There are so many reasons that Madeline Merchant should be nominated for The Way of The Arc Award. Madeline is often presented with the challenge of inspiring and motivating others to advocate for the rights of individuals with disabilities and their families. She does this by following the fundamental “Communicate, Communicate, Communicate.” She has passion and determination and never gives up, even when she has left over a dozen messages with our state and federal legislatures. Her determination over the last month has provided the opportunity for self-advocates to get pictures taken with Elizabeth Warren and Jim McGovern for The Arc of the United States “Human Rights are Disability Rights” campaign. These pictures have been chosen by The Arc of the United States to be highlighted as part of their campaign.
Madeline has also worked tirelessly to put events together for The Rev-Up voting campaign. She has exemplified several of The Arc’s fundamental to make this campaign successful including “Honor Commitments” and “Be Positive.” She put a voter informational session together as well as had a workshop to educate individuals on the importance of voting. She personally registered over 35 individuals to vote in August. On August 31st, she organized a group of self-advocates to meet with Jim McGovern to ask him questions regarding issues that affect individuals with disabilities. She has spent one on one time with these self-advocates to educate them on the issues and to empower them to have their voices heard!
Madeline has most of all exemplified the fundamental “Make Quality Personal.” On top of all the events mentioned above in August, Madeline has been able to organize the upcoming recreation trip in September as well as take a group of individuals and Rotarians to a concert in Boston. She has done all this with professionalism and enthusiasm. Throughout this month, I, as her supervisor, have received phone calls, emails and letters praising Madeline’s work. For these and so many more reasons, Madeline Merchant deserves The Way of The Arc Champion Award for August.