On Friday, December 15th, people from all over New York gathered at the Institute for Basic Research on the old Willowbrook site in Staten Island to celebrate the achievements of people supported over the past year. Six individuals supported by ADAPT were recognized and in attendance for the celebration. The event was hosted by the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council, which meets monthly to discuss different issues and trends that impact people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The SIDDC works towards making services better, shares helpful information that benefits the community, advocates for people supported and their families, and fights to ensure they receive adequate care and resources.
In December there was an event called Celebrating Achievements that happens at the end of each year. Agencies are asked to choose people in their programs that have overcome certain challenges or have made achievements throughout the year. The six honorees nominated by ADAPT’s Staten Island Day Program were Shawn Waiters, Courtney Moody, Stephanie Wyler, Robin Gray, Randy James, and Samantha Napoli. These six honorees were awarded for their leadership in training. Each of them partnered with the Workforce Development Department at ADAPT which provides Preservice Orientation training to new hires at ADAPT. Their participation started as a volunteer opportunity and developed into part-time employment at ADAPT as Training Assistants. In their role, they provide training to new staff around topics including providing active support, engagement, sensitivity, rights of people with disabilities, and more.
Patricia Traynor, Coordinator of Operations of Training stated, “The Training Assistants, as people who are supported at ADAPT, are the experts on how they want to be treated and they give unique perspective to new hires about how they can best engage and support all those that we support.” She continued “It’s amazing to see how the Training Assistants have grown and built their confidence and have created a camaraderie among staff and people supported.”
The introductions and awards were given out by Diane Peruggia, the SIDDC Chair, and Jason Harr, SIDDC Vice Chair. The people supported had nothing but positive words about the ceremony and the organization. Shawn Waiters said, “Training new staff has always been very important to me and it is something I care about. I am happy to achieve an award for this.”
Randy James said, “I am very happy to receive this award being new to the program.”
Samantha Napoli had similar sentiments stating, “I like to make my family and friends proud of me and what I accomplish.”
This event will continue to happen annually around the end of the calendar year. ADAPT is very proud of the individuals who were honored and looks forward to our collective work with the SIDDC in the future!