Springfield, MO

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SBJ photo by McKenzie Robinson

2021 40 Under 40: Maggie Rollwagen

Director of Community Education, Abilities First

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With communication and education as her tools, Maggie Rollwagen, 39, advocates for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She helps implement the Abilities First Good Life Group, which facilitates volunteer opportunities and socialization events for those individuals, aiming to expand their potential. Rollwagen also formed Bear Aware along with Project HEAL and Missouri State University to prevent the abuse, neglect and exploitation of individuals with disabilities.

“There is a sexual assault epidemic that no one seems to be talking about, and it is time for that to change,” she says.

Through Bear Aware, professionals, parents and students learn about sexual assault prevention’s key components.

First job? A custodian. I learned to have a strong work ethic.

How do you make the Ozarks better? It is not enough to talk about inclusion. We must work to forge a path to show how inclusion enhances performance and accelerates results.

Theme song? Starvy Creek Bluegrass Festival in Conway was a big part of childhood. The culture and the music speak to my soul.

Favorite hobby or pastime? Nothing brings me more peace and joy than being on a river, hiking through the woods, fishing, building a fire, driving somewhere off road, or hopping in a kayak, canoe or boat and being reminded that I am just a visitor here.


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