2nd Annual Starkloff Awards: An evening of celebration and remembering
Posted on November 22, 2011 by Admin
Paraquad hosted the 2ndAnnual Starkloff Awards on Thursday, Nov. 17th. Last year as part of Paraquad’s 40thAnniversary celebration, the Starkloff Awards were established to honor the organization’s founders Max and Colleen Starkloff. Each year the Starkloff Awards are presented to individuals and organizations that demonstrate a strong commitment and contribution to the independent living philosophy.
Starkloff Award Recipients
Mercy Hospital received the Starkloff Award for their work as a leading employer in the St. Louis area who offers above minimum wage, accessible transportation, a wide range of benefits and career advancement opportunities for people with developmental disabilities. One of the major principles of the Independent Living Movement is to expand employment of people with disabilities. Having a job gives us all a sense of self-worth and a feeling of contributing to society. For the past 15 years, Mercy has worked with Paraquad to identify job opportunities and to design job coaching strategies for a successful long-term work experience. Currently Mercy employs 54 people with developmental disabilities. In addition to hearing from Dana Nichols, Coordinator of Mercy’s Supported Employment Program, we heard from S.A. Carson, one of Mercy’s employees, who shared why he likes working at Mercy – “earning money”.
Jim Tuscher was awarded the Starkloff Award posthumously. He was honored for his countless contributions to the disability community in Missouri and nationally. Jim’s career followed the independent living movement: charting advancements for disability rights among centers for independent living; spearheading initiatives that changed state legislation; and identifying national opportunities for sustainable change. He joined the Paraquad staff in 1979 and served as the Program Director for 10 years. After realizing that a greater number of lives could be impacted through policy changes, Jim began working on legislative priorities and created the Public Policy Department at Paraquad. Jim was Chair of the Governor’s Council on Disability under three administrations, and was Missouri’s field leader in advocating for passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He helped to develop and successfully lobbied for a consumer-directed personal assistance program. Since the late 1980’s, the consumer-directed personal assistance program has grown to help over 10,000 people with disabilities.
Proclamations: Jim Tuscher Day
Jim was also honored by St. Louis Mayor, Francis Slay, and St. Louis County Executive, Charlie Dooley with proclamations recognizing his contributions to the independent living movement and the St. Louis area. November 17thwas declared Jim Tuscher Day in both St. Louis City and St. Louis County.
Jim Tuscher Auditorium
Bob Huskey, Board Chair at Paraquad, dedicated the Jim Tuscher Auditorium. Jim laid the foundation for an ongoing commitment to legislative advocacy, community outreach and training of new leaders. It is only fitting that the auditorium is dedicated as a space for peer support, trainings, advocacy, meetings with policy-makers and other gatherings of the disability rights community.
We thank all of our friends, family, advocates, and community members who attended, especially St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay and St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley, St. Louis Alderman Joe Vaccaro, and State Representatives Jeanette Mott Oxford.
As we move forward, we must remember to keep our passion for disability rights and independent living burning as a fire in the belly; taking action to change the world so people with disabilities can live, work, play, and move about their communities independently and barrier free.