"There's nothing wrong with me or anyone who has a disability — we are just different..."
My name is Geri Mariano. I was born with diastrophic dysplasia, a condition that affects bone and cartilage, resulting in dramatically short stature and many physical and social challenges.
People ask if I want to be called "handicapped" or "disabled." I always reply, "Just call me Geri!" Then I share stories of the many physical, emotional and social situations I have faced and overcome. For over ten years I have spoken to adults and children of all ages, offering insights and sharing observations about challenges, creativity and compassion.
Here's what people are saying about Geri:
"Just wanted to let you know that my daughter, Casey Lynn, raved about your talk at the NRHS recently. She literally came home in tears and was anxious to tell me all about meeting you. I know you've heard from students who saw you and met you, but I wanted to reach out to you as a parent to say thank you and God bless you."
North Rockland High School Parent
"Geri has set an inspirational example for me. She taught me life is never perfect, you have to improvise."
J., Student, Wampus Elementary School, Armonk, NY
"I think Geri should come and speak with our whole school and show kids that the sky is the limit."
R., Blind Brook High School (Grade 12), Rye Brook, NY
"It should be mandatory for you to come into schools to allow students to meet you and hear your compelling story."
Donna Linton, Middle School Director, Lawrence Woodmere Academy, Woodmere, NY
"As an educator I was impressed to see the wonderful presence she displayed with the students. Her message was engaging and she had their attention from the moment they walked into the room. She touched on topics
related to diversity, discrimination and bullying. I feel that that students and teachers came out of her talk more informed and inspired to celebrate
Mark Bodwell, Principal, West Bridgewater Public School/Howard School, West Bridgewater, MA
See what CBS New York has to say about Geri!
See Geri accepting the Spirit of Independence Award!
Sneak preview of Geri's presentation - "Just Call Me Geri"