On Thursday, May 2, 2019, Marrakech held its 29th Annual Founders’ Award Ceremony at Fantasia in North Haven. There were 275 people in attendance at this event to honor several Marrakech supporters and employees. Individuals and organizations awarded that evening exemplified the principles and philosophy of the founders of Marrakech through their actions. Those qualities include commitment, dedication, a “can-do” attitude and involvement in a visionary project aimed at creating positive change in the community.
Several awards and special recognitions were given throughout the evening. These included: Special Recognition of two retiring Board members, Lou Celantano and Ruth Werth; Special Recognition of Unitas Club; the Academy Award to Marrakech employee, Shirley Stevenson; Employer of the Year Award to Walgreens – Store #6474 in New Haven; the Arthur L. Ratner Accessibility Award to Gateway Community College Student Accessibility Services; the Suzanne N. Jovin Volunteer of the Year award to Ron Pilkowicz; and the Founders’ Award to CT DDS Families First. Also recognized were Marrakech employees with 5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 years of service.
Marrakech was founded in 1971 by two Yale students, Susan Waisbren and Frances Brody with help from Dr. Seymour B. Sarason. They recognized the need for programs that allowed individuals with disabilities to live and work in their own community. All three founders passed on the mission to provide residential, employment, support, referral and advocacy services to people with disabilities and people with similar service needs, to assist them in exercising their human rights as citizens and as contributing members of society. More information about Marrakech can be found at www.marrakechinc.org.
The 20-year employees of Marrakech, Inc. pictured here with President & CEO, Heather LaTorra include (L-R): Jeff Andrus of Orange, Lisa Jardin of Torrington, Diane Corley of New Haven, Laureen Dunning of New Haven, Jill Cretella of Meriden, Erika Shields of West Haven, and Alan Emmerich of Guilford