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AWS Foundation’s 2016 Community Report

We are pleased to announce that our very first Community Report is now available! Growth and opportunity were central themes this past year with a record number of grants and dollars awarded totaling over $3.6 million.

Our 2016 Community Report offers an inside look at the positive impact our grant making has on individuals with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities, their families and caregivers. It features a few of the foundation’s nearly 100 grantees that highlight our five initiatives; Social Enrichment, Education and Employment, Transportation, Early Diagnosis, and Housing. Each reminds us that there are many facets to a life well lived and keeps us focused on our mission to make a difference in every way we can.

This report truly expresses who we are, what we do and our aspirations for tomorrow.  We are excited to share it with you and to hear your feedback!

Click on the icon shown to view the report online. If you would like a copy mailed to you, please complete the form below.

2016 Community Report

 

 

Patti Hays

Learning about disabilities while Finding Dory

The new Pixar movie, Finding Dory, premiered this past weekend to a record-setting opening for an animated film.  I was eager to hear about the next adventure of that charming little blue fish and visit once again with her friends-both old and new.  Just as expected, the unique personalities and depth of each character brought the story to life.

Characters Hank, a traumatized seven limbed octopus (Septapus) and master escape artist in search of solitude, Bailey the beluga whale who can’t echolocate and Becky, a disoriented bird who cleverly employs a pail as a rescue device all become our new friends.  Destiny, the near sighted Whale Shark, as well as the returning Nemo the clownfish with one malformed but amazingly functional fin, remind us of our own individual challenges.  This flawed but uniquely functional cast exemplifies the message that “…you can do whatever you put your mind to”.

I went in expecting a simple movie but was met with a film that gives each of us the opportunity to not only share this beautiful film with our children but to also discuss disability.  At the beginning of the movie, we see the sweet and easily distracted Dory, identified as having “short term memory loss.”  We learn how her parents support her path to independence by providing love, encouragement and realistic assistive devices.  We see determination and hard work paired with inspirational peer support helping others to reach their goals.  My favorite life message in the movie is preparing the child for the path rather than the path for the child demonstrated by Dory providing inspiration to Nemo and others to “just keep swimming.”

Unfortunately, Becky is characterized as “dimwitted” and there are images of bullying by a couple of sea lions to a smaller and less adept pup.  The audience I sat with laughed at these depictions but I hope that parents will see the opportunity to explain to their children other ways of seeing those with cognitive disabilities rather than as the object of humor or derision.

Dory is told by her parents that the best things happen by chance, and perhaps this film is a chance for families to include discussion about everyone’s varying abilities in life.  At AWS Foundation, we envision a community in which people with enduring disabilities are engaged fully and meaningfully in all aspects of life.   Finding Dory reminds us that working together; communities of diversity and inclusion are the ones we want to live in. See the Finding Dory preview by clicking here.

Patti Hays, CEO

AWS Foundation

AWS Foundation Announces $624,760 in Grants

Fort Wayne, IN ─ The AWS Foundation recently awarded $624,760 in grants to 19 non-profit organizations that benefit individuals with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities in northeast Indiana. These organizations include:

Achieva Resources Corporation: $62,079 to fund a volunteer guardian coordinator position and state and national certification training.

Bi-County Services: $50,000 challenge grant toward the $600,000 capital campaign for an inclusive community playground in Bluffton.

Cahoots Coffee Café: $35,000 to hire a job coach and develop a vocational training program with the Northeast Indiana Special Education Cooperative.

Camp Red Cedar:  $25,000 for camperships and adaptive recreation equipment.

Carey Services: $40,000 for Creative Abundance consultants and training for the new creative arts program.

Children’s Choir of Huntington County: $10,000 for the inclusive Joyful Songsters choir.

Deer Ridge Elementary School: $17,378 to expand the school’s sensory room.

East Allen County Schools: $26,700 for sensory rooms at Prince Chapman Academy and New Haven Middle School and develop an online sensory room training module.

Family Service Society: $25,000 for diagnostic and evaluative services for low-income children at risk for autism spectrum disorder, behavioral and related intellectual disabilities.

Fort Wayne Civic Theatre: $22,500 for three sensory-friendly performances for Project Lights Up!

Fort Wayne Museum of Art: $7,500 to research artists with disabilities for a proposed art exhibit.

Fort Wayne Youtheatre: $6,000 for the Backstage Insight sensory-friendly theatre program and workshops.

Greater Fort Wayne, Inc: $5,500 for two Leadership Fort Wayne scholarships for individuals with disabilities.

HearCare Connection: $30,000 for hearing aids and audiology services for low-income individuals with disabilities.

Ivy Tech Foundation: $50,000 for the greenhouse which will provide future hydroponic and culinary arts training and education for individuals with disabilities.

NeighborLink Fort Wayne: $25,000 to expand volunteer programs and home repairs for the disability community.

Parkview Huntington Family YMCA: $14,695 to purchase the multi-sensory BEAM system for the new Movement Studio.

The League: $20,000 for the Youth Services program for low-income special needs young adults.

Turnstone: $152,408 to expand recreational and social programming to the intellectual/developmental disability community and hire a program coordinator.