Newsline Volume 33, Number 4

Visions of Community 2013
Community Partnership Award Recipients

Each year at the Visions of Community Conference, the Federation recognizes individuals who have worked to create and support the inclusion of individuals with disabilities.
This year's awardees are:

Andy GarlickCommunity Volunteer - Andy Garlick
Andy, a fifth grade teacher at the Williams Elementary School and brother of an adult sister with developmental disabilities, has served as the Camp Director of Camp Echo Bridge in Newton, MA since 2008. Camp Echo Bridge is an academics-based summer day camp that serves 180 campers weekly, with abilities ranging from typical to social/emotional disabilities, Down syndrome and autism. As Camp Director, he designs and implements an academic curriculum that encompasses mathematics, language arts and social pragmatics.

Allyson DupuisInclusive Special Education Teacher - Allyson Dupuis
Allyson has worked to create a life-skills classroom for children with special needs in a local elementary school that integrates all children into every aspect of the school. Allyson works diligently daily to help each student overcome their personal difficulties. Children flourish in Mrs. Dupuis' class; parents have seen nonverbal children grow into students who enjoy sharing their thoughts and their sense of humor with others. Allyson has gone above and beyond to help her students reach their full potential.t

Curtis HartmanCommunity Volunteer - Curtis Hartman
Curtis has been a Special Education Surrogate Parent since 2003. He has supported seven students during his career. He has been a Mentor and supporter of the Recruitment Training and Support Center for Special Education Surrogate Parents (RTSC) since its inception in 2011 (see article in this issue). He plans on using his advocacy skills as a pro bono expert for kids at risk on Cape Cod.

Julie MessinaSelf Advocacy Award - Julie Messina
Julie, a parent of a son with Down syndrome, started the Learning Program Boston, an organization committed to the early literacy and numeracy of children with Down syndrome. LPB Boston has grown from a few family volunteers to over 100 parents and educators working together to learn best practices for teaching individuals with Down syndrome.

Anna WoodInclusive Recreation - Anna Wood
Anna is a Recreation Therapist working tirelessly to promote inclusion within Massachusetts. As the Adaptive Sports and Recreation Specialist at the Sudbury, MA Parks and Recreation Department, Anna has designed and developed an Adaptive Sports and Recreation Program that provides year round adaptive and inclusive recreation programs for community members of all abilities. A member of the Sudbury Commission on Disability and the Therapeutic Recreation Representative for the Massachusetts Recreation and Park Association, Anna continues to head projects that work to not only make the community more inclusive but also to educate the public about inclusion and therapeutic recreation.

Heidi McGilvrayInclusive Special Education Teacher - Heidi McGilvray
Heidi has been a preschool teacher of an integrated classroom at the Feeney Preschool in Walpole for the last 10 years. Heidi always works in a collaborative manner with families to best serve her students. Many parents reported feeling nervous and anxious as to how their children would handle being in a school setting until they saw the almost immediate improvement in their children after being in Heidi's class. Students started showing improved language and behavior at home as well as in the classroom. Her goal is to bring these extraordinary students to their fullest potential - whatever it takes.

Karen BernardoInclusive Recreation - Karen Bernardo
Karen was disappointed in the athletic opportunities available to children with special needs in her community. She and her husband decided to do something about it- they began the Wellesley STARS (Striving to Achieve Recreational Services). For fifteen years Karen has coached the Wellesley Stars Swim Team. She connected the STARS with youth volunteers at a local church, The Wellesley Unitarian Church, to support the swimmers. She has reached out to youth in different communities; bringing them together to help make a difference not only in their lives but in the lives of children with special needs.