Able News May 2006 issue
January 2007 issue of Able Newspaper


Comptroller Cites Five for Advocacy




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Some attendees at the City Hall celebration are, back row left to right, award winner Vikas Khanna; the Rev. John Massari of Our Lady of Pompei, R.C.; award winner Lawrence Joseph Seiler; Comptroller William Thompson; Tara Cortes, president of Lighthouse International; Brother Rick Curry, S.J., founder of the National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped; and Marco Damiani, director of clinical and family services, YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network. Front row left to right, are award winners Edith Prentiss, Rhoda Rousso and Flerida Pena.

-New York City Comptroller William Thompson, Jr. recently honored five New Yorkers and New York Lawyers for the Public Interest at his national disability awareness month celebration. The event was co-sponsored with YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network and Lighthouse International.
-“We need to spread the word and drive the message home that there is absolutely no limit to what can be achieved by people who are living with disabilities. Break down the assumptions, open the doors, make it possible for all people to contribute their talents, ideas and leadership, and we all benefit,” said Thompson. We all know that victories, great and small, do not happen overnight. That’s why it is important to honor the hard work that has made progress possible, and pay tribute to the men and women who paved the way. Let us draw inspiration from those who are setting a positive example today – the people who work every day to bring about meaningful change.”
-The first honoree, Vikas Khanna, is a chef, restauranteur and activist. He is the founder of Cooking for Life, a non-profit organization that brings together celebrated chefs for tasting events that raise funds for relief efforts around the world.
-The next honoree, Edith Prentiss, is involved in numerous organizations and initiatives that are working to improve the lives of people with disabilities and the elderly. She is first vice president of Disabled in Action, president emeritus of the Manhattan BoroughWide InterAgency Council on Aging and chairperson of the Presbyterian Hospital Community Health Council. She also is a member of the Disability Network of New York City, the Washington Heights and Inwood Council on Aging and the New York State Independent Living Council, as well as a leader in the Taxis For All Campaign.
-Next, Thompson honored the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest’s Disability Law Center. The Disability Law Center is one of the leading legal advocacy organizations for people with disabilities in New York state that provides a full range of services to protect and promote the civil rights of the disabled.
-The next honoree, Rhoda Rousso, is a social service provider and community advocate. She currently serves as coordinator of Deafness Services at Catholic Charities of Brooklyn. She also has served as an instructor to deaf students at New York City Technical College and LaGuardia Community College and worked at the New York Society for the Deaf, American Sign Language Institute and New York University. She is an honorary member of the Brooklyn Society for the Deaf and a former member of the American Deafness and Rehabilitation Association and the New York American Sign Language Teachers Association.
-The next honoree was Flerida Pena, a service coordinator for the early intervention program at Volunteers of America, where she helps families with special needs. Pena also participates in the City University of New York’s Youth Transition Demonstration Project, where she helps parents and their children with special needs prepare for their transition to adulthood. She also participates in a parent support group at Services for the Developmentally Challenged.
-The final honoree was Lawrence Joseph Seiler, creator and host of the acclaimed Bronxnet television program “Special People/Special Issues,” which addresses a wide range of issues affecting people with disabilities who live in the local community.
-The YAI Players/Theater of Dreams performed at the event. Brother Rick Curry, artistic director of the National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped, gave the Invocation and the Rev. John Massari of Our Lady of Pompeii Roman Catholic Church offered the Benediction.



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