Karen has worked with and helped many groups, families, and individuals for decades. Here are testimonials from a few of them. She inspires and motivates everyone with her warmth, her compassion, her dedication, and her authentic desire to help them.
[Italics added for emphasis—Editor]
(See Past Presentations for a fuller list of speaking engagements.)
This is a recommendation for Ms. Karen Lynn-Chlup. Ms. Lynn-Chlup is an advocate for people with disabilities and a fitness instructor. On Friday November 8, 2019, she volunteered as a Teaching Assistant for my Theatre for Everyone class, a program for youth with disabilities, sponsored by New Jersey’s Tony Award-winning Paper Mill Playhouse. As a proud woman with disabilities, she was a wonderful role model; indeed, she participated in movement, in story-telling, and she performed an evocative poem in sign language. In our creative activities, we utilize the Theory of Multiple Intelligences and Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Ms. Lynn-Chlup possesses great strength in the Bodily-Kinesthetic, Intrapersonal and Musical Intelligences. Her warm, dynamic encouragement brought great joy and interest to the students. This tapped into everyone’s Affective Learning Networks of UDL—motivation and delight. She and my full-time Teaching Assistant, Dr. Sean P. Dineen, DLitt., enacted a fully interactive story with the students. Karen has been an advocate all her life, a strong woman with disability pride. I highly recommend her as a teacher and leader.
–Leslie Fanelli, Master Teacher, Theatre for Everyone, Paper Mill Playhouse
On November 7, 2019, the Kean University World Civilization class I teach on Thursday evenings was blessed with a unique visionary. One of the founding members of the movement for disability inclusion had arrived. Ms. Karen Lynn-Chlup was going to share her story. During the 1950s and 60s, decades in which many were left isolated, she gave of her whole being to learn to read, write, dance, and swim, working on tutorial lessons and doing everything her mother asked to become the best person she could become. The students were excited and stunned to learn how she worked without limit. She demonstrated how they could find their own paths to greatness.
–Dr. Sean Patrick Dineen, DLitt, Adjunct Professor, Kean University
It was my joy to work with Ms. Karen Lynn-Chlup at the Paper Mill Playhouse as part of their Theatre for Everyone program on Nov. 8, 2019. Ms. Lynn-Chlup performed with her unparalleled dedication, leading the young people—with and without disabilities—in movement exercises.
The class began with the Rainbow Song, a performance demonstrating our motto of “Be Smart and Silly, and Silly and Smart.” Ms. Lynn-Chlup—in body and in spirit–radiated her passion, smiling, encouraging, and pouring out her joy, with the teaching skills developed over an eon of experience. Later, we enacted the Story Room on the Broom, in which it was my honor to play the Queen of the World in wig and crown, as Ms. Lynn-Chlup gently maneuvered various anthropomorphic animals into position.
It was particularly touching to watch the curiosity and excitement of one young girl as she gravitated to, and danced with Karen. Her desire to interact came through completely, and her augmentative communication device beeped as she sought to work with and learn from her new friend Karen.
The entire program, the brainchild of Ms. Leslie Fanelli creator of Theatre in Motion, promotes communication, cooperation, self-esteem, and having fun.
Having fought with love and dedication to secure a role for herself and for other people with disabilities in a society not yet given to her worldview, Ms. Lynn-Chlup transformed us all into our best selves. We all look forward to her next visit.
–Dr. Sean Patrick Dineen, DLitt, Adjunct Professor, Kean University
Karen Lynn-Chlup was invited by the 2015 Conference Planning Committee to serve as the Keynote Presenter for the 25th anniversary San Diego People First Self-Advocacy Conference, which is a 3-day event attended by over 400 adults with developmental disabilities annually. She was the committee’s first and unanimous choice for a keynote presenter—based on her overwhelmingly positive and strong message, her track record as a strong and experienced advocate, and her training and professional history in the field of adapted fitness and healthy lifestyle.
From a logistics and event planning perspective, she was a complete joy to partner with! She was open and responsive in her communication and demonstrated tremendous grace and positivity in each interaction throughout the event planning process. She brought forth her ideas and suggestions based on the depth of her experience but also skillfully incorporated feedback and input from committee members in order to truly customize her message to our event participants. Karen was even willing to jump in to fill an additional breakout session so that conference attendees could benefit from her extensive adaptive fitness background!
