Growing up in a family where advocacy was a normal part of life, Ray Robinson knew how important it was for the community to embrace people with disabilities and all their beautiful abilities. His mother, Rogera Robinson, started this journey of awareness and compassion and instilled the value in him. The Robinson family believes in providing the very best services to all people.
Rogera was a strong leader and source of support for her family. She became a pioneer for the Federation for Children with Special Needs after giving birth to her son Kevin, who has an intellectual and developmental disability and receives Vinfen services. Back in the 1960s, the drastic lack of person-center services for people with disabilities motivated Rogera to fight not just for her child but for all children’s needs. Recognizing her sincere dedication to her son, her family, and to the community, Vinfen’s Director of Services Asela Jayasinghe nominated Rogera for Vinfen’s 3rd Annual Celebration of Family Partnerships back in 2010. Not surprisingly, the nomination was selected and Rogera was honored at the Family Event Celebration.
Rogera’s son Ray is now Kevin’s guardian. He knew he was destined to also be an advocate and to dedicate his life to be a constant supportive presence in his younger brother’s life. “I knew for a long time that I was going to be his guardian because I would go to all the meetings with my mother before she passed, so I knew what I was getting into, and I knew the people there,” Ray shared. Ray is one of 14 kids in the Robinson family, and makes sure to bring Kevin to family gatherings every year, as well as bringing Kevin gifts during the holidays. Ray is a huge fan of Vinfen and appreciates how happy Kevin is where he lives, and how well information is communicated with him regarding his brother. “You just walk in the house, the place is a gorgeous house, and the people that work there are just great people.”
Ray is a humble and incredible spirit who just wants the best for his brother. Asela, who has worked closely with the Robinson family for years, knew this year was the year to nominate Ray. “After Kevin’s mother passed the torch to Ray, he made a commitment to be the best brother he can be for Kevin,” Asela explained. “He is known as very compassionate, kind, and a trustworthy person who goes above and beyond to support his brother.” Ray is a prime example of a family member who loves his brother and will do anything to make sure he is happy. “Ray is perceived as a hero not only by his brother, but by all of us, and we would like to extend our gratitude to him. Ray is a one-in-a-million brother, and Kevin is so lucky to have such a loving and caring support system.”
Crediting what he has learned from his mother, Ray misses her dearly and appreciates everything she taught him about life. “I had a teacher that probably could teach a lot of people about disabilities,” Ray voiced. “I learned everything from her,” he added. Ray beams with happiness and a bright smile when he thinks about how he is receiving the same award his mother received nine years ago. “It feels great!” Ray proclaimed.
Ray was honored with a Family Recognition Award at Vinfen’s 12th Annual Celebration of Family Partnerships on October 2. View a short video on him and Kevin below.