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The Semel Healthy Campus Initiative Eudaimonia Award is an annual recognition award given to members of the UCLA community who exemplify living a life of meaning and purpose. Join Dr. Wendy Slusser as she chats with both the Eudaimonia award recipient and their “nominator.”
Tune in to hear about how Carolanne Link and Michael Garafola have been leaders at UCLA to create a more accessible and empathetic campus and to learn about their life stories that have brought them together under the Eudaimonia umbrella.
Michael Garafola was born in Staten Island, NY, and moved to LA in 1999. When he was young, he had a passion for sports and recreation, with the game of basketball being his true love. Tragically, at the age of 15, this life of an athlete came to a dramatic end as he was injured in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the mid-abdomen down. Almost 13 years later, this love for sports and specifically basketball was reborn as he became connected with an adaptive basketball league, which lead him to pursue his Therapeutic Recreation Certificate and was hired to run the Adaptive Program through UCLA Recreation. Michael helps UCLA students with disabilities discover the world of adaptive sports and co-founded the Angel City Games at UCLA, where athletes of all ages with various physical disabilities can try out new sports, compete at their current sports and learn from athletes competing at high levels.
Born with a congenital disability, I didn’t ever know how to fit in. It wasn’t until I came to UCLA as an undergraduate student and discovered a disabled community here that I began to be proud to identify as a disabled person. Now, as the UWAI Project Manager, I strive to help educate the campus about disability culture and accessibility best practices, hoping to change the hearts and minds of the general population to be amazing allies to the disabled community. UWAI helps elevate UCLA’s digital accessibility through web development, digital document trainings, cultural seminars, advisements and evaluations, and even social media presence.