Worcester, MA, August 4, 2022
WORCESTER, Mass. – Easterseals Massachusetts (ESMA) recently held its 2022 Empowerment Celebration, a celebration of ESMA accomplishments, a premier fundraiser, and an awards ceremony, highlighting leaders in our community who have a positive impact on ensuring equal opportunity for people with disabilities. The event raised more than $100,000.
The theme, Reaching New Heights Together, was especially meaningful to ESMA clients, staff, and supporters, who worked collectively to achieve many goals since the last Empowerment Celebration three years ago.
Paul Medeiros, president and CEO of Easterseals Massachusetts, welcomed attendees and noted the heightened enthusiasm for the event in response to the event’s amazing awardees.
Tevin Wooten, a certified broadcast Meteorologist on the weekday weather team at NBC10 Boston, was the event emcee. Wooten thanked ESMA for its work in helping people with disabilities and our Veteran community gain equitable access to tools, opportunities, and training that help them achieve their goals in life and reach their full potential.
This year, ESMA honored a tireless advocate, a champion legislator, and a great corporation. All three of these award recipients embody the Easterseals mission to ensure that children and adults with disabilities have equal opportunities to live, learn, work and play. The awardees are as follows:
Oswald (Oz) Mondejar is the recipient of the 2022 Equal Opportunities to Work Award
Mondejar has made it his life’s mission to champion equal opportunities and innovative solutions for people with disabilities to work and be successful in their careers. His lifelong passion is workforce development and building bridges to employment for people of all abilities by removing barriers and demystifying hiring practices.
Senate President Karen E. Spilka is the recipient of the 2022 Empowerment Award
This award recognizes an individual that does just that, empowers people to achieve their goals in life. Senate President Spilka’s dedication to equity and inclusion, willingness to listen to community members, and her belief that empowering individuals to work together is where real and substantive change can happen, are what make her an effective leader in Massachusetts and a champion for Easterseals services.
Comcast NBCUniversal is the recipient of the 2022 Team Hoyt Award
The Team Hoyt Award is a distinguished award presented to individuals and organizations who reflect the courage and determination of the Hoyt family. The Hoyts are tireless advocates for equal rights for all, and the award reflects the family’s courage and determination to break down barriers facing people with disabilities. On their 25th running of the Boston Marathon, Dick and Rick Hoyt dedicated their race to Easterseals Massachusetts and the award was created in their honor. That year, they also became the awards’ first recipients. Since then, every year ESMA honors our partners who share in the Hoyt vision to say, “Yes You Can,” when barriers are presented.
Comcast NBCUniversal has been a longtime supporter of Easterseals at the national level, and locally here in Massachusetts they have donated over $300,000 and provided millions of media impressions through advertising. They truly embrace our mission and possess the Hoyt spirit of empowering people with disabilities.
“We are proud to give these recipients the recognition they deserve for the impact they have on our community through their work,” said Medeiros. “It is an honor to work side-by-side with these true champions who support the Easterseals mission and our commitment towards equity for all people with disabilities. Oz Mondejar, Senate President Karen E. Spilka, and Comcast NBCUniversal, have all demonstrated a commitment to serving the disability community through their actions.”
More information about the awardees can be found at http://celebrate.eastersealsma.org.
A special video presentation was given at the event. The video, produced by Comcast NBCUniversal’s NBC10 Boston team, highlighted some of ESMA’s recent advancements that help clients live their best lives: College Navigator, MassVeteran.com, Virtual Summer Camp, and the Assistive Technology Van. These new programs address unmet needs throughout Massachusetts. The video can be seen on the ESMA YouTube channel.
The 2022 Empowerment Celebration event ended with music and smores in front of the beautiful backdrop of Wachusett Mountain.
Easterseals is leading the way to full equity, inclusion, and access through life-changing disability and community services.
For more than 75 years, Easterseals Massachusetts has worked tirelessly with their partners to enhance quality of life and expand local access to healthcare, education, and employment opportunities. And they won’t rest until every one of us is valued, respected, and accepted.
Each year, Easterseals Massachusetts provides 22,000 essential services to more than 10,000 individuals throughout the state, and is well-known for expertise in rehabilitation, assistive technology, youth services, Veteran’s services, employment and transition services, and disability advocacy. They pride themselves on empowering people with disabilities to live full and independent lives and be equal participants in society. More information is available at www.easterseals.org/ma and by following @EastersealsMA on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.