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Joan (Potiker) Schecter named second recipient of the Thomas M. Lewins Lifetime Achievement Award

New Avenues to Independence announces Joan (Potiker) Schecter as the second recipient of the Thomas M. Lewins Lifetime Achievement Award. The award was created in 2012 to honor Tom Lewins for 26 years of service as Executive Director.

“Joan was the natural choice as the next recipient”, stated Mr. Lewins. “Joan is the longest serving board member in the history of New Avenues and has graciously served New Avenues for 51 years. We couldn’t be more pleased to acknowledge her in this way.” Joan was honored at New Avenues 2013 Annual Meeting that took place at the TS Macklin Event Centre on February 28th.

In 51 years she has done it all – volunteer, board member, secretary, board president, paid employee, head of the Women’s Auxiliary, and the chair of countless committees. She has also spearheaded many fundraisers bringing in thousands of much needed dollars while also personally supporting New Avenues financially.

Her passion and drive were inspired by her son, Bobby, who now lives in the New Avenues Richmond Home. He was diagnosed with brain damage when he was just nine months old and has been receiving services from New Avenues most of his life. With her strong leadership, Joan became a pioneer for change by giving her son and other children with disabilities in Northeast Ohio a safe and nurturing living alternative to the undesirable institutions that were the only option in those days. Joan states that her greatest accomplishment has been seeing New Avenues grow from a children’s day care of 16 to the over 600 individuals we now serve. New Avenues celebrated its 60th anniversary last year.