Western New York Independent Living, Inc. Family of Agencies is once again gathering nominations of members of the disability community who have made ongoing, significant contributions, such as support, assistance and inspiration to others.

What is different this year about the accolade is that it has been renamed the Anthony Serra Independent Citizen Award to honor WNYIL's first executive director, who passed away in September.

The winner, selected from nominations made by April 17 will be feted at the seventh annual “Night for Independence" Gala on May 16 at the Events at the Wurlitzer, 908 Niagara Falls Blvd., North Tonawanda. 

Ideally, the nominee should meet the five core values of this award:

• Exemplifying independence in the community, such as: by beginning a special project; by spearheading an awareness effort; or by gaining the support of decision-makers, for the benefit of others with disabilities or the general community.

• Going above and beyond what would be expected to assist others, by offering personal experience or expertise, organizing individuals around an issue, enlisting partnerships, and/or revealing self-sacrificing work.

• Remaining active in the community over an extended period, even after an initial success with an activity or major project.

• Rejecting others’ criticism or doubt, that potentially could have deterred the individual from striving to reach and achieve personal goals.

• Showing the world the value of one person’s actions by encouraging others to have a contributing, encouraging, and positive attitude about making the community a better place for all.

If you are aware of an individual who has served those with disabilities, and who, you feel, would meet all these criteria, please contact Daniel Colpoys, WNYIL’s chief community engagement officer at 836-0822, extension 166; or email him with the candidate’s name, a paragraph about his/her qualifications and contact information, as well as your name and contact information, to dcolpoys@wnyil.org.

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