Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities
Mayor's Disability Advocate of the Year Awards - 2011
Community Advocate – Nondisabled
OFFICER JAMES SOBOTA
Officer James Sobota has been a police officer with the Houston Police Department since 1985. As an HPD officer, he currently serves as the Coordinator for the City-Wide Positive Interaction Program (PIP). He oversees 30 PIP meetings throughout the city, including the Deaf and Hard of Hearing meetings. Since becoming exposed to the deaf community, Officer Sobota began to look into new ways to communicate with them, including taking an ASL class at a local college and researching new technology to better assist police officers in communicating with the deaf and hard of hearing constituents. One service he researched is called “Video Remote Interpreting” (VRI). Last Spring, Officer Sobota had received approval to have VRI units installed at 17 police stations. Through his work, Officer Sobota is recognized as a champion for the deaf community and a strong advocate and liaison for the Houston Police Department.
Community Advocate – Disabled
Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Troyon Myree, a marine veteran with two daughters now resides in Houston, TX. He is a C-4/5 Quadriplegic as a result of a neurological disorder known as Guilliane-Barre Syndrome. Troy is a graduate of the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. He is currently pursuing his second Master’s in Healthcare Administration.
Over the past eleven years, Troyon has been dedicated to being an advocate to students with disabilities as a Barbara Jordan Ambassador. He also serves on the board for the Barbara Jordan Endeavors Corporation inspiring students with disabilities to strive for excellence, finish high school and obtain their goals of attending college.
Community Advocate – Youth
Growing up with Aspergers Syndrome, a form of Autism, Grant worked to educate and advocate for people with Autism. In 2006, at the age of 9, Grant co-wrote his first resource book, Dear Journal, I have Autism. Grant also hosted parties that incorporated life and social skills for children with Autism.
Not only does Grant advocate and volunteer in his spare time, he is also a creative and talented artist. Grant teaches the importance of being environmentally responsible through his eco-friendly masterpieces that consist of reusing recycled paper material.
At sixteen years old, Grant had emerged as one of the most unique, captivating and intriguing young artist/ speaker on awareness of autism in the Houston area. He lives by his advocacy motto: “It’s not what we can’t do…it’s what we can do!”