Vinfen Connecticut held their 4th Annual Celebration of Families at Elizabeth Park’s Pond House in West Hartford, CT on May 31. Each year, this event honors families, advocates, self-advocates, and staff who have made a difference in the lives of the people we serve. Over 100 people attended this year’s event, which included the people we serve, family members, friends, and staff. Master of Ceremonies John Holt, WFSB sportscaster for Channel 3, welcomed guests to the event. He introduced Vinfen President and CEO Bruce Bird, who spoke about the history of Vinfen. Connecticut Department of Developmental Disabilities Commissioner Morna Murray also spoke at the event, followed by William Lamy and Roy Emmerthal of the Vinfen CT Family Advisory Council.
Self-advocate and artist Vicky Pacheco was presented with the Family & Community Advocacy Award. With the support of Vinfen Connecticut, Vicky secured and has maintained employment for over two and a half years. By sharing her story, Vicky hopes to inspire and encourage others.
Guests had the honor of hearing Keynote Speaker Dakota Johns tell his story. As a student, entrepreneur, world ambassador, and Special Olympics athlete, Dakota has made a name for himself as an advocate for Down syndrome awareness. “I teach people that it’s okay to have a disability,” Dakota said, “Because I can do whatever I want.”
Community Employer Awards were also presented to businesses that have gone above and beyond in their partnership with Vinfen Connecticut. Shop Rite of Enfield, CT was awarded for their commitment to the people we serve. Joe’s Fine Wine & Spirits of East Windsor, CT received their award due to the tremendous opportunities they have provided for those we serve. And I.H.S. Amazon Site in Windsor, CT was awarded for their dedication to supporting the community by partnering with Vinfen Connecticut. A special thank you to event sponsors Suburban Pharmacy, Raffia Road, Griffin Realty, Donna Webber APRN LLC, HARP., Barry Hanabaum, Braman Termite & Pest Elimination, Seetawatie Ragnauth, AAA Electric Service, Poole Road Developers- Dave Griffin & Chris Burke, Comtrust Federal Credit Union, and Brothers Oil Company.