On the evening of Thursday, April 26, 2018 we celebrated Jennifer Richard who received the Champions of Character award bestowed by Sage Colleges. A table of Living Resources staff congregated at Franklin Plaza where Jennifer was honored at their annual banquet along with other educational leaders within the Capital Region. Unfortunately, Jennifer was committed toward attending a conference in Texas to represent our program and could not be there to accept the award.

This is the description of Jennifer Richard in the book featuring all of the award recipients.

Jennifer has championed for individuals with intellectual disabilities to have access to higher education for over a decade.  Her intelligence, ability to motivate staff, honesty, integrity, energy, and leadership skills have all combined to help students with intellectual disabilities be accepted into a mainstream college experience.

Our Media and Activities Liaison, Jesse Saperstein had the honor of accepting the award on her behalf and a transcript of his public oration is included down below:

My name is Jesse Saperstein. I am the full-time Media and Activities Liaison for the College Experience run by Living Resources and the College of Saint Rose. I was one of the staff members who advocated on behalf of Jennifer Richard receiving the award who has been employed by the agency for sixteen years. She could not be here and asked me to accept this award on her behalf.

The program has been very successful starting off with a handful of students twelve years ago and growing to its current capacity of forty students. We continue to grow and this two-year certificate program prepares individuals who have intellectual disabilities for employment, successful independent living and friends for life. Many students come to Albany from out-of-the area and wind up staying in Albany after graduating. If anybody in the audience would like to know more about how students may enroll in the program I am here to help you along with the table of Living Resources staff with me.

I also want to let you know that I am a published author with Penguin Group USA and have created two books about succeeding with Asperger’s syndrome. The reason Living Resources hired me is because I am helping them in their mission with setting up a program of self-advocacy and independence. And I teach a Creative Writing class as well. On behalf of Jennifer Richard I thank you for this most prestigious award and she sends her gratitude, too.