Category: awards banquet

LDSS Night of Champions 2017 Recipients

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Honors 2017 Champions at Annual Gala

The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) recognized five outstanding individuals and their employers during the organization’s eighth Annual Night of Champions gala, held Thursday, May 11 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Savannah.

The organization’s 2017 Champions are adult workers who demonstrate exemplary dedication and commitment as employees and are recognized as integral team members at their places of work.

The awards went to:

“By living to their fullest potentials, the LDSS Champions are advocates for themselves and others with Down syndrome or other cognitive or developmental challenges, proving themselves truly able,” said the 2017 Night of Champions chairwoman, Allyson Harvin. “Each year, we recognize those Champions who, through their paid or unpaid work, bring about a greater public awareness and understanding of people with Down syndrome and all differently-abled adults.”

The President of LDSS, Candy Bogardus presented the President’s Award to Bonnie Rachael, founder and CEO of Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center. Located in Guyton, Georgia, Faith Equestrian began back in 2006 with the mission of, “We exist to improve the lives of individuals with different abilities through the power of the horse.” The center now has 12 horses, a donkey, and offers two primary programs, the Therapeutic Riding program and the EFL Program. For more information on the Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center, visit http://faithetc.org.

Over 600 Savannah area business leaders, employees and advocates attended the event. The National Down Syndrome Society’s Chief of Staff delivered welcoming remarks and Savannah’s own Jamie Deen, TV personality and best-selling cookbook author, served as master of ceremonies. Deen, who sits on the LDSS Board, is a strong advocate for hiring individuals with Down syndrome and other different abilities.

2017 Night of Champions Attendees

2017 Night of Champions Attendees

2017 CHAMPIONS

NICHOLAS BROWN came to the Savannah International Airport in 2014 and worked in the airport terminal before he was offered a job as a groundskeeper. His supervisor, George Miller, says Brown demonstrates commitment, dedication, personal care and pride in his work. He also has been recognized by WTOC as a Community Champion.

MACKENZIE HANCOCK has worked for Polka Dots Gifts & Accessories for the past year. Hancock has several tasks that she does regularly but is always willing to try something new. Her manager, Jackie Pickering, says Hancock comes to work happily, has an enthusiastic personality and does whatever she is asked to do. Her coworkers say she is incredibly funny, caring, kind and loving and is personable with staff and customers.

GEORGE GATES has worked as a custodian with Goodwill Southeast Georgia for 15 years. He greets his co-workers with a smile, a sincere “hello” and his signature hug. His supervisor, Runella Black, says Gates comes to work early and never hesitates to work late if the facility is short-staffed. He impresses others with his work ethic, compassion, friendly personality and ability to work well under pressure. He demonstrates superlative customer service and enjoys speaking (and taking pictures) with the various dignitaries who tour the building. He also loves sharing his success story of how Goodwill has impacted his life.

DENNIS PICKETT has been employed as a warehouse team member with Fulfillment.com for eight months. His employment specialist, Alina Rickards, says Dennis volunteered in the cafeteria while he still was in school and expressed a desire to become part of the Fulfillment.com workforce. After completing a job assessment, Pickett joined the Fulfillment.com warehouse team.

BRENTON SCOTT has been on the team at Coastal Pet Rescue for a year. His supervisor, Jennifer Taylor, and the facility’s director, Lisa Scarborough say Scott’s family had spent several years trying to find a place where the young man could work on developing his independence. He first was teamed with a senior volunteer to work one day a week in the kennels to provide proper diets, perform all sanitary cleaning and make sure the dogs got daily exercise. After about four months, he started joining coworkers on weekends to attend adoption events to promote the dogs he cared for and to help them find new homes.

Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society Night of Champions 2017

Jamie Deen, Jennifer Taylor, and Brenton Scott

MORE ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is a family support group to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through local leadership, outreach, education and advocacy to champion and celebrate acceptance and inclusion. Meetings are held every fourth Tuesday of the month, typically with a guest speaker and social time for families to meet and interact with one another. LDSS encourages people to bring their children. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit http://www.ldssga.org/. Find LDSS on Twitter at @LowcountryDSS.

CONTACT
Candy Bogardus
cbogardus@ldssga.org
912-663-8573

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Junior Partner
Carriage Trade Public Relations®
Cecilia Russo Marketing
912.856.9075
www.carriagetradepr.com
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com

NDSS Chief of Staff to Deliver Opening Remarks at LDSS Night of Champions

NDSS Chief of Staff to Deliver Opening Remarks at LDSS Night of Champions

Kandi Pickard Celebrates Savannah’s 2017 Champions, and TV personality Jamie Deen Returns as Master of Ceremonies at 8th Annual Gala.

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is pleased to announce the Chief of Staff of the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) will provide opening remarks and welcome all of the honorees during the eighth annual Night of Champions gala on Thursday, May 11.

The event celebrates differently-abled adults who are employed, contributing members of our community.

Kandi Pickard, Chief of Staff of NDSS, the leading human rights organization for all individuals with Down syndrome, explained how she got involved with the organization after one of her children was born with Down syndrome.

