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Joe Chiappetta BiographyRenaissance man might be the best way to describe Joe Chiappetta. He is an Author, Cartoonist, Painter, Photographer, Christian Ministry Leader, Publisher, Program Director, and Trainer.
As the author of over a dozen nonfiction and fiction books, as well as numerous magazines and articles, Chiappetta has won many awards. This includes an Illinois Arts Council Award for his work on the project: "Back Pain Avenger/Disability in Comics." The book, research, and speaking tour surrounding the Award focused on issues of disability in the history of comic books, as well as presenting a non-medicated memoir of rehabilitation.
For his family documentary and experimental work on the graphic novel "Silly Daddy," Joe was the recipient of the Xeric Award as well as numerous other award nominations over the years. Silly Daddy Comics is also the ongoing title of his comic strip series, one of the longest running autobiographical family comics in the world. Chiappetta is a husband and father of three who loves God and bicycle riding.
In 1999, Joe began leading community Bible discussion groups in the Chicago area, and most recently in Pasadena, California. He's one of the founding members of the Chicago International Christian Church, is a current leader in the City of Angeles International Christian Church and leads both members and non-members in areas of applied Christianity, parenting, marriage, service to the poor and those with disabilities, and mental health issues.
Joe has served as the Director of MERCYWORLDWIDE for their Chicago Branch, and currently for their Los Angeles Branch. MERCYWORLDWIDE is part of a global nonprofit charity. Chiappetta increased the scope of this organization from annual to monthly service projects helping people with disabilities as well as those who are poor.
Joe is also the founder of Chicago's Workforce Developer Network (WDN). It's the oldest collaborative of organizations working together to place more people with disabilities in jobs. In 2014, the group had a record-setting year; employers hired 137 people with disabilities through WDN, which generated nearly $2 million in benefits to society.
For the thousands of people who have become employed with the help of this collaborative, Joe was included as part of a Chicago delegation to Washington DC that was awarded the US Department of Labor's New Freedom Initiative Award. This took place while Joe was Director of Workforce Development at the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. He has also served as group leader on Chicago's Mayoral Task Force on the Employment of People with Disabilities.
As Director and Coordinator of Employment Services for a number of nonprofit agencies over the years, Joe built a strong reputation of revitalizing staff to eliminate program waste and place more people with disabilities in jobs. He has helped agencies expand their innovation and marketing agendas to improve placement results.
Chiappetta has been an interdisciplinary researcher and research advisory team member in many major projects on disability studies, employment matters, religion, and comics history. Research has been conducted for, or in partnership with, a number of organizations, including DePaul University, Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, Illinois Arts Council, Chicago International Christian Church, Access Living, and MERCYWORLDWIDE.
Joe has been a trainer and curriculum designer on disability-employment matters to many employers, a variety of State and nonprofit agencies, universities, high schools, parent groups and persons with disabilities. This includes Chicago Public Schools, ComEd, Compass Group, Exelon, Illinois Division of Rehabilitation Services, KPMG, Manpower, National Louis University, PepsiCo, Sodexo, University of Illinois at Chicago, Walgreens, Walmart, and almost every job placement agency serving people with disabilities in the Chicago area.
Joe received a Bachelor of Arts in Ministry and Charity Services from the International College of Christian Ministries in Los Angeles. He's also an alumni of Northern Illinois University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts who graduated cum laude and received the Dean's Award. His interdisciplinary education and experiences have encouraged him to use creativity combined with integrity to live a meaningful life to the full.
Denise Chiappetta BiographyDenise Chiappetta holds two Bachelor of Arts degrees: one from Dominican University in Writing and one from the International College of Christian Ministries in Ministry and Charity Services. She is a wife, mother, and has been co-leading ministry activities since 1999.
As author of the book "Rescuing Supermom," Denise gives her readers "chick lit with true grit". Some topics covered are a family trip to the woods to build a fort in the rain, homeschooling, a housewife's admiration of a new garbage can, Craigslist encounters, the joys of parenting, awkward prom moments for parents, disability rights, life-changing mentoring relationships, the Garden of Eden, and God Almighty. In addition, she is editor of her husband's award-winning comic series, "Silly Daddy," as well as "Star Chosen," a science fiction novel, and "The Back Pain Avenger."
Denise is co-founder of "MERCY Family Time." This was a successful monthly program that people with disabilities throughout Chicago have appreciated. By coordinating and utilizing MERCYWORLDWIDE volunteers, the residents of multiple group homes for people with disabilities are able to look forward to sharing an evening of conversation, laughter, games, snacks and various other activities once a month. It has proven to be an effective bridge back into the community for the residents.
Denise was also an organizer for MERCYWORLDWIDE Blood Drives. As a partnership with the American Red Cross, 3 Blood Drives were initiated in 13 months.
She is also co-author of The 1 Portal Model curriculum. This four session training curriculum is used within Chicago's Workforce Developer Network to help train its members to work together as a unified sales force. The results are record breaking and have helped place thousands of people with disabilities in jobs.
Denise also helped to create a series of trainings entitled "Mental Health and Holiness." This is a peer mentoring resource for those with mental illness. The training series has turned into a book of the same title that she wrote with her husband.
In addition, Denise has teamed up with her husband for public speaking engagements to present "Disability in Comics: A presentation of the history of characters with disabilities in cartoons and comics spanning 1000 years" to audiences ranging from comic book convention attendees to faculty and students at the Adler School of Professional Psychology.