WHAT: 8th Annual Mayor’s Awards – Breakfast with the Mayor Honoring Businesses for Facilitating Employment for those

with Disabilities

WHEN: Wednesday, October 10th at 7:30 AM

WHERE: Cabrillo Pavilion Arts Center, 1118 E. Cabrillo Boulevard, SB

SPEAKERS: Mayor Helene Schneider

Joe Xavier, Deputy Director, Specialized Services Division, Department of Rehabilitation

Design / Accessibility Award – Whole Foods Market SB in conjunction with The Joshua Project Foundation

The Design/Accessibility Award for a business that has provided accommodations to create equal and aesthetic access. This year’s award goes to Whole Foods Market for providing equal access and Braille grocery signs. Rae Van Seenus & John Bennett are accepting the award along with Evan Goldenberg.

Joshua Goldenberg of Simi Valley, California, was born totally blind. As he gets older, Josh is figuring out that the world will not accommodate his needs without a struggle. His parents, Evan and Christie Goldenberg, are encouraging him to change the world one step at a time. With the help of some friends, they started The Joshua Project Foundation. The foundation’s mission is to put Braille labeling along with other aides and technology into grocery stores throughout the United States.

When Josh’s Mom learned that people with visual impairment sometimes waited 20 minutes for assistance in grocery stores, she thought, “Josh is so fiercely independent, he’ll never go for that”. Looking for a solution at 7 years old, Joshua said “Mommy, how am I supposed to go shopping if there’s no Braille?” And although Christie and Evan thought their son’s idea would be brushed aside, the reaction was quite the opposite. Their local Whole Foods Market embraced the concept and soon after, Joshua was at home making labels for the stores.

Today, Whole Foods Market Santa Barbara location is the third Whole Foods location to launch The Joshua Project by putting Braille labeling on their grocery and produce labels along with a tactile Braille store directory. The Santa Barbara store has worked to create an accessible shopping experience with ADA compliant countertops, check stands, indoor and outdoor dining tables, produce scales, and restrooms. The extra wide aisles help as well.

Employment / Accommodation Award – Nobbe Orthopedics, Ralph Nobbe

The Employment / Accommodation Award goes to an employer who reflects the spirit of the Americans with Disabilities Act in employment practices. This year’s award goes to Nobbe Orthopedics, specializing in the design, fitting and manufacture of custom orthotic and prosthetic devices. President Ralph Nobbe is accepting the award.

After a back injury, Troy Turano was no longer able to work in the field he had trained for. With On the Job Training support from the Department of Rehabilitation, Troy found a home at Nobbe Orthopedics. Troy recalls “Ralph noticed some of my skills and he opened up opportunities for me to grow. I greatly appreciate that.” Now Troy gets to do work that helps other people. He is amazed at the fantastic attitude that many of their clients have. “They are awe inspiring,” he says. Troy reflects on his new career, “The biggest difference for me is working providing a basic need for someone, that is the intrinsic reward – – fixing a guy’s leg and he runs for the first time in six years, that is neat.” Troy Turano is an Orthotic Tech in Training. Through investing in his education, Nobbe is getting a highly skilled staff member who is also deeply committed to the employer and the job.

Mr. Nobbe obtained his orthotic certification in 1982 and prosthetics in 1984. He is President of the California Orthotic and Prosthetic Association. He has also served as president of Independent Orthotic and Prosthetic Provider Network and is certified as an orthotic and prosthetic examiner by the American Board for Certification. He also serves on the government relations committee of the American Prosthetic and Orthotic Association. Continuing his father’s work, he is the President of Nobbe Orthopedics.

“Many people with disabilities bring a level of skill to a position. They are looking for an opportunity to be productive and find a way to engage in their communities.” ~Ralph Nobbe

Outstanding Effort Award – the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, Elaine Gibson & Karl Hutterer

The Award for Outstanding Effort goes to a business that recognizes people with disabilities as valued community members. This year’s award goes to the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History for welcoming people of all abilities to learn about nature. Karl Hutterer and Elaine Gibson are accepting the award.

The Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History, founded in 1916, is visited by more than 150,000 people each year. The Museum is devoted to regional natural history and features 11 exhibit halls and spaces, a planetarium and the Maximus Art Gallery. The museum strives to inspire a thirst for discovery and passion for the natural world through pursing scientific knowledge, educating the next generation, promoting sustainability, and bringing the community together.

