Six area residents were treated like stars at a recent awards ceremony recognizing the achievements of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
The Arc of Delaware County's Annual Membership Meeting and Achievement Awards Ceremony was held at the Holiday Inn in Oneonta on June 8. Members, staff, guests, officers and directors gathered to celebrate the achievements of people they support, community members and partner organizations.
Six Outstanding Achievement awards were presented to individuals who have inspired others in each of The Arc of Delaware County's programs. Award winners were bestowed with Oscar-like trophies and plaques, honored with Certificates of Recognition from Assemblyman Peter Lopez and Sen. John Bonacic, and surprised by a letter of congratulations from Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Lopez also personally congratulated and thanked the staff and volunteers for making all the successes possible.
Carousel Children's Services selected Jonathan Roy as Outstanding Achievement Award winner. Jonathan was selected by his teachers for his exceptional progress this past year.
The Outstanding Achievement award winners of the adult programs were chosen by their peers. Selection committees for each program were formed to discuss qualities award winners should possess, and accomplishments of nominees were reviewed and considered.
"The individuals (on the nomination committee) really are observant and they pick up on different things than we do as staff," Lisa Nichols explained. Nichols is a life coach with The Arc's THRIVE day habilitation program, which stands for Together Helping Reach Individuals Victories Every Day. "They really pick up on the key pieces that are important to this process."
Outstanding Achievement Award winners in the adult programs were as follows:
Community Living Skills, Arkville: Gerry Sparks
Community Living Skills, Walton: Russell Beadle
Residential Services: Corinne Jones
Resources For Industry: Mark Fenner
THRIVE: Brenda McCall.
The Dr. Gerald Burday Professional Excellence Award, which recognizes a professional or team of professionals for helping people reach their potential, went to the Family Resource Network of Oneonta for providing outstanding support and programs to the Parent Support Group facilitated by the Arc of Delaware County.
The Father Eugene Willis Good Neighbor Award celebrates people who embody the spirit of being kind and neighborly. The recipient of this year's award was Nat Thomas of Margaretville. According to the release, Thomas has become a teacher, mentor, fellow artist and friend to James Mould, helping Mould establish his first gallery showing at Longyear Gallery in Margaretville, which led to an additional gallery showing at the Main View Gallery in Oneonta.
The Partner of the Year Award was presented to the community partner that has done the most to enhance opportunities for individuals with disabilities in Delaware County. This year's winner was Walton Nursery School.
According to the release, the school offers an integrated environment where children with and without disabilities learn and play together.
"Instead of fear or animosity toward their peers with special needs, they develop compassion, understanding, and love," classroom aide Joan Stone said.
To learn more about The Arc of Delaware County, visit www.delarc.org. To view photos of the awards dinner, click on the Flickr button located on the homepage of the website.