Executive Director’s Award – Supported Decision Making Team
Kim Dodson recognized the team that has been working to make supported decision an option to guardianship in Indiana. The team successfully worked to help Jamie Beck become the first Indiana resident to have guardianship terminated and replaced with a Supported Decision Making agreement.
Recipients of the Executive Director’s award include: Jamie Beck, Dan Stewart, former guardian; Erica Costello, Staff Attorney, Indiana Office of Court Services/ Adult Guardianship Office; Dawn Adams, Executive Director, Indiana Disability Rights; Melissa Keyes, Legal Director, Indiana Disability Rights; and Justin Schrock, Staff Attorney, Indiana Disability Rights. Dawn and Justin were not able to attend the event.
President’s Award – Sue Loughlin, Terre Haute Tribune Star
Marlene Lu honored Sue Loughlin, a reporter at the Terre Haute Tribune-Star for more than 30 years, with the President’s Award.
Marlene noted Sue’s outstanding coverage not only of The Arc of Vigo County, but also critical issues of concern to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
Employment – Troy Frisz
Troy Frisz, manager of The Arc of Greater Boone County’s job connection program, along with his team, has built an innovative and successful employment program serving adults and school age children, both through their pre-employment transition services program and by expanding the job connection program to serve not only adults, but also youth transitioning to work from the school system.
To better serve youth, Troy also launched the Centerplate Program which provides high school students with paid employment, and the opportunity to gain customer service skills and more, by working in various booths at Lucas Oil stadium events. Troy also spearheaded the initiative for The Arc of Greater Boone County to become a Ticket to Work provider.
His commitment to employment goes above and beyond the typical service delivery model, and his commitment to service has fostered lasting connections with local businesses who are willing to invest time and resources toward employing individuals who may need supports or accommodations for long term success.
Innovation – KCARC
Innovation has always been a hallmark of local chapters of The Arc who continually strive to best serve members of their community. KCARC hit the ball out of the park with the development of “1972,” a community center planned, developed, and operated by KCARC, The Arc in Knox County. A one-of-a-kind “Community Fun Center,” 1972 honors the founding year of KCARC, when it began its mission “to bring accessible, compassionate and innovative services to people with disabilities.”
While the community center was designed for people with disabilities, it is a place for the whole community to have fun, while also providing employment training for people with disabilities. 26 activities at the 35,000 square foot facility range from a climbing wall, basketball, laser tag, a computer gaming room and human foosball – to a spa, an arts and crafts studio, a multi-purpose room and a 130 seat dining area.
Visionary leader, KCARC Executive Director Mike Carney said of his dream come true, “It seemed to me that it was important for folks with disabilities to have a larger place in our community. One of the best ways to do that was to create something that was unusual, unique, much needed, and very valuable – and something that people with disabilities can enjoy alongside people who do not have disabilities.”
Darrell Stephens accepted the award.
Cathleen Clark Professional Service – Cynthia Johnson
The Cathleen Clark Professional Service Impact Award recognizes an outstanding Direct Support Professional. This year’s recipient, Cynthia Johnson, is described as a DSP who is always on the go. In her nearly 7 years as a DSP at a residential program operated by ADEC, The Arc in Elkhart County, few can recall Cynthia ever sitting down.
Whether it is administering medication, grocery shopping with the house of eight men and their staff, helping the guys get ready for Silver Bullets basketball games, or taking the time to talk with the men about their day, Cynthia is always willing to go above and beyond, even when faced with personal life challenges.
She will pick up extra shifts to make sure one gentleman has a ride to his job at Kroger, and always gets residents to their favorite activities, including an art night every other Monday and outings to each resident’s favorite place. As many of the men do not have family or friends to celebrate the holidays with, Cynthia always makes sure they all have a happy Christmas and birthday and a special card on Valentine’s Day.
Cynthia’s program manager noted, “She makes life fun for the clients. It’s more than a paycheck for her. She’s genuinely there for the people she serves.”
Outstanding Professional Achievement – Jim Allbaugh
As president and CEO of Carey Services, The Arc in Grant and Blackford Counties, Jim has guided the organization to create programmatic changes that help individuals receiving services make new connections to the community. This includes an innovative arts program that provides an opportunity for artists to share their individual and collaborative creations at an annual community arts event.
As chairman of INARF, Jim worked with partners across the state to educate legislators about the need to increase DSP wages, worked with his team at Carey Services to implement wage increases, and continues to work to improve wages and benefits that will help attract and retain DSPs. As a board member of the Strategic Indiana Provider Network, he has worked to ensure training opportunities are available to people in the employment services field that will increase their skills to connect individuals with disabilities with jobs in the community.
Jim has also worked to expand affordable and accessible community living options for people in Marion, Indiana. Under his leadership, two apartment complexes have been developed in partnership with the Affordable Housing Corporation.
In her nomination, co-worker Yolanda Kincaid said, “Jim works tirelessly to overcome barriers to create true opportunities for individuals served and their families.”
Outstanding Chapter of The Arc – Noble/The Arc of Greater Indianapolis
As one of the first providers of services to people with developmental disabilities in Indiana and one of the first chapters of The Arc, Noble – The Arc of Greater Indianapolis – has always strived to stretch the boundaries of what society believes should define people with I/DD through the services they provide.
Most recently, that has meant forging partnerships with corporations, including Eli Lilly and Salesforce, to become a human resources contractor. Noble has developed partnerships with over 200 companies and organizations and has pushed to educate employers to look beyond misconceptions and see individuals for their gifts, not their supposed limitations or challenges.
Over the past several years, Noble has worked to broaden the therapies and services they offer and transition clients from sheltered work to community-based, competitive wage jobs. In addition, Noble has advocated for and educated the individuals they serve regarding their right to vote by hosting Voter Education and Empowerment forums.
In this challenging time for providers, Noble continues to move forward through hard work, innovation, and a philosophy that always keeps the needs of the individuals they serve and their families at top of mind.
Outstanding Self-Advocate – Becky Oaks
It is always an honor to present the Outstanding Self-Advocate Impact award. This year, we recognize Becky Oaks, from The Arc of Greater Boone County.
Becky has received residential and vocational services from The Arc of Greater Boone County for 18 years. Over the years, she has grown from a quiet person to a hard worker and a strong advocate.
Over the last year, Becky has participated in 20 self-advocate classes and has gained new confidence in public speaking. She was elected Aktion Club president by her peers, and enjoys preparing speeches for the club. She takes her role seriously, and has used it to meet with many community leaders, including the mayors of Lebanon and Zionsville, the Boone County sheriff, and Senator Joe Donnelly.
After the tragic death of Boone County Sheriff’s Deputy Jacob Pickett, Becky helped lead the Aktion Club in raising $2,000 in his honor to support the purchase of a new K-9 officer after the officer’s K-9 was retired. She appealed to Lebanon Mayor Matt Gentry to recognize the Aktion Club in the same way as other civic organizations by including an Aktion Club sign in the row of civic organization signs at the Boone County fairgrounds. Becky was successful, and the city recently installed the Action Club sign.
Most recently, Becky contributed to the work of the 1102 Task Force by offering testimony at a public meeting.
Becky has become a strong advocate, not only for herself, but also for those who may not be able to speak for themselves.