The Cape Abilities 49th Annual Meeting @ Cultural Center of Cape Cod!

Filed in Blog, Community Partners, Events, Jobs, Life Skills, Vocational by on November 3, 2016

Over 150 friends of Cape Abilities gathered together at The 49th Cape Abilities Annual Meeting to celebrate the achievements of our participants and the contributions of staff and volunteers during the past year!  Held October 26 at the Cultural Center of Cape Cod in South Yarmouth, this meeting showcased the finest in abilities of the entire Cape Abilities family, while bringing to light the breadth of our mission throughout the Cape Cod community.

Thank you to all who made this incredible night possible!
Congratulations to our Achievement & Recognition Award winners!


2017 Participant Presentation:  Alison Burns
Alison, a member of the Cape Abilities Day Habilitation Program since 2006, welcomed all in attendance and shared highlights of her recent participation in the Self Advocacy Leadership Series at Bridgewater State University. Alison related how this eight-week program improved her skills in decision-making and leadership, connected her with other self-advocacy groups and expanded her social networks.  Alison also expressed that this series helped her develop a strong sense of independence and is now more confident in making life choices.


2017 Participant Achievement Award: Zeb Olson
Zeb (right, green shirt) arrived at Cape Abilities in 1981 and joined our reception team at the Lyndon Center in 1996.  For almost 20 years, he has been the “voice of Cape Abilities” on our main phone line! Zeb prides himself on his independence and his professionalism as well as his commitment to Cape Abilities.  Zeb’s hard work and determination is an inspiration to us all each day.


2017 Participant Achievement Award:  John Lojko
Friendship at Cape Abilities is often defined by individuals like John, a tremendously kind, generous and dedicated member of our family.  John is always eager to volunteer with Meals on Wheels in Wellfleet, and he is committed to Shaw’s Market in Orleans, where he recently celebrated 19 years of employment!

John also works at our Cochran Center in Eastham, where he gives the building a good cleaning. Because of John’s kindness and hard work, our mornings are brighter, the conversations are better, and everything is just a little bit more fun.


2017 Helen Risch Staff Achievement Award:  Mary Eagan
Mary is an invaluable member of our Life Skills Day Habilitation team and a devoted leader of staff.  Her devotion, respect, care and love for the individuals she supports is evident in every moment she spends with each and every one of them. A straight shooter, who meets challenges head on, Mary’s outstanding example challenges us every day to reach outside of the box to enrich the lives of those we serve.


2017 Harold Russell Volunteer Award:  Beth Patkoske and Nancy Lowery
Outgoing members of the Board of Directors, Beth (left) and Nancy won’t have very far to go as they continue their exceptional volunteerism with Cape Abilities! For many years, Beth and Nancy have defined what it means to be a volunteer, leading the way at our fundraising events and numerous community engagements and fro Nancy, weekly staff support in our Day Hab program.  While we will surely miss their contributions to our Board, we will benefit greatly from their volunteering expertise on the road ahead.


2017 Sean O’Brien Self Advocate Award: Bernadette McDonald and Justin McGee
Posthumously named in honor of Sean O’Brien, a Cape Abilities volunteer and staff who truly found his ability to advocate for himself, this award is presented to individuals determined to make real differences in their own lives.

Bernadette (left) is a strong, tenacious and independent spirit who is a member of our Independent Living program. She lives and manages her own home responsibly, and is a dedicated, seven-year employee of Dunkin Donuts who weathers life challenges with fortitude and grace.

Justin (right, yellow cap) is a very enthusiastic participant in our Day Habilitation program at the Cochran Center in Eastham, where he is an active member of our Self Advocacy group.  His eagerness to volunteer has positively effected both participants and staff, and his support for his peers is extraordinary, especially when he feels something is unfair.  A strong self-advocate who is constantly seeking ways to gain more knowledge, Justin has become an loyal leader within his community.


2017 Business Partnership Award: The Lost Dog Pub, Dennis and Orleans, MA
Community commitment to inclusion is most evident at The Lost Dog Pub, where owner Andy Murphy (left) employs an integrated, year-round labor force of employees with and without disabilities.   Andy and his wife Jane have been supporting individuals with disabilities since 2009, hiring and then providing training, guidance and opportunities for growth through consistent supervision and support. Their diligent work has optimized the productivity of each worker they employ.  And, they have established a wonderful relationship with Cape Abilities that exemplifies our mission of community employment and self-actualization for the hundreds of individuals we serve. We are honored to be working with such a stellar community partner.


2017 Community Partnership Award: Bass River Yacht Club, South Yarmouth
While enjoying a beautiful day at the Bass River Yacht Club, member Dave Hallenberg  decided he wanted to invite others in the community to share in the beauty surrounding him.  A call was made to Cape Abilities and the annual Bass River Yacht Club – Cape Abilities River Cruise and BBQ was born!  Through the kindness and generosity of over 175 volunteers and members of the BRYC 100 individuals from Cape Abilities have enjoyed  this wonderful outing over the past seven years.  We are grateful to Dave (far right, with Commodore Erin McCarty-Prosser and Cape Abilities’ Mike Rhodes) and the entire BRYC family for their continued commitment, support and compassion for the people we serve.


With gratitude to the Citrin Foundation, we congratulate Cape Abilities staff Jillian Arnold, Megan Leyton, and Jean West, recent graduates of the Masters of Education in Applied Behavior Analysis program at the Van Loan School at Endicott College. With the increasing incidence rate for autism now at 1 in 68 individuals, Cape Abilities and Endicott College offered this program to qualified individuals to help meet the critical and urgent need for Board Certified Behavior Analysts  to assist those with ASD improve both social and communication skills.


We thanked outgoing Cape Abilities Board of Directors David Brown, Beth Patkoske amd Nancy Lowery for their commitment and support of Cape Abilities, welcomed incoming Board members Danyel Bianchi-Matteson and David Robinson and new Board Chairman, Scott Rockman, and presented outgoing Cape Abilities Board of Directors Chairman Jim Botsford (right) for his outstanding leadership and dedicated service to our organization.





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