Advocating Change Together (ACT) received the Special Board Award at Arc Minnesota’s state convention, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in Rochester. ACT was recognized for its “Tools For Change” series, a professionally produced and video-based curriculum that helps people with developmental disabilities build the skills and knowledge they need to better advocate on their own behalf.
Representative Linda Wejcman of District 61B in Minneapolis and Senator Leo Foley of District 49 in Anoka and Coon Rapids were also honored on September 16 as Arc Minnesota’s Legislators of the Year.
Representative Wejcman was recognized for her work on several health and human services issues concerning people with developmental disabilities as well as the original Patient Protection Act. Senator Foley’s award especially recognized his authorship of the bill to “unlock the waiting list” for people needing home- and community-based services.
Other Twin Cities individuals and organizations who were recognized at the Arc Minnesota convention included: Kay Miller of the Star Tribune of the Twin Cities, Community Media Award; Jonathan Kigner, founder of New Directions in White Bear Lake, Disabilities Ministry of the Crystal Evangelical Free Church in Crystal, Health Risk Management of Edina, Employer of the Year Award.
Award recipients from greater Minnesota included: John Jordan of Houston, Minnesota, and John Gordon of Lake City shared the Betty Hubbard Family Advocacy Award; Pat Willett Fairmont, the Irving Martin Professional of the Year Award;
Festival Foods, Mora, Distinguished Community Service Award; Dave Dunn of Rochester, Special Board Award; Rita Fasching, Redwood Falls, Teacher of the Year; Larry Goetzinger, Caledonia, Bill Sackter Citizenship Award; Kursten Lass-Dubbels, Fergus Falls, Andrew R. Richardson Advocacy Award; and Arne Fockler, Rochester, Volunteer of the Year.
In addition to the individual awards, several local Arc chapters were recognized: Arc Rice County, outstanding achievement in revitalizing the chapter; Arc Northland, Peter Leibert Community Prevention Action Award for its programs to prevent fetal alcohol syndrome; and the following chapters for strengthening Arc membership: Arc Southeastern Minnesota, Arc Headwaters, Arc Rice County, and Arc Stevens County.
Title Sponsors of the convention included the Minnesota Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities; Facility Interaction Group of Region 10 in Southeastern Minnesota and Premier Alarm and Security, Rochester. REM Minnesota, Inc. was a sponsor of the Award Banquet.
Arc Minnesota is a nonprofit organization of more than 6,000 members, including persons with developmental disabilities, their families, and professionals. It promotes a system support and self-sufficiency for persons with developmental disabilities and their families, to ensure their full participation in society.