Kandi from NDSS speaks to Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society in Savannah

Pickard said, “I feel proud to be part of this passionate community as we fight for the rights of all individuals with Down syndrome. The Night of Champions event is a shining example of a local chapter at work to create positive change for inclusion in their community, and I’m so excited to be a part of it this year.”

“We’re so very honored to have Kandi Pickard represent the national organization this year at the gala,” said Candy Bogardus, president of the Lowcountry group. “I think it speaks volumes that she is able to come out to our signature event to support the work we are doing right here in the greater Savannah area.”

Savannah’s own Jamie Deen, TV personality and best-selling cookbook author, will return as emcee for this year’s Night of Champions. Deen, who sits on the local society’s board, is a strong advocate for hiring those with Down syndrome and other developmental disabilities.

“It is my honor to be a champion of change by helping business leaders in our community recognize how much these wonderful, differently-abled folks are just like you and me,” Deen said. “They are upbeat, dedicated, excellent employees, and I’m pleased I can help highlight their successes as the Night of Champions emcee. I look forward to once again sharing an incredible evening with my LDSS friends and supporters.”

By recognizing the employees and their employers to a full room of 600-plus business leaders, professionals and advocates, the event encourages business owners to hire from a talent pool that is ready to contribute.

The eighth annual Night of Champions gala will get underway at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 11 at the Hyatt Regency in downtown Savannah. Tickets are available at https://nightofchampions.org/

MORE ABOUT THE LOWCOUNTRY DOWN SYNDROME SOCIETY
The Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society (LDSS) is a family support group to benefit people with Down syndrome and their families through local leadership, outreach, education and advocacy to champion and celebrate acceptance and inclusion. Meetings are held every fourth Tuesday of the month, typically with a guest speaker and social time for families to meet and interact with one another. LDSS encourages people to bring their children. LDSS is an affiliate of the National Down Syndrome Society. For more information about LDSS, visit http://www.ldssga.org/. Find LDSS on Twitter at @LowcountryDSS.

CONTACT
Candy Bogardus
cbogardus@ldssga.org
912-663-8573

MEDIA CONTACT
Cynthia Wright
Junior Partner
Carriage Trade Public Relations®
Cecilia Russo Marketing
912.856.9075
cynthia.wright@carriagetradepr.com

Charles Bowen of The Bowen Law Group Receives the 2016 Helen V. Head Award from Savannah Chamber of Commerce

Bo Bowen Accepts Helen V. Head Award at Business Expo 2016.jpg(SAVANNAH, GA) Charles Bowen of The Bowen Law Group was awarded the Helen V. Head Business Advocate Award during the Savannah Chamber of Commerce’s 2016 Business Expo & Awards Banquet.

The Helen V. Head Business Advocate Award goes to the individual following in Helen Head’s footsteps of dedication to the community, a true advocate for small business in Savannah. This award is given annually at the Savannah Chamber of Commerce’s Expo & Awards Banquet to one area business who demonstrates a commitment to giving back to the community, as well as a belief in and support of small business.

Helen Head was the first female board chairman with the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce. She was also the first recipient of the Chamber’s Athena Award for her achievements as a woman in business.

Bowen has been practicing corporate law for over twenty years. Since he opened the doors of The Bowen Law Group in 2012 as a full-service corporate law firm, Bowen has been involved in supporting every aspect of the Savannah business community. He has provided countless hours of counseling, authored numerous free publications for business owners, resolved disputes between governmental agencies, and has frequently assisted entrepreneurs get their companies started from the ground up.

“I strive for my firm to be the one place that anyone who owns a business knows they can receive the assistance and advice they need in a professional yet comfortable atmosphere,” Bowen said. “From the beginning, I envisioned building a law practice that utilizes the skill and techniques of large metropolitan law firms while maintaining the benefits and attentiveness of a small local practice. I am very dedicated to the success of the local business community, and truly appreciate the trust and faith that so many diverse business clients have placed in me.”

Charles and his wife, Lisa, have lived in Savannah for twenty years and their two children are enrolled in the local public school system. He believes in fostering the next generation of business leaders as demonstrated through his involvement with numerous advocacy programs, speaking to local high schools and business groups, and providing many free resources for business owners.

For more information on The Bowen Law Group, visit thebowenlawgroup.com. For more information on the Helen V. Head Award, visit http://www.savannahchambernews.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/2015_Helen-V.-Head-Award.pdf

ABOUT THE BOWEN LAW GROUP
Charles Bowen is a business attorney who focuses on commercial, banking, entertainment and manufacturing law since 1995. Bowen has his mediation certification by the Georgia Supreme Court as both a General Civil Mediator and a Domestic Relations Mediator. He received his law degree from Georgetown University Law Center and is a member of the Georgia Bar. Bowen has received the Martindale-Hubbell® AV® Preeminent™ rating, the highest rating based upon confidential surveys sent to other attorneys. With panoramic views of the city and the Savannah River, The Bowen Law Group is located on the top floor of the Manger Building at 7 East Congress Street. For more information, call 912.544.2050 or visit thebowenlawgroup.com. Find The Bowen Law Group on Twitter at @bowenlawgroup.

