Central PA’s 2nd Annual Living Well With A Disability™ Awards
Over 200 people left the Radisson Hotel Harrisburg on November 2, 2011 feeling inspired, teary-eyed and perhaps motivated to make a difference. Why? The Center for Independent Living of Central PA (CILCP) held Central PA's 2nd Annual Living Well With A Disability Awards.
According to Theo Braddy, Executive Director of CILCP, the Living Well With A Disability Awards is "an opportunity to acknowledge the people in our community who are going above and beyond to do extraordinary things for themselves or for others to live well."
From demonstrating genuine and selfless motivation to serve the needs of others, to people with disabilities (of all ages) going to extraordinary lengths to reach their goals, businesses, nonprofits, volunteers, and individuals (youth and adult) were recognized. Those nominated also had to either live or do business in one of the five counties CILCP serves: Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry, Mifflin, or Juniata counties.
The Business Award was presented to Gannett Fleming of Camp Hill, PA. Gannett Fleming encourages their employees to give back to the community, but two individuals from Gannett Fleming's IT Services have gone beyond expectations. They have donated computers and participated in yearly events benefiting people with disabilities.
The Non-Profit Award was presented to Aaron's Acres of Lancaster, PA. At Aaron's Acres, children ages 5 to 21 with developmental disabilities participate in therapeutic based programs that focus on socialization and communication. However, Aaron's Acres not only serves children with disabilities, but they also provide programs to the family members. The organization offers programs to parents and siblings to enhance the lives of each family member. According to parents, Aaron's Acres helps build self-confidence, strong moral character, and a feeling of acceptance. Rita Paskoff, Director of Aaron's Acres said, "Winning the award is affirming that we carry out our philosophy. We pride our organization on giving people the same opportunities that most kids get to have, and it's nice to know we are accomplishing just that. This event was the best event I've been to."
The Volunteer Award was presented to Edward Dick of Liverpool, PA. Edward has not only helped his brother with a disability live a full and enjoyable life, but he's also helped many individuals with disabilities around him. Through coordinating events to help families with disabilities pay for hospital bills, and finding families to make meals for those in need, Edward's actions and attitude inspire others to live up to their full potential.
The Youth Individual Award was presented to Nicole Moore of Mechanicsburg, PA. Born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy, Nicole is currently a student at Mechanicsburg Area High School and is constantly striving for new opportunities. She is involved in the Marching Band, Concert Chorale, and Symphonic Band and participates in stage and paint crew for the school musicals. When she's not at school, she is studying to keep her GPA in the top quarter of the graduating class.
The Adult Individual Award was given to Tamera Tankersley of Harrisburg, PA. Tamera's outlook on life is: she has the disease; the disease does not have her. Diagnosed with Gullien Barre Syndrome, she was told by doctors that she would never walk again. But, three months later, she walked into the doctor's office. Later, she walked an entire walk-a-thon that many thought she wouldn't be able to complete without her wheelchair. These are just a few of the many things that she's done to demonstrate living well. Now she's helping others live well by taking care of her mother who was recently diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Tamera has proved that she can do anything she puts her mind to and help others do the same.
The Awards were developed because of CILCP's initiative, Living Well With A Disability. The initiative has helped hundreds of people with disabilities achieve goals that help them live a fuller and enriched life. It is a one-stop resource for people with disabilities to obtain the resources they need to fulfill their goals, dreams and basic needs. It's designed to look at a person's entire lifestyle, and open the door to new opportunities.
Keynote speaker, Madonna Long shared her story about becoming paralyzed as a teenager, but not letting her disability get in the way of living her life. Just like anyone else, she raised four children, continues to work, and advocates for others.
After the Awards for each category were presented, Rebecca Nydes from Harrisburg sang "Hero" by Mariah Carey.
Living Well With A Disability's spokesperson and CBS21 News Anchor, Tanya Foster emceed the event. Sponsors of the event included: Highmark Blue Shield, CBS 21 News, Harrisburg Business Group, Jill Parisi Counseling Associates, Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, Keystone Mobility, Hamilton & Musser, and Select Capital Corporation. Other contributors included Radisson Hotel Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Captioned Telephone Relay Service, Shermer Associates, and McNees Wallace & Nurick.
About Living Well With A Disability
Living Well With A Disability is a free resource that is available to individuals with any type of disability living in certain counties of Pennsylvania. By calling the hotline, the Living Well With A Disability program connects people with disabilities to qualified Living Well specialists who will conduct a survey identifying the needs and goals of the person, to then develop a plan for meeting them. From achieving an everyday task to accomplishing a life-changing goal, Living Well With A Disability is designed to aid people with disabilities in exceeding their lifestyle expectations. For more information, call the toll-free hotline at 1-877-TO-LIV-WELL or visit the website at www.LivingWellWithADisability.org.
For over 20 years, CILCP has been serving people with all types of disabilities who live in Cumberland, Dauphin, Perry, Mifflin, and Juniata counties. CILCP is a consumer controlled, cross disability organization dedicated to assisting people with disabilities to achieve and maintain independent life styles. From achieving a small task to accomplishing a life-changing goal, CILCP is helping people with disabilities exceed their lifestyle expectations. For more information on CILCP, visit www.cilcp.org.
For more information regarding this event, please contact Megan Kurtz at (717) 432-2468 or email at