The 9th Annual Ripple of Hope Awards Ceremony—held November 13, 2013 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia—honored outstanding individuals from across the country and featured a musical performance by the talented winner of the 3rd annual Network Nightingale contest.
Chief Executive Officer Ned Murphy opened the ceremony. “The promise of equality burns brighter because of those we honor tonight,” said Murphy. “These everyday heroes offer inspiration and hope in a time of uncertainty. They scale walls. They climb mountains. They show us the way—through perseverance and through their unyielding belief in the power of the human spirit.”
The MENTOR Network’s Ripple of Hope Awards were created in 2005 to recognize employees, Mentors and other independent contractors whose compassion, energy and skill create ripples of hope in the lives of others. Recognizing that the mission of The MENTOR Network could not be fulfilled without partnerships, 2013 marks the first time that The MENTOR Network has honored an external party with a Ripple of Hope Award.
Award winners are nominated by their peers and selected by The MENTOR Network in recognition of their unwavering commitment to make a positive difference in the lives of others, whether in an office, program or community setting. “Whether they know it or not, they create a ripple effect for those they serve…for their colleagues…and for their communities,” said Murphy of the winners. “It is in the sum total of these actions that we find the true meaning of The MENTOR Network.”
Community Support Services Operating Group President Dave Petersen, Chief Human Resources Officer Kathleen Federico, Chief Operating Officer of NeuroRestorative Bill Duffy, Cambridge Operating Group President Bob Melia, President and CEO of CareMeridian Jim Ashby, and President and Chief Operating Officer of The MENTOR Network Bruce Nardella spoke about each of the winners and their unique contributions to the lives of those they support. The 2013 award recipients were:
Since Governor Chris Christie was sworn in on January 19, 2010, New Jersey has made significant advances expanding access to community-based supports and services for adults and children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “The MENTOR Network is proud to work with Governor Christie and the New Jersey Department of Human Services, who have moved forward very aggressively to transition individuals out of institutions and into community-based living at a pace that has been much faster than many similar initiatives in other states,” says Bruce Nardella, President and Chief Operating Officer of The MENTOR Network.
“As we hear of this year’s miracle makers, let their stories remind us all of The Network’s mission and the power that caring relationships can have in creating a better society, in which all people can thrive and be happy,” said Nardella. “And so this is an evening of celebration and pride. But it is also one of gratitude. Tonight’s event is The Network’s chance to say ‘thank you’ to those of you in this room and around the country. Together, your ideas…your energy…and your commitment to excellence have led to remarkable growth. And that growth has enabled us to offer more people a better shot at rich, rewarding lives.”
Ashley Gilmore, a young woman who receives support through California MENTOR’s College to Career program, was named this year’s Network Nightingale. She closed the ceremony with a moving vocal performance for winners, attendees and the many caregivers and employees who do such important work each and every day.