NuPath President and CEO Dan Harrison led a group of organizational ambassadors to the State House in historic Boston, Massachusetts for the annual luncheon of the Association of Developmental Disabilities Providers.
The growing agency joined over 300 other attendees including ADDP members, state legislators, self-advocates and family members to celebrate the achievements of the past year in bettering the lives of those with developmental disabilities.
ADDP President and CEO Gary Blumenthal was the Master of Ceremonies in the Great Hall of Flags and featured several speakers, including former Speaker of the House Robert DeLeo. He took time to praise the crowd for their work and advocacy for the DD population.
“Your work takes devotion, humanity and kindness,” Speaker DeLeo said. “It’s because of your organizations that we continue to move forward as a more caring and supportive Commonwealth.”
Some of his notable accomplishments include the National Background Bill, enacting the Autism Omnibus Act and his tireless efforts in removing the R-word from all Massachusetts state documents in 2010. A fervent advocate of disability programs, DeLeo said that the law “should hold society to higher standards and foster an environment of inclusion.”
He concluded by thanking the providers and advocates for their dedication to improving the lives of developmentally disabled people. “You find ways, even in tough times, to ensure the safety and security of the individuals you care for,” DeLeo stated.
Governor Charlie Baker received the ADDP Elected Official of the Year Award for his work in funding Chapter 257, a bill that offered much needing funding for programs such as NuPath to expand and offer increased wages for direct support providers.
Baker praised his administration for their contributions. “We have been so blessed by the people who have joined and stayed with our team in the fight to better the lives of those in health and human services,” the Swampscott native said.
The Governor reflected on the tremendous progress in the past 25 years but also admitted “there is still a lot to do going forward.”
“We will continue to look at ways to further help this population lead more independent, fruitful lives,” he added.
It’s a sentiment that State Representative James Dwyer backs.
“We’ve been moving these people towards more independent lives in the community for the past 10-20 years,” he said. “The increased focus and funding for the developmentally disabled population, including Chapter 257, has been one of our biggest accomplishments.”
The former Board Director at NuPath had some glowing praise for the agency and their work with the developmentally disabled. “We want to make sure the general public has been more aware of the services they provide,” Dwyer said. “The staff treat every person with the dignity and utmost respect they deserve.”
He also added that, at NuPath, “Everyone is on a level footing, which is tremendous. It really sets them apart from other agencies.”
Dwyer also commented on the innovative ways the organization is making a name for themselves using social media to spread their message to a greater audience.
“They’re modernizing ways to market their work through social media outlets like YouTube and Facebook,” he said. “The rewarding work NuPath staff do with this population is a great way to attract those seeking a fulfilling career.”
Dwyer also made some remarks on how developmentally disabled people have made a name for themselves through various community programs. He feels they feel a better sense of belonging in the communities they work, live and play in.
“The stigma has been mostly eliminated thanks to this population playing a more active role in their communities through work placements and volunteer opportunities like Meals on Wheels,” the State Representative said.
The progress that has been made over the past 20 years is exponential. However, Dwyer knows there is still work to be done. “We’ve come a long way but there’s still a lot of work to do,” he said.
“We want to assist in these men and women living as independent of a lifestyle as possible.”