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Walto Wins 'Unsung Hero' Award

Nonotuck Resource Associates Care Manager Maggy Walto was recently honored with the William Johnson Unsung Hero award. The Berkshire Citizen Advisory Board presented Maggy with this beautiful honor on May 25th 2022.  Due to Covid 19, the award ceremonies have been on hold for the past two years, Maggy has been long waiting for this award for two years.  She was very excited to receive this award in front of her family and closest friends.

 Maggy earns the award for “recognized and honored for the efforts that {she has} made by impacting the quality of life of individuals with disabilities who live and work in Berkshire County” according to the Advisory Board. “I was so surprised, happy, and honored that somebody presented me with this honor, to even think of me in this light,” Maggy says.

Maggy has worked for Nonotuck since 2008, including working very closely on the Supported Decision Making (SDM) pilot project that allows people with disabilities to keep their voice and make decisions with help and support if needed from SDM team members.   Supportive Decision Making is the Alternative to Guardianship.   Maggy has helped many members attain growth in presenting their SDM stories to the National American Disabilities Conference, National Media outlets,  Massachusetts Statehouse Petitions to Legislators to pass the SDM Bill, Legislative Rallies in Rhode Island for SDM in there state, and at Shared Living and Autism Conferences.  Maggy has helped Nonotuck Resource Associates be in the National Spotlight for this project.

About the Award 

William Johnson was a lifelong advocate for those in need of help. Prior to his many years of service as an advocate and service coordinator within the development disabilities field, William established a youth-based coffee shop called the “Harambe.” “Harambe” means “all pull together” in Swahili. He was a person who made substantive, yet often unrecognized, contributions to others. In his honor, the Berkshire Citizens Advisory Board to the Department of Developmental Services has established the annual “William Johnson Unsung Hero Award.”

“(Through shared living) people with a disability experience a real transformation and discover confidence in themselves; they discover their capacity to make choices, and also find a certain liberty and above all their dignity as human beings.”

Caregiving with Love:
Guide for Shared Living Providers

Learn how Nonotuck developed a love-based ideology of care. We started our shared living program as an alternative to group homes for people with disabilities. Instead, Shared Living creates genuine life transformation for people with disabilities, as well as families and communities. The true power of caregiving is found through hospitality, authenticity, and love.

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