Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Celebrating 40 Years of Promoting Communities of Choice!

On September 13th, WE celebrated 40 years of progressive community supports and services, as the American Network of Community Options & Resources (ANCOR) rejoiced as “integral contributors to creating a better future for the hundreds of thousands of lives we touch in meaningful ways each and every day!”  With the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s National Portrait Gallery as the historic backdrop, leaders from across the United States assembled to recognize ANCOR’s commitment to creating a better future for people with disabilities.

The celebration was humbled by the exhibit of self-portraits by individuals served by nonprofit providers of supports and services to people with disabilities. This opportunity to see through the eyes of people with disabilities reinforced the message ANCOR members have been sharing for four decades – the value of peoples with disabilities as contributing members of our communities.

ANCOR CEO, Renee L. Pietrangelo delivered a rousing speech in the center of the portrait archives by marking the endeavors of numerous community leaders, their nonprofit agencies and most importantly, the people that they serve.  Pietrangelo paid tribute to the power behind the differing “abilities” that each and every person offers regardless of their disability.  She retraced the forty years of struggle of the last civil rights movement seeking to achieve equality and inclusion, cheering the progress that has been achieved along the way.

[Photo seen left to right: Tim Murrill of Ramsell Corp., Renee Loran Pietrangelo of ANCOR American Network of Community Options and Resources, and Brandon Macsata of TMKG]
The talents celebrated last evening were embodied in the self-portraits of the heroes with disabilities – and their direct support professionals – that were among the 300+ people in the audience.  The paint, pencil, marker, sculpture, textiles or whatever medium that was used by these inspirational artists demonstrated that the “content of their character” empowers them to achieve greatness.  Rarely does one event ignite such motivation, as well as the revealing spirit of equality.  By promoting communities of choice for people with significant disabilities, ANCOR will seek to celebrate another 40 years of bringing people with disabilities closer to their communities.
Over two dozen inspirational nominees were inducted into the ANCOR Foundation’s inaugural Legacy Leaders Circle – which commemorated “the accomplishments of the men and women who have paved the way in making ANCOR the premier trade association representing more than 800 private providers for nearly 500,000 Americans with disabilities.”
Through ANCOR’s network of nearly 800 community service providers and 44 state provider associations, they have maintained a strong and coherent community for four decades, more often than not moving beyond what divides us and uniting around common needs, values and shared experience. They’ve exercised leadership at every level that has translated into stable, high quality and innovative supports and services for people with disabilities and their families.
The WE Movement and its HELP4U were honored to support such a worthwhile event.  We have joined, will you?  Learn more at http://www.wemovement.org/.

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