Fans of the San Jose Giants and fans of seven inspiring individuals had a heart-warming, fun and energy-packed night at the July 20, 2012 “San Jose Giants Disability Awareness Night”.   During the game, the MFP Disability Leadership Award 2012 was given to Martin Odian (of Abilities United), Shubby Jain (of Abilities United partner, World We Dream), Janna Woods, Marv Tuttle, Trudy and Nicole Grable and Hatikvah House.

Martin Odian received the MFP Disability Leadership Award award for individual contribution for his “unselfish work serving individuals with disabilities”.  Martin has been in the Abilities United Independent Living Skills program for two and a half years.  During that time he has shown leadership and vision through his participation in the creation of an advocacy group for people who use Abilities United services. Martin helps administer the group by working with others in the planning meetings and he helps facilitate the monthly advocacy meetings.

Martin is a client of GGRC and is a member of their client advisory committee. He participated in ‘grass roots day’ as part of the SARC contingent which was sponsored by the Association of Regional Centers where they met with state politicians and advocated for the needs of people with disabilities. He also attended a workshop on self-advocacy for people with disabilities put on by the Consumer Action Committee at A.L.I.V.E., a community based organization.

Martin has shown interest and willingness to grow in his leadership capabilities by attending a recent UC Davis Mind Institute Self-Advocacy workshop, the 2012 ARC state legislative policy conference, and multiple other similar opportunities. He shared the knowledge he gained here with his peers by collaboratively creating and running a legislative letter writing campaign to support his peers in sharing their experiences, needs and wants with those who create legislation. Martin has a history of being active in the social life of the community. He has participated in the campaign of a local politician whom he has supported for many years. Martin also helps run a voting station on election days.

Martin understands the challenges and opportunities for those with developmental disabilities who seek employment. He has remained gainfully employed for many years working at Fry’s, Safeway and now at a local Chevron station. Martin has dealt with the struggles the community faces when understanding a person who has a developmental disability in an employment situation. Martin has managed the transition from work roles that did not fit his skill set to finding the right work situation which meets his needs and gives him an opportunity to be a contributing member of the community.

It is Martin’s leadership skills, his passion and his experience that earned him the MFP Disability Leadership Award award for individual contribution.  Join us in congratulating Martin on all his accomplishments!

Photos from the San Jose Giants Game and award ceremony  are on the Abilities United Facebook page

Submitted by Wendy Kuehnl, Marketing Director, Abilities United