TINTON FALLS, NJ - State Senator Vin Gopal, Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling, and Assemblywoman Joann Downey honored Dr. Paul Stuart Wichansky with a joint legislative proclamation for educating others about disability awareness and acceptance, and for 40 years, encouraging our youth to learn to believe in themselves and the beauty of their dreams.
“Dr. Wichansky is a renowned motivational speaker who was born with cerebral palsy and a hearing loss. A lifelong Freehold Township resident, he has overcome these challenges and continues to share his story of courage and resilience — always with humor — during a speaking career totaling 7,600 school assemblies and conference keynotes in New Jersey and nationwide,” said Gopal (D-Long Branch). “His determination, commitment and leadership are examples we all should strive to attain.”
“His life story has reached more than one million youth and teens, parents, and professionals during a public speaking career that started when he was just 10 years old,” said Houghtaling (D-Neptune). “Dr. Wichansky rose to prominence as a captivating speaker who shares an uplifting message of diversity and disability awareness, anti-bullying, and perseverance. His example of everyday heroism in the face of adversity has inspired countless other people with disabilities to also realize their full potential.”
Downey (D-Freehold), who chairs the Assembly Human Services Committee, said Dr. Wichansky has shattered stereotypes about people with disabilities. His programs help our youth develop the confidence and resilience to rise above their own adversity while teaching them to embrace their uniqueness.
“He has inspired people of all ages with his engaging stories and passion for helping others understand that our challenges can be among our greatest gifts in life. Our communities are collectively stronger when we are inclusive and embrace those with disabilities,” Downey said. “Through his life and work, he has been a model for others to emulate and sets a standard of excellence for all of us to follow.”
Dr. Wichansky said he considers the proclamation a tribute to his late mother Barbara.
“My mother started my public speaking career at age 10 in the Princeton and Fair Haven regional schools. Although she passed two years ago, Mom is still very much alive with these presentations,” he said. “As I was reading the proclamation, I felt overcome with sudden chills and goosebumps. At that moment, I could feel her presence and her pride. Mom and Dad taught me that love and respect are the most powerful gifts we can give — and receive — in our lives. I enjoy sharing that same philosophy with students.”
“With our children becoming our nation’s collective future, I am using myself as an example to demonstrate that kindness, empathy, and compassion can also unite us as a society,” he shared.