The Commission on Disability is pleased to announce nominees and winners for the the 2013 Mayor's Awards.
The Dorothy Lasley Memorial Award spotlights a person with a disability who is an active voice in the community, championing for the rights of all people with disabilities. Consideration is given to the nominee’s contribution to the community through volunteering, organizational membership and/or community leadership.
It is named for Dorothy Lasley, who was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at the age of two. This necessitated the use of a wheelchair for mobility and later caused the loss of Dorothy’s eyesight. Ms. Lasley worked tirelessly throughout her lifetime towards removing both architectural and attitudinal barriers for citizens with disabilities. She was an advocate for people with disabilities, donating countless volunteer hours until her death in 1983.
She worked for equal opportunities in employment, transportation, housing, and education, and independent living during a time when society was just beginning to recognize the value of including all its citizens in daily life. In many ways, she was a pioneer.
Following in her footsteps is Roy Mutart (Myu-tart), president of the Aktion Club of Northern Colorado, a Kiwanis Club for adults with developmental disabilities. Since gaining this position, Roy has overcome his natural reserve to become an active and vocal advocate for himself, his peers and his community. Not only does he oversee the activities of the Aktion Club, he has become an adept speaker, representing the club at events and sharing his ideas and opinions with legislators and other dignitaries.
Most importantly, because he recognizes that everyone can use a hand now and then, he has guided the Aktion Club in raising money to benefit High Park Fire victims and to fund neonatal tetanus vaccinations. He is currently working on a food drive for people impacted by local flooding. Roy has mastered the art of community. He accepts those around him and is accepted in return, shares his gift and his vision for a better Fort Collins, and above all, practices compassion. He is everything a good neighbor should be.
Please join us in honoring Roy Mutart (Muy-tart), our Dorothy Lasley Memorial Award winner.
The Employee of the Year award is given to an individual who embraces his or her call to do impactful, life-changing work for and with people with disabilities.
Throughout Fort Collins, there are remarkable people whose life work involves serving people with disabilities. They train for years, earn degrees and certificates and licenses, and possess expertise in law, education, and other important services. Their impact is far-reaching, and without their dedication, our work would be insurmountable. On many occasions, these people are recognized, and today we say thank you to them all. But this year, our Employee of the Year falls into a wholly different category.
Joe Lovato has volunteered at HP for 15 years delivering mail. His mom says that he’s a great person, a great worker, and thanks to John Schmidt, just another one of the guys at HP. John works security and has befriended Joe, stepping forward with a commitment to always be there for him. He has become a friend, counselor, protector, and advocate, willing to stand his ground if anyone attempts to give Joe a rough time. John and Joe are work buddies, plain and simple. They like each other, they respect each other, they enrich each other’s lives. Together, they built a small community that took no notice of disability or difference. That community has grown, and thanks to John, Joe now has plenty of friends.
Let’s welcome our 2013 Employee of the Year, John Schmidt.
The Employer of the Year award recognizes an employer who provides authentic work opportunities for people with disabilities or who creates a positive, supporting workplace for others who work with those with disabilities.
Poudre School District’s School to Work Alliance Program (SWAP) provides transition services for young adults with mild to moderate special needs by preparing them for employment and establishing strong community partnerships with area employers. Those relationships are vital to the program’s success; without the support of businesses, SWAP students would learn essential job skills, but have no place to utilize them.
In her role as SWAP coordinator, Jean Greuel (Groyal) works closely with employers and has the perfect perspective to identify one who goes above and beyond to provide supports for success. From her viewpoint, King Soopers is one such employer. They have worked cooperatively with Jean and the SWAP team to place multiple students in stable work positions, but more than that, they have patiently coached young employees whose social or emotional needs make sustained employment a challenge. In some instances, they have provided a second chance to learn, grow and thrive. Additionally, they create an environment of acceptance that guides their staff, resulting in a positive workplace for SWAP students and their co-workers.
For their continual support of the SWAP program and their contribution to the Fort Collins community, we welcome our 2013 Employer of the Year, Fort Collins King Soopers stores.
The Service Provider of the Year award recognizes a business or organization that provides exemplary and life-enriching services to people with disabilities.
What do you get when you take CSU Construction Management upperclassmen and mix them with compassion and a vision? CM Cares.
Developed to introduce students to service learning and to help them understand that touching someone else’s life changes your own, CM Cares is an essential part of the Construction Management program and has seen great success since its inception. In only three years, they have completed 13 construction-related projects for community members with special needs. They have designed and built ramps and home additions, as well as made modifications to existing structures to increase accessibility. Through this service, tomorrow’s leaders have learned more than sound design principles or the intricacies of project management. They have learned the best lesson, that there is great value in being a part of something larger than themselves, that there is great joy community.
