ANCOR Names Alex Andrews 2015 Direct Support Professional of The Year
Honored for work in support of community living for people with disabilities
Arlington, VA. - The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) announced today that Alex Andrews of Imagine! in Lafayette, CO, is the recipient of the 2015 National Direct Support Professional Recognition Award.
Greg Wellems, Imagine!'s Director of Operations with Alex,
and Kevin Harding, Imagine! Director of Information Technology
Since 2007, ANCOR has honored exceptional Direct Support Professionals with the Direct Support Professional Recognition Award for exemplary work in furthering community inclusion and full participation for the many Americans living with intellectual, developmental and other disabilities. Andrews was the standout of this year's field of more than 250 nominees. ANCOR also named state recipients of the DSP Recognition Award in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Canada.
Andrews, a DSP for over 17 years, is especially recognized for his work as a "Technology Architect" at his organization - modifying, implementing and maintaining assistive technology devices and systems used throughout Imagine!
Alex Andrews finds the right technology, pairs it with a person who needs it and has the skills to use it, and loving relationships develop as they learn to use it. Andrews walked down the aisle with a gentlemen who met his wife using the communication device that Andrews found and taught him to use. He stood by the side of a young man who spent many years in a state institution as he finally graduated from high school, supported by Andrews. He is currently assisting a young woman who lives with him and his family as she creates "webisodes" of her new independent life, facilitated by low and high-tech solutions shaped by Andrews.
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"For him it's not just technology per se, "says Kevin Harding, Director of Information Technology at Imagine! "It's about a person who has had an issue and no one has even tried to solve the person's problem. Alex will."
"I am infatuated with technology and how it levels the playing field, "Andrews explained. "People who could not communicate start communicating and that leads to them making choices - their choices, not someone else's..."
"It is such a pleasure to read so many stories of exceptional DSPs and the work they are doing to support people with disabilities," said Barbara Merrill, ANCOR CEO. "Our national and state award recipients truly are the cream of the crop, but we know that there are many like them across the country, working largely without recognition, who deserve our gratitude and appreciation for their hard work, dedication and compassion."
"It is the mission of ANCOR's National Advocacy Campaign to obtain the resources necessary to attract and retain professionals like Mr. Andrews and this year's state award recipients," continued Merrill. "As we prepare to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, we must continue to remind our policy makers that quality services to support people with disabilities require a stable and qualified workforce who are valued for the work they do."
ANCOR's Direct Support Professional Recognition Award is given to those who personify the values of ANCOR's National Advocacy Campaign. Nominees are judged on their success in helping people with disabilities build social networks and engage in substantive community participation and for advocating for the people they serve.