Carolyn Alcina is a lifelong native of Acadiana. She is a high school graduate with a certification as an interpreter for the Deaf. She is currently employed by the Lafayette Parish School Board as a Certified Educational Interpreter. She has been employed for thirty-four years, seventeen years in her current position. She teaches sign language to the community per Lafayette Parish School Board for the last sixteen years, as well as working as interpreter for extra curricular after school activities. Her training took place under the mentorship of a local National and Educational Certified Interpreter. She maintains her certification through required ninety hour continued education for a period of five years as required by the state of Louisiana. She volunteers as an interpreter for the Deaf in her local church as well as for local Assemblies of God district meetings. Carolyn is a volunteer for Samaritan's Purse, assisting those in need after natural disasters. She is the author of "Finding The Warrior Within."
Yvonne B. Bell
Yvonne B. Bell currently works as a Community Living Ombudsman with Disability Rights Louisiana, which is funded through the Louisiana Attorney General’s office. Previous disability experience includes serving as the Executive Director of Families Helping Families of Acadiana. Appointed by Governor Bobby Jindal to the Governor’s Advisory Council on Disability Affairs. Appointed by Governor Kathleen Blanco to the Louisiana Rehabilitation Council. Chaired statewide planning committee for Disability Rights Rally at the State Capitol. Served on numerous stakeholder’s committees with Louisiana Department of Health. A 25-year member of the Autism Society of Acadiana. Member of LACAN and a of an individual on the Autism Spectrum. Life-long resident of Lafayette, graduate of both UL and Tulane University.
Wade Johnson is currently an undergraduate student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette majoring in Psychology. His current plans following graduation are to enroll in a School Psychology graduate program and later serve as a School Psychologist. Wade is currently a mentor for the UL LIFE Program, an organization that teaches life skills and provides work experience for individuals with intellectual disabilities. He is also currently enrolled in the Louisiana Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and related Disorders (LA LEND) as a medium-term trainee and works with the Office of Disability Services at UL Lafayette. As of January 2021, Wade has been the president of the UL Beacon Club, a student organization devoted to supporting and advocating for differently-abled individuals and educating the students of UL Lafayette on disability-related matters. Wade is honored to be a member of the Disability Awareness Council and hopes to serve it and the rest of the community to the best of his abilities.
Keely McGibboney is a policy analyst for the regional economic development organization One Acadiana, where she focuses on policies to improve South Louisiana's infrastructure. Prior to her work at One Acadiana, Keely served Louisiana's Third Congressional District as Legislative Assistant to Congressman Charles W. Boustany, Jr., MD., handling federal policy matters related to veterans, infrastructure, education, the environment, and more. Keely is a native of Acadiana and holds a Bachelor's Degree in Political Science from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
Mr. Lynn August
Mr. Lynn August is a lifelong resident of Lafayette. He has worked as a professional musician, international recording artist, singer, songwriter, producer, organist, and accordionist for approximately 62 years. He was once sent to Africa for two months by the US State Department of Cultural Exchange Program, promoting Louisiana music, and has traveled around the world in his music career. In the mid-1990’s, he formed a company called Touch Tech, with a vision to provide computers having special technology that would make lives better for blind people and people with physical limitations. Working with Louisiana Rehabilitation Services, Lynn built computers, performed assessments of technology needs, and provided instructions on how to properly use the technology. He has held positions with the Board of Directors of the National Federation of the Blind for the State of Louisiana, and was President of the Greater Lafayette Chapter of the National Federation of the Blind. Lynn is presently a member of the American Council of the Blind.
Nicole Poiencot is a graduate of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She earned a Master’s in Social Work from LSU in 2001 and obtained an undergraduate degree from LSU with a Major in Psychology and Spanish in 1997. Subsequently, she earned a Post Graduate certificate in Vision Specialist in Vocational Rehabilitation from Mississippi State University in 2015. Nicole Poiencot is a Master Specialist with Louisiana Rehabilitation Services, Lafayette Region. She manages a case load of individuals with visual impairments and blindness. She is thrilled to be a part of the Disability Awareness Committee and appreciates the support of the committee members and the public.
Harlon Cowsar - Disability Awareness Coordinator
Harlon has been an advocate for people with disabilities, and works as Adult Program Coordinator and Information/Referrals Specialist with Families Helping Families of Acadiana. He is currently serving his second term as President of the Affiliated Blind of Louisiana Acadiana Chapter. Harlon is a person with a disability and he is the parent of a child with a disability. Harlon is committed to making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities and their families.