Vinfen CT recently honored the families, advocates, self-advocates, and staff who have made a difference in the lives of the people we serve at Vinfen. The celebration took place at the Pond House Café in West Hartford, CT.
Guests were greeted with jazz music and passed hors d’oeuvres while gathering with friends. John Holt, Emmy Award Winning Sportscaster and Documentary Producer, was the Master of Ceremonies for the fifth year in a row. “It’s nice to see some familiar faces at this event. There’s a lot of reasons to celebrate,” announced John. “I respect your struggles, I admire your perseverance, and I celebrate your triumphs.”
The Keynote speaker was Fadayz, who is the founder of the Self Expression Project. Fadayz’s mission is to inspire each individual to reach for their higher self through creative expression and community.
Welcoming remarks soon began with speeches from Bill Lamy, a member of the Family Advisory Council, and from Vinfen President and CEO Bruce Bird. This year’s Family Partnership Award went to Alice Chartier. Alice stated, “since my nephew has been with Vinfen, I have observed his compassion for other people, for his love of cooking, making better choices in life, and showing me his independence has improved, which I am very pleased with. My husband and I would like to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”
The Employee Award went to Vinfen’s Residential Counselor Wilbert Rowe. “I’ve been with Vinfen for 8 years now and have been lucky enough to surround myself with people who share the vision,” Wilbert voiced. Tiffany Jones, a person Vinfen serves, spoke about being a self-advocate and what Vinfen meant to her. She shared her experience of being in the foster system, and her gratitude of finding a family that loved her. Tiffany has a job, is an artist at Art Connection Studio, and has a fond interest in gardening. “I am grateful to finally be with an agency with people that are looking out for my best interests. I am thankful to have people at Vinfen who help advocate for me. Now I am much stronger and confident, and can advocate for myself, but I know I have my Vinfen family to help me if I need it,” Tiffany disclosed.
Fadayz then took to the stage and soon had attendees laughing, and even dancing by the end of his speech. He spoke about the importance of shaping our habits in life and fostering positive relationships with others, all while staying humble and taking chances. He also advocated that making mistakes are actually learning experiences on one’s journey to finding themselves. “Today what I want to do is that I want to be that guy that speaks and motivates at least one of you,” Fadayz expressed. He also revealed how dancing has influenced his life and has taught him perseverance. Guests were then invited to join him on the stage and show the audience their moves. Attendees cheered on their fellow peers and enjoyed the spontaneous moment to express themselves through dance and movement.
Dinner was delightful and consisted of taco salad, pasta alfredo, chicken, and fish. Prize drawings were announced throughout the evening as guests had a chance to win fun themed gift baskets.
This event would not have been possible without the coordination and dedication of the Vinfen CT Family Advisory Council. For more information on joining the Council, contact Jana McClure at 860-688-3165.
A huge thank you also to the event’s generous sponsors, which include Suburban Pharmacy Long-Term Care, Donna C. Webber, APRN, LLC, Enhanced Psychiatric Services, LLC, and Brothers Oil Company. Vinfen CT would also like to thank Roy Emmerthal, LIsa Ellis, Peggy & Larry McNeff, William & Linda Lamy, Janet Heim, and Tiffany Wright for providing prizes for the event.