FT. LAUDERDALE, Fla., Nov. 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Laughter, learning, tears, and inspiration were free flowing October 16 through 18, 2013 at The Arc of Florida's 60th Anniversary Convention, held at the University of Florida Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in Gainesville, Florida.
For 60 years, The ARC of Florida has been advocating on behalf of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). As a proud affiliate chapter of The ARC of Florida, the clients and staff of Victory Living Programs participate in The Arc of Florida's statewide convention each and every year. However, this year's convention held a very special surprise for Victory Living Programs' client, David Torres and Supported Living Supervisor, Lee Pouncy.
With this year's theme "Believe It, Achieve It," ringing proud and true at the The ARC of Florida's 60th Anniversary convention, David was awarded the Skeet and Delores Norley Award and Lee Pouncy was honored with the Direct Support Professional Staff Award.
In honor of Greg Norley, David was chosen for this special award because he demonstrates successful participation in his community, is making significant progress in achieving independent living and is accelerating as an advocate for individuals with developmental disabilities.
"David's peers know him as the social director," states Executive Director, Bobbi Wigand. "Always wiling to lend a hand and motivate his peers, David participates in all Victory Living has to offer including, the supported living program, employment services and the social and recreational programs."
The Direct Support Professional Award was presented to Lee Pouncy for his outstanding qualities in job performance, supporting his co-workers and demonstrating The ARC spirit. "The principle behind Supported Living is to develop independence and encourage community involvement," states Wigand. "Coincidently, Lee Pouncy shares this exact principle. As supervisor of the Supported Living Program at Victory Living Programs, Lee works with individuals daily to ensure that they have the skills and supports necessary to allow them to live in and be a part of their communities."
In addition to celebrating VLP's two award winners, participants enjoyed keynote speaker Dr. Michael Fowlin's presentation entitled, "You don't know me until you know me." In this one-man show Dr. Fowlin addressed the issues of race, discrimination, violence prevention, personal identity, suicide, gender equity, homophobia, and the emotional pain felt by children with special needs.
Attendees also had the opportunity to participate in panel discussions, break-out session and social activities. Victory Living clients Beth Stabley, Lee Anderson and Steve Scala were panelists in a "Hot Topics for Self-Advocates" session, wherein they discussed choosing the "right" jobs for people with intellectual disabilities. "Stop, Drop, and Roll" was a session conducted by the Alachua County Firefighters that was particularly enjoyed by Victory Living clients Jonathan Chizmar and David Tennant. David is an honorary firefighter in Plantation so this was especially important to him. Even, the nationally acclaimed Toastmasters held informational sessions in which clients Michael Bedy and Beth Stabley both participated as speakers.
Victory Living Programs' Client, Pamela Taylor sums up this very successful event: "I had a fantastic time on the trip; the staff was so nice to me. I would be happy to go on a trip like this once again. The guys were perfect gentleman. One of the staff walked with me at the Butterfly Exhibit that was very helpful to me. They were so caring to me. I fell at the Convention Center and I thought it was very considerate of them to watch over me, like they really do care about the person. Everybody is nice especially the leader and her name is Bobbi Wigand."
The following VLP Clients Attended: Chris Bentley, Jasmine Watkins, Pamela Taylor, Elizabeth Stabley, Jonathon Chizmar, Larnie Killen, Joaquim Payne, James Brown, Steve Scala, Lee Anderson, David Torres, David Tennant, John Teachman, Joel Jacobs, Jay Grayson, David McClain, Michael Bedy and Jay Stetson. The following VLP Staff members attended: Lee Pouncy, Viola Rouse, Debbie Toombs, Damian Weldon-O'Bryen, Bobbi Wigand and President of the VLP Board of Directors, Debbie Day.
For more information on the programs and initiatives Victory Living Programs offers visit www.victoryliving.org. Like what we're doing? Show us at facebook.com/VictoryLivingPrograms
About Victory Living Programs
For the past four decades, Victory Living Programs has created independent living environments for thousands of people with disabilities. Based in warm, beautiful Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, Victory Living Programs offers premier supported living programs that place clients in their own individual, luxurious apartments. In addition to the top-tier supported and independent living programs, Victory Living Programs also offers an extensive array of programming to assist clients with securing and maintaining employment, learning new skills, volunteering in the community and socializing with their peers - all of which make it possible to infuse independence and transform the lives of people with disabilities. To learn more visit www.victoryliving.org.
Contact: Laurie Menekou, (954) 271-4666 (or) email@example.com
SOURCE Victory Living Programs