Aspire of WNY Wins Innovation Award and More at Cerebral Palsy (CP) State Conference

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As autumn reached it’s peak in upstate New York, the Aspire of WNY team was attending the CP State Conference on October 24th, 25th, and 26th in Saratoga Springs, NY.

On the first day of the conference, Commissioner of the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), Kerri Neifeld, updated attendees on the many changes her administration is looking to implement. Her hopes are to partner with providers and make the system more responsive to people’s needs.

Afterward, the commissioner cut the ribbon on CP State’s first NY State of Expression art museum, highlighting the works of artists with disabilities. There were 45 works on display, each created by an artist who receives services at a CP Affiliate. Commissioner Neifeld stressed the importance of our art programs, as they offer a means of communication and connection that sometimes aren’t available for people with disabilities. Aspire of WNY is proud to have an art program, iXpress, an expressive arts program for people with developmental disabilities that includes all forms of artistic expression from painting, clay sculpting, writing, acting, singing, playing musical instruments, and photography.

On October 25th, the CP State conference held a celebrational dinner with more than 400 people from the CP State Affiliates, including Aspire of WNY. Nearly 100 people – from direct support professionals, to social workers, to maintenance staff and more – took to the stage to receive awards. Aspire of WNY was proud to take home:

  • Outstanding Staff Members | Abraham Woldelibanose, Aspire of WNY’s Supported Volunteering & Lifestyle Enrichment Program in Erie County, Jennifer Young, Senior Employment Specialist, Aspire of WNY, Jenny Mlodozeniec, Assistant to the CFO at Aspire of WNY, and Michael Cramer of Aspire of WNY
  • Innovation Award | Aspire of WNY Training Academy, accepted by Melissa Roth (Chief Human Resources Officer), Toni Sullivan (Director of Vocational Services/Adaptive Community Living Supports), and Dawn Plumb (Community Supports Coordinator)

“Aspire of WNY is proud to be recognized by CP State. As one of their affiliates, we are always excited to attend the conference and learn from other agencies and providers. The Aspire of WNY team members who were recognized, consistently go above and beyond in supporting the individuals we serve and we are so grateful to have them as our staff,” said Renee Filip, President & CEO of Aspire of WNY. “Beyond the team members who won awards, I am thrilled that our Training Academy is paving the way as an innovation engine in the space of developmental disabilities. Kudos to the thought leaders and team members who have brought that to life, it has changed the course of Aspire of WNY in such a positive way.”

Aspire of WNY would like to congratulate all of those who were recognized across the industry and thank CP State for hosting an incredible event full of educational opportunities and recognition for team members across NYS agencies.

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