Autism Delaware’s annual volunteer awards

NEWARK — Autism Delaware recently honored local businesses, advocates, parent volunteers, and professionals for their work in advancing Autism Delaware’s mission to support Delaware families and individuals affected by autism spectrum disorder.
Crothall Healthcare at Nemours Children’s Health System in Wilmington received the Noelle Perry Smith Outstanding Employer Award, which is presented to a community partner who employs young adults with autism and helps increase their employability by working closely with Autism Delaware’s support professionals in the agency’s adult vocational services program, Productive Opportunities for Work & Recreation (or POW&R, for short).
A national provider of support services to the health care industry, Crothall has placed several POW&R participants in A.I. DuPont Hospital’s laundry and housekeeping operations. Autism Delaware has named Michelle Cordoue, Crothall’s director of environmental services, as the recipient of the Jason Anderson Outstanding Employee of the Year Award.
This award was named in honor of the late Jason Anderson, who was senior director of ticket sales & operations at Dover Motorsports at the time of his sudden death in an automobile accident in 2015. Cordoue embodies the qualities exemplified by Anderson: a heartfelt willingness to understand, empathize with, and support the individuals with disabilities in the workplace.
Community partners, like Crothall, are central to the work of Autism Delaware’s POW&R program. Cirillo Bros., Inc., commercial paving contracted based in New Castle, is one such partner and for their ongoing support, Autism Delaware has named them Community Partner of the Year.
For her tireless work fighting and legislating for the rights of Delawareans in the disabilities community — especially children — Delaware State Rep. Kim Williams, received the Alex Eldreth Advocate for Autism Award.
Rep. Williams co-chairs the Delaware House Education Committee and has sponsored many bills to improve the education of students with disabilities. As a member of the statewide Special Education Strategic Planning Committee, she has pushed for greater accountability and transparency in special education, advocated for improvements to our state systems, and worked with Autism Delaware to improve the Delaware Autism Program.
Katie Burris, family service coordinator at Child Development Watch South in Milford, is the recipient of the Margaret Rose Henry Award. Named for the former Delaware state senator, the award is presented to an individual who exhibits the kind of service and tenacity that Henry embodied in her 30 years in Delaware’s human services community, as well as her 20 years in Delaware’s state senate.