Patricia Birbiglia, a resident of Bellmore, has received
the 19th Assembly District’s “Women of Distinction” Award for 2012.
The Award pays tribute to the extraordinary efforts made by women to make our
community a safer, better place to live. Birbiglia is
the Director of Transition and Placement Services at Abilities, Inc. at The
Viscardi Center where she has been employed for 30-plus years. She began her career
assisting senior citizens and adults with disabilities in securing competitive
employment and later shifted her efforts to working with the youth community.
Birbiglia is one of the most respected people in the field of transitional services
and has developed, implemented and expanded numerous programs that have
transformed the lives of thousands of individuals with disabilities. They
include PROSPER, a retention
attendance program designed for youth with and without disabilities attending
local high schools who have been identified as at risk of achieving graduation
success as well as a school to work transition program that is utilized by over
20 school districts in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Highly successful, over 80 percent of those students who complete the programs attend college, enroll in vocational
training or secure employment opportunities. The basis of these programs is for
students to gain an understanding of the relevancy of education as it relates
to the world of work.
recent years, a variety of circumstances, including a tragic auto accident and
a fight to survive pancreatic cancer has given Pat a different perspective on
the field she has become a leader, mentor and advocate for. Through her own
permanent disability, Birbiglia knows firsthand that a disability should never hold
someone back from reaching high, realizing dreams and to never give up.
Birbiglia has been a very important and key staff member," said Jessica Swirsky, President and Chief Operating Officer, Abilities, Inc. at The Viscardi Center. "She is deeply
committed to her work, and through her direct efforts, has helped to place
people with disabilities of all ages and levels of employment, as well as
develop and direct our transition/school to work programs which have flourished
under her guidance and support. Despite illness and
trauma in her personal life, she has persevered beyond what many thought was
humanly possible. The respect we all have for her, personally and
professionally, is enormous.”
Birbiglia is an
active member of several professional organizations, including the New York
State Rehabilitation Association’s School Partnership Committee as well as the
Nassau Placement Network (Treasurer), Nassau County Mental Health Association
(Taskforce Executive Member), Schools Administrators/Gang Awareness, LIFT for
Kids and MADD. She also created an organizational-wide Adopt a Family
initiative at The Viscardi Center to support families of adults and children
with disabilities. Have you ever worked with Birbiglia? Tell us in the comments below.
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