Department of Public Works

DAC Achievement Awards

City of Fresno Disability Advisory Commission 2019 ACHIEVEMENT AWARD

2018 DAC Achievement Awards

Each year, in conjunction with the celebration of October as Disability Awareness Month, the City of Fresno Disability Advisory Commission (DAC) recognizes individuals, organizations, and City employees that have improved the quality of life for people with disabilities in Fresno. Recipients will be honored on October 11, 2018 at 9:00 a.m. during the City Council meeting as part of the commemoration of October as Disability Awareness Month.

Tenth Annual DAC Achievement Award

Vocation Plus Connections, Inc. (VPCI) received the Disability Awareness Month Proclamation from Mayor Brand and the DAC.

Vocation Plus Connections, Inc. (VPCI) received the Disability Awareness Month Proclamation from Mayor Brand and the DAC. Since 2016 VPCI has partnered with Fresno Police and Fresno Fire to improve the relationships between people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (I/DD) and first responders.

Individual Achievement Award

The recipient of the DAC’s 2018 Individual Achievement Award is Yonas Paulos. The recipient of the DAC’s Organization Achievement Award is Geekwise Academy. The recipient of the City of Fresno employee award is Desirick “Desi” Garcia.

Yonas Paulos is an advocate for homeless veterans in the City of Fresno. While not associated formally with any organization, Paulos has built a reputation from his consistent presence in the community and attendance at civic meetings. “Yonas is a person who really embodies grassroots advocacy and a voice for the people. He is very visible in different facets of the community and has a track record of improving the quality of life for individuals with disabilities one person at a time” said Dr. Jenelle Pitt.

Individual Award Recipient Yonas Paulos

Individual Award Recipient Yonas Paulos

Organization Achievement Award

Geekwise Academy, an offshoot of the Fresno-based technology company, Bitwise Industries, provides a variety of technology and coding courses to open pathways for entry-level jobs in the field of technology. “When asked to include deaf in [the] program, [they] responded affirmatively and positively without a second thought,” said Rosemary Wanis in her nomination. “These skills empower deaf and hard of hearing to become independent entrepreneurs and opens up a world of opportunities for them to obtain gainful employment.” People with disabilities tend to be disconnected from opportunities for training because of the misperception that it will take too much effort or cost. By contrast, Geekwise Academy embraces the opportunity to provide much needed skill development to all individuals. “Geekwise is committed to equity and access and will continue to explore new and innovative ways to support workplace learning for people with disabilities,” Said Executive Director Bethany Mily of their efforts.

Organizational Award Recipient Geekwise Academy

Organizational Award Recipient Geekwise Academy

City of Fresno Employee Award

Desirick “Desi” Garcia is a Senior Community Revitalization Specialist in the Development and Resource Management Department for the City of Fresno.  In his previous role as a Housing Rehabilitation Specialist in the Housing Division, he worked on rehabilitation programs that provided assistance to low-income homeowners for interior and exterior repairs to their single-family homes. On a Distressed Property Program project, he was assigned to manage, Garcia recognized that the home was not set up well to address the homeowner’s disability needs. Garcia approached his supervisor to advocate for participation in an additional program with higher funding thresholds. “Desi goes above and beyond on every project that he manages and has a passion for helping all individuals.  I saw firsthand the impact that Desi had on improving the quality of life for this homeowner by making his home much more efficient for his disability,” said nominator John Turnipseed. “Desi is truly an asset to the City of Fresno and is very deserving of this prestigious award.

City of Fresno Award Recipient Desi Garcia

City of Fresno Award Recipient Desi Garcia

Today we honor a group of people who not only live, work, and play hard but they also go above and beyond to make the City of Fresno better for everyone. The lives of those who have a disability are changed forever because of people like this.Mary Beth Randall, DAC Chair