Georgetown UCEDD Awards Washington Post Journalist Award for Disability Inclusion and Storytelling

March 2, 2021

In Washington DC, the Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (GUCEDD) is proud to announce that journalist Theresa Vargas was awarded the 2020 Geraldine P. Waldorf Making A Difference Award. Working for The Washington Post, Vargas wrote 38 articles advocating for individuals with developmental and other disabilities and their families last year.

Vargas' news stories inspired many members in the D.C. intellectual and developmental disability community to take action and get involved in local policy issues, committing to "Nothing about us, without us!"

Vargas' writing highlights people with lived experiences with disability, and others who are marginalized and often discriminated against in society. 

Disability issues covered by Vargas have included criminal justice, the D.C. budget, and the lack of protective equipment for disability service providers (DSPs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. She has highlighted the voices of many local advocates, including disability activists Thomas Mangrum, Jr. and Bob Williams, as well as local organizations like D.C.'s Department on Disability Services and the National Children's Center. These examples are just a few of the many impactful stories and voices Vargas has written about the D.C Metropolitan Area and disability life.

Vargas' articles have increased public awareness about issues impacting people with I/DD, which increases general understanding of what life is like in the I/DD and what is important to them. This ultimately leads to greater participation of people with disabilities within the community, as well as an improved general well-being for all children and adults with I/DD.

"Ms. Vargas is commended for choosing to feature stories on the lives of people with developmental disabilities, and this is largely a population that has been overlooked, especially in journalism," said Tawara Goode, GUCEDD Director. 

"As a Ward 1 elected representative, I join her family and friends in honoring her well-deserved recognition as a local columnist who focuses on people with disabilities and advocating for their well-being and inclusion in all aspects of community life. [Theresa Vargas] is an inspiration to us all," said the Honorable Brianne K. Nadeau, D.C. Councilmember.

The GUCEDD has presented the Geraldine P. Waldorf Making A Difference Award each year since 2015 to recognize important contributions made to improve the lives and inclusion of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

"I know that Geraldine would be so proud to have Theresa be this year's recipient.  She embodies the values and commitment foundational to why this award was created," said Phyllis Magrab, Director of the Georgetown University Center for Child and Human Development.

This year, the Award was given on December 15, 2020. To watch the ceremony and read more, visit To request a transcript of the video, please email Jalyn Marks at [email protected].