Over the weekend of our event, she could not have been any better!! She is a polished and professional speaker – relatable and engaging, motivating and thought-provoking. We rely on our keynote speaker to engage an audience of over 400 people and to set the tone and energy for the rest of our event—Karen skillfully and inspiringly accomplished just that! Throughout the weekend of the conference and in the months since, I have heard nothing but positive comments from conference participants and planning committee members. Not only did she provide us with a phenomenal keynote address and adaptive fitness session, she also spent the entire weekend participating in the other conference activities and truly taking time to get to know and invest in many of the event attendees.
Below are just a few of the comments and quotes from conference participants, planning committee members and San Diego People First membership:
- She is an excellent speaker!
- Not only was her personal story beautiful and inspirational, but she was also able to give us something to take with us and to apply in our own lives
- The keynote speaker really told us to speak up for ourselves and work hard for what we want and believe in who we are!
- I appreciated that Karen and her husband stayed involved in the whole weekend – she took the time to get to know everyone and was genuinely interested in understanding what we are all about.
- Karen rocks!
- Awesome – loved her! Bring her back again!
- Fantastic public speaker with an amazing story – AND a truly good and caring person. What a wonderful combination!
- We were so lucky to have her at our conference!
Based on evaluations completed by attendees at the end of the conference weekend, Karen’s adaptive fitness workshop session was the most frequently referenced and highest ranked workshop of the 7 breakout sessions offered.
— Laura Krebs, Program Coordinator, United Cerebral Palsy of San Diego County
Karen Lynn-Chlup was a member of a panel that I produced for the Independent Writers of Southern California in November of 2010. We talked about writing for/with/by/about disabilities. One of the things that we cautioned about was placing the burden of inspiration on people who have overcome or dealt with disabilities. Having said that, I appreciate the great value that she brings due to her ability to communicate, her knowledge of the field, and her successes. She contributed to the panel significantly, and I was very happy that she was with us. I hope to see her on another panel in the future.
— Gary Young, President, Publishers Association of Los Angeles
Executive Director, Lifetime Achievement Foundation (lifetimeachievement.org) President, Publishers Association of Los Angeles (pa-la.org) Director of Professional Development, Independent Writers of S CA (iwosc.org) Vice-Chair, Alliance of Los Angeles Playwrights (laplaywrights.org)
How special we felt to have you as our guest speaker at this year’s 07 Commencement here at Widney High School. It was even the more special because you are an Alumni… The staff and parents were fascinated at your incredible story of courage, faith and hope. Your presentation and willingness to succeed left a strong impression on all who heard you. Now they know that the impossible is POSSIBLE! Your story is one that all can relate to on one level or another, what a survivor you are to have overcome such tremendous barriers and obstacles of bias and discrimination to evolve into this phenomenal force. Continue to let your light shine and spread the truth and be an advocate for our disabled population.
— Jesse Thompson, Principal, Widney High School
Ever since her diagnosis of cerebral palsy at 18 months old, Karen Lynn-Chlup has demonstrated an unconquerable will, to not be limited by other people’s prejudices or their outmoded limiting ideas. She has demonstrated time and time again, an unconquerable will. Even to this day, at age 55, when people are retiring; she is still mastering and sharing her talents with the world.
In November of 2006, Ms. Lynn-Chlup spoke to two of my American History classes, at Kern University, on discrimination. She traveled over 3000 miles just to share her amazing story with my classes. Her unique ability to capture my student’s attention was captivating. My students were mesmerized during her two, hour-long presentations. She truly represents the finest aspects of the disabled community, as her tireless and unwavering efforts have made this a better place for all of us who have physical challenges, to live our lives. Her message resonates volumes for all to hear. Her Magnum opus, “The Broken Hoof”, sums up the trials and triumphs of living with a disability, with humor, grace, and truth. Her work, as an author, comes highly recommended; and should definitely be read.
I am honored not only as a professor, playwright, and friend to share her vision for our country, but also as a person with Cerebral Palsy. She laid the foundation for not only my own accomplishments and accommodations, but for everyone else’s success. She is the person who “fought the good fight.” She poured the concrete and laid the mortar. She was the first disabled woman who broke barriers and boundaries all alone. She made this happen. She fought with all her might! I don’t think I could have finished my doctorate degree without her unwavering support and loving example.
I enthusiastically endorse Ms. Lynn-Chlup’s accomplishments, and acknowledge her ardent pursuit and dedication to the world and the cause to eliminate discrimination towards all.
