Local resident wins HMEA Advocacy Award

Pat Lynch1

by Jamie Chase Galvin

On October 12, Sterling resident Patricia Lynch was awarded the 2017 Advocacy Award for her extensive and tireless work with Horace Mann Educational Associates (HMEA). Founded in 1982, HMEA has a long history of providing services for children and adults with developmental disabilities at school, work, home, and in the community.

Lynch, who has worked with HMEA for 10 years and currently serves as the Program Coordinator for the Intensive Flexible Family Support Program, was recognized at an awards ceremony that recognized her unwavering support in helping secure a Habitat for Humanity home for a family with seven children, four of whom have mobility challenges, not adequately addressed by their housing situation. Lynch helped the family to apply for, and secure, a home now being built in Fitchburg.

“The Advocacy Award is given to that employee or a supported individual of HMEA who has contributed significantly to advocating on behalf of others,” said Doug MacPherson, Vice President of Development and Public Relations. “Pat clearly did this on behalf of a family which could not, and did not, have the time or resources to advocate for themselves.”

While humble about the award, Lynch says she’s happy have made a difference in the life of this particular family.

“It was important that I support the family and be with them through all of these steps,” she says.  “English is the second language for the parents, so I wanted to make sure they understood everything. When I told the mother that I was being given this award for helping them she said that I deserve it because I encouraged her when they didn’t think there was any chance of them getting a house and she never would have been able to do it without my help. That made me feel really happy.”

Lynch has a passion for, and has made a career of, supporting and advocating for those around her. Starting with a family child care program she ran in her home for 17 years, she went on to work as an aide in the public schools for a special education classroom. From there, Lynch worked as an Applied Behavior Therapist working with children on the autism spectrum before becoming part of the HMEA family.

For more information on HMEA and Habitat for Humanity, including opportunities to volunteer, visit hmea.org/and ncmhabitat.org/volunteer-2/.

Photo:  Pat Lynch (left) receives HMEA’s 2017 Advocacy Award from Donna Boucher, Senior VP for Adult Services at HMEA.

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