It’s a much anticipated annual happening at Living Resources and everyone was excited. Staff and program participants traveled to Columbia-Green Community College from Warren County, Westchester County, and everywhere in between to attend the 2023 Day Services Awards Ceremony.

On this day, participants of our Day Programs and Community Living Program were celebrated for the achievements they have made over the past year and staff were celebrated for their hard work and dedication to the individuals they work with.

The Day Community Opportunities Program chorus started the day with a powerful rendition of Fight Song by Rachel Platten, proclaiming, “This is my fight song / Take back my life song / Prove I’m alright song / My power’s turned on / Starting right now I’ll be strong/ I’ll play my fight song / And I don’t really care if nobody else believes / ‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me!”

With these words echoing in our ears, we celebrated the accomplishments of program participants and their supportive staff members. We heard stories highlighting the strength of the programs – empowering stories of the hard work and determination necessary for individuals to grow and accomplish their self-directed goals. We learned of their efforts to advocate for themselves and each other in the communities in which they live. We were touched by the retelling of times when the individuals were kind and helpful to each other and how staff supported each other and the participants they work with.

The day culminated with the presentation of the prestigious Amanda Rivenburg Rising Star Phoenix Award to this year’s recipient – Mac Weiss. In the presentation, Mac’s ability to give his time and energy to ensure the success of the agency was highlighted, calling to mind another Living Resources rising star, Amanda Rivenburg. Amanda was the Assistant Director of DCOP but sadly, her star set much too soon. On October 6, 2018, she was tragically killed in the Schoharie limousine crash. Mac received this award in Amanda’s memory from both of her parents while recalling her loving spirit, wonderful smile, thoughtful nature, and genuine commitment to her colleagues and program participants.

When the day came to an end, the words the chorus sang had been illuminated. Our staff and individuals are like small boats on the ocean that can send big waves into motion. They show how a single word can make a heart open. Although they might only have one match, they can make an explosion.