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In celebration of a work-life in service

In celebration of a work-life in service

“There is no greater calling than to serve your fellow men. There is no greater contribution than to help the weak. There is no greater satisfaction than to have done it well.” Dr Martin Luther King Jr.

On Wednesday January 13, Camp Venture ‘s staff award celebration named for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the agency’s principal founder Kathleen Lukens will be held at the agency’s Coleman Gromack auditorium on Route 340 in Sparkill, New York. “Dr. King was for every man or woman left out of the American Dream,” explains Camp Venture’s Executive Director Dan Lukens. “His message was about service and his work, liberation. King made possible the social change that closed institutions and liberated a there- before forgotten people,” he said.

The Camp Venture Dr. Martin Luther King Kathleen Lukens Staff Award Celebration is an agency event that celebrates the dedication and commitment of Camp Venture staff. The theme for this year’s event is “Working Together, Changing Lives” and will offer awards for innovative team efforts that are making a difference in the lives of the people served by the agency.

According to Dorothy Cox, Camp Venture’s Associate Executive Director for Quality Assurance, “ Agencies provide the structure and the means but people do the caring. We give staff procedures, we challenge them and offer ideas, but the quality of life that our people experience is really a measure of the resourcefulness and determination of the staff that work directly with them and their ability and willingness to work as a team,” she said.
Mark Lukens, the agency’s Associate Executive Director for Education and Training agrees. “We can teach people the basic skills but it’s their creativity and personal investment that make a life for people in care. So much of our focus as managers is to make people understand what not to do. It’s great to be able to celebrate with them their good work, their caring and their dedication.
Some of the honors to be bestowed this year will be for efforts that include an innovative and individualized approach to CPR skill development, a day program rock band, a survival adventure, end of life care for a stranger and other innovative efforts that reflect a quality of concern and a resourceful approach to serving people that reflects the values the organization and Dr. King’s legacy of service and sacrifice.

The Camp Venture Dr. Martin Luther King Staff Award event is an agency tradition started by the agency’s principal founder and first Executive Director, Kathleen Lukens and traces its origins to the first days of the organization. “Kathy established Dr. King as the agency’s patron saint pretty early on,” said John Murphy Camp Venture’s President. “King was a personal hero for her and the event, an opportunity to say thank you to the staff whose efforts on behalf of people in care she believed embodied the King’s message,” he said.

This year’s event is organized by Theresa Freson, who is gratefully acknowledged, as are the efforts of the Event Committee, which include Dorothy Cox, Mark Lukens, George Hoehmann, Debbie Archambault, Earl Lewis, Rhys Lukens and Maryanne Modafferi.

“Our economy is bad and we a government that seems intent laying a disproportionate share of the hardship on community developmental disability programs,” said Dan Lukens. “Our staff especially are getting a bad deal all around and that’s why this event is so timely,’ said Lukens. “Like King, for their service to humanity, it doesn’t look like they’re going to get any respect at least in terms of funding to support their salaries, so we have to be there for each other and take stock in the reasons why we do what we do,’ he said.

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