Yesterday, The Arc in Nevada’s Santa Perez was presented with The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities’ (NACDD) Champions of Equal Opportunity (CEO) Award for 2013. Delaware Governor Jack Markell is NACDD’s other CEO Award recipient this year for his work as the Chair of the National Governors Association where he is promoting employment for people with disabilities nationwide.
Perez joined The Arc in Nevada as Self-Advocacy Coordinator in 2012. In her role, she focuses on ensuring self-advocates, or people with disabilities who advocate on their own behalf for their rights, in Nevada have the information and access they need to become engaged in advocacy activities through The Arc in Nevada’s “Growing a Grassroots Movement” project.
Originally from Southern California, Perez earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at California State University, Northridge. She owns her own home and lives with her son Noah and companion Timothy Brown in Las Vegas, Nevada. A true champion of rights for Nevada’s citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), she leads various trainings and workshops and serves as a client advocate. In addition to her position with The Arc in Nevada, Perez currently serves as the Statewide President of People First of Nevada.
“I am so honored to be receiving this award along with Governor Jack Markell. I don’t do what I do for recognition like this – I do it because I love to empower self-advocates. This award inspires me to work harder than ever to help others ensure that their voices are heard in Nevada and across the country,” said Perez.
The Arc in Nevada’s “Growing a Grassroots Advocacy Movement” program is funded by the Nevada Governor’s Council on Developmental Disabilities. Through this program, The Arc of the United States is working to develop long-term capacity for advocates to have input and impact on issues of importance to people with I/DD and their families. This project started in 2011, and marks the first time The Arc has had a statewide presence in Nevada since the mid-nineties.