Celebrating Independence is CIL's annual gala celebrating inclusion, opportunity, and access for people with disabilities. This year, we will be honoring Andy Gardiner with the Beverly Chapman Legacy Award. Andy Gardiner has dedicated his 16-year career in the Florida House and Senate to improving education, training, resources, employment services, and opportunities for people with unique abilities. Andy Gardiner was involved in the creation, then expansion of “personal learning scholarship accounts,” which provide parents of children with unique abilities with about $10,000 a year to enhance opportunities and education for their children, including saving money for college education. The scholarship program was named after Gardiner’s family in 2016. In the last few years, Gardiner has focused on creating new college and university opportunities for students with unique abilities. Gardiner also helped create the Florida Center for Students with Unique Abilities at the University of Central Florida, which provides a statewide database of information on higher-education programs for prospective students with unique abilities.
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