meet our team

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world;
indeed, it's the only thing that ever has.  - Margaret Mead 

  1. Elizabeth Schrader
    Elizabeth Schrader
    Board Chair
    I'm a special education teacher, board-certified music therapist, and one of the founders of Disability Support International. I am inspired by the words of Jesus, the kindness of a stranger, and the simplicity of a bicycle. Currently serving as Chair of our Board of Directors, I am excited to work towards a world that equally values people of all abilities.
  2. Mick Wendland
    Mick Wendland
    Secretary
    I have been a special education teacher for the past nine years in both Alaska and now Minnesota. I helped found DSI after traveling to Cambodia and recognizing the discrepancy of services available to people with disabilities despite the interest and efforts of some caring and compassionate people there. I hope that through our efforts with DSI we can enrich the services available to people around the world as well as into my own classroom from what we learn from our partners abroad.
  3. Jennie Wendland
    Jennie Wendland
    Treasurer
    I'm Jennie, one of the founders of DSI. I grew up with a brother with multiple disabilities, studied music therapy, and worked with various vulnerable populations, spent time in Cambodia, and taught special education in Alaska. Throughout these, God has continued to cultivate my passion and open my eyes and heart toward those with disabilities; especially to those who are all too often unseen, unheard, and unserved in many parts of the world today. I am honored to currently work as the volunteer day-to-day staff member and serve as board treasurer on DSI's mission and development.
  4. Dinesh Ranasinghe
    Dinesh Ranasinghe
    Vice Chair
    I am an IT professional with over 16 years of experience in software development, design, software architecture, as well as a variety of IT leadership roles. Besides my love for technology I am also an avid outdoorsman who loves camping, hiking, and mountaineering. As an amputee and a disabled athlete, I am passionate about disability advocacy and empowering disabled individuals. This is why I am committed to helping DSI accomplish its vision and strategic objectives. I am honored to be a part of DSI and look forward to accomplishing our mission one individual, one program, and one country at a time.
  5. Mike Carlson
    Mike Carlson
    Board Member
    I was born and raised in the Twin Cities. I am a HUGE sports fan and enjoy all things Minnesota! My day job is Director of Sales at Siteimprove, an amazing company helping folks with disabilities access and navigate the web. I have been married to my wonderful wife Melissa for 11 years and we have 2 boys, Jack ( 9) and Ethan (5). DSI is poised for a ton of growth over the next couple of years and I look forward to being a part of it!
  6. Sierra Janka
    Sierra Janka
    Board Member
    My name is Sierra Janka and I am a Special education teacher in Minnesota. I am currently working on my Masters Degree in Education. After traveling to Cambodia in 2016, I realized the discrepancy in services available between our countries. I also saw the great work being done by the organizations there and am excited to be a part of DSI to work with these organizations to better the opportunities for people with disabilities in Cambodia and other countries in the near future.
  7. Vadim Firfa
    Vadim Firfa
    Board Member
    I am an energetic communicator, passionate leader, and futuristic collaborator. I was born and raised in the Republic of Moldova and currently live in the United States. My life motto is "to grow and to give." I joined DSI because I share similar values and beliefs in our mission. I am disturbed by the fact that disabled children are often excluded from the society, especially in the developing countries, and vulnerable to violence, exploitation, and abuse. I hope that through DSI, I will be able to change this reality.
  8. Catherine Hennessy Wolter
    Catherine Hennessy Wolter
    Board Member
    I am a Minnesota-based musicologist, music educator, and advocate for social change. I have been inspired by the international work of DSI's original founders for the better part of a decade, and I am delighted to be a part of the team. A central way I serve DSI is through grant writing and other development work.

DSI's current structure includes a dedicated group of volunteer Board of Directors as well as committees that work to advance the development and mission of DSI.

Current committees include:
  • Program development
  • Finance
  • Fundraising
  • Media & communications
  • Organizational structure & development

We are looking for professional volunteers with skills in committee areas and those with nonprofit tax, legal, and finance experience to help us continue to build a strong organization.
Please contact us if you are interested!

Learn more about ways you can get involved
Contact us now