Determined to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities, CareLink’s founder, Marcella I. Schmoeger, opened CareLink’s first program in 1959. Over 50 years later, her vision and philosophy are still the heart of CareLink.

To honor her memory and dedication, Marcy’s Award honors a CareLink program participant for their success in recovery, wellness, and self-determination.

Marcy Award Winner – James Wills

[singlepic id=330 w= h= float=none]James has been at Marsh Creek CRR since 6/27/1994. All along he has been participating in various program activities including an active involvement at Handi-Crafters. James likes his work and he gains monetary and emotional satisfaction from his job at Handi-Crafters.

James is resilient, diligent and he also has a positive attitude. Despite his severe health challenges and three hospitalizations he had this year, James continued to participate in his bus and train rides as well as household activities at the CRR. He also continued going to work at Handi-Crafters. James participated in doing chores as per routine. He possesses high self- advocacy skills. He often asks his PCP for a letter of authorization to go back to work. James also displayed his self-advocacy skills in August this year when he requested to be moved to another section of the workshop at Handi-Crafters. He realized he was more productive and he could earn more money in that workshop. He does not have idle time at Handi-Crafters.

He has had his train and bus rides without any incidents. James is actively participating in CRR activities. His Handi-Crafters supervisor eventually moved him to the section of the workshop that James wanted and he is earning a little more than previously. James and staff are excited about his achievements. Staff is encouraged and motivated to continue assisting James to achieve his goals.

James experiences severe medical challenges so much that he would not be doing what he does if it was someone else. However, James has a lot of motivation and positivity that he sees no hindrances in whatever he wants to achieve.

Marcy Award – Lila Kovacs

[singlepic id=331 w= h= float=none]Lila joined the A+ program in July 2016. During her stay at CareLink, Lila has had the opportunity to meet with the board of directors; telling them about the A+ program and how the services have aided her throughout her recovery.

Lila is selfless with a humongous heart. Lila is a people person, who sincerely cares about the success of everyone she meets. She has a great sense of humor and is always telling jokes. Regardless of what Lila is going through personally, she will direct her attention to other participants and encourage them to be their very best. Lila is known for telling everyone how beautiful they are, how intelligent they are and how much God loves them. If any peer or staff needs assistance with any tasks, Lila is there to help. On multiple occasions, Lila has walked up and immediately started unloading grocery bags for peers and staff, without being asked. Lila has also accompanied participants to the grocery store; assisting them with carrying items and budgeting. Lila has educated participants on how to enroll for college courses and provided step by step assistance for completing a financial aid FAFSA application. When Lila is faced with a challenge, she puts her best foot forward to keep a positive attitude and to work through it. Lila is not able to physically be with her two children at the moment, so she found a volunteer opportunity at her church; where she is able to care for the babies in the nursery 2-3 times per month. Lila also volunteers with older children at her church, who have physical disabilities.

Lila graduated from the Rutgers Mica Program and excelled in the Rutgers Mental Health Program. Lila has enrolled in Camden County Community College to pursue an Associate’s Degree. Lila is currently a full time student with a 4.0 GPA. Lila has been sober since 10/11/11 and is independent with her medications and medical appointments. Lila has recently passed her written exam to obtain a New Jersey driver’s license. Lila conducts Bible study in her apartment every Monday night. Lila located a community center that is in walking distance from the A+ program that offers career building workshops and a variety of classes. Lila gets a calendar of events every month, walks to the center with peers and participates in classes, so that her peers feel more comfortable learning a new activity. Lila is a professionally trained dancer, who encouraged two male participants to engage in their first Bollywood dance lesson. Lila also volunteers at the Cathedral Kitchen in Camden; serving food to approximately 300 children and adults.