Meet the Pioneers!

Mike Dee’s Big Adventure is now in its 11th year. Every single trip marks incredible transformations in the lives of these young people. Each year, youth with a wide spectrum of disabilities become boldly enabled through compassion, fun, and an experience they truly never believed they could do on their own.

These are The Pioneers behind those experiences and The Future Adventures to come.

 
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Mike Dee:

Born in Albuquerque and raised in El Paso, at the age of 13 his passion for music lead him to start his career in the DJ industry Throughout high school Mike Dee lost his sight graduated from Bel Air High School Class of 1991 in 1994 Mike Dee made the courageous move to Austin, TX

He achieved an Associates in Communication at Austin Community College where he met his wife, Hilda, of 19 years. Shortly after, Mike Dee earned his bachelor's degree at the University of Texas at Austin in Radio Television and Film.

Upon returning home in 1999 Mike Dee continued his career in radio as the executive producer for the POWER 102 morning show  Mike Dee and his wife started their family in 2007 which later led to a trip to the Albuquerque Aquarium. On the ride home Mike Dee came up with the idea that sparked the beginning of Mike Dee's Big Adventure.

Mike Dee is not only the founder of a non-profit organization but a business owner as well. He is COF (Chief of Fun) of Mike Dee Productions, his privately owned event company. Mike Dee works closely with his clients which include public schools, non-profits, corporate clients as well as celebrities.

Mike Dee builds arcade games and has his own collection of old school authentic retro cabinets. He's even built one for Vanilla Ice and his tv show. Among all the fun Mike has shared the stage with fellow comedians like long time friend, Gabriel Iglesias, Willie Barcena and Alex Raymundo.

Hobbies:

Carpentry

Arcade Games

Public Speaking - Positivity

Being a kid and never letting go of the 80's

"Goonies never say die!"

Awards achieved:

Links Star Awards

 
 
 

Patti Diaz:

Patti Diaz has served the El Paso community for more than twenty-five years working at radio station Power 102.1 and currently serves as the Program Director for Power 102.1 and HOT 93.5 in El Paso, Texas. Patti is also the host of one of the most popular morning radio shows in town, Patti Diaz, Mike Dee & Adrie in the Morning. Given this very public platform, Patti uses her position to ensure the radio station’s remain active and visible in the community and promote positive, fun and safe activities for area families. Working closely with Mike Dee for over 20 years has given Patti a unique perspective on the challenge’s individuals with disabilities encounter daily. She believes in inclusion and that everyone should be given the opportunity to fulfill their dreams. Patti serves as Co-Treasurer for Mike Dee’s Big Adventure and is a member of the Kiwanis Club of Horizon City.

 
 
 

John Z:

After being invited to attend Mike Dee’s Big Adventure’s first ever fundraising event  John fell in love with the idea of helping students with disabilities focus on their abilities in a fun and adventurous way. Soon after, John became a regular volunteer with the ‘Big Adventure’ and joined the board of directors in 2010. As a native El Pasoan that prides in his city and its wonderful community, John attended The University of Texas at El Paso where he earned a master’s degree in business administration. John works as a Financial Analyst at El Paso Electric Company, another of the region’s organizations actively involved in helping the community.

 
 
 

Rick Razo:

Rick Razo has been an educator and advocate for students with disabilities and their families for over 37 years. He has served as a special education teacher, transition specialist, consultant and director of special education with the Education Service Center-Region 19. Seventeen years ago, he coordinated the development of the El Paso Del Norte Youth Leadership Forum, a leadership and advocacy training for young people with disabilities. He has been a coach and volunteer with Texas Special Olympics for the past 39 years. Ten years ago, he met with Mike Dee to develop the first Mike Dee’s Big Adventure. Most recently, he coordinated the development of the Project HIGHER Program at El Paso Community College for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities to attend postsecondary education. Rick believes that having high expectations for all persons with disabilities is the key to success! He also believes persons with disabilities need the same opportunities and experiences as their peers without disabilities!

 
 
 

Ana Stopyra:

Ana Stopyra has been with Mike Dee’s Big Adventure since the inception of the Big Adventure.  Ana became a board member in 2010 and has become an integral part of the Big Adventure.  With her bachelor’s degree in Interdisciplinary Studies from the University of Texas at El Paso and her experience as a Special Education teacher with the Socorro Independent School District, Ana provides guidance and instruction to both participants and volunteers. Ana strongly believes that with patience, family support, and the right guidance any person can succeed.

 
 
 

Paul Nathan:

Paul Nathan is an advocate for people with disabilities and passionate about working with children. Paul received his bachelors in Special education in 2017 at UTEP. He advocates for people with disabilities at a local and state level as well as teach the younger generations how to advocate for themselves. He is a volunteer with the Mike Dee Big adventure Project and a member of the Big Adventure board.

 
 
 

Adrienne Acosta:

Adrienne Acosta became a board member for Mike Dee's Big Adventure in March of 2014. Adrienne is a born and raised El Pasoan with a taste of small town upbringing while attending grade school in Clint, Texas. She graduated from the University of Texas of El Paso with a bachelor's degree in Multimedia Journalism. Adrienne also known as Adrie is currently an on-air personality on the KPRR FM Power 102.1 morning show with iHeartMedia. Adrienne is the Event Manager of Mike Dee Productions, a locally owned event company, where she works closely alongside business owner Mike Dee. With her experience in the restaurant service industry and background in communications Adrienne prides herself in taking control of administrative duties for Mike Dee's Big Adventure. Local and major restaurant chains and businesses have participated in helping fund the Big Adventure with Adrienne's help.

 
 
 

Monica Thomas (Castillo):

Monica is a native El Pasoan and actively involved in her community. One of the most exciting parts of Monica’s life is being a part of Mike Dee’s Big Adventure. Currently employed with Power 102 as a midday talent and a sales manager for Topgolf, Monica is proud to work with two companies whose core values align with Mike Dee’s Big Adventure.  She and her husband are volunteers and big supporters of this life changing organization.