Recently, the Rehabilitation Foundation’s annual Scholarships & Awards reception honored several staff members and departments with grants to fund their dreams and goals which will return to benefit the Agency.

Each year it’s a tall order to go through the requests and choose a person to receive each particular scholarship or award. For their conscientious deliberation in selecting the award winners and scholarship recipients, the Foundation thanks Jen Eaton Miller, Tracy Karl-Lebrenz, Lisa Hennig, Patrick and Gloria Carroll, and the scholarship committee.

The Jacob J. Karl Memorial Staff Scholarship was presented to Jessica Preston who has worked for the Agency for more than five years beginning her career as a Lifeskills Treatment Supervisor and is currently a Community Employment Specialist.

Jessica applied for the Jacob J. Karl Memorial Scholarship to assist in obtaining her M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling at the University of Buffalo.

“This degree will help me understand the needs of the people we support and help them reach their goals.,” she wrote in her application.

The second award, The Carroll-Sherwood Memorial Award, established in remembrance of the parents of Patrick Carroll and Gloria Sherwood-Carroll, was presented to the Youth Residence for the Sensory/Comfort Room.

“A Sensory Room at the Youth Home would support the agency’s mission by teaching the people we support various coping skills that they can utilize when they are becoming upset or anxious,” the department wrote on its application, adding “Staff would be able to use the Sensory Room as a learning opportunity by pointing out to the people we support what behaviors they are displaying and walking them through various ways they can use their senses to help manage these behaviors.”

The next award, The Charlotte Frost Memorial Nursing Award, named for the mother of a child with a disability who was one of the founding members of the ReHab Center serving as president of the board for 10 years, was a graduate of the Buffalo Children’s Hospital School of Nursing. Her inspiration continues in this award which was awarded to Valerie Dunshie, who has been employed at the Agency since 1991, initially as an LPN and then challenged herself to “grow and became an RN in July of 2000,” her nominator wrote.

Another wrote, “Valerie has been with Family Care for many years. Valerie is an absolutely amazing Registered Nurse and is a vital asset in making our program run successfully.”

The Mary Tremaine Memorial Staff Award was awarded to Jodie Olson, who is a Family Care Home Liaison and oversees half of the Family Care homes in the Community.

Her nominator wrote, “Jodie walks through the door every morning with an upbeat and positive attitude. She comes in prepared to face any challenge head on with a smile on her face and most importantly, a sense of humor.”

The Rebecca Ann Hellier Memorial Scholarship, which honors the memory of a bright and loving young woman who lived for many years at our agency’s home for children and young adults on the West Fall Road, was awarded to Sarah Krist. She said the scholarship would help defray the cost of attending Jamestown Community College. She has been employed with the agency for 10 years, and is currently a Logistical Support Coordinator.

“Earning my degree will allow me to further my career with the Rehabilitation Center. Many job bids require a degree. I would someday like to supervise my department and again, finishing my degree will help me be able to meet this goal.” Sarah wrote.

 The Eaton Family Memorial Award recognizes two staff members who consistently give 110 percent and best embody the qualities of someone who goes unnoticed, always hardworking and not seeking credit for their accomplishments. Patti Buchanan, DSP III, and Allison Sampson, DSP II, were named recipients..

The Roger Hennig Memorial Arts Enrichment Grant, which was established in 1998 in memory of Roger Hennig, whose life exemplified what people can achieve regardless of disability, was awarded to the Family Peer Support Services’ drum circle project and Day Hab’s Canvas paint Parties.

Roger, who had muscular dystrophy, did not let his physical limitations deter him from getting the most out of life. He graduated from Olean High School in 1970 and participated in The ReHabilitation Center’s workshop program.

“We would like to offer the families we support and the Parent Support Groups we facilitate continuing drum circle experiences throughout this next year,” Jean Knapp wrote.

“The Family Peer Support Services Program believes this will involve approximately 32 families in the Olean area and beyond.”

The second recipient of the Roger Hennig Memorial Arts Enrichment Grant was awarded to Day Hab.

“We would like to have a canvas ‘Painting Party’ for each Day Hab program,” Gigi Dupont, director, wrote.

“They could take their canvas’s home after they have completed them. I would like to do this in winter so they can make a “snowman” canvas art. This project will benefit approximately 30 individuals we support.”