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Keri Bowers

Having worked in the disabilities field for over 18 years, Keri’s hands-on work with hundreds of kids and adults in the facilitation and design of summer and winter camps, community-based social and life skill groups, and a variety of workshops, along with Keri’s parenting a child with special needs, have provided her with a unique perspective in disabilities: the professional and the parent.

Keri, who was a former paralegal in West Hollywood working with such bands, musicians, and celebrities as Motley Crue, KISS, Blind Melon, Graham Nash, Pamela Anderson, and many others, knew she wanted to steer her career in the direction of disabilities awareness and advocacy. She was determined to create something “outside the box” that made a difference for not only Taylor and Jace, but for others as well. But she felt stuck.

As a working mother, a transition from working for someone else to creating her own business was daunting. But she was determined. As she will tell you -- “I sat, watched, and listened,” and finally, after 14 years of drafting recording contracts and tour riders, I was able to leave to begin a business of my own.”

Beginning with the publication of her first book, Single Pregnancy, Single Parenting (1995), Keri began to hone her skills as speaker and media guest, In 1998, Keri formed a non-profit organization based in the Conejo Valley area of Southern California, called PAUSE4kids. A little known fact about Keri is that she worked for many years as a custom painter and wedding minister to financially support her work in the non-profit sector.  Keri resigned from PAUSE4kids in 2005 to form her film company.  She continues to work with the organization as an advisor, while developing new films and projects.

Keri has designed and developed numerous annual community-based educational events which continue to support a better understanding of disabilities today.  From Art-A-Thon which serves hundreds of kids each year, to her award winning program (“Abilities Awareness”, 2002 Phoebe Apperson Hearst National and State Awards for “Excellence in Education”) which supports 1200 middle school kids to learn about their disabled peers each year, Keri continues to create programs that leave a lasting impression upon her community.

Keri’s has several new projects in development, including her newest film, ARTS, a documentary about “Possibilities, Disabilities, and the arts”, and a workbook for parents and professionals, “Mapping Transitions to Your Child’s Future.” 

Keri’s work has been featured on CNN/Paula Zahn Now, PBS/California Connected; Geraldo at Large; The Today Show; Extra, The New Naomi Judd Show, with news segments throughout the country on NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX. Magazines, including People, Spectrum, Scholastic, and the cover of The Autism Perspective Magazine have featured Keri’s work in film and public education. The Centers for Disease Control, school districts, universities/colleges, pharmaceutical, hospitals, other organizations have used the film for in-service and educational purposes.

Keri’s Key Note Talks and Workshops

MOST POPULAR TALKS/WORKSHOPS:

SCREENING OF NORMAL PEOPLE SCARE ME and/or THE SANDWICH KID; Meet the Filmmaker Q&A After watching Keri’s films, a distinct tone is set for each audience which always brings surprising questions to the table. In this Q&A format, Keri goes into detail about the ideas and strategies depicted in the film, and the central idea of “raising the bar” to improved opportunities in disabilities. Based upon strategies Keri has borrowed and developed over the past 18 years, Keri shows how a boy who did not walk or talk in the early years became a filmmaker. 

“MAPPING TRANSITIONS TO YOUR CHILD’S FUTURE”
When Does Transition Begin?; Mapping a Plan for Success. This talk includes strategies for “Mapping”, a workbook created by Keri. Audiences learn how to create a written plan to support future goals and growth. Why Should we plan? To have a place where its all written down, to create a “just in case” plan; help others to know the child better; help with long-term planning and life transitions (e.g. school to work); figure out what is important to a person and what types of supports make sense; to use info to create supports and recruit providers of services; and finally, to determine a course of action (continually changing) to achieve long-term goals. This is one of Keri’s most dynamic talks; load of fresh and new ideas for action.

PERSPECTIVES IN GUILT, FEAR AND OTHER ANNOYING ROAD-BLOCKS TO IMPROVED ADVOCACY.
Parents and professionals alike bring a variety of emotions into their work in disabilities. This interactive talk walks audience members through interactive and didactic processes to see where fear, guilt, lack of knowledge, and other roadblocks exist to improved advocacy, parenting and teaching. This “hands-on” program goes deep into the underlying reasons we get stuck, and provides ideas on moving to a new level of possibility in advocacy. Participants are given key strategies they can take home and use tomorrow!.

Other talks and workshop topics include:

  • “The Art of Developing Social and Life Skills” How to Develop Strategies for Community-Based Social and Life Skill Development. From fine art, to music, dance, theater, writing and other expressions of a creative nature, Keri shows how to use these alternative and expressive mediums to develop a comprehensive plan to develop essential life and social skills, self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-determination for persons with disabilities.
  • ABC’s of Effective Communication & Collaboration in Advocacy and In the Disabilities Community; Bridging the Divide
  • Tips & Strategies for Starting Support Groups, Siblings, and Dad’s Groups
  • How to Get to Know Your Clients and Patients Better; Inside the Family Dynamics 101
  • WIFU “What’s In It For Us?” - Core Corporate Strategies for Working with Individuals Having Disabilities — Includes Insight to Your Customers, Clients and Employees who experience disabilities