Wendy Strauss retired Executive Director of the Governor’s Advisory Council for Exceptional Citizens (GACEC) was honored by the State Council for Persons with Disabilities (SCPD) with their Lifetime Achievement Award for her twenty-three years of dedication to the disability community.
Wendy worked on numerous pieces of legislation with the Council and other disability advocates that positively impacted the lives of individuals with disabilities. She was instrumental in working with key stakeholders to get the Speech-Language Program in Delaware. Wendy and the Council led the team on the Seclusion and Restraint guidelines for the Department of Education and facilities. Another of her life-changing works was establishing School Resource Officer legislation requiring guidelines and training for school resource officers working with students in special education.
Wendy worked on creating disability awareness at the public school level, in childcare and preschools by focusing on disability history and the disability rights movement. The initiative resulted in House Bill 123 proclaiming October as Disability History and Awareness Month in Delaware and HCR 33 to present Disability History and Awareness Month in childcare settings. The GACEC instituted a Disability History and Awareness Month Poster Contest. Students from across the state created works of art depicting specific topics people with disabilities face.
The GACEC worked with many partners and schools across the state to have a book and coloring book developed and printed to share statewide. A curriculum was designed around the book and coloring book for preschool teachers and childcare providers to introduce friends with various abilities to their students as part of Disability History and Awareness Month.
The virtual awards presentation was held Sept. 22nd SCPD at the annual Life Conference.
Additional awards were given to:
- Andrea Guest – State Service Award
- Representative Debra Heffernan – Legislative Service Award
- Emmanuel Jenkins- Rising Star Award