Grammy Award-winning Songwriter Teams Up with NJ Advocate to Raise Funds for Arthritis Research

Kelly Rouba and Paul Williams (front) and his wife Mariana Williams (back)

The Arthritis National Research Foundation recently invited Kelly Rouba, a Mercer County, New Jersey native, to speak about living with arthritis at a special fundraiser with Paul Williams in Orange County, CA. Williams is an Oscar, Grammy, and Golden Globe-winning Hall of Fame songwriter, as well as President and Chairman of the Board of The American Society of Composers, Authors, and Publishers (ASCAP).

Williams’ songs have been recorded by many musical icons, including Elvis Presley, The Carpenters, Frank Sinatra, and Willie Nelson. He is known for writing the theme to TV’s “The Love Boat” and many other songs, including “We’ve Only Just Begun” and “Just An Old Fashioned Love Song.” Moreover, his songs “The Rainbow Connection,” from the children’s classic The Muppet Movie, and “Evergreen” from A Star is Born grace the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 movie songs of all time.

Fighting Temptation

by Cheryl Price

Whether it’s chocolate truffles, soda, ice cream or candy bars, many of us have a food-related vice. There are certain times when these delicious yet unhealthy items call our names more than others, however, we must resist the urge! But after a bad day or perhaps while on a vacation, what can we do to fight temptation?

I feel strong and proud after pushing up a steep San Francisco hill
It may not be easy, but I assure you that it is possible to make the right choice. On most days, I am able to either distract my mind or blatantly ignore the image of chocolate that finds its way into my mind’s eye. Remember, being able to say no to unhealthy food choices is critically important, as “epidemiologic studies have shown that people with physical disabilities have a 1.2- to 3.9-fold increase in obesity prevalence.” (  - New York Obesity Research Center, St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital, Institute of Human Nutrition, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University)

Here are a few techniques that work for me when I am trying to stay on the right track:

Exercise over Excess

Every now and then, I want nothing more than a piece of chocolate or one cookie. Sure, “everything in moderation” is a pretty sound philosophy, but I find that being able to say “no” to that food item completely makes me feel empowered and the healthiest version of myself. Therefore, when these moments come about, one thing that works for me is exercise. Since the desire for sweets usually happens at night, I’m typically able to do a significant chunk of time on my favorite exercise machine that I fortunately have at home, the VitaGlide. The VitaGlide is a cardio machine geared toward wheelchair-users and I happen to be hooked! (VitaGlide video: Once I get going on the VitaGlide, I forget about the sweet temptation and get caught up in my workout. Then when I’m done, I feel so proud of my accomplishment!

To Give is to Receive

By Lori A. Wood

For people with disabilities, finding a job is hard enough. Finding one that we actually like can prove to be much more difficult, and often, sadly, this requirement must take a backseat to more pressing financial considerations, such as attendant or child care. Rest assured, mobileWOMEN, all is not lost! 
This mobileWOMAN  who, with great ambition, courage and determination, shows us that disability doesn't necessarily render these facets of employment mutually exclusive. Through volunteerism, this woman has found her calling, demonstrating that, when we do our part to help others, we reap some of life’s greatest rewards.

To Give is to Receive

“I think volunteering is a perfect way to get into a job or career,” explains Jenny Smith, Member Care Coordinator of an international non-profit organization in Louisville, Kentucky. “I've held numerous volunteer positions, many of which led to discoveries of what I really enjoy doing. Volunteering can go on a resume just as well as a part-time job, and many times with volunteering, you don't have the responsibility that you do in a paid position. For example, if you need to go out of town, you have a bit more flexibility in scheduling your time.”

“I’d been a gymnast since I was about three years old. When I was sixteen, I was outside tumbling, and the grass was wet, so my feet slipped out from underneath me.” This left her a C6-7 complete quadriplegic. Bit by bit she has become more independent; she now lives on her own and has help three mornings a week with personal care.
“In 1998, I got to know some people from Poland, and I was asking them about accessibility in other countries, and how they go to school and work if places aren’t accessible. They said that people don’t even have wheelchairs, and that just floored me. I’d never heard that before,” she says. ”I was in graduate school at the time, and really didn’t have time to add anything else to my schedule.” A graduate of the University of Louisville, Jenny earned an undergraduate degree in Psychology and a Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology in December 1998. “Volunteering at the Crisis and Information Center in Louisville led to my Master's in Counseling Psychology. Volunteering with the adult education English as a Second Language program led to a paid position teaching Kindergarten through fifth graders for a year, while preparing me to work cross-culturally.”

“In 1999, someone from Louisville was going to Afghanistan as a volunteer with a non-profit organization to distribute wheelchairs. I didn’t know him at all, but I called him up and said, ‘I heard that you’re doing this, and I’d really like more information and to get involved.’ Then the vice-president of the organization called me and asked if I wanted to go on a trip with them. I honestly didn’t think I could travel internationally, but six months later, I was in Mexico for the first time.

Making a Splash

by Ileana Rodriguez
Ileana Rodriguez

Looking back, I can’t think of a time when swimming was not a part of my life. In 1985, I was born in Matanzas, Cuba, a beautiful small town. Living on the coast, the sea was a main source of recreation and enjoyment for locals, and as a result, learning to swim at a young age was critical for safety reasons. 

My parents taught us to swim for this same reason but also because they felt swimming was a valuable extracurricular activity. At around 6 or 7 I realized how much I enjoyed being in the water. At the same time, I was introduced to the Olympics and the actual sport of swimming. I trained for two years but then found myself overwhelmed by swimming and training so hard at such early age; I was ready to try something new--ballet. I danced for three years under the strict regime of the Cuban ballet school. During the third year, my body was not reacting normally to my training. I started to lose strength in my left leg. As a result, it was very difficult to use points and perform away from the dance bar. I had to seek medical attention and, as a result, learned that a disease known as Arterial Venus Malformation (AVM) was developing inside my body.

"Hey Jen!"--When is Enough...Enough?

by Jenny Addis
"Hey Jen!" columnist Jenny Addis
Megan writes:
Hey Jen…How do you pick up and move on after getting out of an abusive relationship? Where do I start?

Hey Megan!
Thank you for having the courage to go outside your comfort zone and ask for help, because that’s a starting point. By posting this question for mobileWOMEN, you are allowing other young women in similar situations to learn from this question and my experience. 

I’d like to start off by answering the second portion of your question: "Where do I start?" Well, guess what? You did--the moment you hit that send key on your computer and asked for help. Lately I have been speaking a lot on the topic of unhealthy, abusive relationships, domestic abuse, and intimate partner violence. No matter what the circumstance, there are no easy answers, but the first step has to be recognizing that you are in an abusive relationship and that you are being mistreated. An abusive relationship can stem from actions such as physical, mental and/or emotional abuse, alcohol and/or drug abuse induced behavior, cheating, any type of destructive behavior that may cause violence, an argument, a break-up, trust issues or jealousy, just to name a few.