— Prof. Sean Dineen, Professor, Kern University
On Nov. 8, 2005, the VSA Arts, headquarters, in New Brunswick, New Jersey, invited Ms. Karen Lynn-Chlup to share and read excerpts from her fictionalized book and autobiography “The Broken Hoof”. Her affectionate and infectious smile filled the room as she entered the door. I introduced her to our group of writers and staff, and within moments she mesmerized us all—she began to share the details of her story, of a young disabled girl, and the triumphs and tribulations in a descriptive and alliterating way. Ms. Lynn-Chlup’s story takes place at the beginning of the disabled rights movement. She shares that her character finds courage and inspiration from a carousel horse, which comes to life.
I was serving as the artistic director, of VSA, Unlimited Potential Theatre Company at the time [she spoke to us]. This company is a group for disabled activists, and artists who are disabled and are sharing their voices. Ms. Lynn-Chlup spoke about her achievements, as a writer, and as an adaptive aerobics, fitness instructor and activist for the disabled community. Her successful filing and winning of the first Civil Rights Court Case, in California, under the Rehabilitation Act inspired us all. She alone laid the foundation for so many of the later victories in the disability rights community for people’s struggles as a pioneer in the movement. Her warm, honest, and compelling presentation was very powerful, open, and sincere. She captivated us all, as she held the attention of our audience, of fellow disabled artist and activist, for more than an hour, without a whisper. Her work resonated impressively, in an important way for those in attendance.
I truly believe Ms. Lynn-Chlup has achieved much in her life, and I believe she will continue to achieve and bring about even more change because of her never-ending and inexhaustible work. It is my pleasure, to endorse and bring high recommendation to assure Ms. Lynn-Chlup’s abilities as a public speaker.
— Arthur Wilson, Unlimited Potential Theatre Company, Roselle, New Jersey
Personal recommendations from friends and students
I met Karen while working on my honors thesis during my senior year of college. I was researching and analyzing the intersection between disability and law. She offered me her unparalleled experience and knowledge on both subjects and I was so grateful to have her share her story and her victories with me. It was amazing to connect with her on another level when we both realized that we shared a love for dance and had used that passion to overcome struggles with physical disabilities that others had told us was not possible. I learned so much from Karen and am so appreciative of how incredibly willing she was to work with me and dedicate her time and energy to helping me grow as a researcher and as a person in the short time we were able to interact. My thesis would not have been complete without Karen’s help. I am very much looking forward to her next piece of writing that is soon to be published – I can’t wait to read it! Thank you, Karen.
— Rachel Schuster
Karen Lynn-Chlup and I have been great friends for 9 years now, yet we have never met in person. We met over the internet and from the very start we had a connection and bond. We could always feel each others heart ache, pain, happiness, and joys… We have a saying, which developed out of its miles apart, but still close to the heart. We met by the grace of God, a mother searching for answers to help her daughter’s severe disabilities… and a women talking about her own disability. Our true friendship, regardless of the miles, is a fixture in our lives and will continue forever.
Karen has been an inspiration for me. She has taught me to fight for my daughter’s rights, for women’s rights, and for human rights. Her story is that of a women who will attain and succeed her goals regardless of the many uphill struggles. Karen does not realize she is more able bodied then most people to begin with- her disability became her strength to succeed and to help other individuals with abilities and disabilities.
Karen’s Book “The Broken Hoof” is of a women with a heart and soul – it is of a very special woman who tells the story of her life as a little girl. It is a woman’s life experiences, her failures, and her triumphant success – My two youngest daughters read Karen’s book and felt the story deep within their hearts because of their own sister who has Cerebral Palsy.
I wish Karen Lynn greater exposure to reach out to everyone, because we all would benefit in one way or another from her life and her inner-such strength. I can’t say enough about Karen. She is such a wonderful, beautiful person. I am so lucky to have her as a friend. One day we will meet and walk together hand in hand. You are more then a sister to me; you are part of my being – I love you, Miles Apart, but always in my heart.
— Cookie (Connie Moudis), Beverly Hills Florida
Karen Lynn-Chlup used to come to my house, two hours a day, once a week, for over a year and a half, until I moved away to La Quinta, CA. Karen was a referral from one of her other clients. And from the moment I interviewed Ms. Lynn, there was an immediate bond and closeness. We connected, and were on the same page immediately! She understood my wants and needs and felt what I was going through, with an unspoken intuitiveness and awareness.
Erica, my daughter, also took to Karen right away as she looked up to her with high regards. Karen was an example for Erica. Without a word, Karen exemplifies what can be achieved. Her positive attitude was illustrated for my daughter through Karen’s illumination. Even though I moved over 125 miles away, we still stay in close contact with each other. Karen has a very special gift and talent in working with others. She has this warm, loving, caring, and honest way about her.
