Please join us as we congratulate our Self-Advocate and Volunteer of the Year Award recipients, and present a Lifetime Achievement Recognition to a retiring staff person.
Special Guest, Lisa Reswick, will begin the program. As a writer and advertising copywriter, Lisa’s essays focus on parenting, family issues, and aging—particularly in the workplace and has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, and the Purple Clover.
Lisa’s essay, “My Banished Brother” recalls the family’s decision to place her brother, Jimmy, born with Down syndrome, in a state institution as an infant and how that memory has stayed with her throughout her life.
Throughout her lifetime, Anne Marie has generously and without hesitation, given her time, her talents and her treasures in support of those with I/DD and other disabilities. Whether performing her vocations, first as a manager of a residence for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities at WWAARC, and then as a teacher for the visually impaired during her career at BOCES, or providing constant and continuing care, comfort and advocacy for her grandson who suffered a significant and permanent physical disability during a motor vehicle accident, or as a volunteer for WWAARC and The ARC NY, Anne Marie has always been there for those in need.
On the State level, Anne Marie's commitment to The ARC NY and its mission is evident through her active and long-term involvement. During her extensive 40-year history of volunteer activities — Officer, Board of Governor Member, Chapter President, Committee Member, Advocate — she has been a constant and effective voice, always providing thoughtful input and feedback regarding the important matters facing our organization and our field while recognizing the need to be mindful and respectful of the values and objectives of our Founders yet being aware and open to needed change and progress within our industry. At the Chapter level, Anne Marie's contributions are immeasurable. She is a leader, an advocate, a friend, a mentor and a true champion of the people that we support, their families and Chapter employees.
Heather Romanek is a member of the North Country Self-Advocates, and she is employed by the Chapter as a Self-Advocacy Consultant, working approximately ten hours each week. She has been an active member of the Chapter’s local self-advocacy group for over sixteen years. Heather recently started to facilitate the twice-monthly group meeting. She currently participates weekly in national Self Advocacy Resource and Technical Assistance Center (SARTAC) meetings via Zoom; weekly Right 2 Ride meetings, which involve discussions of statewide transportation issues facing self-advocates; and weekly Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS) meetings via Zoom, which involve planning the 2021 Central Regional conference.
John has been with the organization for 44 years and has proven himself to be a fierce and innovative advocate for our Chapters and the people we support. John has served in every level of service in The Arc New York organization, from direct care and behavioral supports at a Chapter to Chapter leadership, to his current role as a senior staff member at the State Office overseeing programming and rate components. During his early years with the state organization, John served as acting Executive Director for eight Chapters during times of transition or distress (Schenectady, Sullivan, Herkimer, Cayuga, Putnam, Lewis, Orleans, Onondaga), ensuring their continued operations and strength. Throughout his career, John has offered stakeholders extensive technical assistance and training, including working as a partner with OPWDD in the development of rate methodologies and payment streams. He has become an expert in the HCBS Waiver that our state operates to provide a variety of key waiver services. He has an uncanny ability to raise specific policy challenges and concerns while also offering thoughtful and practical solutions. Our Chapters recognize John for his abilities and lean on him for operational advice and programmatic direction.