UJA-Federation of New York and the J.E. and Z.B. Butler Foundation Celebrate Professionals Who Enhance the Lives of Adults And Children with Disabilities

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Inaugurating New Award Category, the Innovation Award, to Recognize Individual for Transformative Contribution to the Field of Disabilities

UJA-Federation of New York’s Task Force on People With Disabilities and the J.E. and Z.B. Butler Foundation will present the 2011 Zella Bronfman Butler Award to Steven M. Wolf, M.D., director of pediatric epilepsy at Beth Israel Medical Center; Glen Parrish, residence manager of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services’ Vernondale Intermediate Care Facility; and Susan Schwaber-Tregerman, assistant executive director of the Mid-Island Y Jewish Community Center. The event will take place at UJA-Federation of New York’s Seventh-Floor Conference Center, 130 East 59th Street in New York, on Wednesday, December 13, 2011, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.

The J.E. and Z.B. Butler Foundation and UJA-Federation of New have established the annual Zella Bronfman Butler Award to honor three professionals in UJA-Federation’s network of agencies who exemplify the highest standards of service. This year, the Innovation Award, a new category, was added to celebrate an individual who has made a major transformative contribution to the field of disabilities. Those selected for this award each receive $10,000 and are chosen for their compassionate commitment to enriching the lives of adults and children with disabilities that are physical, developmental, and learning.

Steven M. Wolf, M.D., recipient of the Innovation Award, is director of pediatric epilepsy at Beth Israel Medical Center. Under Dr. Wolf’s direction, the pediatric epilepsy practice at Beth Israel Medical Center serves thousands of children each year who range from having one to two seizures a week to hundreds of seizures a day, and whose conditions include various forms of mental and physical development disabilities. As director of the Developmental Disabilities Center at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center and Beth Israel Medical Center, Dr. Wolf has become a recognized leader in the study and care of those living with disabilities and epilepsy. The center is unique to New York City, and few other medical homes are as comprehensive. Dr. Wolf manages a team of seven doctors from different disciplines to serve adults and children with disabilities.

Glen Parrish, recipient of the Direct Service Award, is residence manager of the Vernondale Intermediate Care Facility, a program of the Jewish Board of Family and Children’s Services. Glen brought to Vernondale, a long-term-care residential facility for adults with developmental disabilities, the idea of the “sanctuary model,” in which everyone is free to express their emotions in a safe and supportive environment — a model rarely seen in the field of developmental disabilities. His skill in crisis intervention and de-escalation techniques has kept the number of crises at an all-time low, thereby improving the quality of life for all those living and working at Vernondale. Glen keeps a level of connection with family members of residents that far surpasses that of many professionals in the field, staying in touch and acting as a means of support even after longtime residents pass away.

Susan Schwaber-Tregerman, recipient of the Change Agent Award, is assistant executive director of the Mid-Island Y Jewish Community Center. Susan was instrumental in creating the K.I.S.S. (Kids in Special Services) Center at the Mid-Island Y JCC. Starting in 2004 with six children, K.I.S.S. has grown to provide services to approximately 250 children each year. The Sunday Respite, Saturday-night bowling, support groups, and family planning have become essential programs for the families of children with disabilities. In 2010, she helped expand on her work with K.I.S.S. by securing funding for KIDS for K.I.S.S. – Kids Night Out, an evening to raise awareness toward other children with special needs and disabilities. Hundreds of children attended the event, and the program was replicated in 2011.

The award ceremony will feature a presentation of Positive Exposure by Rick Guidotti. Positive Exposure is an innovative arts, education, and advocacy organization working with individuals living with genetic differences. The Positive Exposure photo presentation will explore the social and psychological experiences of people of all ages and backgrounds living with genetic, physical, and behavioral conditions. Rick’s presentation will embrace our shared humanity and celebrate the richness and beauty of human diversity.

About UJA-Federation of New York

For more than 90 years, UJA-Federation has been a central force for communal planning and philanthropy in the New York Jewish community. Through UJA-Federation, more than 60,000 donors pool their resources to help people in need, inspire a passion for Jewish life and learning, and strengthen Jewish communities around the world — to address the issues that matter to us most as Jews and as New Yorkers. Working with more than 100 network beneficiary agencies, synagogues, and other Jewish organizations, our reach spans from New York to Israel to more than 60 other countries around the world, touching 4.5 million people each year. Because we do the most good when we do it together. For more information on how to donate or how to volunteer, please visit our website.

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Levi Fishman
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