When his volunteer career began, Farmington Hills resident Ted Stern was just looking for a way to fill some spare time by spending an hour or so each week with Team Farmington Special Olympics.
On April 22, his nearly three decades of leadership with the locally-based nonprofit were honored during The Arc of Oakland County’s 46th Annual Dove Awards Presentation and Silent Auction held at the San Marino Club in Troy. Stern, who is a job coach with Jewish Vocational Services (JVS) in addition to directing Team Farmington, received the Al Carter Volunteer of the Year Award.
“I was always a sports fan, that’s what got me involved,” he said. “To see these athletes come into our program at age 12 or 13 through Farmington Schools, and then see some of them working 40 hours a week, it’s all great.”
Stern has gone from coaching softball to administering paperwork and training coaches, but still makes the time to work with the athletes. He said he was “totally shocked” by the award nomination, which came from one of his JVS co-workers.
Other local honorees included Dennis McElhone, a teacher with Farmington Public Schools Visions Unlimited, who received the Golden Dove Award, and Tom Lias, President and Chief Operating Officer of Farmington Hills-based Gorman’s Home Furnishings, who received the Philanthropy Award.
For 46 years, The Arc of Oakland County has honored individuals, companies, agencies, residential settings, technicians, teachers, employers and volunteers who have made outstanding contributions to the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Over 1,500 nomination forms were sent out to professionals, families, members and friends of The Arc of Oakland County, then reviewed by a selection committee comprised of individuals working in the fields of mental health and special education.
Other Dove Awards honorees were:
THE ARC OF OAKLAND COUNTY ADVOCACY HALL OF FAME
Gerald Provencal, Executive Director, Macomb-Oakland Regional Center, Inc.
JANET and PAUL MacCORMACK LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Dohn Hoyle, Director of Public Policy, The Arc Michigan
Robert L. White
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE AWARD
Pamela Lemerand, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Psychologist, Eastern Michigan University
SHELDON DUNN INSPIRATION AWARD
YOUTH VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR AWARD
LEONARD CERCONE TEACHER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Cathy Lowery, Basic C.I. Teacher, Clarenceville High School, Clarenceville School District
EMPLOYER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Atwater Brewery, Detroit
PROVIDER OF THE YEAR AWARD
Community Homes, Inc., Royal Oak
INCLUSION LEADERSHIP AWARD
Zelda Solomons, Transition Coordinator, Southfield Public Schools
COMMUNITY LIVING AWARD
VanElslander Home, Troy
VOCATIONAL SERVICE AWARD
Tim Scott, Activities Technician, JVS
RESIDENTIAL SERVICE AWARD
Acie Powell, Team Leader, Genesis In-Home Care, LLC EDUCATIONAL SERVICE AWARD
Tracie Spatafore, Special Educational Paraprofessional, Donelson Elementary School, Waterford School District
The Arc of Oakland County is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization that provides direct legal, general advocacy, informational and referral services as well as community awareness for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.
It joins a network of more than 700 chapters of The Arc with 140,000 members across the U.S., including self-advocates, families and volunteers commemorating the progress toward improving the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and working to highlight the challenges that remain in achieving full inclusion and more.
The Arc is the world’s largest community-based organization of, and for, people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The organization exists to ensure that all citizens with disabilities are valued, and that they and their families can participate fully in, and contribute to, the life of the community.
The cost to attend is $60 per person and $30 per person with a disability. For more information on the 46th Annual Dove Awards Presentation and Silent Auction, please visit http://thearcoakland.org/events-fundraising/dove-awards/. Tickets can be purchased by calling The Arc of Oakland County at (248) 816-1900. To learn more about The Arc of Oakland County and its services, please visit http://www.thearcoakland.org or call the number above.