National Access Awareness Week (NAAW) was first established in 1988 to better promote community access for people with disabilities. This initiative happened in response to a request from Rick Hansen following his “Man in Motion World Tour”.
As part of NAAW, the Vaughan Accessibility Advisory Committee presented the Accessibility Champion Award in the “Community Group/Non-Profit category” to REENA, in recognition of the organization’s significant contribution to inclusion and accessibility in both building awareness and in practice in the City of Vaughan and community at large.
Reena’s supported employment services, including RSES and SET that supports youth as well as housing, recreation/social and community participation programs, volunteering, respite, training and advocacy, community participation, and advocacy to name a few, were recognized at the awards ceremony organized by the City of Vaughan and the committee.
Sandy Stemp, Reena’s C.O.O., accepted the award on behalf of Reena and was joined by Melissa Shlanger and Sandra Perlstein, Reena Receptionists, and Joanna Samuels, Employment Resource Supervisor.
“I am here on behalf of Reena, so pleased to accept an Accessibility Champion Award as part of National Access Awareness Week. We work hard every day to raise awareness of the importance of inclusion and accessibility – through collaboration with our community partners, planning and action on housing, employment, and recreation” said Sandy Stemp.
Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua issued a statement following a ceremony at Vaughan City Hall to celebrate three winners of the inaugural Accessibility Champion Awards – “Tonight, we honoured three members of our community whose ongoing efforts exemplify what it means to be an accessibility champion. Through Vaughan’s Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC), we are working to ensure access for residents and visitors with disabilities.”
Many thanks to Mayor Bevilacqua, Regional Councillor Linda Jackson and the Vaughan Accessibility Advisory Committee for their commitment to inclusion.