December 8, 2022

Newly created Jane Vermeulen award to recognize leaders in Michigan’s disability community

DETROIT – The Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute (MI-DDI) at Wayne State University recently established the Jane Vermeulen Leadership Award. The award will be presented each year to a person with a disability who exhibits leadership in their local and/or disability community. The award was established to honor the late Jane “Janey” Vermeulen who passed away in 2022.

Stitch and Jane Vermeulen, the award's namesake.Jane was an advocate for disability rights. She was a vibrant, positive person who believed all people with disabilities should be respected and supported to live actively in their communities. Jane was an ardent supporter of Self-Determination, self-directed services and supports, and community living. She shared her experience and knowledge with others as a Peer Mentor, supporting individuals to direct their own lives. Jane was also a long-time member of MI-DDI’s Community Advisory Council (CAC). As part of the CAC, she helped direct the work that MI-DDI does to support disability rights and independent living throughout Michigan.

“Janey really exemplified what it meant to live a self-determined, independent life.” said Angela Martin, MI-DDI Senior Associate Director. “Jane not only advocated for herself, but also for many other people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This award is meant to carry on her legacy and recognize those who embody the ideals that Janey lived every day.”

The award, which was approved by Wayne State University, will be presented each year to a person with disabilities. The nomination process will be open from January 1st and close on May 1st. If you are a self-advocate, or know a self-advocate who reflects the essence of Jane, please nominate yourself or them for this distinguished award. The nomination form can be found online or through the Jane Vermeulen Leadership Award webpage.

About MI-DDI

MI-DDI’s mission is to contribute to the development of inclusive communities and quality of life for people with disabilities and their families through a culturally sensitive statewide program of training and education, community support and services, research, and information development and sharing.

To learn more about the Jane Vermeulen Award, contact MI-DDI Senior Associate Director, Angela Martin, at or (313) 577-2654.

Learn more about MI-DDI's Janey Award.

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