JCI News Riku-Heikki Virtanen of Finland selected as one of the 2011 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World
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For his extraordinary work in human rights advocacy for the disabled, Riku- Heikki Virtanen of Helsinki, Finland was named a 2011 JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons of the World (JCI TOYP) recipient in the category of contribution to children, world peace and/or human rights. Riku-Heikki Virtanen was diagnosed with eye and ear nerve degeneration in kindergarten. Learning to live with his disability sparked his interest in a legal career. After earning his law degree, he hoped to help people in similar situations and show others that a disability cannot stop someone from accomplishing their goals. At 27, he graduated as one the first deaf and blind attorneys in the world. Virtanen stepped up to the challenge of becoming an ambassador for people living with disability. He shared his experiences studying and navigating through daily life with schools, decision makers, health professionals and the media. He collaborates with both the UN Convention of Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the World Federation of the Deafblind. As a motivated advocate, he is also involved with the Finnish Deaf-Blind Association and the Threshold Association, a human rights organization that promotes the rights of persons with disabilities. Virtanen provides strong peer support for those living with disabilities and their families. He sets a strong example for individuals that, despite physical challenges, with dedication and perseverance, anything is possible. JCI TOYP JCI (Junior Chamber International) honors ten outstanding young people under the age of 40 each year. These individuals exemplify the spirit of the JCI Mission and provide extraordinary service to their communities. Whether through service, innovation, determination or revolutionary thinking, these young active citizens create positive impacts in their communities. These ten young active citizens will be honored at the 2011 JCI TOYP Ceremony and reception Wednesday, November 2 at the JCI World Congress in Brussels, Belgium. About JCI: JCI is a worldwide membership-based nonprofit organization of young active citizens ages 18 to 40 who are dedicated to creating positive change in their communities. Through projects in more than 5,000 communities across more than 100 countries, members seek targeted solutions to local problems, creating a global impact. Visit www.jci.cc to learn more. Contact: Krissy Durant, Programs Manager, JCI (Junior Chamber International) programs@jci.cc
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