Determined to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities, CareLink’s founder, Marcella I. Schmoeger, opened CareLink’s first program in 1959. Nearly 60 years later, her vision and philosophy are still the heart of the agency. Each year, CareLink presents the Marcy’s Award, which honors the memory and dedication of its founder by recognizing program participants for their success in recovery, wellness, and self-determination.

Marcy’s Award Winners

Anthony Rodriguez
Anthony Rodriguez - Marcy Award Winner

Anthony Rodriguez, a STAR day program participant who resides at CareLink’s IDS residence on Milford Road, has been a great leader at both his day program and home.

Anthony has shown his STAR peers how to successfully navigate the program by setting goals and accomplishing them. He has attended the day program at STAR for 13 years. In that time, he has gone from attending five days a week down to one-and-a-half days a week due to his good behavior and progress; he now has those extra days free to relax or work at his part-time job. One of the goals Anthony set for himself was to find employment. He accomplished that goal and now works three days a week at Sears, where his supervisors and job coach say he is an extremely hard worker. Anthony has also made good progress in budgeting and money management. Instead of spending his entire paycheck in the first week, Anthony now budgets his money so he won’t run low and miss out on activities.

When any new staff or participants come to Milford Road, Anthony always volunteers to give house tours and review house rules. He not only shares these rules with new participants and staff, but he exemplifies them in his daily life. He has developed positive relationships with peers and staff—Anthony is known throughout CareLink for his smile and ability to befriend anyone—and has been able to maintain a relationship with his girlfriend, Cookie.

Anthony has shown outstanding improvement during his time with CareLink. He has made great strides in working toward his independence and demonstrated a consistently positive attitude on this journey. Anthony serves a great example, for staff as well as his peers.

Karen Verna
Karen Verna - Marcy Award Winner

Karen Verna has demonstrated remarkable improvement since moving to Torrey House two years ago. She attends day program at Merakey (formerly NHS), has monthly career interest meetings with an employment specialist, holds a part-time job, actively participates in events planned by her site, and has taken part in numerous CareLink art workshops.

Karen exhibits good communication and social skills, as well as fierce self-determination. Her communication skills have improved dramatically over the past two years. While she was previously extremely quiet and kept her thoughts to herself, Karen now communicates very effectively and doesn’t hesitate to speak up whenever she has questions or concerns. She is very social and outgoing with her peers and staff.

Whenever Karen sets a goal, her self-determination propels her to achieve it. She has been working on her independence skills and now handles her own laundry, maintains a part-time job, and goes to day program three days a week. After Karen expressed interest in losing weight, she committed fully to a healthier lifestyle. She began walking daily and eating a healthier diet, and eventually achieved her weight loss goal. Karen also set a goal to find a job and began meeting with an employment specialist. After updating her resume and applying for work, employers began calling her to schedule interviews. Karen was nervous at first and considered giving up, but she didn’t quit and now works three days a week.

Karen has improved in multiple areas, including communication and social skills and independence. She has come far in her recovery and can inspire others to have faith in themselves and never give up. Through Karen, others can see that anything is possible if you just believe.

Marcy’s Award Special Recognition Recipients

Samuel Buffert

Despite experiencing numerous medical ailments, including an ongoing battle with stage III lung cancer, Sam Buffert has remained positive and energetic, wearing the same smiling face that has come to be known around the STAR 2 program. His determination and persistence in spite of all the challenges he has faced is an inspiration to us all.

Kevin McCarry

Kevin McCarry is a Beacon Drive resident who responsible, reliable, and always willing to try something new. He is very active at his residence and within the community, attending work, programs, parties, and sporting events. He never misses a day of work at Handi-Crafters if he can help it, and he has made significant progress toward independence.

Phuoc Tran

Beacon Drive resident Phuoc Tran takes part in meetings, duties, and activities; loves working at Handi-Crafters; and attends outside workshops and potlucks whenever possible. This enthusiastic participant, who happens to be deaf, has also been very thorough and patient in helping every Beacon Drive staff member learn American Sign Language.