In Here's the Spin, News by Susan Odiseos

At the 11th Annual Ability First Awards Benefit Luncheon on June 16th, at the New York Marriott Marquis, three individuals and a corporation will be recognized by Just One Break (JOB), Inc. for the inspiration and encouragement their achievements and business practices provide for people with disabilities. They are being honored as role models; at the same time, they heighten awareness of the capabilities of people who are differently-abled.

Stephen G. Marriott, senior vice president of culture and special events for Marriott International, will accept awards for his personal accomplishments and for the company, which is highly regarded as an employer of underserved populations, including people with disabilities.

Despite being sight and hearing impaired, Mr. Marriott lives life to the fullest, as a contributing member of his family, his community and as an executive of Marriott International, a leading global hospitality company. He serves on the board of directors for the American Foundation for the Blind and the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities, which was founded to enhance employment opportunities for young people with disabilities.

Susannah Calhoun, a 15-year-old student at Midwood High School at Brooklyn College, is an honoree for the Ability First Youth award. Born without a fibula and wearing a below the knee prosthesis on her right leg, she is an active and outgoing young woman who enjoys skiing, yoga and horseback riding. Calhoun is a junior instructor for the Children’s Garden Program at the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens and sings in her church choir. She is also active with the Adolescent Sarcoma Patients Intense Rehabilitation (ASPIRE) organization.

Jessica Lynch, who is completing a year of appearances as Miss New York State, will also receive an Ability First Award. Her experiences with depression and anorexia nervosa, which include hospitalizations that began when she was 14, prompted her to become a mental health advocate, giving talks at schools and psychiatric hospitals and making Public Service Announcements. Lynch currently serves on the Board of the Mental Health Association in New York State and has served as a spokesperson for the National Alliance for the Mentally Ill in Queens/Nassau for the “Break the Silence” campaign.

Mistress of ceremonies is Shon Gables, an award-winning broadcast journalist who is the co-anchor of CBS2 News This Morning. Gables is a board member of Youth-at-Risk, was an honorary member of New York Design’s Partnership for the Homeless event, and she has served as a mentor for VIP Mentoring.

Benefactor and underwriting support, to date, for the event is being provided by JOB Founder Orin Lehman, BASF Corp., J.P. Morgan Chase, the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation, Lehman Brothers, New York Marriott Hotels, Morgan Stanley Tishman Speyer.

C. Jeffrey Knittel, president of Just One Break’s board of directors, said, “We look forward to this annual event where we honor individuals and companies whose examples encourage people with disabilities to pursue with confidence their dreams and career objectives. We hope it will attract interest and inquiry from those with disabilities and employers for whom we can serve as a resource for their employment needs.”

Susan Odiseos, executive director, said, “The improving economy, and JOB’s efforts to work with employers interested in learning more about how they can achieve their business objectives with qualified JOB applicants, have led to some exceptional placements, which will also be celebrated at the Ability First Awards Luncheon. Examples include a May college graduate, who accepted a position with a leading financial institution and two participants in JOB’s Student Internship Program (SIP) who were selected by a pre-eminent global media company for marketing and tax internships.”

Just One Break (JOB) is a NYC-based, no fee, non-profit organization founded in 1947 by Eleanor Roosevelt, Orin Lehman, Bernard Baruch and Howard Rusk. JOB brings together leading employers and job-ready, qualified candidates with disabilities seeking sustainable employment. JOB assists individuals with all disabilities covered under the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), both hidden and visible, including learning disabilities, spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy and sight and hearing impairments. You are invited to visit the JOB Website at www.justonebreak.com.