Announcing the 2017 Recipients
The Diane Lynn Anderson Memorial Award announces Mindy Bernstein and Steve Freeman as the recipients of the 2017 award, for their work with Coyote TaskForce and the Southern Arizona Network for Down Syndrome, respectively. The Award recognizes people who exhibit the same kind of patience, compassion, devotion and care that Diane exhibited during her work with people with disabilities in Southern Arizona.
“Mindy has long been a vocal advocate in the community, focusing on reducing the stigma around mental illness and the responsibility of the Tucson community to provide employment and supports to assist citizens diagnosed with severe mental illness,” wrote Angie Smith-Dale, who nominated her for the award. “Mindy’s high expectations, compassion, and respect for people with mental illness have empowered them to restabilize their lives, start college, find jobs they love, leave the behavioral health system, and live independently. Mindy has saved people from becoming homeless, and has even saved lives by recognizing medical conditions and advocating for treatment. Through her tireless advocacy, Mindy is changing the way people look at those with mental illness.”
In her nomination of Mr. Freeman, June Webb-Vignery of the Metropolitan Education Commission wrote, “Steve’s work and volunteer service has impacted thousands of individuals with disabilities, and their families as well as educators and community members throughout southern Arizona and on the national level. His initiative and energy have provided a myriad of opportunities for individuals with disabilities to become self-advocates, find employment, engage in social activities and receive funds for their various needs.”
Prior to her death in 1990, Diane Lynn Anderson was a major force in implementing programs for people with disabilities in Pima County. The Diane Lynn Anderson Memorial Award was established by an anonymous donor in memory of Diane and to recognize those who through their work show the same kinds of qualities Diane possessed: compassion, devotion, and caring for people with disabilities.
Mr. Freeman and Ms. Bernstein were selected because they have demonstrated the qualities that Diane Lynn Anderson demonstrated throughout her life. “Because of Steve’s vision and involvement in securing conferences to be held in southern Arizona and Phoenix, families have become more knowledgeable and empowered advocates for their loved ones with disabilities. He has been successful in procuring special education law conferences, trainings regarding full inclusion and a national convention that offered a variety of different breakout sessions for both individuals with disabilities and their family members.” Speaking of Ms. Bernstein, Ms. Smith-Dale continued, “Mindy counts herself lucky to get to know people as the humans that they are in the supportive and empowering context of her programs, and states that her work on behalf of the mentally ill is a major part of her own recovery journey. Her devoted work is founded on her belief that all people deserve respect.”
In honor of their work, both recipients will receive a memorial plaque and a monetary award at the annual National Association of Social Workers Arizona Chapter luncheon to be held on Friday, March 31, 2017, at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. Tickets to the event may be purchased through the National Association of Social Workers.
Nominations for the 2018 award will be opened in November 2017. Nominees may be individuals, including volunteers, who demonstrate the same kind of qualities Diane exhibited. Organizations or programs that have established advocacy services and/or increased community resources for people with disabilities may be nominated.
For more details about the nomination process or the award, please contact Andrea Carmichael at email@example.com or 520-447-8927.
If you’d like to support these awards, you can donate now.
2016 Mary Vardi, Therapeutic Riding of Tucson; Taglit Day Program at the Jewish Community Center; Angeline Fahey, Beads of Courage
2015 Jamie Lakin Kelley, Integrative Touch for Kids
2014 Criminal Justice Team, Community Partnership of Southern Arizona; The Aurora Foundation for Southern Arizona, Inc.
2013 Kathy Gray-Mangerson; Sister Jeanne Carrigan
2012 Derry Dean, National Alliance on Mental Illness Southern Arizona;
Disability and Rehabilitation Employment Awareness Committee
2011 Murry Everson, Arizona School for the Deaf and Blind
2010 Jenny Hill, Angel’s Purse; Alicia Morada, Southern Arizona Legal Aid; Richard St. Denis, World Access
2009 Jean Balcezak, Tucson Arthritis Support League
2008 Maureen Priestly, Amphitheater School District
2006 Jamie Zink, Our Family Services; The Giving Tree Outreach Program
2005 Roni Spehn, Blake Foundation; Polio Epic
2004 Karen Gialle and Jennifer Quinlan, Southern Arizona Veteran’s Association Healthcare; Jewish Family & Children’s Services of Southern Arizona
2003 Eric Morrison, Pima Community College; Dr. Juliet Niehaus, Tucson Botanical Gardens; Top Dog
1998 Marcia Berger, Third Street Kids; Catalina Helping Hands
1997 Sherry Isaman, Sunnyside School District; Patricia Ann Childs, Multiple Sclerosis Support Foundation; SAGE Employment & Community Services
1995 Dr. Kent Kloepping, CEDR/University of Arizona; Tucson Association of the Blind Goals Program
1994 Dolores Flores, Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona; Michael Flores, United Cerebral Palsy
1993 Ray Stoughton, Arivaca Coordinating Council; Anne Parrish, Amputee Outreach
1992 Alamo Reeves, Handidogs; Project RAISE Adult Basic Education
1991 Ron Olson, Catholic Social Services