JARC, an organization serving people with disabilities, is pleased to announce that it has won a Dove Award and Harold Folkoff, a participant in JARC’s Independent Living Services program, won another from The Arc of Oakland County. The announcement was made by Rick Loewenstein, Chief Executive Officer of JARC.
For the past 44 years, The Arc of Oakland County has honored individuals, companies, agencies, residential settings, technicians, teachers, employers and volunteers who have made outstanding contributions to the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This year, more than twelve hundred nomination forms were sent out to professionals, families, members and friends of The Arc of Oakland County. Nominations were then reviewed by a selection committee comprised of individuals working in the fields of mental health and special education.
Kristi Davis, a Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist for JARC was named winner of Arc’s 2014 prestigious Inclusion Leadership Award for her heartfelt dedication to making community inclusion a priority for men and women with developmental disabilities. Through her resourceful and creative ways, Davis has introduced recreational services to help individuals improve their health, independence and quality of life.
Davis has been instrumental in leading JARC’s Making Community Connections (MCC) program which helps the people JARC serves join community clubs and organizations as full members, and to make friends with others in the club or with people without disabilities. Through her assessment and supervision, JARC has now facilitated over 50 meaningful community connections. Davis also initiated and oversaw JARC’s Eye-Openers group, a daytime activity group for people who live independently and/or work in the evenings, often missing daytime events. Davis resides in Royal Oak, Michigan.
Also recognized by The Arc was Harold Folkoff, a participant in JARC’s Independent Living Services program and winner of the Arc’s 2014 Sheldon Dunn Inspiration Award. Folkoff was honored for devoting himself to reaching out to the community through public speaking and the volunteer work he does. He is an advocate, activist and the voice for people with disabilities. Folkoff has spent the past 30 years working for the Alliance for Jewish Education doing various clerical assignments. He is tremendously popular there and has made several presentations to staff on disability awareness. He has always been interested in public speaking and is an active member of Toastmasters International, a world-renowned organization that teaches effective communication and leadership skills.
In 2013, Folkoff was invited to deliver a lunchtime talk to University of Michigan Law School students as part of their Human Rights Week. He spoke with a passion saying, “We can do the same things everybody else can do. We just might do them on a smaller scale.” Folkoff resides in Southfield, Michigan.
“Both Kristi and Harold are role models to us all and we’re so proud of them for being recognized by The Arc of Oakland County for their hard work and dedication in enhancing the lives of others,” said Rick Loewenstein, Chief Executive Officer of JARC. “They both have made significant contributions to JARC and most importantly our community, helping the people we serve everyday and being strong advocates for everyone with developmental disabilities.”
Davis and Folkoff received their awards at the Arc of Oakland County’s 44rd Annual Dove Awards Presentation and Silent Auction banquet on Friday, March 28, 2014 at the San Marino Club in Troy. The fundraiser was a celebration of the selflessness and achievements of individuals who help others. For more information, visit www.thearcoakland.org.