Carolyn Grawi, MSW, LMSW, ACSW, is our tireless and energetic advocate, as Director of Advocacy and Education.
Carolyn’s work emphasizes the improvement of the quality of life of people with disabilities on a community-wide level. She works to uphold and go beyond the Americans with Disabilities Act for access for all. She is also committed to working with the legislatures and communities on Transportation issues and on the Help America to Vote Act. She visits and meets with work sites, businesses, governmental bodies, and individuals' residences to address accessibility and improve the experience of individuals with disabilities accessing these important aspects of life.
Some examples of organizations she has worked with include: the Cities of Ann Arbor, Monroe, and Ypsilanti related to Curb Ramp Accessibility; Ann Arbor Public Schools related to building, facility, and programming accessibility throughout the District; the State of Michigan DNR on design plans for State Park Access Improvements; Special Tree Rehabilitation Accessibility Reviews; and the University of Michigan in Design Reviews for both ADA and functional accessibility.
In October of 2006, she was awarded a The University of Michigan James T. Neubacher Certificate of Appreciation for her system’s advocacy and work with and on behalf of people who have disabilities. This award was a demonstration of how her community involvement has made a difference in the lives of people with disabilities and the community. Additionally, in May 2006, the AACIL as an organization received the first ever organizational Liberty Bell award from the Washtenaw County Bar Association for our advocacy work in the community.
She conducts numerous presentations on Disability Awareness and Etiquette, School Transitions, the Patient as the Team Expert, and many others. Recently she has conducted presentations for COBO Convention Center, U of M School of Social Work, U of M School of Nursing, U of M Athletic Department Event Staff, U of M Librarians, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital Staff, U of M Pathology Department, U of M Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, U of M Medical Students, Ann Arbor Public Schools Staff and Students, Ann Arbor Parent Advisory Council, The Council for Disability Concerns, Continuing Education for Parks and Recreation Designers and Staff, U of M Multicultural Health Series, U of M Construction Services, Spectrum Health Services, the Ann Arbor Summer Festival Staff, UMS Hill and Power Center Ushers, Goodrich Middle School Staff and Students and the Area Agency on Aging.
Ms. Grawi has conducted training programs regarding travel training, accessibility issues, disability awareness, disability awareness, disability rights, ADA Compliance, and Human Resource Hiring, Interviewing and Management Practices.
Ms. Grawi has been appointed to and participates in several community and state boards and committees:
• City of Ann Arbor Commission on Disability Issues, Commissioner
• University of Michigan Council for Disability Concerns (CfDC), Member
• U of M Investing in Abilities, Planning Committee Member
• University of Michigan Initiative in Disability Studies (UMInDS), Steering Committee, Member
• University of Michigan Institute of Clinical and Health Research (MICHR), Community Engagement Coordinating Council, Member
• State of Michigan DNRE, Accessibility Advisory Council
• Washtenaw Biking and walking Coalition, Board Member
• Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor, Board Member
• Eastern Michigan University, Disability Resource Center, Accessibility Advisory Committee, Member
• Detroit International Jazz Festival, Accessibility Advisory Committee, Member
Ms. Grawi is a field instructor for Social Work programs at three Universities:
• Eastern Michigan University, both undergraduate and graduate Schools of Social Work;
• Wayne State University graduate School of Social Work; and.
• The University of Michigan graduate School of Social Work
As well, she teaches three social workers’ continuing education courses at Washtenaw Community College.
Ms. Grawi has also been a contributing writer for:
• Ann Arbor CIL’s Access Magazine
• UM’s PM&R Spinal Cord Newsletter
• UM’s PM&R Model Systems Handbook
• Excerpts in a book published by Jossey Bass: A School Counselor's Guide for Working with Students with Disabilities: Practicalities and Possibilities. This included a review of the content of many chapters as well as writing a two and a half page section that was included in the chapter on career development.
Prior to her work at the Ann Arbor CIL, Carolyn worked for 13 years as a Therapist and Clinical Services Supervisor at HelpSource (formerly Child and Family Services and Huron Services for Youth) and the Washtenaw County O'Brien Center. In these positions she became professionally associated with mental health agencies, court systems and residential/day programs as she advocated for equal rights for those who needed assistance or were experiencing injustice. She has been involved in numerous educational forums: Living Life with your Abilities, Confidence and Self Esteem Building, Disability Awareness and Sensitivity Trainings, Rape and Abuse Survivors, Creative Development - Finding Solutions Outside of the Box, and the Challenge to Vote, to name a few.
Carolyn earned her Masters Degree in Social Work with emphasis in Administration and Interpersonal Practice at the University of Michigan. She also completed a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Labor Relations from the University.
As an individual with multiple disabilities, Carolyn is passionate about her work and about improving life for individuals with disabilities. Carolyn has diabetes and as a result began losing some of her sight due to diabetic retinopathy in 1987. Currently she is legally blind with no sight in her left eye and 20/200 visual acuity in her right eye. She describes herself as having "situationally functional vision." She says this description describes her positive approach in working with people as people and recognizing their abilities instead of disabilities. Carolyn strongly believes that education is the key to independence on the part of individuals, and acceptance and competency on the part of the public.
Between her active engagements in the community, Carolyn is a busy mother of two bright and active children. After work she can often be found cycling at the Ann Arbor CIL’s cycling program!