On behalf of the 2014 Imagine Awards judging panel, the Rauch Foundation is pleased to announce this year's Imagine Awards Honorees. Please join us in congratulating the following deserving recipients!
Individual: Ms. Traci Reister Hardy
Born deaf to a hearing family, Traci Hardy sometimes felt isolated as a child. Undaunted, however, she learned to lip read and use her voice to participate in the hearing world. Inspired to help other children who are deaf, Ms. Hardy attended Ball State University, obtaining a degree in Deaf Education, and went on to get her Master’s Degree at Indiana University Southeast. Through her role as a Teacher of the Deaf at Mount Tabor Elementary School, she attends summer workshops and seminars to help increase literacy comprehension in the classroom. This is especially important for deaf children whose first language is not English. Traci’s passion for deaf education can be seen on a daily basis. She draws from her own experience as a deaf student growing up in a school filled with hearing students, understands the reinforcement and support her students need, and expands lesson plans to involve everyone in the educational process. Traci wants each and every deaf student to have the opportunity to achieve greatness. And with a champion like her, they are assured the foundation needed to do just that.
Community Leader: Ms. Jana Kixmiller
Jana Kixmiller, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, has spent most of her career providing treatment to people with some of the most debilitating mental illnesses in our community. Currently the Senior Vice President of Clinical Services at LifeSpring Health Systems, Ms. Kixmiller works to ensure smooth and speedy treatment to those in need. She also helps develop excellence in others, providing training and public education in trauma, mental illness, substance abuse, and other issues. Jana has worked to quickly address recent tragedies such as the Newtown shootings, providing community education resources to minimize trauma and ensure appropriate responses. Additionally, Jana led a team of clinical staff to provide psychological first aid to the residents impacted by the March 2, 2012 tornadoes in Henryville, Indiana. In addition to her many contributions at her workplace, Ms. Kixmiller is involved in a variety of community initiatives and activities, such as the Kent School of Social Work Advisory Council, Norton Young Survivors Support Group, Kentucky Center for the Arts, and the Indiana Council for Community Mental Health Centers. To Jana, supporting and treating individuals with disabilities isn’t just a job - it’s her life’s work. She is a leader and champion at the state and local level, and LifeSpring clients and our community are better thanks to her efforts.
1/28/2014: We are deeply saddened to share that Jana Kixmiller lost her 3-year battle with cancer on January 25. She was excited that she had been selected to receive the honor, and the judges who selected her did so without knowledge of her brave battle. Jana will be greatly missed by so many in our community, and we look forward to celebrating her life and contributions at the Imagine Awards as we present her award posthumously. Click here to read Jana's obituary.
Organization: The Council on Developmental Disabilities
With a vision of a society that includes, values, and empowers children, youth, and adults with developmental disabilities, the Council on Developmental Disabilities has advocated for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities throughout the region for over 60 years. The agency was instrumental in starting the first educational programs, employment programs, day programs, and residential programs for this population in the Louisville Metro area. The Council has provided education and training for Direct Support Professionals serving people with disabilities; outreach and support for individuals, parents, and families seeking information and services; events at which families can have fun with their members with disabilities; and an art gallery to celebrate the talents of people with disabilities. Through community relationships and collaboration, the Council has worked to build a dynamic, accepting community that values a diverse range of citizens - including people with all types of disabilities. The Council stands for HOPE, VISION, and VOICE for people with disabilities - for them, they VOICE the HOPE and the VISION for a beautiful life that all humanity shares.
Tickets & event information is at www.imagineawards.org.