We are proud to inform the AHRC New York City community that eight recipients have been selected by a committee of AHRC New York City leaders to be the recipients of the inaugural Pomegranate Fund Award, in the amount of $2,000.00 each. The Fund was recently established as a tribute to the life’s work of Aikaterini (Katerina) Chatzistyli, Director of Adult Day Services. As you know, her untimely death from coronavirus left a huge void in our leadership team. The award recipients selected are valued and exceptional staff members who have demonstrated the core attributes that Katerina so fervently espoused, and will continue to promote her groundbreaking work in the months and years to come.
Katerina’s outstanding commitment to person-centered practices was a beacon for AHRC NYC for more than 25 years. The award’s name comes from the Greek myth in which Persephone, goddess of vegetation, expels six pomegranate seeds onto the earth to bloom and signal the return of Spring each year. During her time at AHRC NYC, Katerina founded and led a community of practice, called The Pomegranates, which provided rising leaders the opportunity to develop innovative approaches to person-centered thinking, practice, and advocacy. Like the seeds cast from Persephone, the group members provided a source of continual renewal for the organization and many have become talented leaders at AHRC NYC.
The Pomegranate Fund Award is given to staff members who embody the principles of The Pomegranates and whose work and philosophical orientation celebrate and uphold Katerina’s legacy.
The eight recipients have been selected to receive this award because of their demonstrated ability to support and follow the unique path and continued growth of each person with whom they work; to develop community, professional and personal relationships; to support valued social roles and belonging; to advocate for people to discover their voice, rights, and choices; to innovate; to eagerly learn; and most importantly, for their continued growth and contribution to the field of intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The Pomegranate Fund Award began with a generous gift to the AHRC New York City Foundation of seed money from an anonymous donor who wanted to recognize and reward fellow staff members who had stepped forward as AHRC NYC front line heroes during the COVID crisis. The Fund has since received additional generous donations from numerous AHRC NYC staff and Board members, all of whom knew and respected Katerina’s extraordinary vision and efforts to give people with I/DD the life they deserve.
With great admiration here are the June 2020 recipients are: