FRIDAY, Nov. 15

Presenter Host Michael 'Big Dog' Abell, MSPC, LAC

“I didn’t sign-up for this and other surprises” a conversation

Our guest speakers who each came to blindness at different times in their lives’ will have a candid interactive conversation about their experiences with, loss, love and lessons learned. Host Michael “Big Dog” Abell, Narrative Therapist will guide the presenters talk about their life journeys with opportunities for some audience participation.

Saturday, Nov. 16

 Kareem Neal

Kareem's Areas of Expertise

• Restorative justice/restorative practices

• Culturally responsive teaching

• Motivational speaking

• Sensory integration

• Self-contained special education

• Curriculum development

is a self-contained Special Education teacher in Phoenix, AZ. He has taught students with severe cognitive delays for 22 years. He is the recipient of the 2019 Arizona Teacher of the Year award and was recently awarded an honorary doctorate from Northern Arizona University for his contributions to special education in Arizona. 


Kareem's passion is connecting all students in schools. This started from his awareness that the students with cognitive delays on school campuses did not truly feel like members of their school communities. This led him to evaluate his educational journey and how students in black communities did not feel like education spaces were for them. He is now a restorative justice trainer for the Phoenix Union High School district. He focuses on building community through eliminating implicit bias. This work has led him to winning the Arizona Education Association's Diversity Grant, the Maryvale Revitalization Committee's Educator Excellence Award, and his being named Vice President of the Phoenix Union High School District's Black Alliance. He also leads the largest social justice club in the Phoenix Union High School District.


Kareem recently submitted all components of his National Board Certification and is awaiting results. He lives in downtown Phoenix and spends much of his free time at social justice events. He was recently honored by NASDTEC as the West Coast Diversity Grant recipient. He was also recently named to the Spark National Teacher consultant group, awarded the Understood Fellowship, and named to the national Education Civil Rights Alliance. 

VRATE 2018 Featured Technology was: FAR - Bluetooth Beacon Technology 

Download the free FAR Vision app from Google Play or the App Store

visitors used the free FAR Vision app to navigate VRATE 2018 and received important information throughout the event and to also participate in the official VRATE Scavenger Hunt to five local businesses around Glendale Civics Center.  

NOW TWO days for the first time!
Vendor Registration Click here
The 23rd Annual VRATE Expo 

Friday, November 15th

and Saturday the 16th, 2019.

the Glendale Civic Center from

9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m

5750 W Glenn Dr, Glendale, AZ 85301

 Free Wifi! Free all day Parking!

Public transportation is available!

Access to volunteers, sighted guides, and interpreters!

Sponsorship opportunities available: 

Platinum $5000, Gold $1000, Silver $500, Bronze $250 email

Presentations and Exhibitions Focused on:

  • Life-changing Assistive Technology

  • Resources combined vision and hearing loss

  • Government and Community Services

VRATE Thanks the Lion's Club for being a 


For sponsorship information Contact 

Jordan Moon 951-316-5363