The Heroes among us initiative was created to show our appreciation of the incredible people, who truly make a difference in our community every day. These individuals all, without a doubt, fulfill the Miriam Foundation mission which is to help people with ASD and developmental disabilities lead fulfilling lives.
They deserve to be rewarded for their efforts. They are educators, teachers, therapists, advocates, parents, fundraisers and people like you and me.
The response has been overwhelming and we were thrilled to see the nominations that we received since posting this initiative on our website.
Our committee chose 5 winners and I am now honored to present them with their awards.
Our first Hero (represented by Stephanie Graddon for the ceremony), is Audrey Burt and we thank her for raising awareness to the community about ASD and developmental disabilities.
Ms. Burt is the mother of a young autistic boy as well as a high school teacher. After her son's diagnosis, she gave herself the mission to raise awareness about ASDs and to develop adapted and free leisure services so that children and their families can have a better quality of life. For the past 5 years she has used her passion for running to raise funds for ASDs on the South shore of Montreal and in the racing world, by organizing an Autism Run. Unfortunately Audrey cannot be here today but Stephanie Graddon will be accepting the award on her behalf.
Our second hero is Dr. Leyla Korany.
Leyla is a family doctor. She is also a parent of a child with ASD. This year, while working with the University of Montreal regarding the residents' curriculum, she suggested that all residents receive mandatory training on the early screening for children suspected of having an ASD. She was able to change the curriculum for residents going forward. This will translate into increased knowledge so that all doctors being trained will know about the importance of early screening of children who are not meeting their developmental milestones.
We want to thank Leyla Korany, an esteemed mentor, for inspiring others to enter the professional field of ASDs and developmental disabilities.
Our third Hero is Izabelle Mercier.
Izabelle is a specialized educator at l'École Marie-Rivier, a school welcoming nearly 200 students with ASDs and developmental disabilities between the ages of 4 and 21.
Izabelle went to one of the first TEACCH trainings, created in North Carolina, to gain the necessary knowledge for her project.
She was involved in the creation of the first ever group of pre-kindergarten students. Her tireless dedication has made this project a complete success and has contributed to the training of many educators and teachers in the field.
We want to thank Izabelle Mercier for being an amazing educator for people with ASDs and developmental disabilities.
Une fabuleuse éducatrice, enseignante ou Thérapeute pour des personnes ayant des TSA ou des troubles du développement.
Our fourth Hero is Laurence Nadeau.
Laurence has a son with an ASD who has been on the waiting list for treatment for more than 2 years. Like many other parents, Laurence and her husband have organized private therapeutic services, in the interest of increasing the development of their son. But she didn’t stop there: she wanted to share her knowledge with the general public, and used her talents and training as a journalist to help people understand the needs of families today.
She has written several articles which have been published in local newspapers and is also very active online and in the social media world all in order to increase awareness and motivate people to make a difference.
A big thank you to Laurence Nadeau, a community crusader, for playing her part in increasing awareness of ASDs in the community.
Last but not least, our fifth hero is Lenore Vosberg.
Twenty years ago as a case worker, Lenore observed that many of her clients had artistic talents and wanted them to shine. She thought that by selling their works, she could raise money for a Quality of Life Fund for the clients who required financial assistance. She contacted Dr. Stephen Snow with this dream and from there the Centre of Arts in Human Development at Concordia University was born. She now reaches out to many individuals who have completed the program to incite them to attend the art shows, productions and plays she produces which all showcase people with ASDs and intellectual disabilities. She has also fundraised tirelessly for the Centre.
We want to thank Lenore Volsberg, a community awareness crusader, for her passion and dedication which have helped make a difference in so many lives.