Rebekah is a powerful advocate who helps others find their inner voice and inner strength. Rebekah has worked incredibly hard and continues to do so as she is not only an advocate for people with disabilities, she empowers people through her work as a mentor and leader in her classes. She supports others to know what abuse looks like and how to protect themselves from it and know what an emergency looks like and how to be prepared. Rebekah is always up for a challenge and has worked hard to find her voice. In finding her voice, Rebekah takes the time and courage to help others find their voice and empower others to advocate for themselves. You won’t ever see Rebekah without a smile on her face! Rebekah recently gave the keynote speech at the people’s first conference in Sacramento in front of advocates from surrounding areas.
Mollie Winegar has worked for Puckett Residential Services, Inc. for almost 6 years. She started as a direct care staff, became a Facility Manger, and is currently the Administrator of the Club Tehama Day Program. She has provided our consumers with so many interesting and creative projects, capturing every holiday and every possible activity in between. She modifies the activities to fit the likes, strengths and abilities of each individual consumer.
Not everyone wants to color an Easter Bunny, so Mollie set up a program to support those with different interests. We have an individual who loves big trucks, tractors, etc., so his program includes reading magazines about trucks, watching shows with staff and teaching them the things he knows. Another consumer wants to be outside day and night – if she could, so Mollie set her program up around outdoor nature activities. Mr. V. loves history and so he has a weekly podcast where he shares interesting facts and stories.
Mollie looks at each consumer with such compassion and a desire to give them something they can look forward to; something they can be proud of; something they can take ownership of.
Mollie is innovative, creative, caring and compassionate. She is highly dependable and has become an integral part of our management team.
Mollie is a Super Hero.
Lai works tirelessly to support clients, their families, and service coordinators with the Self Determination Program! She is very knowledgeable about the all intricate steps and rules involved. Without her guidance the Self Determination Program would not be as successful. We are so lucky to have Lai on our team!
I nominated Sean to be an Advocacy Hero because he is not only an amazing and talented individual but he is also a passionate person whom is trying to bring attention and awareness to the needs and myths related to people with disabilities. For much of his life Sean has been told that his aspirations to open his own counseling practice or work in a professional setting were not possible even after obtaining a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Chico State. Due to the discrimination Sean experienced he now has a strong desire to dispel myths related to individuals with disabilities as well as help advocate for others. He is part of YETI (Youth Engagement Transition Initiative) as well as the California Transition Alliance and “Let’s Work California.” Through these organizations, Sean has been able to create Public Service Announcements as well as write articles to help educate people about living with a disability, his personal experiences, and stigmas related to people with disabilities. Sean is an inspiration to everyone he comes into contact with and his work and advocacy efforts should be recognized and applauded.
The individuals of Lighthouse want to nominate Ruby Kirk as an Everyday Hero. Here are some of their reasons in their own words. Ruby has always been there when I needed someone to talk to or to talk me down when I am stressed out. Ruby makes Open House fun and we have good food. When Covid made Lighthouse close Ruby checked in on me to make sure I was ok. Ruby always helps me with beading and jewelry making. Ruby is nice and helps me out. Ruby puts my name on the board when I want to go out. Ruby listens to me. Ruby has known me a long time and always give me chances to start over when I have a bad day. I love Ruby!
Lori gives 200% always. As a personal trainer, she helps people get healthy including those who have Down’s syndrome and who are developmentally disabled. She is a certified cancer exercise specialist and keeps those people going through cancer and having recently finished treatment active. Many times opening their eyes to the fact they CAN exercise and how easy it is to regain strength and an active lifestyle. Lori also teaches music and drama. She uses her own money to make certain her students have needed materials, is a passionate instructor, and after the Camp Fire tirelessly found instrument replacements for her students who lost theirs in the fire. Knowing the healing powers of music she knew the new instruments and the ability to play music again would aide her students’ lives in a grand way.
I think Tyler should get this award because he does amazing things. For example, he is always checking in and seeing how our morning is going. He checks in with his staff. As a consumer, I can always trust Tyler. When I’m having a bad day I can talk to him and he helps me figure out how I can change to make me happy, like writing in my morning page book and taking some deep breaths. Tyler would come over to show me how to get on zoom and that means a lot.
Finally he is true, honest, and fair and he makes me laugh. I always look forward to seeing him. You can go to his office when you need to, he’s here for everyone. Now that I’m a diabetic he’s going to find some other snacks I can have. He’s always going the extra mile, and if any of you guys go over there you will really like him. He’s really awesome. He always makes time for everyone at 7th Street. It takes a special person with a special heart to be in this field and Tyler is no exception. I got to do school tours with Tyler. I hope you can all meet him. He is a team player. Tyler is the newest program director for 7th Street. Like his predecessor Natalie Tyler is very warm inviting and truly has an interest in making sure all the students and staff he oversees are reaching their dreams and aspirations.
We wanted to get more exercise so Tyler got us our own basketball hoop. He has even written original songs for our productions. The latest is a rap collaboration with students.
Tina has been an integral part of the success of the Self Determination program in our region. Her work as an Independent Facilitator has provided invaluable support to families and individuals. Tina never shied from a challenge and she is always willing to work with the team to help others move towards making their dreams a reality. She has offered ideas and feedback on how to improve the program from a participant and family perspective, which has resulted in a better experience for all. Tina is always going above and beyond to support others and she deserves to be recognized for her incredible work!
Mains’l Job Development and Food Pantry
I would like to nominate the employment team at Mains’l. They bring a unique combination of passion, dedication, hard work, forward thinking, professionalism and attention to detail that is unparalleled in their field.
They are a true example of person-centered practice and can always be counted on to really take the time to get to know each individual and work tirelessly to develop job sites and employment plans tailored specifically towards helping the person achieve their true goals and dreams. I love watching their faces light up as they share the many stories of success their people have achieved and as they share the plans that are currently in place for people!
I appreciate their efforts to really embrace the intent of our programs- evident in the way they support individuals to gain skills through their various day programs, such as the food pantry, and then continue to support them through the Paid Internship Program and Competitive Integrated Employment. They do not see barriers when working with people; they see possibilities and work diligently to empower people to achieve their goals. They are amazing advocates when necessary and show great dedication to combating stigma and discrimination in the workplace and community.
They are innovative, driven, and committed to their mission. Somehow they manage to embrace the ‘What More is Possible’ mentality while continuing to stay focused on what is going on in the moment and being sure to deliver excellent service in the here-and-now. They can be counted on to provide comprehensive reporting and quality data is readily available whenever requested. I know they can be counted on to provide top notch services to every person we refer, each employment site, the community and the Regional Center. Working with Mains’l has been a true joy, inspiration and one of the most filling parts of my job.
I’d like to nominate Kelli Pope for the Barrier Buster Hero award. Kelli is a huge champion for our individuals looking to work in the community. She works with our youth through school placements and college connections as well as adults through the Paid Internship Program. She always takes the time to really include our people as part of her teams and treats them the same as any other employee. She welcomes them personally and sees to it that they have the resources they need to be successful. She not only opens up her stores as internship sites, but also hires our interns when the time is right! She goes out of her way to encourage other stores to participate in our employment programs and really is dedicated to improving the lives of our people and helps them achieve employment success, community integration and a true sense of belonging. Kelli is a champion for change and a true joy to work with.