2024 Community Celebration Diane Lynn Anderson Memorial Award

2024 Diane Lynn Anderson Memorial Award Recipients

CFSA is pleased to announce that Carlos Ramirez and NAMI Southern Arizona have been selected as the 2024 Diane Lynn Anderson Memorial Award recipients.

Established in 1990, the Diane Lynn Anderson Memorial Award honors individuals in Southern Arizona who exemplify the same qualities that she possessed: active acceptance, respect, compassion, and caring for people with disabilities.

One of the original contributors to the Diane Lynn Anderson Memorial Award shared, “Because Diane knew firsthand the difficulties that people with physical disabilities are confronted with, she made herself available directly to those facing problems; she never wanted anyone to feel lost. Diane was also involved in helping to get systems set up that would continue to provide help.”

Learn more about the Diane Lynn Anderson Memorial Award here.

2024 Diane Lynn- Carlos Ramirez

Carlos Ramirez is a music teacher for exceptional students in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD). He is improving and running a music program where K-12 students with multiple disabilities have the opportunity to improve their cognitive skills through the practice of music. The students work in their social-emotional curriculum to learn to recognize and express emotions through music therapy. Over the last two years, students have shown improvement in their behavior, communication, and self-confidence. Carlos is leading the way for other music educators to provide more inclusive classes.

Carlos shared, “I am honored to receive this award. I started doing this job because I wanted to make a difference in the educational journey of people with disabilities. I am grateful that now I have a supportive community behind and in front of me. Music has the power of change. This is my inspiration to continue breaking barriers and creating better spaces for exceptional citizens.”

2024 Diane Lynn NAMI

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Southern Arizona has a significant impact on the individuals and the population it serves, which includes those affected by mental health conditions in Southern Arizona.

“NAMI Southern Arizona is deeply honored to receive the Diane Lynn Anderson Memorial Award, which recognizes our unwavering commitment to mental health advocacy and support. This accolade reaffirms our dedication to fostering resilience, hope, and healing in our community. We are grateful for the opportunity to continue championing mental wellness for all,” shared Briana Felix, NAMI Southern Arizona’s Executive Director.

NAMI Southern Arizona’s dedicated efforts have transformed lives and the overall mental health landscape in several ways:

  • Reduced Stigma: NAMI SA has been instrumental in reducing the stigma surrounding mental health. They have encouraged open conversations about mental health by conducting awareness campaigns, public discussions, and educational programs. As a result, individuals living with mental health conditions and their families are more willing to seek help without fear of discrimination or judgment.
  • Improved Access to Support: NAMI SA provides support services, including support groups, workshops, and crisis helplines. These resources offer emotional support and valuable information to those in need, helping individuals better manage their mental health and cope with challenges.
  • Empowering Families: NAMI SA offers educational programs and support for families of individuals with mental health conditions. This has empowered family members to
    understand and effectively support their loved ones, resulting in more stable and supportive environments.
  • Crisis Intervention: NAMI SA’s work with law enforcement and first responders in Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) has had a life-saving impact. Police officers and emergency personnel are better equipped to handle mental health crises with empathy and de-escalation techniques, which reduces the risk of harm and ensures individuals receive the appropriate care they need.
  • Youth and School Impact: NAMI SA’s presence in schools and youth programs has educated young people about mental health and equipped them with coping skills. This early intervention has the potential to prevent the development of more severe mental health issues in the future.
  • Community-Wide Collaboration: NAMI SA’s collaboration with local organizations and mental health service providers has resulted in a more comprehensive and interconnected mental health support system in the Tucson community. This collaborative approach ensures individuals receive holistic care that effectively addresses their needs.
  • Advocacy and Public Policy Impact: NAMI SA’s advocacy efforts have influenced public policy and increased funding and resources for mental health services, leading to greater availability and affordability of mental health care.
  • Volunteer Engagement: NAMI SA’s volunteers play a vital role in providing support and hope to individuals with mental health conditions. Their dedication and compassion have been a source of inspiration for the community.