It is our pleasure to introduce CM Cares, the 2013 Service Provider of the Year.
Our next award is presented to an individual, business or organization that exemplifies the Spirit of Fort Collins not only in their acts of kindness but also in their passion for creating change and their respect for people with disabilities.
Every year, the Commission faces at least one stalemate. They find themselves deliberating over a pool of nominees is so aligned with the goals and hopes of the Commission that selecting a single winner seems impossible. So when they can't be decisive, they do the only reasonable thing honoring two individuals whose actions, accomplishments and compassion reveal that they honor and value community and embody the Spirit of Fort Collins.
Deborah Spotts is an Employment Specialist and Program Coordinator with the Center for Community Partnerships at Colorado State University. For more than ten years, she has partnered with PSD, DVR, employers, and agencies to provide support services and opportunities that enrich the lives of people with disabilities in the Fort Collins community. Her enthusiasm, positive energy, and innovativeness have led to the creation of a multitude of employment opportunities that benefit employees, employers and our community as a whole.
Currently, she is the driving force behind the New Starts for Student Veterans program which supports soldiers with post 9/11 injuries as they pursue college success. Deborah is a well-respected member of the Larimer County Workforce Investment Board and the Larimer County Veteran's Network. She has also served on the Fort Collins Service League, the Poudre R-1 Alternative Cooperative Educational Advisory Board and the Junior League of Fort Collins.
When Jeff Coon's daughter Gretchen began kindergarten, there was a brand new reporter at the Coloradoan. Her first assignment was to find and follow a brand new kindergartner and as luck would have it, Gretchen was available. She brought a little extra something to that report's assignment, because Gretchen has Down syndrome. That began a year- long collaboration between two individuals, both experiencing something new and figuring out how they would fit in. Gretchen thrived in kindergarten and so did Sarah Jane Kyle of the Coloradoan. That first day of kindergarten turned into a feature article, and Sarah would highlight Gretchen twice more to follow her progress and to focus on the benefits of inclusion for both for children with special needs and their peers. Since that series, Sarah has gone on to create her own niche as a reporter for the Coloradoan. Her byline "Sarah Jane Kyle, Causes, Giving and Philanthropy" says it all. She now is a seasoned reporter and has a weekly "Causes" article that features one of the many Fort Collins non-profit agencies.
Sarah Jane Kyle's work has resulted in increased exposure for those agencies and the individuals they partner with. She has reinvigorated our sense of community, reminding us that every human being has intrinsic worth and that we're all in this together.
2013 Spirit of Fort Collins Award Winners: Sarah Jane Kyle and Deborah Spotts
The Volunteer of the Year award is reserved for an individual who contributes his or her time, effort and heart to making our community kinder and more compassionate home for people with disabilities.
How many volunteers make a 365-day a year commitment to bringing a smile to someone’s face? How many would recognize that one simple act - receiving a birthday card - could be a source of joy for people whose birthdays might go unnoticed, uncelebrated? And how many would act on that realization?
Years ago, Donna McBroom learned from a gentleman receiving services at Foothills Gateway that he had no family to wish him a Happy Birthday. That conversation gave Donna a mission. Believing that everyone should be celebrated on such a special day, she determined to send every person in Foothills Gateway programs a birthday card every year. Right now, that’s about 550 cards every year.
Tallied up, Donna has purchased 5000+ cards, addressed 5000+ envelopes, licked 5000+ stamps. Foothills reports that these cards are anticipated by their clients and that they never fail to bring a smile. Such a simple plan, such an everyday gesture, such a huge impact.
It is the city's honor to welcome Donna McBroom, Volunteer of the Year.
Each year, the Commission selects an agency, business or individual whose influence is multi-faceted and who embodies the essence of community, collaboration and compassion to receive our Partnership award.
For forty years, Foothills Gateway has been at the forefront of bringing support and equality to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They have worked tirelessly to raise awareness, to educate the community, and to bring hope.
Since 1972, they have touched thousands of lives, helping the people they serve and their families “conquer challenges and achieve their maximum potential.” Currently, Foothills Gateway serves approximately 1,300 individuals by providing a myriad of services.
For some families, Foothills Gateway will bring encouragement and support through Early Intervention. For others, the agency will provide prevocational training, supported living services, transportation, or supported employment opportunities. All these are offered in an atmosphere of respect and acknowledgement of the talents and value of every person.
Their goal, to “empower every ability and highlight the achievements of the human spirit” is pursued every day with integrity, intentionality, and compassion. Today we celebrate forty years of partnership, forty years of progress, forty years of community building.
We welcome the 201 3 Partnership Award Recipient, Foothills Gateway.