CONTACT
Charles J. Bowen
The Bowen Law Group
912-544-2050
cbowen@thebowenlawgroup.com 
thebowenlawgroup.com

MEDIA INQUIRIES
Marjorie Young
Carriage Trade PR, Inc.
912.844.9990
marjorie@carriagetradepr.com
carriagetradepr.com

CCDS Executive Director and Board Member Both Receive Statewide Awards

(SAVANNAH, GA) Coastal Center for Developmental Services (CCDS) is proud to announce that CCDS Executive Director Kathy Thomson and board member Daniel Massey were each recently honored by The Service Providers Association for Developmental Disabilities (SPADD) at their spring conference in Augusta.

Thomson was selected to receive the SPADD Trail Blazer Award which honors an organizational leader who has, through leadership, advocacy, program development or some other meaningful contribution, has made a meaningful impact on the lives of individuals with disabilities within their own community, or across the state. Thomson, who will be celebrating 40 years with CCDS this year, has not only advocated strongly for individuals at CCDS, but also across the state by serving on several committees and boards that determine state policy on service. Additionally, during her time as executive director, CCDS developed three new programs to meet its people’s needs, moved the agency onto a stronger technological path, and encouraged strong community partnerships for all facets of the agency.

Massey received the inaugural SPADD Employer of the Year Award for hiring, supporting, and advocating for people with disabilities in his business. Currently, he is the Clerk of Superior Court for Chatham County, an office he has held since 2004. In his current role, Massey has made significant improvements in technology availability and data sharing in the court system, even moving to a paperless environment for one division. Massey has served on the CCDS Board of Directors since 2010 and has hired two individuals through the CCDS Community Employment program.

Both Thomson and Massey were recognized at awards ceremony the last evening of the SPADD conference.

About CCDS
Coastal Center for Developmental Services, Inc. is a private, non-profit 501©(3) agency that provides training and employment-related services to more than 400 individuals with developmental disabilities. With the goal of empowering our people to make life choices, CCDS is dedicated to the rights and responsibilities of full community citizenship. This is achieved through education, advocacy, services and supports, and driven by individual choice. To learn more, to volunteer, or to donate, visit http://www.ccds-sav.org or call (912) 644-7500.

About SPADD
The Service Provider Association for Developmental Disabilities (SPADD) was founded in April 2002. SPADD members meet regularly to share information regarding issues that impact the services of individuals with developmental disabilities. SPADD works as an inclusive association of both public and private providers of any community based MR/DD service for the purpose of improving services to persons with developmental disabilities in Georgia. As a professional organization, SPADD is committed to its mission which includes Education of Providers on Best Practice, Advocacy and Education Regarding Public Policy.

Contact
Jarrell Dickey
Phone:(912)644-7497
E-mail:jdickey@ccds-sav.org

Boom! Zap! Pow! Salute to Savannah Super Heroes Awards Banquet Raises $20,000 for Local Autism Organization

Savannah, GA – November 4, 2015 — The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism (MRCA) announced today that it raised $20,000 from its awards banquet held on October 22 at the DeSoto Hilton Hotel. Proceeds from the evening will be used to support the organization as it expands its resources and footprint in Georgia in order to better serve the growing needs of the regional autism community.

Boom! Zap! Pow! A Salute to Savannah Superheroes Awards Banquet was the second of three events hosted in celebration of MCRA’s 15 years serving the autism and special needs communities in Savannah and throughout southeast Georgia. The evening featured the inaugural presentation of the Marie Backus McGaughey Award for Childhood Philanthropy. Greg Parker of the Parker Companies received the award in recognition of his outstanding generosity including Parkers’ “Fueling the Community” program, which provides funding to local schools in southeast Georgia and the South Carolina Lowcountry. Area high school students contributed to the evening’s entertainment, including the Habersham Vibe jazz quartet and The Savannah Arts Academy Dance Company.

MRCA’s final anniversary event will be the 2016 Autism Conference in Savannah (Feb. 11-12) that will feature internationally recognized experts in various autism-related fields of work and research. Conference organizers are bringing together a variety of professionals and family participants from the U.S. and Canada, most notably Dr. Temple Grandin as the keynote speaker. MRCA will also host a Friday evening (Feb. 12) community event featuring Dr. Grandin that is free and open to the general public.

About MRCA: The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism operates the only year-round, day school in southeast Georgia for children with ASD. Furthermore, it promotes outreach and advocacy through forged partnerships with families and with existing medical, educational, and community services in order to help these children reach their full potential and enhance their quality of life as well as that of their families. The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism is a 501(c)3 nonprofit corporation, and relies on support of those who share our passion and vision. For more information, visit www.matthewreardon.org.

Contact: Patti Victor

  1. 912-355-9098
  2. pvictor@matthewreardon.org