|My awesome friends and colleagues who came to the awards ceremony|
I had actually never heard of New Voices until a month ago, and I was immediately awestruck by the energy and inspiration by this group of individuals.
What is New Voices? Here's the description straight from their website:
In 2005, a group of 36 professional and community leaders from education, health and business formed the Triangle New School Planning Council to address the needs of children with severe communication and mobility problems. Their efforts were supported by a planning grant from Rex Endowment.
In 2007, a non-profit—New Voices– was established to implement the work of the Triangle New School Planning Council.
New Voices’ mission is to help children with severe communication and physical challenges maximize their learning potential. The ultimate goal of New Voices is inclusion in all aspects of life. New Voices seeks to do this through community awareness, training for professionals working with NV children, family support, and increased access to assistive technology. While New Voices’ focus has been in the Triangle region of NC , New Voices is committed to replication across the state and the country.
What is the Lara Jane Parker award?
I was humbled by this award which is described here. The awards are named in memory of Lara Jane Parker. Lara, though unable to speak or walk, graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill, lived independently, and was an advocate for individuals with communication and physical disabilities. She actually attended the school (Ephesus Road Elementary School) where I now work. Although I never met her, I feel she has forever influenced us all towards an inclusive, welcoming environment.
I plan on being a part of this organization, and hopefully will publicize their good deeds in the future. For now, I'm basking in the glow, and feel validated for the work I do on behalf of my students.
Thank you, New Voices! I hope to reciprocate by broadcasting your good work and mission!