“Thank you for sharing your story with others with disabilities so they will feel empowered to make a difference in their communities as you have done. You are an amazing role model to many Michiganders.”
–U.S. Senator Gary Peters of Michigan
ISK board member and disability advocate Sarah Carmany wins national Champions of Equal Opportunity Award
ISK congratulates local disability advocate and ISK board member Sarah Carmany of Kalamazoo on winning the 2021 Betty Williams “Champions of Equal Opportunity” Award from the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD).
This annual award recognizes a leader and self-advocate who has a long record of advocacy success and who shares and promotes NACDD’s values of self-determination, independence, productivity, and inclusion.
Sarah serves on the boards of Self Advocates Becoming Empowered and Self-Advocates of Michigan – organizations made up of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who advocate for independence, inclusion, freedom, opportunity, respect, and dignity. Their goal is to empower people with developmental disabilities to take ownership of their lives and make their own choices on how to live fully.
Sarah also serves on the boards of ISK, The Arc Community Advocates, and the Kalamazoo-Area League of Women Voters. She believes her advocacy skills and willingness to try/do things are her greatest strengths. “I was always called an over-achiever, but really I have big dreams,” Sarah says. You can read more about Sarah and her advocacy work at iskzoo.org/sarahs-success-story.
In a congratulatory letter to Sarah, U.S. Senator Gary Peters wrote, “I appreciate your tireless commitment to advocating for positive changes … Thank you for sharing your story with others with disabilities so they will feel empowered to make a difference in their communities as you have done. You are an amazing role model to so many Michiganders.”
In a statement to NACDD conference attendees, U.S. Rep. James R. Langevin (Rhode Island), the first quadriplegic elected to Congress and co-founder and co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, extended his congratulations to Sarah Carmany and fellow award-winner Jena Crafton: “These dedicated individuals have worked hard at the state and national levels to create new opportunities for people with developmental disabilities and their families to participate in all aspects of community life. Sarah has fought tirelessly for inclusion, integrated employment, and autonomy and has proudly shared her experiences with others.”
Sarah also received a Certificate of Congressional Recognition from U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow and a congratulations letter from Michigan State Representative Julie Rogers.
Sarah received the Champions of Equal Opportunity award on Aug. 4 during the NACDD’s 2021 online annual conference, “Moving Towards Change.”