Denise receiving her award certificate.

At the Transforming Lives Gala on August 19, we will showcase the annual Dreammaker Award winners. The winners will be celebrated for their hard work building awareness for the disability community and using their voices as a platform for advocacy.

We normally wait until the gala to announce the winners but decided to give a preliminary introduction to each winner in the weeks leading up to the event. Today we are happy to introduce Denise Anderson.

Denise at Family Fun Day at Como Park.

According to her nominator, Denise has been learning so much about self-advocacy during the past few years. At the top of that list is that she has become an outspoken promoter for fair and equitable wages for those with developmental disabilities. Denise is industrious and speaks up about wanting more work opportunities. She recognizes the staffing shortages that our industry is experiencing. Denise has also participated in virtual meetings with her state senator and state representative (Ron Latz and Ryan Winkler, respectively) to discuss these concerns. The only stain on the meetings was her insistence on wearing a Green Bay Packers jersey!

Denise being interviewed for the Dreammaker videos.

Perhaps most importantly is Denise’s outgoing and friendly spirit. She is interested in everyone and everything and strikes up conversations with people wherever she goes. She unwittingly educates others about the needs and the abilities of people served by Living Well Disability Services just by being who she is. Denise welcomes people into her life, and shows them firsthand that people with disabilities are just like everyone else. Conversations are her tool to connect with others and prove the point to all who meet her that there are layers of opinion and personality in all of us. Just don’t ask her who she voted for, if you do not align, she will no doubt let you know what she thinks.

Denise is spicy, spunky, and full of personality. She is also this year’s Dreammaker Award winner, so let’s wish her much success as she continues her advocacy journey. Join us at the gala to learn more about this amazing human or register to watch online.

Buy your gala ticket here!   I   Can’t join in person? Register to view the online live stream here!



(The Self-advocate award honors an individual served by Living Well Disability Services for their personal accomplishments. This could include advocating for themselves and others in the disability community. This award is special because our self-advocates are a key pillar of our organization. The work we do is for THEM. Everyone who donates, volunteers or partners with Living Well is doing it so the advocates can have a bigger brighter voice, a higher quality of life, and a community to call their own.)