Each year, at Partners in Policymaking graduation, the South Dakota Advocacy Services Governing Board presents an Advocacy Award. It is given in recognition for exceptional, positive, visible, and lasting contribution to the disability and greater community. The recipient for 2010 is Elaine Roberts of Sioux Falls. Roberts received her award in Sioux Falls on April 9.
Robert J. Kean, executive director of South Dakota Advocacy Services, said, There are many effective people whose lifes work is assisting people with disabilities to meet their goals. These people do good work because they are knowledgeable, dedicated, conscientious and hard working. Because of these qualities, they would be very successful in many professional pursuits. It is our good fortune that they have chosen the field they did. Amongst these, a few people stand out because they truly embrace the sincere belief that people with disabilities can learn, work, live, and fully participate in society. These people dedicate themselves to exploring and developing ways to provide opportunity, eliminate barriers, and assist people in realizing their own goals. Roberts is one of those people who set the standard in each of these efforts.
This years recipient is an educator in every respect from working in the classroom to the chambers of the legislature. The recipient has secured grants and contracts that have expanded the roles and scope of organizations/agencies that contribute significant services to the people of the state. These efforts include forging new programs into a well respected and readily available resource for parents and school districts to develop relationships that help to resolve issues that impact the ability of a child to a free, appropriate, public education, said Patty Riibe of Yankton. Riibe is the president of the governing board for South Dakota Advocacy Service.
The vision and unrelenting efforts of Roberts has led to more informed parents who are better able to effectively advocate for their children. And because of this, systems have changed for the better and the students who have benefited from their parents improved advocacy skills will enter the workforce with a greater level of skill and a better chance of achieving their goals.
While it is important to note that this years recipient has received numerous awards, served with distinction in the South Dakota state House of Representatives, it must also be pointed out that the recipient is also a wife and mom, truly dedicated to her family, said Kean.