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Vinfen Celebration of Family Partnerships

Each year, Vinfen honors families, advocates, self-advocates, and staff who have made a difference in the lives of the people we serve at the Vinfen Celebration of Family Partnerships. At Vinfen, we transform lives together and families and other caregivers are an integral part of this transformation.

At our 10th Annual Celebration of Family Partnerships, Vinfen welcomed former WCVB-TV anchorwoman Susan Wornick as Master of Ceremonies. Interim Commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Developmental Services Jane Ryder welcomed guests. Honorees at this year’s celebration included Massachusetts State Senator Sal DiDomenico, who received the public Official of the Year award; Kimberly Matthews, who received the Craig Smith Self-Advocate award; and Caroline Paradiso, who received the Helen Fantasia-Arraj Staff Recognition award.

Those in attendance were treated to a moving keynote by Educator of the Year award winner Stacia Bissell. After a bicycle accident resulting in a traumatic brain injury brought her career as a teacher and school administrator to an end, Stacia began speaking on the topic of brain injury to spread awareness and share her story. Today, she is also a co-facilitator of the Northampton brain injury support group and a founding member of the Berkshire Brain Injury Collaborative, which provides professional development to teachers on “return-to-learn” strategies after a student suffers a concussion.

This year, a record 49 staff received Merit Awards for their commitment to family partnerships, leadership, advocacy, and education. Staff members were selected based on nominations from the families that they work closely with every day.

The Vinfen Family Advisory Council was recognized for their ten years of service advocating for family partnerships and services.

This event would not have been possible without the Vinfen Family Advisory Council and the generosity of our sponsors. Thank you to the Rae and Aaron Alberts Foundation, HUB International, QBS, Inc., Reardon Associates, and the Tiffany Ballroom at the Four Points by Sheraton in Norwood.

To view our photo slideshow, please click on any of the thumbnails below.