mass audience. I learned that when it comes to raising awareness through digital media, the shorter the social media posts, and the more hashtags used, the more likely people will be interested in learning more about the issue. People nowadays unfortunately have a limited attention span, and having short 3-5 minute videos advertising what LPA is with graphics, animations, and personal stories are key tricks to get people’s attention. The same goes with the LPA reports discussing different LPA issues. Having a written report is great especially if one needs to get all of the logistics and information, but the problem is getting people motivated to read it if it’s several pages long. By including a supplementary video that highlights and summarizes the key points of the report I’ve discovered increases the number of viewers and the likelihood that people will go and read the report.

Another reason I’m running for this position is that I recognize that schools are the place where educating people about the Little People community and our issues needs to happen. Growing up I was constantly bullied by kids in Elementary school. They would poke and point at me, yell and call me “baby,” and it really hurt. The teachers didn’t do anything to stop the kids and the principal said I was going to have to get used to that. But once my mom and I convinced the principal to send out a mass email to the teachers, explaining to the other kids about me, the students were suddenly respectful. By creating short, educational videos about LPA, what we do, the issues we fight for, and sharing them with schools around the county, we can make a big impact on how people think about us. As a result, we can get allies to help us in our cause. Parents too of these children can also learn from watching these types of videos and as a result can educate their children.

I am very outgoing, personable and I am excellent in networking with different organizations. I have made connections with a lot of the Protection and Advocacy organizations in the country when I went to a disability rights conference last summer. Also, my current workplace, Rooted in Rights, would potentially be interested in a collaboration with LPA and Rooted in Rights can be an amazing resource for our community in terms of getting awareness and issues out to the public.

I am proficient in the Adobe Creative Cloud applications, including InDesign, After Effects, some Premiere Pro and Illustrator, as well as being proficient in Final Cut Pro, Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel, and Wordpress. I have designed my own website using Wordpress, and my background in InDesign can be useful for making a creative and intriguing layout for LPA Today’s magazine and newsletters.

Finally, I was on the General Assembly of last year’s national conference discussing Dwarfism Awareness and Pride. I am very passionate about fighting for Dwarfism Awareness and showcasing our pride and as Director of Public Relations, I want to show the nation and the world what amazing people we are and how we are capable of great things in life and able to accomplish many things in this world. Nothing can stop us from being great.

For information about me and my work, check out my website

Advocacy Director - Michelle Kraus

alt Dear LPA membership,

My name is Michelle Kraus, and I am hoping to be Little People of America’s Director of Advocacy for a second term.  It has been an honor for me to represent this community and to serve with and under the leadership of Gary Arnold, President, and the rest of the Executive Board.  Thank you for your support and responsiveness to the initiatives that we, as a board, have brought forth over this past term.  You as the membership continue to have a crucial role in directing how our community is to be viewed and respected.   While we have made great strides together, we can do more.   I look forward to continuing working on the advocacy projects that I have led as well as creating new opportunities addressing the current and future concerns of our community.

Some of my ongoing commitments are:

  • Persevering with “m word” campaign launched by our updated statement calling for boycott of usage of the m word that exploits and dehumanizes people with dwarfism.
  • Engaging communities in the work of changing their mascots that refer and/or have the likeness of the m word, e.g. Freeburg Mighty Midgets.   Supporting the efforts of LPA grass roots committee to promote forward thinking needed to change these outdated and offensive representations.
  • Supporting our community’s need for mental health services by advocating for improved access to and reducing the stigma of asking for help.  Continuing to improve upon the “SWAT” model which provides peer support to attendees of LPA conferences.
  • Enhancing LPA’s partnership with our Medical Advisory Board and prioritizing the medical and clinical needs well-being of the LP community.

New initiatives will include:

  •  Learning about full effect of inevitable changes in Federal Health Care coverage for our community.   Advocating with increased presence and voice around potential lack of and decrease in adequate health care services for a membership with pre-existing conditions.
  • Welcoming and bringing forth of perspectives from the diverse racial, disability, gender and sexual orientation populations existing within LPA to broaden strength and power of this community.
  •  Facilitating productive conversations with all arms of our community about existing and emerging “curative” technologies that guarantee profound change to all our past, present and futures.   Finding ways to work together to counteract the negative messaging stemming from the promotion of a “fix” for the problem of dwarfism.

I am excited to work collaboratively with a new board in these next two years to represent our membership.  I am calling upon all of you to be engaged in advocacy efforts that promote the advancement of our mission and collective place in the world.   Because our individual and collective needs are always changing as is society’s idea of the worth and value of people with disabilities, we will always have to work as a community for our community, now and in the future.

All the best,
Michelle Kraus

Development Director - Ethan Crough

alt Please allow me to introduce myself. My name is Ethan Crough, and I am asking for your vote to become Development Director for Little People of America.

I am running for office because being a national officer of our organization is a great way to give back to LPA, which gives so much to my family, our friends, and society for the benefit of people with dwarfism.  My wife and I have a ten-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son. For the betterment of their future, and ours, is why I want to be Development Director. 

From serving as chapter president in the San Francisco Bay Area to serving as Membership Director for LPA, being an officer offers me a chance to give my knowledge, skills, and positive attitude to benefit our great organization. 

Over the past four years I worked as the Executive Director of the Bartholomew Consolidated School Foundation in Columbus, Indiana. While there, I:

  • Managed over half a million dollars in grants, pass-through, restricted, and unrestricted funds for the School Foundation, including district and community initiatives, innovation awards, literacy and math efforts, scholarships, and pre-K education. 
  • Was successful, along with the Board of Directors, at increasing the total amount of funds donated to the school foundation by 50% in two years.
  • Led and directed the implementation of a new revenue stream for the school foundation, resulting in a 10% increase in unrestricted funds.
  • Worked with the Board to increase gifts to the school foundation by 50% in one year.
  • Created successful events that generated a 15% increase in funds, as a result of strategic planning and project management with staff and Board

It is this experience, my dedication to the organization, and my previous leadership experience with LPA that make me a great choice for Development Director. If elected Development Director, I want to contribute to the future of LPA by developing and raising money for new funds and programs within LPA.

After last serving as Membership Director for LPA, I have continued to work with the leadership of LPA and was one of the most influential members of a team to successfully persuade the high school in McLaughlin, South Dakota to change its mascot from the “Midgets” to “Mustangs.” 

My work as Development Director will also continue through our national office in Tustin, CA.  The leadership that Executive Director Joanna Campbell provides in the form of membership drives and donor development is invaluable; and through the tireless support of Sandy Taylor and Vicky Schulte, we have a great membership base in LPA. I thank those three for all their hard work.

My goal is to take all these experiences and knowledge to help lead Little People of America forward. The future of LPA looks promising for the years ahead, so please support for my candidacy for Development Director so that I can help fulfill that vision. 

Thank you for this opportunity. 

Ethan Crough

LPA Official Ballot 2017

All ballots are confidential

1. Only one (1) ballot per member is permitted.

2. Please enter your name, district number, and date of birth in the member verification section, and sign the ballot.

3. All ballots will be verified for member status and duplication. Any duplicate ballots will void ALL ballots for that member.

4. You must be 18 years of age, and an active paid member to vote.

5. Please return ballots in a sealed envelope.

6. Ballots must be postmarked by Saturday, June 3, 2017 to be counted.