Please check out our last quarter round heroes for the Celebration of Heroes program for the year 2021. While 2021 has had its ups and downs one amazing up was the first year of the Celebration of Heroes program and it has truly been an honor to be a part of the whole process. We want to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who submitted their heroes. While we would have LOVED to pick them all we narrowed it down to the these 10 amazing individuals. Thank you for making our first year of the Celebration of Heroes program such a big success.
Ken and Evelyn Williams owners of New Visions Inc.
Ken and Evelyn have devoted their lives to helping people. Ken and Evelyn go above and beyond to insure the safety and success for the clients they provide services for. They assist people in working back towards living independently if that’s what they want. They set goals with people and help them to be successful. They take the IPP and work on that person’s hopes and dreams, whether it is losing weight, stop smoking, becoming heathier, or wanting to go to a concert or football game.
They pride themselves on providing the best care possible. They have allowed people to bring their beloved pets that mean everything to them, into their care homes. They make accommodations that no other vendor would consider. They work hard, and they serve very healthy meals at all their facilities, which by the way, are always immaculate. Ken and Evelyn have many facilities, and I have never seen one that I wouldn’t mind having a family member or friend being in their care.
Ken and Evelyn have come through for me on more times than I can count, when I had run out of all options. I will quote Ken on a line he says frequently, when I acknowledge the great care they provide… “That’s what we do here”.
I have the utmost respect for them, and they deserve recognition for the excellent care they provide to the people we serve.
Mary is the director of the Mains’l College Plus program. She empowers her students on a daily basis to use their voice, to advocate for themselves, and to work hard to achieve their individual goals. She works with students at a critical time, usually when they are transitioning from high school to college. Some of these folks recently turned 18 years old, and are learning to be adults and take responsibility for themselves. She gives them permission to use their voice, to make choices and to speak up for what they want and need, simultaneously teaching them that they own the consequences of their words and deeds. She is loving, caring, and brings out the best in people. Mary is an amazing advocate and encourager, and our community is a better place because of her.
Community Endeavors, Siskiyou Opportunity Center
When a local Food Pantry and Day Program made an unexpected announcement that they were ending food pantry and day program services for our clients immediately, Community Endeavors sprung into action to ensure continuity of services for our clients in need. They went above and beyond by scrambling to put into place a fully functioning food pantry; resulting in no delay in service for our clients. They extended a warm welcome and hired many of the staff from the other program, lending not only continued employment for their fellow community members but also providing consistency and program knowledge for our clients which resulted in the best services possible with the least amount of disruption. They maintain great working relationships with FNRCs Siskiyou County Service Coordinators as well as FNRC Community Services Staff. They are keenly aware of the needs of our clients and are strong advocates. They think outside the box; adapt as necessary; and are always mindful of resources. They strive to provide the best possible day program opportunities for our clients and are excellent collaborators with our Siskiyou County Job Development Agency. Dan, Kristina, and Shelby are true examples of what it takes to successfully meet the needs of FNRC clients in rural areas with compassion and excellent service.
Renee goes above and beyond every day. She patiently explains the ins and out of Social Security regulations and procedures with FNRC clients, their representatives, and case management staff. She provides timely advisories about Social Security and Medi-Cal updates about benefits to FNRC staff. She advocates for FNRC clients who are in danger of losing their Social Security benefits. She is a watchful guardian of our tax dollars by assisting clients going into placement as she files for SSI benefits to begin as early as possible, minimizing the need to state-claim the amount that the client pays with their benefits. Because of all of this and more, I believe that Renee is a Superhero.
Maria is in charge of a nonprofit called Sabias Que. For years she has been providing scholarships for Latino students to attend college. She also runs a TV channel off Facebook that provides news prayer and other programs for the Spanish community. If that isn’t amazing enough she puts on events twice a year where she raises money for the scholarships! She is a true inspiration to her students, her clients, and the thousands of others she touches over the past 30 plus years!!
I am proud to be a part of the team of amazing staff members at Lighthouse. Our team works hard to help our folks to feel included in our community. We access our community at least twice a day and have made ourselves known to several businesses. Before Covid hit we had a very successful Honor Box Program that our folks did as a microbusiness. Weekly we were in business meetings, and greeting the public while changing out the old box with the new one. Some of our most quietest and shiest people came out of their shells to interact with the public. When we were able to have our Open House, staff would accompany our folks to ask for donations for raffle prizes. The staff would be there to assist the individual asking for the donation, however most of the time they did it on their own and upon arrival back at the program everyone would listen and cheer as the group told how the day went. We recently took a few individuals to attend a job hiring event for the new Goodwill that is coming to Red Bluff. We have some staff that have taught us some basic ASL signs and even lead us in a game of ASL Bingo, our deaf individual also helped to call numbers. We even watched one of our Covid trainings in Sign Language so the group could experience deafness. Our Spanish speaking staff taught us about Dia de los Muertos. We watched Coco and made our own sugar skulls out of paper. I am proud and have enjoyed my 5 years with this group.
Bonnie Bethel works diligently to ensure that adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) are willing and able to take on a multitude of life challenges with confidence. Bonnie takes on many roles at The Arc of Butte County, all of which help special needs individuals improve their quality of life and reach a greater level of independence. Bonnie is a friend and an asset to the greater Butte County area in her many roles at The Arc, which include Associate Director of Arc’s Independent Living Skills Program (ILS). She also oversees CASS, Self-Determination, and The Arc’s Food Bank. Bonnie has dedicated 22 long and fulfilling years to her work at The Arc of Butte County, advocating for I/DD individuals and their families. Her positivity radiates to all who surround her, spreading cheer to her colleagues, friends, and clients. Bonnie takes on even the most challenging cases with a smile and a solution. There is no task too difficult for Bonnie when it comes to helping others. While small in stature, her impact on the disability community and beyond is monumental. Her ability to help others overcome challenges in order to improve their quality of life is what truly makes Bonnie Bethel a Hero in the disability community and beyond.
Diana Anderson goes out of her way to be sure individuals supported receive quality services. She is creative and thinks outside the box so those living in our rural catchment area have opportunities to be part of the community. She has played a significant role in developing programs where individuals have opportunities to have competitive employment. With Diana’s guidance providers have continued to provide support during the Pandemic, whether traditional or alternative, so individuals have some form of activities to participate in.
John has provided opportunities for school aged kids to play baseball in the Challenger Baseball division in the Redding area for the past 20 years. He works hand in hand each year with the local schools and local baseball leagues to provide opportunities for team building skills and empowerment for youth who may not feel comfortable on other leagues, teams, or who may need accommodations. With John’s involvement in Challenger Baseball, there has been a promotion of healthy lifestyle and increase in physical activity with an element of fun and barrier free environment. John is recognized as a hero in his community including all kids in the sport of baseball. This next spring will be his last time coordinating the event.
Evelyn has been working at the coffee cart in the Regional Center lobby and greeting everyone that comes in with a smile and a warm greeting for many years. Her genuine love for others and excitement to see us helps to alleviate some of the stress of the day as we enter back into our workplace. Evelyn goes out of her way to bring others joy by spending her own energy and resources to decorate our lobby in festivities for every season. Evelyn deserves to be celebrated as she celebrates us every day.