The Arc Greater Twin Cities has presented its Changing Policies Changemaker Award to Pia Prenevost of Coon Rapids and Sheri Radoux of Blaine.
The two volunteers were honored at The Arc’s annual meeting and volunteer celebration May 5 at Midland Hills Country Club.
The awards recognize individuals or organizations for making a difference for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families.
The Changing Policies category recognizes persons whose efforts have resulted in systems and policy changes that benefit individuals with disabilities and their families.
Prenevost and Radoux are mothers of children with autism and they have worked tirelessly to rally other parents to support legislation to secure intensive early intervention and ensure that these services are part of Minnesota’s essential benefits, according to Pam Carlson, The Arc Greater Twin Cities director of community relations.
To strengthen parents’ voices, they have worked with the Autism Advocacy & Law Center and created parent leaders in therapy centers to spread the word about legislation and educate parents how to share their story with legislators, Carlson said.
“When response from legislators is slow, they encourage parents to keep trying,” she said.
“Their grassroots efforts have had concrete results.
“After being flooded with calls from parents mustered by Prenevost and Radoux, the director of health services for children at the Department of Human Services announced a listening session to hear parents’ concerns.”
They also partnered to create a rally that drew more than 100 participants to the state capitol in February, Carlson said.
“Pia and Sheri have made a tremendous impact through their courage and conviction,” said Kim Keprios, chief executive officer of The Arc Greater Twin Cities.
“They are helping families realize that they can find the time to make their voices heard, they can make a difference and they can change policies by working together.
“Sheri and Pia are fierce champions for change and an inspiration to us all.”
The Arc Greater Twin Cities fosters respect and access for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families, giving them the power to achieve a full and satisfying life, according to Keprios.
The Arc was started 65 years ago by parents determined to ensure the most full and independent lives possible for their children.
Today, The Arc continues to be a family-focused, grassroots organization helping individuals and families address issues such as early intervention, education, transition to adulthood, health care, housing, employment, guardianship and more.
For more information and volunteer opportunities, call The Arc Greater Twin Cities at 952-920-0855 or visit www.arcgreatertwincities.org.