Garden City, NY (PRWEB) February 03, 2014
NAPW honors Belinda D. Summers as a 2013/2014 Professional Woman of the Year for leadership in nonprofit organizations with this prestigious distinction. As the largest, most-recognized organization of women in the country, spanning virtually every industry and profession, the National Association of Professional Women is a powerfully vibrant networking community with over 600,000 members and nearly 400 Local Chapters.
Growing up, Ms. Summers said she was always intrigued by the state school that was near her home. “I told my parents I wanted to volunteer there and they said ‘no way!’” recalls Ms. Summers. Rather than let that deter her, it only made Ms. Summers more determined to someday work with children with disabilities. She got that chance when she went away to college.
“I was working at a daycare and there were some kids with disabilities who were difficult to work with. I said, ‘Give them to me.’ I was able to work with the children who no one else could handle. At the time, I was studying elementary education but working with those kids made me realize that I kind of had a knack for this,” said Ms. Summers.
Since 2011, Ms. Summers has been the director, Family Support Services at UCP Heartland, a United Way agency, where she works hard to support families with disabled loved ones. “We offer respite to families. We help make it possible for them to keep individuals with disabilities in their homes,” says Ms. Summers. Clients may stay for a few hours or for a weekend, and there is also a camp during the summer, and at other times during the year. In addition, Ms. Summers and her staff offer families expert referral services and other helpful resources and contacts.
Ms. Summers, who has a master's degree from the University of Central Oklahoma, will continue to share her knowledge with others in her field through teaching. Because the lifespan of people with disabilities is getting longer, Ms. Summers is particularly interested in the field of geriatrics and the disabled.