BY BONNIE SQUIRES/ The 21st annual MyCity, MyPlace Brighter Futures Awards celebration, sponsored by the Philadelphia Dept. of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disABILITY Services (DBHIDS), was held on Mar. 5 at the Sheraton Philadelphia Downtown Hotel, with 700 people attending the awards luncheon.
Theme of the day was “MyCity, MyPlace: Creating One Community” and included both the 21st anniversary of the Brighter Futures Awards, as well as the 12th anniversary of the Points of Transformation awards for professionals.
March is Pennsylvania’s Intellectual Disability Awareness Month.
Kathy Sykes, director of IDS, said, “It is an opportunity to publicly acknowledge a direct-support professional, supports coordinators, and community members for going that extra mile to include someone in the everyday life of the community, or to help them get connected to activities that bring enjoyment and passion. We also honor people who have an intellectual disability and are living a life that exemplifies our motto, ‘It’s all about community!’”
Keynoter was accomplished artist Dr. Beth Mount, who has devoted her work so that all people, particularly those with disabilities, are seen in the light of their capacities and potential. She believes “all people have gifts to bring, and that the fabric of community is strengthened when we incorporate the capacities of ‘labeled’ people into the civic life of all.” She talked about using the arts as what she calls “empowerment and social change.”
Loraine Ballard Morrill, of ClearChannel Radio, served as mistress of ceremonies at the awards luncheon. Celia Feinstein, co-director of Temple University’s Institute on Developmental Disabilities, and Lisa Sonneborn presented a portion of their acclaimed documentary, Visionary Voices, which includes interviews with pioneers in the disability-advocacy movement in this region.