On May 23, Venture gathered to celebrate the outstanding people who have dedicated their careers to creating fulfilling and happy lives to individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities in Rockland County.
At this annual event, Venture honors staff who have shown exemplary leadership, compassion, and strength of character.
This year’s Kathy Lukens Award, named for Venture’s founder and first Executive Director, was presented to Kwame Sledge, a 24-year veteran of the Venture Select Day Habilitation program. Presenting the award, Program Director Ken Freson spoke of Kwame’s passion, initiative and love for the program participants. Kwame is always willing to jump in and help, whether it be in staffing and finances, or coming in to cover a shift when other staff is out.
“Kwame is continually teaching, and drawing in the folks who tend to shy away from participating in program,” said Freson, “He has the gentleness and patience, along with humor, to draw them out of their shyness to work toward their full potential.”
Special Recognition awards were presented to the Management Team of the Kathy Lukens Living Center; to Krista Bilodeau, director of the Creative Arts Department; the Medicaid Service Coordination Team; and Community Habilitation staff Sandra Leconte.
First Responder Awards were presented to staff who, in the face of crises, remained calm and in control, using their training and wits to save the lives of the people in their care. Arnold Miranda and Mildred Pitt of Gilleece House, Jenny Schneider of Gilleece/Brosnan and Nickelson Moreau of Tanglewood House were all cited for their outstanding bravery and life-saving instincts.
Also presented at the event were Staff Longevity honors to Venture employees celebrating from five to 30 years of service, encompassing nearly 800 combined years of love and dedication – including 25 staff with ten years, and 14 employees with 25 years! Venture is clearly an “Employer of Choice.”
Congratulations to all!