There’s not always a lot to enjoy about the actual law school experience. The stress. The rivalry. The workload. That one sardonic professor who enjoys the Socratic method a little too much. But all the irksome parts of law school go out the door once you’re the real world and you’re able to actually affect someone’s quality of life in a significant way. At least that was my experience.The work done at the Legal Clinic for the Disabled, where I intern, changes lives. In the nine months that I’ve worked there, I’ve seen firsthand how lawyers at LCD fight for one of the most vulnerable populations in Philadelphia. Last week we learned that one of our most ardent supporters, AJ Nanayakkara, a spinal cord injury advocate has been nominated for the Second Annual Anapol Advocate Award. If he wins, the Legal Clinic for the Disabled receives $5,000. Please take a second and vote for AJ. Please also pass on to family and friends. (Caveat: The website sometimes shows an error sign when you try to vote. Just refresh and it should go through.) Voting ends May 31. Thank you in advance for your vote.
Learn more about AJ…
When a martial arts injury left him paralyzed at the age of twenty, AJ Nanayakkara fought his way back. Ten years later, AJ is a wheelchair athlete, mentor, and community leader. He is a certified SCUBA diver, wheelchair rugby player, and is training to become a pilot. AJ won a gold medal as a member of the US National Wheelchair Rugby Team at the 2005 World Wheelchair and Amputee Games in Rio de Janeiro.
He has developed adapted recreation programs across the country, and his many awards include being named a Philadelphia Hometown Hero and receiving the City Key. As the Wheelchair Sports Coordinator at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, AJ added dozens of new participants and programs including surfing, flying, racing, and water skiing. He serves on Philadelphia’s Mayor’s Commission on People with Disabilities and numerous Boards of agencies that address disability issues. He is a community advocate and business leader advising organizations on how to foster climates of inclusion. AJ mentors patients at Magee Rehabilitation, Moss Rehabilitation, Shriner’s Hospital for Children, and various nursing homes.
He teaches undergraduate and graduate students in Psychology, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Therapeutic Recreation and advises the Department of Defense on how to promote Inclusive Recreation for Wounded Warriors. AJ and his wife founded the Global Abilities Foundation to help people with disabilities in the developing world reintegrate into their communities. This summer, AJ and the Global Abilities team will travel to Sri Lanka to assess the needs of that countries disability community.