STARS Awards

NJACP Stars Shine Bright

at the 

18th Annual STARS Awards Dinner
May 9, 2017

NJACP held its annual Community Stars Awards Dinner on May 9, 2017, at the Stone Terrace in Hamilton. The event celebrated individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who have overcome obstacles to accomplish individual achievements in the community (in photo above). Friends, family and caregivers celebrated with the Stars nominated in 2017 by NJACP agencies. It was an inspirational evening filled with stories of personal success as well as cutting the rug on the dance floor.

The awardees were honored by special guests Senate President Steve Sweeney (D-3), Assemblyman Dan Benson (D-14) and the Department of Human Services Commissioner Beth Connolly. Each made heartfelt remarks not only to the individuals being honored but also to agencies and caregivers for their extraordinary efforts contributing to the success of each Star. “I entered politics because of my daughter, but I have a special place in my heart for all people with developmental and learning disabilities and am committed to improving their lives,” commented Senator Sweeney. Commissioner Connolly discussed working with the community in partnership and Assemblyman Benson commented “that it is inspiring to spend the evening with the Stars awardees, who have worked so hard to overcome barriers to accomplish so much.”

All three special guests have attended multiple Stars events and have said the evening is one of their favorites of the year. We thank them all for their commitment and dedication to ensuring the resources are available to provide quality community living for each individual.

In addition to the guests that attended, Legislative citations from Assemblywoman Valerie Huttle (D-37) and letters from Senator Sweeney were given to each awardee.

NJACP CEO, Valerie Sellers, commented, “Every single individual in this room and out in the community and living with parents has the potential to truly lead rich and fulling lives.  Everyone should see and experience the joy we all experience when yet one more thing is learned or when a job is secured or even someone going to the movies for the first time. So I end with thanking all of you that recognized the potential of our stars and again congratulate all of our Stars!”

NJACP is proud to thank those agencies that nominated a Star. This event makes it possible to celebrate the potential in each person to work hard to realize their aspirations and goals.

NJACP congratulates each Star for their inspiring achievements!

The NJACP Stars:

  • Douglas Batzel, 21 Plus Inc.
  • Paul Finkler, Alternatives
  • Rene Rios, Association for the Multiple Impaired Blind
  • Jeffrey Struhl, Bancroft
  • Joseph Horvath, Benchmark Human Services
  • Albino DaSilva, Community Action for Independent Living
  • Brian Berry, Delta Community Supports
  • Kaleigh O’Halloran, Department for Persons with Disabilities – Diocese of Paterson
  • Joseph Silver, Devereux
  • Barbara Sanford, Easter Seals
  • Evan Hookey, Eden Autism
  • James Cheeseman, Enable
  • Rosemond McCullough, Everas Community Services
  • Kenneth Lee, Kelsch Associates
  • Jon Acito, Midland Adult Services
  • Megan Ketcham, New Jersey Institute for Disabilities
  • Mark Doyle, Occupational Training Center of Burlington County
  • Maureen McGuirk, Partnerships for People
  • John Zearfoss, P.I.L.O.T. Services 
  • Cameron Clarke, Quality Management Associates
  • Dylan Gash, Serv Achievement Centers
  • Nicole Jones, Special Homes of New Jersey
  • Valeria Turnbull, Willowglen Academy

Thank you to Our Stars Sponsors:

Gold Sponsors
Butler Woodcrafter
Delta T Group
Community Care RX
Rue Insurance
Staples Advantage

Bronze Sponsor
Bellwether Behavioral Health

Special thanks to the NJACP Member Resources Committee, whose efforts and contributions made the Stars event possible.

Photos from event…