The Arc Greater Twin Cities has honored Nemeh Sarraj of Spring Lake Park with its “Changing Attitudes” Changemaker Award. The award was presented at The Arc’s Annual Meeting and Volunteer Celebration on May 3 at Golden Valley Golf & Country Club.
The Changemaker Awards recognize individuals or organizations for making a difference for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. The “Changing Attitudes” category recognizes those who positively change public perceptions of people with disabilities.
Sarraj is passionate about creating autism awareness. After taking a disabilities studies class at Metro State University, she organized an Autism Spectrum and Other Disabilities Awareness Fair at Al-Amal School in Fridley. She secured the participation of 14 organizations and organized two sessions, one for students and one for the public.
Sarraj is also working to educate law enforcement officers about autism. She gave a presentation to a group of law enforcement students that helped the teacher, a St. Paul police sergeant, respond more effectively to a situation involving a boy with autism. She is also pursuing the possibility of having a required course on autism for law enforcement officers.
“Nemeh saw a problem and empowered herself to be part of the solution,” said Kim Keprios, CEO of The Arc Greater Twin Cities. “She is truly changing the way people see autism, and she is a wonderful example of the difference that one person can make.”
The Arc Greater Twin Cities promotes and protects the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, actively supporting them and their families in a lifetime of full inclusion and participation in their communities. The Arc was started almost 70 years ago by parents determined to create more opportunities for their children with disabilities. Today, The Arc continues to be a family-focused, grassroots organization helping people address a wide variety of disability issues. For more information and volunteer opportunities, call The Arc Greater Twin Cities at (952) 920-0855 or visit www.arcgreatertwincities.org.