In 2013, White Apple Institute (WAI) was granted nonprofit status as a  501 (C) (3) by the Internal Revenue Service and Certified as a  Veteran-operated organization. WAI was formerly known as White Apple  Training & Education Center, a private company in 1983. Founder Danita Applewhite, PhD, CRC, a Woman Veteran, developed the organization  and White Apple Wisdom-A Self-Rehabilitation Program (c) in response to the overwhelming  requests of educators, counselors, and employers who wanted to bring  awareness to the challenges facing nontraditional adult learners/  students with disability (e.g. mental, learning and non-visible  physical), especially those who served our country. The major concerns were how to prevent increasing rates of  Drop-Out from school, work, and life! The WAI staff composed of volunteer students, veterans and their supporters, with the help of "disability and veteran friendly" schools, companies, veteran service agencies, and faith-based organizations, continue restoring  hope in those striving to help themselves succeed in the workplace, and be recognized as contributing and productive citizens in their community.




Dr. Danita Applewhite (aka “Professor Apple”) is recognized as one of the leading experts in the fields of Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling, Independent Living and Education. For over 40 years, she remains dedicated to improving school and work performance for fellow Veterans,Nontraditional Adult Learners/Students and Employees with disabilities (e.g. mental, learning, non-visible disabilities). Dr. Applewhite is appointed by the Governor to serve on the Arizona Statewide Independent Living Council and the Arizona State Rehabilitation Council. She also serves on the Veterans Medical Leadership Council, the Women’s Army Corp Veterans Association, and is a Lifetime Member of Disabled American Veterans and Paralyzed Veterans of America.

She founded the White Apple Institute (formerly White Apple Training and Education Center) as a private practice in 1983 and it became a Veteran operated non-profit 501 c (3) in 2013. Her purpose continues to focus on CONNECTING or reconnecting Students; EDUCATING them on self-advocacy for accommodations at school and in the workplace; and SUPPORTING them with Mentorships and Sponsorships to ensure emotional and financial stability to reach their goals for workforce success. The unique methods implemented by White Apple Institute has helped thousands of Veterans and Non-Veterans prevent dropout and burnout from school, work and a quality life. Her mission is supported by a wonderful team of differently-abled Veterans and Non-Veterans who volunteer their time, skills, and passion to help others.

She is also the Host of the“White Apple Institute Talk Shows”, produced and promoted by members of the Differently-Abled Network (DAN). The DAN is the community outreach program of WAI. It is composed of educators, employers, members of faith-based oranizations, and concerned neighbors who partner with her to identify,  restore hope and provide resources to Unserved and Underserved Adults and Veterans with Disability in their community.   nt to recognize those striving to help themselves succeed as contributing and productive citizens. volunteer students, veterans, and their supporters, composed of a nonprofit radio/videopodcast outreach (formerly Student2Teacher Radio) featuring Ask Dr. Applewhite and Vet2Vet2U programs. The show provides information and inspirational stories on a variety of subjects related to the cultural, psychological and social impact of disability and emotional challenges on school and work performance. Many recognized educators, employers and health professionals learn and share valuable information for recruiting, retaining and recognizing nontraditional students and employees with disability, including learning, mental and nonvisible.

Dr. Applewhite is a frequent Speaker and Consultant at “Disability and Veteran-Friendly” educational institutions and companies. She is most effective with her clientele because of her own recovery from cancer and a near fatal car accident, resulting in her being wheelchair-bound and adapting to chronic pain. This journey has inspired her to help others change the perception of “disabled to differently-abled” and to recognize that everyone, regardless of the severity of our disabilities, is capable of being a “student and teacher”! She has written the Ask Dr. Applewhite Self-Rehabilitation Program (pending publication) as a compilation of counseling and self-help techniques she has implemented with Nontraditional, Underserved Students, as well as herself.

A significant portion of her time is spent supporting local and international efforts to encourage community outreach and workforce development projects for underserved persons with disability via Telerehabilitation and Videoconferencing. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling with her family, including five grandsons, and sitting in her Serenity Garden at home in Mesa, Arizona. She also enjoys jazz, swimming, and playing chess, Scrabble and poker games.


Beverly Poellnitz, EdD

Dr. Poellnitz is a board member and serves as an Adjunct Professor at Estrella Mountain Community College in Arizona. She graduated with a doctorate in Education from Arizona State University and maintains a private practice as a Professional Storyteller and Wellness Educator. Her experience and skills as a successful Entrepreneur has gained her recognition in the Business Education community. She has helped hundreds of disadvantaged students reach their work and school goals.

Kim Owens-Hamilton, BA

Ms. Owens is Secretary/Treasurer. She is the Owner and Operator of several residential facilities in the State of California for persons with mental disabilities. Ms. Owens possesses an extensive background in social services and group home administration. She is also the Executive Producer of the “Ask Dr. Applewhite” Radio Talk Show. She is a graduate of Ohio State University and has extensive skills in working with disadvantaged families.

Nazim Rashid

Nazim Rashid is a board member who has served the community as a counselor in the fields of mental health, substance abuse and for persons previously incarcerated. He has served as a Trainer, Educational Consultant, and Teacher for severely disturbed adolescents, autistic children and adults and teaches private music lessons. He currently serves as a Life & Family Coach, Author of “Reconnected: How To Be A Mentor To Your Child-Self”, Personal Development Specialist and host of “Reconnected” Radio Show.

Hear his CD “Remembrance” at:




Tom Baker, BA

Tom is Chair of the Student Advisory Committee (SAC) . He communicates with Disability Resource Centers at colleges and other higher education schools to identify "underserved" students, employees, and veterans with visible and Non-visible disability. Tom   connects working students and parents to  White Apple Institute to prevent their drop-out from school, work, and life!. He completed his Associates Degree in Business at Mesa Community College and graduated from ASU with a Bachelor in Science degree in Psychology. Tom learned how to advocate to obtain his education after a major car accident and consequent paralysis. He played competitive wheelchair basketball for over ten years and was selected as an All-Star. He also competed in paralympic swimming and won two Bronze Medals. Tom encourages Adult Learners with physical and mental disabilities to overcome their fear and embarrassment when asking for accommodations. He inspires them to get involved with Disabled Student Resources on their college campus and learn how to advocate for accommodations

Christine Anderson

Ms.Anderson was born in Whittier, California and grew up in Glendale, Arizona where she attended Ironwood High School. She then attended Gateway Community College and majored in Computer Science. Christine volunteers for White Apple Institute as the Network Manager and organizes the database for all communications. She enjoys helping people become successful, especially Veterans.

Melodie Oscay

 Melodie works closely with Dr. Danita Applewhite to coordinate Mentors and volunteers of the Differently-Abled Network, who reach out and provide resources to "underserved" persons with disability, including veterans and their family members. She also shares exercises in Mindfulness to reduce stress related to school, work, time and family management. Melodie attends Southwest Institute of Healing Arts.