Awards

Each year at the conference, people with disabilities and their allies receive AWARDS for their contributions to the self-advocacy movement.

Winds

Local Group Self-Advocate of the Year

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GMSA
Ally of the Year

Wood

Theresa Wood Citizenship Award

Recent conferences were held online due to COVID.
The GMSA board opted to wait until 2022 to give Awards.

Past Winners

2019 Award Winners

DLP

The 2019 Ally of the Year Award is presented to the Vermont Disability Law Project. We recognize their outstanding support of Vermont self-advocates, the mission of self-advocacy, and Green Mountain Self-Advocates. The Disability Law Project challenges policymakers by reminding them how important it is for the voices of people with disabilities to be heard. As lawyers, they are there for us in court. They have worked tirelessly to make supported decision making a real option. They take what we have to say seriously and use it in their legal work. When we go to meetings we can relax a bit when we see them in the room. We know they will do a great job of explaining things that have to do with the law and policy in a way that we can understand. This is a true ally!

Self-Advocate of the Year

Shae Martin is an enthusiastic member of Green Mountain Self-Advocates and is a leader in his local group, Capitol Advocates Together. He is respected by his peers and they feel supported by him. He is an avid Norwich University sports fan. He is a Special Olympian and participates in workouts with Norwich mentors most Sundays.  He also trains and runs in the Northfield 5k on Labor Day. He has run in the Relay for Life to raise money for Cancer Research. He attends the United Church of Northfield where is often an usher or a greeter. Shae and his grandfather are members of an Antique Tractor Club and exhibit and demonstrate their antique hay baler.  In addition, Shae has worked at VTC in food services for almost 10 years. Shae has a great sense of humor and as you can see leads a full life.

Hiker Shae

2018 Award Winners

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Self-Advocate of the Year

Danielle Viau is a self-advocate leader who is described by her peers as a bright spot in all she does! Danielle is a kind and thoughtful leader in the Burlington Self-Advocacy Club, volunteers at the UVM Medical Center, and volunteers at her church. She leads by example and is gentle and patient when trying to assist a peer with a task or explain how to do something. Danielle is someone who always goes the extra mile and is growing every year as a leader – on the GMSA Board and at the VT Leadership Series. Danielle is able to see the light side of life, even when times can be difficult.

The 2018 Ally of the Year Award was presented to the Vermont Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Program (VT LEND) for their outstanding support of Vermont self-advocates, the mission of self-advocacy, and Green Mountain Self-Advocates.

VT LEND prepares leaders across the health and education professions to serve children with special health needs and their families. VT LEND is dedicated to inclusion and making sure that people from all diverse language and cultural backgrounds, including people with disabilities, are part of the VT LEND training program. This year they had their first self-advocate trainee in the program and partnered with GMSA to make their classes and trainings accessible for all people. They also work hard to make sure self-advocates are included as teachers and leaders, including hiring self-advocates to teach others how to educate policymakers in Washington, D.C. Above all else, they listen to self-advocates and strongly believe that people with disabilities are the real experts in their lives. We thank the VT LEND for being such amazing allies to the self-advocacy movement and for always fighting for inclusion and respect on behalf of all people.

VTLEND
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2017 Award Winners

Stirling-Kayaking-(3)

Self-Advocate of the Year

Stirling Peebles makes amazing videos. She was picked as one of VT Business Magazines’ 2016 “Rising Stars” of Vermonters under 40. Stirling has created a Facebook page called the Employment Corner. She spends hours each day posting great news about people with disabilities working.

The 2017 Ally of the Year Award was presented to the Vermont Family Network (VFN) for their outstanding support of Green Mountain Self-Advocates and our mission for Vermonters with developmental disabilities to educate peers to take control over their own lives, make decisions, solve problems, and speak for themselves. VFN has been a great partner to GMSA on Health Care training projects and the Vermont Leadership Series! They are wonderful collaborators who bring great enthusiasm to working with self-advocates. They are respectful and open to new ideas and as one self-advocate put it, “they really accept the mission of GMSA.” We thank them for their excellence and for their willingness to always help us see things through the eyes of a parent or family member!

VFN

2016 Award Winners

Marj

Self-Advocate of the Year

Marjorie Burns, an active member of the United Church of Underhill, helps prepare meals at community dinners, visits people confined at home and helps out with Sunday School classes. As an associate at Rite-Aid, Marj is known for her friendliness with her co-workers and the community of people who shop at the store. Marj volunteers at the Jericho Public Library and is a skilled fundraiser for Burlington Self-Advocates Club.

The 2016 Ally of the Year Award was presented to the Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council for their outstanding support of GMSA and our mission for Vermonters with developmental disabilities to educate peers to take control over their own lives, make decisions, solve problems, and speak for themselves. From their tireless support to their partnership on many of the projects that GMSA has worked on over the years, we thank them for the great work they do! Their collaboration on projects such as the Inclusive Healthcare Partnership Project and the SIM Healthcare Training Project demonstrates their commitment to improving the lives of Vermonters with disabilities and to creating and supporting positions of leadership for Self-Advocates. These projects are utterly vital to improving the quality of life and services we seek for all Vermonters and we are extremely grateful for their support and want to celebrate all that the DD Council brings into our communities.

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