My daughter Erica always looked forward to Karen’s visits. Erica, has severe Cerebral Palsy, and was traumatized pretty harshly when her father past away in 2001. Every week, Karen would bring her now published story and read a little more to my daughter each and every time she came to my home. She spent numerous hours working on trying to get Erica to use her speaking machine, or move her limbs. Karen would fill Erica’s time with warmth, fun, laughter, and self motivating activities that would build Erica’s self esteem and self -confidence. She would bring music, of the latest musicians, and use it like music therapy for Erica to listen to. And, many a times, they had their own extraordinary dance parties. Still other times, they would be curled up on the couch arm in arm singing along to Erica’s most favorite records or watching Erica’s most favorite movies. She gave me the peace of mind that I needed to get away for a little bit to rejuvenate myself and have a respite. Karen did whatever it took to keep my daughter positive and happy. She did whatever I asked of her with a smile and a sincere desire to help. Karen always went above and beyond what I asked of her, always! Karen was a Godsend sent to me when I needed her the most. She knows what she is doing and she does it straight from her heart.
In summery, I would highly recommend Karen’s services and expertise (as varied and valuable as it is) for exploring the many directions she is able to take with regards to working in many different situations.
— Eileen Haden, La Quinta, CA
Karen Lynn was my Yoga teacher for 2 years. I have Cerebral Palsy and I am 10 years old. I also work with a physical therapist. But, Ms. Karen is the one I trust. I turn to her, to tell me the truth. She is the one I rely on!
— Katherine Davis, Palos Verdes, CA
In March of 2006 I was preparing for a presentation for a leadership program I was involved in through university. After stumbling upon the Whispers of Hope website, and being truly motivated and inspired by Karen’s achievements, I contacted Karen requesting to include her journey in our presentation.
Karen was more than happy to assist me. It only took her two days to respond to my first email! Karen was more than willing to help in any way she could and even though we have never met, Karen addressed her writings to me as though we had been friends for years.
I am writing this testimonial for Karen to thank her for the time she took to prepare and send to me an amazing and very inspirational recount of some of the tribulations and personal triumphs she has experienced in her life.
Thank you, Karen, for taking the time and courage to help on such a personal issue and for being so generous and open. Karen, you are an amazing person. Not only is your story an inspiration to all those who are fortunate enough to have it shared with them, but your generosity, courage and determination are qualities that we can all hope to learn from. Your willingness to help all of those in need, with no benefit to yourself, is truly an example of your benevolent nature. Not only have many people learnt from your actions and thoughts, but also those touched by your words will certainly pass on your message with the emotion and passion that you have shared with us. Thank you for you kindness and determination to make a change in the world, one person at a time. Thank you again, and I wish you all the best and success for the future.
— Natalie Lasek, Melbourne, Australia
My name is Chrissy. I have known Karen Lynn-Chlup for a short while, but it seems and feels as if I have known her forever, because of her kind, kind, kind heart. I met her back in April 2013 through my best friend. She has been through a lot herself, but, yet, she still finds time to give her help and support selflessly. I was going through a lot, and of course I still am, but if it was not for her I would still be trapped in a life of unhappiness.
I was under services in the state of New Jersey and was not happy, and longed for freedom and a life of my own. My chance finally came! Karen helped me claim a life of my own for my son and I. Now today I have my life of my own. Have my own place, making a life for my son, and now living with my fiancé, Christina. To this day Karen and I keep in touch on a regular basis. She listens when I have issues and a hard time and gives advice. Really, if it was not for her encouragement, and help I would still be living in New Jersey under services, living a life of unhappiness. Who knows where I would be today if it was not for meeting Karen.
People say there is a reason for everything. That there is a reason some people come into our lives. After meeting my fiancé, and later meeting Karen, I truly believe in so much. I believe Karen was meant to cross paths with me to guide, encourage, and help me claim that life that I deserve.
If things become difficult, too hard, you find yourself losing hope, want to give up on your dreams, do not! Fight and try and try again, because your happiness very well could be right around the corner!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Mine sure was!!!!! So much in my life became possible, all because I had met Karen!!!!!!!!!!!!! Dreams are possible!!!!!!!!!! Do not let people put you down, because of some physical, or unnoticed disability, because we are all people!!!!!!!!! That is one thing I have learned from Karen. So accept that you are a person with feelings just like anyone else!!!!!!! We were all put here for a reason. We can all change a part of the world no matter what physical or unseen disability, weather it is a big, small, or unnoticed change.
Appreciate everyone who comes into your life, because you never know which one will bring the endless possibilities into your life for the better. Karen was mine!!!!!!!!!!!!!