Conference Agenda

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2017 SLN conference agenda. Accessible version linked below.

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Keynote Speakers

Brian Donovan, Filmmaker, Actor, and Producer – Kelly’s Hollywood: A Candid Portrayal of a Sibling Relationship

Brian Donovan is the creator of the award winning documentary, Kelly’s Hollywood. Honest and raw, the film tells the intimate story of Brian, an aspiring actor who brings his sister Kelly, born with Down syndrome, out to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of becoming a Hollywood diva. But as her health begins to fail and she becomes increasing jealous of his fiancée, he is forced to confront his co-dependent sibling relationship and the threat it is posing to his engagement. Brian states: “There’s a saying, ‘love is the only true adventure’, I would add, ‘making a movie about love is the only true adventure’. When I picked up the camera 15 years ago and started shooting my sister Kelly, I didn’t have much of an agenda. I was capturing moments in her life that intrigued and inspired me, but when those moments started to affect me more directly, I got more serious about making this film. I had a unique perspective on an intimate relationship with a disabled sibling, so intimate that my romantic relationships became increasingly complicated and constrained, leading me to this exploration on human connection, commitment and the choices in life that effect one’s fate.”

Brian has been a professional actor for more than 25 years in film, television, and radio. He has worked on-screen with such luminaries as Jim Belushi, Jim Carrey, and Angelina Jolie. He has been the voice of countless animated heroes. In addition, Brian has been the Executive Director of the Los Angeles Repertory Theater since 1994, producing and directing more than 50 inner-city high school workshops and live shows. He is also the creator, writer, and producer of the Mighty Me Training Camp ( a top ranking children’s self-empowerment program streamed by Discover Education for more than five years. Brian currently lives in Los Angeles with his family and dog, Cosmo.

Kimberley A. Martin, N.Y. Jets Beat Writer (Newsday)

Since joining Newsday in November 2007, Kimberley A. Martin has covered everything from local news to high school sports to the Super Bowl. In 2011, she was named the National Association of Black Journalists’ “Emerging Journalist of the Year” for her outstanding achievement and balanced coverage of the black community and society at large.
Before become an award-winning journalist at Newsday, she worked as a local sports reporter for The Record in Hackensack, N.J.

Kimberley received her B.A. in Psychology and African American Studies from Wesleyan University in 2003 and her M.A. in Newspaper, Magazine & Online Journalism from Syracuse University in 2006. Prior to grad school, she worked at an investment firm in Midtown Manhattan.

Melanie Martin, YAI Member on the Autism Spectrum 

At the age of 7 1/2, Melanie Alexis Martin was officially diagnosed in 1993 as being on the autism spectrum. As a bright and independently active young lady — and self-proclaimed “Daddy’s Girl” — she learned to draw with encouragement from her late father, Compton. After graduating at 21 from P.S. 233 in Queens, she became a seasoned traveler with YAI’s Leisure Trax Program, which organizes day and overnight trips for special-needs consumers. In addition to being in ANIBIC’s Day Habilitation program for nearly 10 years, Melanie currently attends weekly piano classes, as well as art classes at the YAI Arts program in Manhattan. She hopes that someday she’ll be able to sell her finished work at YAI-sponsored art galas.
Melanie has many hobbies, including swimming, jewelry-making, dancing, blogging and traveling. She’s visited many places, including Mexico, the Caribbean, and Florida.
In an effort to give back to her community, she’s volunteered at both the Seaside and Central Libraries, the pantry and warehouse departments at the Food Bank for New York City and the SNAP Senior Center in Queens. Every year, she and her family also come together as the “MellieBears Team” for YAI’s Central Park Challenge, an event that aims to raise awareness and money for individuals with disabilities.
A Brooklyn native, Melanie now lives with her mother, Camille, in Far Rockaway, Queens.

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