LVCIL Celebrates 25th Anniversary and ADA

 

LVCIL

ALLENTOWN, PA—On Thursday, July 30, 2015, the Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living (LVCIL) will celebrate its 25th anniversary at the Independent Living “CILver Celebration” (ILC) at Miller Symphony Hall in Allentown. The ILC event is presented by Easton Coach Company and The Express Times. Each year, LVCIL commemorates its founding as well as the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), by hosting a banquet that commends the disability community of the Lehigh Valley and honors local citizens, advocates and organizations. The ILC event will begin at 5:30 pm and include dinner, an awards ceremony and a silent auction fundraiser. All proceeds from the event will benefit LVCIL’s programs and services.

This year’s “CILver Celebration” will be an old-Hollywood themed event, reflecting the art-deco styling and architecture of Miller Symphony Hall. Guests are encouraged to wear silver to show their support for the 25th anniversary of both LVCIL and the ADA. The event will highlight individuals with disabilities who have overcome many odds to achieve independence, as well as the advocates who have been integral to improving the lives and services for persons with disabilities in the Lehigh Valley. This year LVCIL will present the following five awards:

The Mark J. Turbedsky “Torch of Independence” Award will be presented to Ken Ryno of Kunkeltown. Ryno has been a member of LVCIL’s Freewheelers, an adaptive sports team, for many years. Despite injuries that have sidelined him from playing, Ryno remains a coach, mentor, and advocate for adaptive sports in the Lehigh Valley and beyond. This award is presented to an individual with a disability who has lived independently and demonstrates that people with disabilities can live independent, productive lives and contribute significantly to our community.

The Chester “Bob” Collyer “Key to Living” Award will be presented to the Allentown Parks & Recreation Department, which has partnered with LVCIL to provide more recreational opportunities for people with disabilities. This award is presented to an individual or organization which has made an outstanding contribution toward promoting disability awareness and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities to get involved in their community.

The Carl F. Odhner “Perseverance” Award will be presented to Lauren Kramer of Macungie. Lauren was faced with many obstacles in the past year, but they did not stop her from achieving her goals. She now lives independently, has a job and regularly attends community groups at LVCIL and events in the community. The award is given to a consumer of LVCIL who has overcome many obstacles to live independently, and who continues to work towards independence.

The Marilyn Burns “Volunteer of the Year” Award will be presented to Dr. Lisa Marie McCauley of Northampton, who served a total of sixteen years as the organization’s Treasurer. She joined LVCIL as the VP of Finance for Northampton Community College but quickly advanced in her career to serve as the VP of Financial Affairs at King’s College and, currently, as the COO at Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools. Despite her busy professional life, and lengthy commute, Lisa Marie always devoted time to LVCIL. This award is presented by AccessAbility and is given to an individual committed to outstanding volunteerism and making a difference in the lives of people with disabilities. 

The “Transition” Award will be presented to two recipients: Briana Hall and Christina Albino, both of Allentown. Briana has been a participant of LVCIL’s School to Life (S2L) Group for several years and has been a great friend and mentor to many of her peers. She has also become an advocate for young adults with disabilities. Christina was one of the original participants in LVCIL’s Career Path program, and she has made great strides toward achieving independence. She has overcome many obstacles, but has a job and is a role model for other young adults seeking employment. The “Transition” Award is given to young adults enrolled in the S2L and/or Career Path programs for their growth and achievement as they transitioned from school to adult life and/or the workforce.

In addition to awards, the “CILver Celebration” will also include a silent auction fundraiser. The auction includes passes to local attractions, including Steel Ice Center, Pines Dinner Theatre, Allentown Art Museum, Civic Theatre, Allentown Symphony Orchestra, America on Wheels Museum, and H20ooohh! Waterpark at Split Rock. Other great prizes include gift cards to Youell’s Oyster House and Applebee’s, a Jonathan Pappelbon autographed Phillies cap, Six Flags theme park tickets, tickets to the Reading FightinPhils, a free night stay at Yotel New York, and much more. All proceeds from the silent auction directly benefit LVCIL’s programs and services for persons with disabilities.

Doors open for LVCIL’s “CILver Celebration” at 5:30 pm with hors d’oeuvres and the silent auction kicking off the event. Dinner will be served at 6:30 pm. Registration for the 25th anniversary celebration is $45 and guests can register online at www.lvcil.org/ilc or pay at the door.

LVCIL was founded in June 1990, about a month before the signing of the ADA- the groundbreaking Civil Rights law that protects people with disabilities from discrimination in areas such as public services and employment. In 1991, Carl Odhner, then Executive Director of LVCIL, wanted to hold a one year anniversary celebration for the ADA. Odhner, founder of the Lehigh Valley disability rights advocacy group Operation Overcome, had attended the signing of the groundbreaking law in Washington, DC and recognized the importance of the local disability community banding together to celebrate this achievement. The tradition continued each year following the signing of the ADA, and the event has grown into not just a celebration of the ADA, but of the disability community as a whole.

For questions about the event or more information about LVCIL, please contact Greg Bott, LVCIL Director of Development, at 610-770-9781 ext. 120 or email gregbott@lvcil.org.

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Lehigh Valley Center for Independent Living (LVCIL) is a nonprofit organization based in Allentown, Pennsylvania. As the only cross-disability organization of its kind in the area, LVCIL is dedicated to empowering individuals with disabilities and promoting the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in all aspects of life.

LVCIL provides services for its consumers such as information and referral, peer support, independent living skills, and individual and systems advocacy. The organization also provides housing search and support, services for landlords, a 24-hour sign language interpreter referral service, youth transition services, and community outreach through specialized programs and groups.