Second Annual AWESOME! Awards

May 5, 2016

At SPARK 2016, Center for Independent Futures presented our second annual Jane Doyle AWESOME! Awards. These awards, presented to a staff member, participant, and community partner, honor co-founder Jane Doyle’s leadership and dedication to the organization. The winners exemplify innovative leadership, appropriate risk-taking, and personal integrity while focusing on strengthening community connections, embracing a diversity of perspectives, and supporting others to achieve their own successes.

Jeff Morthorst received the 2016 AWESOME! Award in the staff category. As Activities Director, Jeff’s work highlights all of the values embodied in the award as he builds community in innovative ways. He has a gift for bringing people together and cultivating connections, incorporating ideas from participants, families, and staff.

Jeff supports individuals to take dignified risks and mentors participants to develop social skills that they can use in other settings, opening doors to new opportunities. Our community would not be the vibrant and inclusive place it is today without his efforts.

The award winner in the participant category was Debbie Wall, who has been part of the Center for Independent Futures community for over a decade. She has become part of the fabric of the broader Evanston community through her relationships, community involvement and work at the McGaw YMCA.

Debbie is a helpful and caring friend as well as a great leader and hard worker who shares her insight as part of our Advisory Council of engaged participants. She always seeks new ways to support her friends, family, and the entire community.

The community partner honored with the 2016 AWESOME! Award was Dr. Paul Arntson, Professor Emeritus at Northwestern University. He teaches leadership and decision-making courses at the graduate and undergraduate level and serves on the faculty of the Asset-Based Community Development Institute. Paul founded and directed Northwestern’s Undergraduate Leadership Program and was the founding coordinator of the Public Interest Program.

Paul’s research focuses on understanding communities, civic responsibility, and the connections between organizations. Paul has shared this valuable expertise with Center for Independent Futures from our beginning. He continues to share his time and talents with our staff and families who consult with us to create alternative housing options in their own communities.

Congratulations to Jeff, Debbie, and Paul! We are grateful for the contributions that these three individuals have made to the Center for Independent Futures community.


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