29th Annual Mayor’s Disability Awards winners announced
Contact: Megan Hutchison
City of Tempe
The 29th Annual Mayor’s Disability Awards showcases the efforts of the city, its businesses, residents and students make each year to keep Tempe an inclusive and welcoming place. Best Buddies singer Justin Toler will kick off the event and the guest speaker is Cory Hahn, Arizona Diamondbacks Coordinator of Professional Scouting.
The awards honor excellence in individuals with disabilities, employers, educators and others who have shown dedication to the equality, inclusion and commitment to improving the quality of life for all Tempe residents.
This year’s event takes place on Tuesday, April 25 at Tempe Center for the Arts, 700 W. Rio Salado Parkway. RSVP required, contact Megan Hutchison for details. This year’s winners include:
Pride of the City
Jean Howard / The Centers for Habilitation
This award celebrates those who have demonstrated a long-term commitment in improving the quality of life for all residents of Tempe.
Jean Howard, a longtime resident of Tempe, is the senior-most employee at Tempe Centers for Habilitation. She has spent 34 years there, assisting people every day. Her current position running the Unique Boutique, where clients make and sell their art at craft fairs and farmer’s markets.
Employer of the Year
Victor Carbajal / Aramark
Aramark provided jobs for 10 people with disabilities at dining halls on ASU’s Tempe Campus. Two of these hires are top performing employees at two dining halls, one of which serves haut cuisine in cooperation with international chefs. Aramark intends to expand the program to hire additional people for other facilities.
Community Service Award
Tim Stump BS, MA, CPRP, CRC / Arizona @ Work
Timothy Stump has helped thousands of people find employment through his efforts over the years. He assisted with Tempe’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing/Disability Job Fair, coordinated a Service Call Center Training class for people with disabilities and facilitated the Valley’s first Autism Job Fair. He also hosted a Reverse Job Fair, where individuals with disabilities had their own booth to showcase their resume’s.
Stormy Love / Rocket a Go~Go
Stormy Love identifies with both physical and psychiatric disabilities. Finding fashion that fit her disability was a challenge. Her solution: open Rocket a Go~Go, an alternative clothing retail store. The store offers wide dressing rooms and movable racks and more to ensure access and a welcoming atmosphere. Love trains staff on disability access and inclusion and has created an internship program with Tempe High School for youth with disabilities.
Business Leadership Award
Karla M. Martin, RPR, CSR, CR
Through her business, Karla Martin provides Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART) and related captioning services for the deaf and hard of hearing throughout Arizona, often at reduced or no cost for Deaf and Hard of Hearing events. She recently volunteered for Emergency Responder Interpreter Credentialing, pilot group of interpreters and CART providers, who will serve the public in a state of emergency.
Chelsea Steffen / Marcos de Niza High School
Special Education Life Skills instructor Chelsea Steffen is a Best Buddies Assistant Advisor and much more. She is highly regarded for her high expectations of all students and her ability to integrate activities of those with special needs with their typical peers in extracurricular activities.
Outstanding Tempe Students
Rob Butler, Tempe High School
Jose Ortiz, Tempe High School
Rafael Arias, Tempe High School
Wai Kei Chu, Corona del Sol High School
Keyonna Cooley, Compadre Academy
Kayla Sykora, Tempe High School
Olivia Mendoza, Marcos de Niza High School
Steven Smith, Connolly Middle School
Jonathan W. Wilson III, Believe I Can Academy
The event is made possible by the Tempe Diablos Charities, Inc., Arizona Freelance Interpreting Service, Cole Design Group, Fry’s Food Stores, Ability360, Arizona Relay Service 7-1-1, Driving to Independence, and Irene, Lynn and Amy Mochel, Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix, Suns, Best Buddies, and Bobbie’s Flowers and Gift Shop.
Below: Victor Carbajal and some of his Aramark employees working at ASU dining halls.