Andalusia native awarded 2020 Youth Leadership Award from the Alabama Governor’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities

Published 5:46 pm Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Reagan Green, a student from Andalusia attending Birmingham-Southern College, recently received the 2020 Youth Leadership Award from the Alabama Governor’s Committee on the Employment of People with Disabilities and Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.

Green, who has a vision impairment, has embraced her low vision and strives to be an advocate for herself and others with disabilities by demonstrating true leadership qualities, according to the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services.

She speaks at educational events focusing on disabilities and inclusion, and she partners with individuals and companies to raise awareness about the needs of people with disabilities. Green works tirelessly to decrease stigmas and encourage equality in job placement, according to a news release from the state agency.

She also has been interviewed by people around the world researching for papers and other areas of study. Her advocacy has had a direct impact on improving disability inclusion in education and the workforce, the Department of Rehabilitation Services said.

After college, she plans to attend graduate school and continue to work with programs to help people with disabilities obtain equal treatment.

Green said the Youth Leadership Award is very special to her because it shows she is having an impact. “I have always wanted to make a difference in the disabled community, and winning this award means I have made one small step toward that goal,” she said. “I am honored to be a part of this wonderful community, and I am more than grateful to receive this award.”

She received the award at the state 2020 Disability Employment Summit, which this year was held online via Zoom and YouTube.

Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey said she was excited that Green and other 2020 award winners could still be recognized despite the challenges presented by COVID-19.

“The annual disability summit is something I look forward to every year,” Ivey said. “While I am disappointed that we cannot all be together, I am grateful that we have a resource like this to keep us all connected.”

Ivey said there are still areas for improvement when it comes to finding employment for people with disabilities, but the summit represents a great opportunity for everyone to recognize important milestones that play a vital role in the development of a more capable, fair and inclusive workforce.

Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services Commissioner Jane Elizabeth Burdeshaw thanked everyone for their partnerships and help to provide inclusion and opportunities for people with disabilities. She said she is especially grateful to the award winners for putting action into their advocacy efforts, whether they are a business that offered an opportunity to people with disabilities, a person with a disability who went to work, or an advocate, teacher or supporter of a person with a disability.

“Thank you to individuals with disabilities who did not allow anyone to tell them ‘no,’ who despite any challenges, overcame them and are doing their best to reach their maximum potential,” Burdeshaw said.

Green is the daughter of Church and Jennifer Green and the granddaughter of Billy and Gina Green.

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services for 25 years has been working to promote the healthy development of children with disabilities from birth and the independence of adults through education, vocational training and assistive technologies. Find out more at rehab.alabama.gov.