CICOA Announces 2024 Annual Awards

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For five decades, CICOA Aging & In-Home Solutions has been a cornerstone in our community, providing vital services and support to older adults, people with disabilities and their families. This wouldn’t have been possible without the incredible dedication of countless individuals and organizations.

As we celebrate 50 years of service, we also express our deepest gratitude to those who have walked alongside us, advancing the awareness and support for those we serve.

CICOA presented six awards during its annual meeting on June 25 to honor the contributions of volunteers and partner organizations over the past year.

EXCEPTIONAL SERVICE AWARD

George’s Pharmacy & Medical Equipment has consistently gone above and beyond to support CICOA’s mission of serving our community’s older adults and people with disabilities. Without hesitation, George’s Pharmacy jumped on board for our new Corporate Partnership program, and we are honored to have their support during our monumental 50th Anniversary year.

Their partnership extends far beyond corporate sponsorships. A dedicated team from George’s Pharmacy volunteers their time regularly at our Safe at Home events, providing much-needed help installing handrails and cleaning up yards.

As a leading provider of home medical equipment, home modifications and pharmacy, their expertise and dedication have not only improved the health outcomes of senior Hoosiers but also fostered a sense of trust and connection.

Their commitment isn’t just about financial support or volunteering hours; it’s about a genuine passion for serving our community. We are pleased to present CICOA’s Exceptional Service Award to George’s Pharmacy & Medical Equipment.

COLLABORATION AWARD

Strong collaboration is essential for navigating the ever-changing social services landscape and maximizing our impact on the community. The 2024 Collaboration Award is presented to Dr. Mike Simmons, President and CEO of Bridge Builder Strategies, and his entire team. Simmons, a former CICOA Board Member, has been a champion for our organization.

The team at Bridge Builder Strategies have played a pivotal role in CICOA’s volunteer program. They have built and fostered a network of individuals and companies who are dedicated to CICOA’s mission and making a real difference in the lives of older adults.

Bridge Builder’s commitment extends beyond the volunteer program. Earlier this year, Simmons made a significant investment in CICOA’s Wrinkle Innovation Fund, further exemplifying his commitment to collaborative social impact.

When asked why he chose to give to Wrinkle, Simmons said: “I’ve been having ongoing conversations about Wrinkle Innovation, both in terms of growing the fund, as well as helping to move new products through the pipeline to launch and beyond. Given the partnership with CICOA, as well as my belief in innovation, it was easy to say yes.”

Congratulations, Bridge Builder Strategies!

DEMENTIA FRIENDS INDIANA ADVOCATE AWARD

Sometimes, it’s hard for us to imagine a world where dementia and joy can co-exist. But maybe you haven’t met Becky Barton yet.

Becky exudes joy as she talks about her grandkids and her career teaching occupational therapy at the University of Indianapolis, where she earned emeritus status. She’s written for medical journals and traveled to Ukraine twice to share best practices. She’s also been a professional singer, has performed opera, and sang with the Indianapolis Symphony Choir.

So when this successful, talented woman lost track of time and forgot to go to class, or suddenly forgot the words to her presentation, it was frightening. Becky knew all signs pointed to dementia.

While there are lots of things she can no longer do, Becky prefers to focus on what she can do. Becky’s personal journey with dementia has fueled her passion to educate others and break down stigmas. As a member of the Dementia Friendly Indianapolis Action Team, she brings a unique perspective to shaping dementia friendly communities.

Becky and her husband and care partner, Bob, have shared their personal experiences through the “Living Well with Dementia” series, with this powerful message: People living with dementia are still a valuable part of our communities, and they want opportunities to stay engaged and connected.

Her vibrant spirit and unwavering dedication inspire us all. We are honored to present the Dementia Friends Indiana Advocate award to Becky Barton, a woman who embodies the spirit of living well with dementia and advocating for a more understanding community.

IMPACT AWARD

This year, we present the Impact Award to Rafik and Pat Bishara, whose generosity has not only supported CICOA’s mission but also continues to shape the future of care for our clients.

The Bisharas have kept CICOA’s mission close to their hearts for many years. And this year, they established a professional development fund in honor of the care manager who has been there from the beginning.

After Pat’s parents were diagnosed with dementia, they were referred to CICOA, and Erica Seabaugh, now our Vice President of In-Home Services, was their care manager. Pat and Rafik became grateful donors to the CICOA Foundation, with Rafik later serving two terms on the Foundation Board of Trustees.

As the population of older adults and people with disabilities grows, so does the need for a diverse workforce that is trained to provide compassionate, person-centered care. By providing ongoing training and development opportunities for a diverse workforce, with an emphasis on female employees, the Bisharas’ gift will ensure CICOA has a team of highly skilled and compassionate employees who can provide the best possible person-centered care for our clients, both now and in the future.

SPIRIT AWARD

Catholic Charities Indianapolis demonstrates exceptional commitment to volunteerism through their AmeriCorps Seniors programs: the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and the Senior Companion Program. These programs aren’t just about providing services; they’re about fostering connections and empowering older adults to use their experience and skills to make a real difference.

Through RSVP, dedicated volunteers provide vital services like companionship to isolated seniors, delivering meals to those in need, and assisting with transportation. The Senior Companion Program goes a step further by matching volunteers with homebound individuals for socialization and emotional support. These programs not only address critical needs in our community but also promote healthy aging for the volunteers themselves, fostering a sense of purpose and connection.

Catholic Charities’ dedication to these programs embodies the true spirit of this award. They have created a vibrant volunteer community where older adults can continue to contribute their talents and make a lasting impact.

INNOVATION AWARD

When philanthropy fuels innovation, remarkable change can take root. Donna Oklak exemplifies this principle through her lifelong dedication to supporting groundbreaking solutions to complex community challenges. A true leader in the Indianapolis community, her passion for innovation has empowered numerous organizations.

In 2005, she co-founded Impact 100, a women’s giving circle awarding grants to Central Indiana nonprofits. Fourteen years later, she established the Meridian Foundation and its Arago Honors award, specifically intended to fuel innovation at local nonprofits. Wrinkle Innovation was proud to be among the inaugural recipients of this prestigious award, a testament to the foundation’s commitment to propelling impactful change.

Donna has been consistent in her support and encouragement of innovation at CICOA. She is a true collaborator – lending an ear, sharing feedback and celebrating success with us. While we pursue disruptive models of innovation, Donna has been a champion of our efforts, helping us focus on truly transformative initiatives and take those ideas from napkin sketch to startup.

For her leadership in elevating the value of innovation in nonprofits, we honor Donna Oklak with the 2024 Innovation Award.

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