2004 Conference Highlights


Consumers and their families, volunteers and staff from 22 Affiliates across the state attended the 44th Cerebral Palsy Associations of New York State (CP of NYS) Annual Conference in Albany October 25-27.

More than 50 workshops and meetings dealing with issues critical to people with disabilities presented information on recreation, Assistive Technology, advocacy and grassroots lobbying and much more. The sessions and workshops were conducted by healthcare professionals, doctors, attorneys, consumers and other highly respected and nationally known speakers.

The Conference began with a 75-minute Keynote address by Geri Jewell, an actress and comedienne who used humorous anecdotes and personal experiences to present some alternative views on the daily challenges faced by people with disabilities. Her warm and sometimes offbeat observations about life had the audience laughing and thinking about ways to create opportunities when faced with challenges.

Ms. Jewell left Albany immediately following her presentation to return to California and resume shooting an episode of her second season with the HBO series “Deadwood.” She began her career in television on Norman Lear’s hit NBC series, “The Fact of Life.” She also performs in comedy clubs and tours the country speaking to audiences at colleges and community events. Her presentation set the tone for seven individual afternoon workshops.

The first day concluded with the CP of NYS Annual Awards Banquet. Nine awards were presented to individuals and organizations from across the state for their success in overcoming obstacles, or for their contributions to people with disabilities and their families. More than 450 people attended the event, which also featured special presentations to seven consumers from four Affiliates. Tae Hemsath and Mary Beth Grable, from Franziska Racker Centers in Ithaca, Paris Adams and Nancy Kong from Aspire of Western New York (Buffalo) and Frank Graziano and Agnes MacCray from Enable (Syracuse), were recognized as the first class of consumer volunteers trained in public speaking techniques which they use to educate the community about issues important to people with disabilities. Kim Schneider, from Cerebral Palsy of Ulster County, was recognized as the CP of NYS Consumer Artist of the Year.

Tuesday’s sessions included presentations from Thomas Maul, Commissioner of the State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities and a workshop on advocacy strategies for children with special needs from Mark Nagler, Ph.D. and a former professor at McMaster University and the University of Waterloo in Canada. Joseph Dutkowsky, a Pediatric-Orthopedic Surgeon at Bassett healthcare in Cooperstown spoke about current treatment for cerebral palsy and John Kemp, Executive Director of Disability Service Providers of America (DSPA) presented a Federal Policy update and also spoke about the importance of advocacy at the local level. Tuesday concluded with the “Celebrate Staff” Dinner honoring more than 50 Affiliate staff members from across the state for their outstanding accomplishments.

The 2004 Conference ended on Wednesday, October 27 with a full-day panel on dental care for people with disabilities and four other morning sessions.

Next year’s event will take place October 24-26 at The Desmond Hotel and Conference Center in Albany.

Ray Smith and Virginia Felleman, President of the Board of Directors of Enable, with the 2004 Volunteer of the Year Award presented to Mr. Smith.
Tony Hastings, of the Spring Valley Target Store, accepts the Employer of the Year Award from CP of NYS Board Member Ellis Barowsky. 
Rick Simon (rear), Melissa Barry (left) and Brooke Diamond (second from right) of the Wheatley School in Nassau County, accept the Community Service Award from CP of NYS Board Member Barbara Scherr.
Ginny Sipos (center) and Terry Hamlin (right) accept Program Services Award on behalf of SDTC-The Center for Discovery, from Ann LeMark of the CP of NYS Board of Directors.

Linda Laul, accepts the Daniel Wieder Professional Leadership Award from CP of NYS Board Member Natalie Rogers, and then receives congratulations from UCP/NYC Executive Director Edward Matthews.

Christopher Martyniuk, front center, of Upstate Cerebral Palsy in Utica celebrates with friends after being presented the Al Felmet Achievement Award.
Judy (left) and Lee Ireland were honored with the Elks Award for their support of the New York State Elks fundraising efforts on behalf on the CP of NYS Home Service Program.
Thomas Hamel, from the New York State Education Department, addresses the audience after accepting the CP of NYS Public Service Award. Amy Holdnack, from Aspire of Western New York, receives the Robert Schonhorn Staff member of the Year Award from Idajean Windell of the CP of NYS Board of Directors.
Use the link to the right to download Adobe Acrobat Reader.