Difference”- 2013 Volunteer of the Year: Ms. Sandy Cohen
Ms. Sandy Cohen is the ADA coordinator of Library Service for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. She helped start this program in 1978 at the Nashville Library. There is currently more than 14,000 materials and resources in the collection for Tennesseans to use.
This year when the state received notification from the federal government that they would no longer be allowed to use Vocational Rehabilitation funds for Deaf, Hard of Hearing and Deaf/Blind individuals across the state the need for immediate action was imperative for the continuation of these services that ensure independent living and quality of life. Many were concerned and ready to take action- but needed a leader to orchestrate and organize our efforts. Sandy stepped up to the plate and hit a home run! She arranged meeting space, developed agendas and brought all the players to the table. Her efforts played a major role in bringing the issues and needs of the deaf community to the decision makers and legislators across our state.
We are proud to announce that due to the unselfish and relentless efforts of Sandy-and many others across the state, we have secured the funding for one year!
Therefore we are pleased to award Sandy Cohen our “Making the Difference”-Volunteer of the Year
“Making the Difference”-2013 Volunteer Group of the Year: Union University Office for Disability Services
Union University- Office for Disability Services. Lead by Jon Abernathy is charged with the responsibility of ensuring equal access for all qualified students with disabilities and they provide this by coordinating a range of reasonable accommodations that meet the student's needs, according to the unique impact of his/her disability.
This year in addition to those duties Jon also reached out to JCIL during Union Universities Day of Remembrance– a campus-wide service day. This is a time when faculty, staff, and students join together to give thanks to God for His protection over their campus during the 2002, 2003, and 2008 tornados.
Steve Perry, a JCIL consumer, uses an electric wheelchair to get around, but without a ramp at his home for easy access, he has been dependent upon neighbors to help lower him to the ground when he needed to leave the house.
That all changed for Perry when a team of nine Union University students, helped a contractor secured by JCIL to build a ramp, with about $1,000 worth of materials donated by Lowe’s and Home Depot.
It means the world to me,” Perry said. “If it wasn’t for them out there, I wouldn’t be able to get out of the house. This means a lot of freedom now to me.”
“Making the Difference”- 2013 Friend of the Center: State Senator Lowe Finney
Senator Lowe Finney represents Crockett, Dyer, Lake, Lauderdale and Madison counties. He is an attorney in Jackson at the firm of Spragins, Barnett and Cobb. He says that his clients are mostly working people who are concerned about living paycheck to paycheck, worried about losing their health care coverage, and trying to send a child or grandchild to college. He has worked to make sure his clients are treated fairly and that they are represented by someone who empathizes with the problems that working families face every day.
This year Senator Finney brought that same sense of concern and empathy to a serious funding crisis that was being faced by individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, and deaf/blind across the state of Tennessee. His willingness to listen to our communities concerns and to take the time to understand the issues gave us encouragement to continue to educate others about the importance of services. He not only listened - he also took action and followed through. When the funding was reinstated he celebrated with us-because we all knew how important it is. We are so thankful for all Senator Finney did and are proud to call him a special—Friend of JCIL
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