Monday, December 6, 2010

Mary Jo Paladino Receives Distinguished Leadership Award


FV Indiana is thrilled to share that founding board member and State Coordinator, Mary Jo Paladino, has received the Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities’ Distinguished Leadership Award. Mary Jo Paladino is the mother of six children (three of whom have a disability) so she has had the joy of experiencing many transitions. She has worked in early intervention since 1989 in Colorado and Indiana. She is currently consulting with the Indiana State Department of Health and the Indiana University School of Medicine on a Community Integrated Systems of Services grant with a focus on transition and Medical Home.
She has used her experience as a parent to support many other parents in navigating complex systems of care. Throughout her career she has been both a professional serving the field of disabilities and a parent advocate. She is passionate about children with disabilities accessing the most appropriate services and resources to maximize their potential.
Mary Jo is a quiet leader who never asks for or demands recognition for her advocacy. She simply advocates at every opportunity and enjoys watching the success of individuals with disabilities and their accomplishments. Mary Jo exemplifies the leadership qualities demonstrated by David Scott who was also a tireless, quiet, knowledgeable leader. We are fortunate that Mary Jo continues to push for appropriate supports and services across all levels and ages for people with disabilities and their families.
Mary Jo can claim the role of parent, advocate, partner, writer, teacher, grant manager, curriculum designer, researcher, consultant, facilitator, organizer, trainer, colleague, and friend to name a few. She is able to blend these varying roles into effective leadership. She facilitated many discussions in local communities to support the development of effective transition planning for children moving out of early intervention into other community services. Mary Jo led an effective family to family effort in the First Steps system that reached the entire state of Indiana utilizing the dynamic family network. She instituted the “ backpacks” placed in local libraries throughout Indiana that contain useful information for parents about resources and information. She helped create a booklet for children to support their successful transition from First Steps to preschool and to Kindergarten. She is someone who constantly is thinking of new ideas and innovations to support children and their families in achieving independence, productivity and inclusion in their communities.
Mary Jo has reached countless families with her advocacy. Her own personal experience with three of her six children with disabilities has given her opportunity to learn firsthand to ins and outs of systems for people with disabilities. She has always maintained a strong conviction for full inclusion as evidenced with her children’s success at being a part of their community and finding their unique place in their community. She applied her experience and knowledge of transition to work in the First Steps and Part B Special Education systems to help other families find success in transition of their children from one system to another and into the community.
Mary Jo has a long history of connections with various organizations (see resume). Most notably is her consistent involvement with the Family Voices network. She has been an instrumental partner in establishing Family Voices Indiana as a non-profit organization serving families. She has been involved in a myriad of advocacy efforts including First Steps, Sunny Start, Family to Family (F2F), and the Indiana Perinatal Network. She served a Governor appointment to the Indiana’s Children’s Health Insurance Program Special Needs Panel from 1999 to 2003.

1 comment:

Toni said...

This is a well deserved recognition for Mary Jo. The fruits of her efforts over the years has been a benefit to many children and families over the years. I personally have learned a lot from her and consider her a role model as a parent, advocate, leader and friend. Congratulations Mary Jo!