Department of Neighborhoods
Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities

Mayor's Disability Advocate of the Year Awards - 2012



Mayor Parker Presents Disability Advocate of
the Year Awards 2012

Four Houstonians Honored for Exceptional Service to Members of
the Disability Community


October 30, 2012 -- Houston Mayor Annise Parker, joined by City Council member Wanda Adams, presented the Mayor’s Disability Advocate of the Year Award 2012 to four citizens, in recognition of exceptional volunteer service benefiting persons with disabilities. The awards were presented in City Hall Council chambers before an audience made up of members of the disability community, social service agency representatives and other citizens.


"We honor these advocates for their tireless dedication to serving citizens with disabilities," said Mayor Parker. "They are not only providing this community with the services they need but also making us more aware of the challenges they face everyday and what we can do to help."


The award recipients are as follows:


Community Advocate of the Year (Advocate with a disability)
Thelma Scott

Thelma Scott is the founder of Barbara Jordan Endeavors Corporation. She has worked tirelessly to make a positive difference in the lives of young people with disabilities through scholarships, transition assistance and support services, enabling them to become self-sufficient, discover their maximum potential and achieve their academic goals. In 2012, Barbara Jordan Endeavors was one of only two Texas entities invited to attend the prestigious White House Champion of Change STEM Awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.


Community Advocate of the Year (Advocate who does not have a disability)
Lynne Cleveland

Lynne Cleveland is a tireless volunteer advocate for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Ms. Cleveland is well known on the local, state and national levels for her service as Chair of the Board of Directors of the MHMRA of Harris County, President of the Board of Directors for the ARC Greater Houston, President of the ARC of Texas and President of the ARC of the United States. Ms. Cleveland has made immeasurable contributions to legislation related to persons with mental health and intellectual disabilities and is constantly seeking to improve the lives of those who cannot speak for themselves.


Community Advocate of the Year – Youth Advocate
Joseph Hernandez

Joseph Hernandez is an active senior at Strake Jesuit High School and an Eagle Scout. He manages to find time in his busy schedule to volunteer for The ARC of Greater Houston, assisting with the Candy Cane Ball and Camp for Champions, which benefit children and adults with cognitive, intellectual and developmental disabilities. He was named “Best Volunteer for the Camp Session,” for going above and beyond his required duties to ensure that campers had a wonderful time at the 2012 Camp for Champions.


Community Advocate of the Year – Posthumous Award
Anthony “Tony” Koosis

Anthony “Tony” Koosis was a faithful 18-year employee and advocate at the Houston Center for Independent Living. As Program Services Director, he helped shape the lives and present a positive perception of people with disabilities in Houston. Tony passed away on November 25, 2011. This well-deserved award honoring Tony’s memory and contributions was accepted by his widow, Ann Koosis.


For more information about the Mayor’s Disability Advocate of the Year Awards, contact the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, a division of the Department of Neighborhoods, at 713.284.1990 or visit