On May 17, SEASPAR staff, volunteers, participants, families, and partners came together to celebrate a year of achievement at the annual Believe & Achieve Recognition Banquet. More than 250 people attended the event at Abbington Banquets in Glen Ellyn.
One highlight of the banquet is the presentation of awards to participants, staff, volunteers, and community partners. Please join us in congratulating the following award winners!
Athlete of the Year – Tyler Reineke
Tyler started with our Special Olympics Softball program four years ago and has since competed in Athletics, Basketball, and Volleyball as well. Tyler is recognized for his hard work, heart, and hustle, and accepts his award by saying, “I’ll just continue to work hard and do the best I can.” Watch Tyler’s award presentation on YouTube.
Cultural Artist of the Year – Kyler Wulff
You’ve likely seen videos of Kyler’s incredible piano performances from our Holiday Spectacular and Music Recital. He is described by his piano instructor, Deb Judycki, as being “on a mission to be the best.” Kyler agrees, saying in his acceptance speech, “Pretty soon, I’m going to be doing big things.” We have no doubt! Watch Kyler’s award presentation on YouTube.
Achievement Award – Bridget Brown
Bridget has too many accomplishments to list, so we’ll just say that she is a national inclusion advocate through her Butterflies for Change organization, her role as a Special Olympics Illinois Global Messenger, and her position as an officer for the National Association for Down Syndrome, to name a few! We are proud that she is one of our very own, but Bridget remains humble, simply accepting her award with a quote from Meister Eckhart: “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.” Watch Bridget’s award presentation on YouTube.
Leading Light Award (Part-time Staff) – Lori Hohenstein
Lori has been with us since 2012 and is the Site Director for our EAGLES Adult Day Program in Brookfield while also working other SEASPAR programs. She is beloved by participants, their families, and fellow staff, and she always finds fun and creative ways to encourage participants to be more independent than they were the day before. We’re all lucky to have her on the SEASPAR team! Watch Lori’s award presentation on YouTube.
Super Star Award (Part-time Staff) – Tim Lieb
Tim has been one of our most invaluable staff members since 2013 and has worked in nearly every program area we offer. But to some he’s most well known as “Coach,” as he teaches and inspires our Special Olympics athletes in sports from tennis to flag football to powerlifting. We’re grateful for everything Tim does for SEASPAR and our participants! Watch Tim’s award presentation on YouTube.
Volunteer Hall of Fame Induction – Gary Naberhaus
Gary has been an official SEASPAR volunteer since 1994 and has clocked more than 7,000 service hours in those 20+ years. From being a Special Olympics coach for at least nine sports, to helping people soar on the Serena’s Song hot air balloon, to having some of the best moves on the floor at our dances, Gary is an indispensable member of the SEASPAR family! Watch Gary’s induction presentation on YouTube.
Community Partner Award – Midwestern University
Midwestern University of Downers Grove has been a SEASPAR partner for 20 years. Currently, Midwestern students are an integral part of two of our most popular special events for teen and adult participants – the Midwestern Dance and the Team Bowling Tournament. Both the students and the participants benefit from this incredible partnership, and we are grateful for Midwestern’s long-term support of SEASPAR! Watch Midwestern University’s award presentation on YouTube.
Community Partner Award – DuPage Medical Group Charitable Fund
The DuPage Medical Group Charitable Fund is one of SEASPAR’s newest partners but has made a significant impact on our programming over the last two years. The Fund financially supports the Commit to Be Fit Program for our EAGLES Adult Day Program, which has changed the EAGLES culture to a more health-focused environment through education, meal planning, and exercise. The DuPage Medical Group Charitable Fund has helped our participants embrace healthy habits that will benefit them for the rest of their lives! Watch the DuPage Medical Group Charitable Fund’s award presentation on YouTube.
Community Partner Award – Spectrum Vocational Services
Spectrum Vocational Services of Downers Grove (a division of Little Friends) has been a SEASPAR partner for 40 years, and together we offer weekly recreational and social programming for our shared clients and participants. This long-term partnership has benefited both organizations and we look forward to working together for the next 40 years! Watch Spectrum’s award presentation on YouTube.
Another highlight of the Believe & Achieve Recognition Banquet is the video presentation that shares the experiences of participants through photos and videos taken at programs and events. Watch this year’s video, entitled “Follow Us for FUN!” on YouTube.