Jennifer Gugliotti with NYSARC Board President Laura J. Kennedy
Jennifer Gugliotti, was honored as NYSARC, Inc’s. 2016 Self Advocate of the Year at their Fall meeting October 21st in Albany NY. Jennifer was selected from the many nominations of outstanding individuals submitted from Arc Chapters across the state. To be considered for this award, an individual must demonstrate leadership and also by their actions, help to shape services in a way that benefits others.
Jennifer is a strong leader and has always had a natural inclination toward helping others. Her personal goal of becoming a teacher’s aide has led her down many paths to hone the skills needed to achieve this. She felt it was important to gain public speaking experience and enhance her writing skills so she campaigned and was elected to several positions of the THRIVE Self Advocacy group including that of President and Secretary. Wanting to help others, Jennifer viewed her officer roles as an opportunity to share information that she felt would help others including healthy eating habits, maintaining a healthy weight, and making people aware of ways to protect against sun damage.
Jennifer’s encouraging nature and desire to see others succeed has earned her the respect and admiration of her peers. She openly discusses her past challenges and how overcoming they helped her to achieve her dreams and goals. In 2015 they selected Jennifer to receive the THRIVE program’s Outstanding Achievement Award. She was also previously selected to represent the THRIVE Self Advocate group at The Arc’s National Convention in 2010 and 2012.
And her advocacy doesn’t stop at the program level. Jennifer is a member of the Special Review Committee at The Arc of Delaware County and she provides presentations to local schools, Rotary clubs, Senior Citizen and church groups educating the community about the potential and capabilities of individuals with disabilities. As part of a state wide campaign she participated in a videotaped message to legislators advocating for employment services.
Jennifer is always looking for ways to expand her knowledge and has enrolled in several inclusive SUNY Delhi classes including Psychology and Early Childhood and Development. She volunteers at Sidney Central School where she reads stories to the children and assists the teacher with crafts. “I have learned that it is so important to always believe in yourself and to be strong”, shared Jennifer Gugliotti during her acceptance speech at the NYSARC meeting. “I would also like to thank everyone at The Arc of Delaware County for helping me become the confident person I am today, and for supporting me as I follow my dreams.”