The Arc Annual Awards recognize the contributions of amazing partners and volunteers who support The Arc Greater Twin Cities and Arc’s Value Village. The awards were presented at The Arc Annual Meeting and Volunteer Celebration on May 19, 2017 in Bloomington, MN.
Arc’s Value Village Volunteer of the Year — Markell Hapka
Markell has been an Arc’s Value Village volunteer since 2011 and has given 1,449 hours to support the mission since then. She started by putting away hard goods on the sales floor, one day per week. Now she’s up to 3 days a week and has already volunteered more than 100 hours in 2017. Markell is an exceptionally committed volunteer that embodies all of the criteria for Arc’s Value Village Volunteer of the Year.
Markell makes everything fun! She trains new volunteers and groups, and does a great job of communicating with other volunteers about sales floor changes — which happens often.
Arc’s Value Village Thrift Partner — King Solutions
King Solutions openly share their knowledge of logistics and generously share their insight and understanding with Arc’s Value Village team. The King Solutions team supports the thrift business in a number of ways including in-kind warehouse space, inventory tracking, unloading, loading, and many other functions.
Their generosity extends to donations of excess inventory, donation drives, and volunteer support. They are also a generous sponsor of the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am Golf Tournament. King Solutions is vital to Arc’s Thrift business, allowing precious resources to flow to The Arc’s mission.
Organizational Partner of the Year — Deloitte
Deloitte has been a generous partner of The Arc Greater Twin Cities for nearly a decade. They have contributed significant resources to The Arc Greater Twin Cities Annual Fund Campaign, Capital Campaign, The Arc Gala, and Arc’s Value Village through Deloitte Impact Day. In addition, the organization has provided pro- bono business analysis for projects that included Advocacy Services, the Lifetime Assistance Program, and Arc’s Value Village.
Most recently, a Deloitte team was onsite for an extended time, completing an in-depth analysis of Arc’s Value Village Rewards Program. The Rewards program team also created a valuable tool for ongoing customer analysis and decision-making. The thrift business has already seen an impact of this analysis through the growth of Rewards customers.
The Arc Changemaker Awards
The Changing Attitude Changemaker awards recognize volunteers whose efforts are helping positively change public attitudes about people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Changing Attitudes Changemaker — Brian Schreifels
Brian is a dedicated, enthusiastic, and straightforward advocate for sexuality education for all people with disabilities. As a self-advocate and a facilitator/educator for The Arc sexuality education for adults with developmental disabilities, Brian co-teaches topics about communicating and making decisions, and recognizing both healthy and abusive relationships.
Brian strongly believes that all people should receive education and have access to information about their bodies and their sexuality. He is part of the solution to change these social attitudes.
Changing Attitudes Changemaker — Cydney Strommen
Since 2010, Cydney has volunteered and directed volunteer talent to enhance The Arc and Arc’s Value Village brands in the metro. Cydney Chairs the volunteer Marketing Committee and has completed a term as Board member. She has recently become engaged in Public Policy work on behalf of The Arc Greater Twin Cities and people with disabilities.
Cydney has delivered significant value to The Arc and Arc’s Value Village, through key projects including leading the development of the Arc’s Value Village website by directing a pro-bono team at Fast Horse. Cydney personally led the web strategy, content strategy, and development of the website. Cydney led promotional strategy and implementation for the 2016 and 2017 Gala, expanding coverage in print, radio and TV. She also secured valuable support for the Live Auction. She recently provided guidance for a new advertising plan for Arc’s Value Village.
The Changing Policy Changemaker awards go to individuals who have impacted systems and policies on behalf of The Arc.
Changing Policies Changemaker — The UnitedHealth Group Special Needs Initiative Team
The UnitedHealth Group Special Needs Initiative Team is focused on improving the health care experiences for families with children with special health care needs. The team’s work is based on a common denominator that each family feels like they are the first to encounter the issues and feel “lucky” when they stumble onto a solution, and that these families have a consistently complicated relationship with the healthcare system.
The Arc presented the award to recognize the team’s innovative work to support families through early intervention, by removing unintended barriers, and helping them navigate the complex system of support. Through their work, the UnitedHealth Group Special Needs Initiative Team will alleviate stress, help families prepare for independence, and add value to people’s lives.
Changing Policies Changemaker – Leslie Sieleni
Leslie Sieleni has is the parent of Sean, a 16-year-old-son with Down Syndrome. She has been a leader in the Peer and Leadership Society that unites children with and without disabilities for social and recreational activities. She organized the “Spread the Word to End the R Word” campaign in White Bear Lake schools and is a leader in seeking inclusion opportunities. Leslie worked tirelessly to reduce Parental Fees for Medical Assistance during the current legislative session. She recently hosted a home visit for elected officials.
Leslie is a mentor for parents on the importance of public policy and civic engagement. She is always there with an encouraging word and a determination to reach as many elected officials as possible with the need to change policies.
Changing Lives Changemaker awards honor those who have changed the lives of people with disabilities through their volunteerism.
Changing Lives Changemaker – Pam Ryder
Pam Ryder has put her heart and soul into The Arc over the past seven years. Pam was the volunteer Co-Chair of the Arc Gala Live and Silent Auctions in 2011 and 2012, served in an advisory role in 2013, assisted with Guest Experience in 2014, co-chaired Guest Experience in 2015, was Fund-a-Need Co-Chair in 2016, and Auction Committee Co-Chair in 2017.
Pam played another important role in the gala. She made it possible for her brother Ron, who has a disability, to appear in a video that Arc produced to promote the gala’s Fund-A-Need segment. She also has served as a member of the Resource Development Committee since 2013. Over the past seven years, Pam has been vitally helpful to various fundraising efforts, big and small.
Changing Lives Changemakers – Antonietta Giovanni
For more than 20 years, Antoinetta Giovanni has been active in improving the life of Danny Petros, her 24-year old son with autism. She has been a leader is advocating for self-directed options for parents to direct care.
Antoinetta has been instrumental in organizing parents in Senate District 63 around disability issues. She has helped to host countless Legislative Visits with the elected officials. She has also organized a support group for parents of children with autism that meets monthly at a church in Edina. She participated along with her son Danny in a visit with Rep. Keith Ellison in September, 2016. She also organized a meeting in 2016 with Hennepin County staff and Commissioner Peter McLaughlin to discuss criteria of the Consumer Directed Community Support plans when she saw some unfairness for herself and others.