The Shine the Light Awards celebrate the people and organizations that are making St. Louis a more accessible,equitable place for people with disabilities. Proceeds support Paraquad’s mission of empowering people with disabilities to increase their independence through choice and opportunity.
The 2018 Shine the Light Awards took place on Friday, April 27, at The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis. Paraquad honored the Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital, the Saint Louis Art Museum and Missouri State Treasurer Eric S. Schmitt, who received the Legacy of Excellence Award for his dedication and work throughout his entire career to bring people together to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families.
Paraquad recognizes Missouri State Treasurer Eric S. Schmitt with the 2018 Legacy of Excellence Award for his dedication and work throughout his entire career to bring people together to improve the lives of people with disabilities and their families.
Schmitt was instrumental in making Missouri one of the first states to pass legislation to create an ABLE (Achieving a Better Life Experience) Act program, which allows people with disabilities and their families to save for a person’s future needs such as housing, education and transportation. He launched the MO ABLE program on April 24, 2017, with a celebration at Paraquad. Since then, hundreds of Missouri families have established accounts and begun saving for long-term needs.
Previously, Schmitt’s leadership ensured the passage of groundbreaking legislation during his time in the Missouri Senate in 2010 to address the disparity in autism insurance coverage. Autism was the only top 10 neurobiological condition that was specifically excluded from insurance coverage. He also passed legislation to allow Missouri families to have access to treatments such as CBD oil, so families did not have to move states to access seizure-reducing treatments.
Schmitt was elected as Missouri state treasurer in November 2016. He previously served in the Missouri Senate, representing the 15th District in St. Louis County.
Schmitt and his wife Jamie have three children: Stephen, 12; Sophia, 9; and Olivia, 6.
Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital provides specialized medical care and comprehensive rehabilitative services to medically complex children and their families as they make the transition from intensive care to home.
Established in 1941 to provide holistic care to children with chronic conditions such as tuberculosis and polio, Ranken Jordan is now housed in a 60-bed, state-of-the-art facility in Maryland Heights and serves children of all ages and with a wide variety of conditions.
Infants and toddlers requiring continuous life support due to complications from prematurity or congenital conditions, children and teenagers with brain or spinal cord injuries or serious burns and patients with life-altering GI or orthopedic problems all receive an array of services to support the whole child and the whole family.
Accessibility is the key to Ranken Jordan’s innovative “Care Beyond the Bedside” model that encourages and challenges every child to be up and out of bed, playing and interacting with others and achieving as much functional independence as possible.
Ranken Jordan shows the patient and the family how to navigate at home and in the community despite limitations. Giving them normal life experiences and the training and tools they need increases the likelihood of a successful transition to home and improves the patient’s quality of life.
Whether during an inpatient stay, while undergoing outpatient therapy or in follow-up with specialists, thousands of patients throughout the region have benefited from the resources Ranken Jordan provides to help them get back to living after enduring some of life’s worst experiences.
Over the past several years, the Saint Louis Art Museum has renewed its commitment to be a welcoming, inclusive institution for all its visitors. An interdepartmental task force has implemented new initiatives, including training each staff member in disability-awareness basics like people-first language, disability etiquette, assistive technology and the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The museum offers monthly tours interpreted in American Sign Language for visitors who are Deaf or hard of hearing and provides complementary magnifying glasses, large-print exhibition labels, assistive-listening devices or wheelchairs to visitors who request them.
In addition to collaborating with members of the disability community to offer suggestions and prioritize accessibility efforts, the Saint Louis Art Museum also seeks input from organizations like Paraquad, the Alzheimer’s Association, Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments and VSA Missouri/Living Arts Studio to create programs and services for visitors of all abilities.
Paraquad recently partnered with the Saint Louis Art Museum to conduct an Americans with Disabilities Act site survey through its AccessibleSTL® program. The museum is working to make improvements based on Paraquad’s recommendations.
In addition to making its website more accessible, the Saint Louis Art Museum is developing a fully-accessible digital museum that will be unveiled later this year.
Sponsors of the 2018 Shine the Light Awards include:
- Express Scripts
- Bi-State Development
- Enterprise Bank & Trust
- Logan University
- Missouri Foundation for Health
- Niehaus Building Services
- The Program in Occupational Therapy at Washington University in St. Louis
- St. Louis Cardinals
- J.W. Terrill, A Marsh & McLennan Agency
- MTM Inc.
- The Rehabilitation Institute of St. Louis
- Therapeutic Specialties/Mike Bender
- Webster University
- 100 Percent Wine
- Fine Dog Creative
- Lifetime Media
- Lumiarte Photography
- The Photo Beast
- The Ritz-Carlton, St. Louis
- Thorn Studio
- TSV Sound & Vision
- World Press Printing