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Your Chicago: Daniel Smrokowski, Advocate For People With Disabilities

Daniel Smrokowski (CBS 2)

Daniel Smrokowski (CBS 2)

Rob Johnson Rob Johnson
Rob Johnson is the weekday anchor of the CBS 2 Chicago evening...
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(CBS) — Daniel Smrokowski has been a fixture on the radio at Roosevelt University in Chicago for roughly four years, but his tenure there is now coming to a close.

Along the way, he has touched countless lives as he pursues his message of inclusion for people with disabilities.

CBS 2’s Rob Johnson reports.

WRBC Radio is Daniel Smrokowski’s life.

He started off as an engineer there several years ago and then began hosting a Christian music show, even rising to become station manager.

All along, his passion has been Special Chronicles, first a podcast, then syndicated on WRBC, now a blog. It’s meant to uplift, inspire, and educate others about people with disabilities.

“I want to be able to tell those stories and then in telling those stories listeners will have greater acceptance and greater inclusion of all people,” Dan says.

Dan himself has a disability. Born three months premature, he has a learning disability and speech disorder, but that has never stopped him in the radio booth, or in the classroom at Roosevelt University.

Dan has opened the eyes of many, like Chris Vittoe, who attended both Westmont High and Roosevelt with Dan, and is now his successor as WRBC station manager.

He’s also made a huge impact on his teachers, like Tyra Robertson, getting them to rethink how they view others.

“You know, the classic thing — judging a book by its cover and thinking someone can only do what you perceive them to do, based upon how they appear or speak,” she says.

Before graduating three weeks ago, Dan won the school’s Social Justice Award for his disability awareness broadcasts. He is a Special Olympics Global Messenger.

The man behind the mic says his work is just beginning. He now wants to turn Special Chronicles into an audio, video and print program, telling the stories of Special Olympics athletes.