New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) Consumer Caucus Honors New Yorkers at 24th Achievement

The New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council (DDPC) Consumer Caucus held its 24th Achievement Awards Dinner & Ceremony on October 27th, 2010, in Albany. The DDPC Achievement Awards recognizes those individuals and organizations that have shown extraordinary efforts in personal growth, community growth, not just personally but for all New Yorkers with developmental disabilities and their families. DDPC Chairperson, George E. Fertal, Sr., stated, "The DDPC Consumer Caucus for twenty four years has honored dedicated people and organizations for their exemplary work with and for New Yorkers with developmental disabilities and their families...this year is no exception. We have the opportunity to celebrate the lives and work of some very exceptional people and organizations...congratulations to the deserving Achievement Award recipients." DDPC Consumer Caucus Chair Aldea LaParr was Mistress of Ceremonies for the evening and said, “I am always amazed at what our Achievement Award recipients have accomplished but more importantly, what they have as goals to be accomplished. In this, our 24th year, of recognizing exceptional accomplishment, we are pleased to have such a wonderful group of individuals and organizations to recognize.” Sheila M. Carey, Executive Director of the DDPC, said, “It is people and organizations like all of our award recipients that continue to make such an important difference in our lives and the lives of persons with developmental disabilities and their families. It is a wonderful feeling to see recipients from across our great state honored this evening. The DDPC is proud to be able to honor these individuals and organizations. I cannot think of a better group to emulate than our Achievement Award recipients...they have proven themselves time and time again.” 24th DDPC Consumer Caucus Achievement Award Recipients: Exceptional Personal Growth Lee Parvel…is a young autistic man residing in a State Operated Individual Residential Alternatives (SOIRA) in Corning, NY. Four years ago he was the first person living in a stateoperated group home to be accepted into a self-determination/Consolidated Supports and Services (CSS) plan. Over the past four years Lee has been in a CSS plan and has made incredible progress. In July 2007 Lee suffered a massive stroke and spent a couple of months in the hospital and subsequent rehab. Over a period of months Lee regained most of his physical capacities and has recently been able to go back to his volunteer work.

Substantial Influence on the Lives of Others Clint Perrin…Over the last fifteen years Clint Perrin has demonstrated significant personal growth in his various roles as a self-advocate leader. Over this time Clint has had a progressive development of leadership responsibilities and achievements. A partial list includes: terms as president and vice president of a local self-determination advocacy group in Putnam County as well as terms as secretary, vice-president and president of the Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS). Clint currently works for SANYS as Special Project Assistant focusing primarily on individualized support and system policy issues. Volunteer of the Year Mary Overfield…Service and volunteering take on many meanings to many people. For volunteer Support Parent Mary Overfield, volunteering has always been done in the spirit of sharing and helping make someone else’s journey and challenges a little easier with her support. Mary Overfield first contacted Parent to Parent in 1997 when her daughter Megan was four months old. She knew at the time she needed to make connections with other families who were facing and experiencing similar challenges. Mary fully realizes and embraces that there is healing in sharing and gratification in knowing you have made a difference for another family. Volunteer of the Year Gia Carroll…Gia Carroll is a parent of a child with a disability who has exhibited pioneering efforts on the behalf of individuals with disabilities and their families. Gia was instrumental in creating and sustaining Upstate NY Families for Effective Autism Treatment (UNYFEAT), a not-for-profit whose mission is to support individuals with autism spectrum disorder and their families by expanding and enhancing opportunities to improve quality of life. Started about five years ago UNYFEAT shares information on-line as a forum/discussion board and today reaches well past 9,000 posts with over 600 members. Employer of the Year ShopRite - Pearl River, NY…ShopRite Pearl River has shown a demonstrated excellence in accommodating employees with disabilities. They have made several accommodations such as: flexibility in regard to job duties, flexibility in job schedules, and have demonstrated a high level of patience and compassion. ShopRite has worked collaboratively with Jawonio in providing the necessary accommodations in order to enhance job performance. Not only have they been eager and willing to make these accommodations , they are also motivated to meet with Jawonio staff regularly to brainstorm about innovative ideas in working with our programs. Shoprite is a very high-paced work environment and they have a business to run.

Direct Support Employees of the Year Raechel M. Cutting…Raechel has been employed at Mountain Lake Services for twelve years. She
began her career as a direct support professional. She has shown a creative ability in focusing on the abilities of those she supports. She has developed credibility and trust with those she supports through relationships she had worked hard to establish and maintain. Her co-workers look to her as a role model and rely on her to assist them in generating new ideas that are individualized for each person. Her

efforts have proven to be beneficial for many individuals as they have developed skills and achieved goals that have increased the quality of their lives. Administrative Employee of the Year Donavan McLeod…Donovan is a unique and extraordinary person and employee. He currently has administrative/management responsibility for the Crescent Individualized Residence. Crescent Individualized Residence is a very unique, small and specifically designed program for four citizens with developmental disabilities. The individuals in this program present challenging behaviors and many have a history of struggling in previous residences. When Donovan assumed responsibility for the residence it was in need of improvement. His leadership has played a major role in improving the overall quality of life for the individuals served in his home. Inclusive Congregation of the Year Maranatha Bible Chapel…The members of Maranatha Bible Chapel have for many years welcomed individuals with disabilities into their congregation. Some members with disabilities have been members since childhood with supporting family ties making their participation in the community a most natural occurrence. They are accepted as is everyone else, and participate in full membership in the church. Of note is the congregation’s acceptance of two individuals with significant developmental disabilities without previous family ties to the church. Not only do these two individuals attend regular Sunday services, they also attend church suppers and special programs during the week as they occur. Everyday Life / Images of Inclusion Caitlin Weir…Caitlin was 14 when she became involved in Shared Ski Adventures (SSA). This is part of CP Rochester’s Recreation Program. Coming from a “skiing family” it was a natural for Caitlin to want to join in. This past winter Caitlin really got into it with a new Tessier Dual sit ski supplied by SSA. The new ski made it easier for Caitlin to navigate the slopes with much more comfort and ease then in the past making her experience all the better. Caitlin states that skiing really gives her a “rush.” She loves it when her Dad or one of the other instructors skis really fast with her. And, she loves skiing with her family because she’s able to share in an activity that almost her entire family enjoys. This past February she went skiing with her aunts, uncles, and cousins at Killington...the photo is from that trip. Caitlin stated, “It was so cool at Killington because I was doing the same slopes as the rest of my family. I really felt included!”

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