AAPD’s Hearne Leadership Award Winners Announced

February 14, 2012 | AAPD Power Grid Blog Team

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) is pleased to announce Mark Barlet and Amber Smock as the winners of the prestigious 2012 Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award.

Barlet, of Harper’s Ferry, WV and Smock, of Chicago, IL will be presented with their awards, which are given to emerging leaders within the national cross-disability community, at the 2012 AAPD Leadership Gala, an awards ceremony and dinner, on March 21, 2012 at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, Washington, D.C. The two were chosen by a national advisory committee to receive $10,000 each to further their work in the disability community.

AAPD’s Paul G. Hearne Leadership Award carries on the work of one of AAPD’s founders, Paul G. Hearne, a renowned leader in the national disability community and realizes his goal of cultivating emerging disability rights leaders.

Mark Barlet is the co-founder and current President of the AbleGamers Foundation, which serves the disability community by advocating for greater accessibility of digital media and developing equipment, programs, and services for people with disabilities. As a service-disabled Air Force veteran himself, Barlet and the AbleGamers crew draw upon their personal experiences with disability to connect with the people they serve.

Amber Smock is the Director of Advocacy at Access Living, a Chicago-based, nationally prominent Center for Independent Living. As Director of Advocacy, Smock oversees both public policy and organizing activities that include systems advocacy for funding and access at the local, state and national levels, and leadership development of people with disabilities of all ages. Smock is also the Media Chair for National ADAPT, and a co-founder of Feminist Response in Disability Activism (FRIDA).

“These young leaders embody the passion and talent that people with disabilities bring to our communities,” said AAPD President and CEO Mark Perriello. “Mark Barlet’s entrepreneurial vision has expanded our community’s access to video games. Amber Smock has a talent for connecting with diverse audiences from the grassroots to legislators in order to forge partnerships for social change,” he added.

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