In 2007, the museum began an initiative to reconnect children to nature, inspired in part by Richard Louv’s seminal book “Last Child in the Woods”. Unique outdoor environments were utilized as a special educational resource. Hands-on education programs were expanded for visiting school groups, riparian woodland areas were developed into The Museum Backyard, and the museum spearheaded a collaborative group of organizations called “Leave No Child Inside: Santa Barbara”, click here. With a grant from the Williams-Corbett Foundation, the museum rehabilitated an existing cottage to look and feel like a naturalist’s cabin in the woods. This Nature Club House has shells, fossils, live insects and other small critters, providing a rich and personal experience for families. Although the budget was tight, the museum was determined to make the cottage accessible by adding a ramp and deck.

Accessibility advocate and local champion of “Leave No Child Inside” Elaine Gibson was instrumental in the renovation of the Nature Club House, which was completed in March 2012. Ms. Gibson is often found in The Museum Backyard or the Club House engaging the visitors to get into nature. When the sign “The Naturalist Is In” is displayed, peek in to see her critters of the day. Through her work at the museum and the coalition, Elaine Gibson is dedicated to curing “nature deficit disorder”.

Media Award – Santa Ynez Valley Journal, SaraLloyd Truax

Raised equally on the East and West coasts, SaraLloyd graduated from Chapman University, where she received formal training to become a California certified teacher of the arts. After the passage of Proposition 13 the need for a new career arose and she earned a Juris Doctor degree from California Western School of Law and is admitted to both the California and New York bars.

Her next career move took her to enroll in the journalism program at Santa Barbara City College. However, her current editor was willing to take a chance on her, so she dropped out in order to write full-time for the Valley Journal in the fall of 2010. The upside to her lack of formal training gives her the opportunity to instill a level of creativity not normally found in straight news reporting – perhaps that’s why she enjoys it so.

“I don’t believe in sound bites or that 140 characters are sufficient to convey a thought worth muddling over. Instead, I do my best to tell the stories that enrich our lives as accurately and concisely as I can, with an aim to give readers the sense of being a part of the event as it unfolds.” The Media Award honors print and broadcast reporting that recognizes the importance of equality and dignity regarding disability. Accepting the award is SaraLloyd Truax of the Santa Ynez Valley Journal.

Keynote Speaker, Joe Xavier

Joe Xavier was appointed by Governor Schwarzenegger as the Deputy Director for the Specialized Services Division, Blind and Visually Impaired and Deaf & Hard of Hearing (SSD) for the Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) in April of 2010. Joe has extensive qualifications and is uniquely qualified for the position. Joe has over twelve years of public administration experience, fourteen years of business ownership through the DOR Business Enterprises Program (BEP), and over 20 years of participating in community and advocacy organizations. Joe is a fellow member of the Sierra Health Leadership Program, and a graduate of the California Health and Human Services Agency Leadership Academy.

Within months of his appointment to Deputy Director, Joe earned the trust of the independent living community; leading the distribution of $12.8 million in stimulus dollars to the community with transparency and collaboration. Joe was elected to serve on boards of several organizations, including the California Vendors Policy Committee (CVPC). As a blind consumer and beneficiary of the DOR’s services, Joe has the experience and understands the challenges and opportunities available to individuals with disabilities and the services required to foster success.

Organizing Committee

This year’s event organizers include representatives from each of the following: City of Santa Barbara, Department of Rehabilitation, Santa Barbara Unified School District/Bridges Program, Santa Barbara City College, PathPoint, Tri-Counties Regional Center, UCP WORK, Inc., and Independent Living Resource Center.

Congress designated each October as National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM). This effort to educate the American public about issues related to disability and employment began in 1945, when Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October each year “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week.” In 1962, the word “physically” was removed to acknowledge the employment needs and contributions of individuals with all types of disabilities. In 1988, Congress expanded the week to a month and changed the name to “National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”

Disability Mentoring Day (DMD) is a national program started in 1999 in the White House, as a program to increase the profile of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which is celebrated every October. The goal of this event is to promote career development for students and job seekers with disabilities through job shadowing and hands-on career exploration.


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