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Trinity Receives Awards at Arc of Illinois 2024 Convention

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On Wednesday, May 1, 2024, Sabrina McLernon and Paige McLawhorn received special awards at the Arc of Illinois 2024 Convention held in Springfield, Illinois.  The Arc of Illinois advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, families, and community organizations to ensure that people with disabilities can live, work, learn, and play in communities across the state.

Sabrina McLernon – Case Manager Award

The Career Access Network (CAN) at Trinity Services strives to help people with disabilities and mental illness achieve their dreams by helping them find competitive community employment.  Employment specialists take on the role of case manager to help individuals with their journey to finding a job. 

Samantha Stockman-Medina, Trinity Services’ Director of Employment Programs, nominated employment specialist Sabrina McLernon for The Arc of Illinois 2024 Case Manager Award.  “Sabrina is a dedicated and passionate employee who takes great pride in helping people with disabilities gain employment.  She is constantly thinking of new ways she can help those in need.  She strives for success and it shows in her work.”

Since joining Trinity in October 2019 – right in the middle of COVID – Sabrina has helped secure twenty-seven placements with twenty-four being successful.  Due to her efforts, Sabrina has helped CAN almost double in-house referrals.  “She is helping get the people we support excited about the idea of working,” said Stockman-Medina.  “Sabrina helps give confidence to all those she supports because she truly believes everyone should have the opportunity to work if they want to work.”

Paige McLawhorn – Volunteer of the Year Award

Founded in 1990, STRIDES Therapeutic Riding Center and Farm is committed to the creation of a safe and inclusive environment where people of all abilities can come together to experience the joy and therapeutic benefits of interacting with horses and other animals.

In addition to the dedicated staff, STRIDES relies upon volunteers to assist with taking care of the animals and the facilities.  One of those volunteers is a young woman by the name of Paige McLawhorn, a fourteen-year old high school student, who also happens to be the daughter of Laura McLawhorn, the Director of the STRIDES program.

Paige is an accomplished equestrian who loves to teach others to ride, especially people with disabilities.  “During the school year, I volunteer at STRIDES on weekends or during school breaks,” said Paige.  “However, during the summer, I volunteer 40 hours or more a week.  It’s a very rewarding experience.”

Stephanie Behlke Leigh, Director of Community Day Services at Trinity, nominated Paige for The Arc of Illinois 20024 Volunteer of the Year Award.  “Despite her age, Paige has used her extensive equestrian background and experience to play a critical role in serving as a reliable backup when staff are unavailable to care for the horses or other animals,” explained Behlke Leigh.  “She has filled in during inclement weather, staff illness, and other times when her help has been crucial for the health and well-being of the animals.”