MARC Spirit Award

Heather Dierberger

It is my pleasure to present the MARC Spirit Award to Heather Dierberger. Heather is MARC’s HR Coordinator and has been part of the MARC team since May 2019. Heather is a strong advocate in her personal life, she is Vice Chair for Camp Harkness, our state park for people with disabilities, Parent Mentor for CT Family Support Network (CTFSN) former Vice President of Special Education Equity for Kids of CT (SEEK) and Save the Kid. She is also a certified early childhood ed/special ed teacher. Heather has brought this same advocacy and spirit to MARC.


Not only does she excel in her role as HR Coordinator she does so with a positive attitude and collaborative team effort. She is a resource and support to the managers as well as the direct support employees at MARC. She has developed positive collaborations within the community and is always a positive and professional representative of MARC.

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One example of Heather’s commitment to MARC’s mission is the Valued Social Roles training. Over the course of several months Heather trained with the Executive Director of Vantage to learn the Valued Social Roles curriculum. This training curriculum is a great training platform for our employees at MARC in valuing everyone’s role in society and the significance of their role within MARC and in working with individuals with DD/ID. This past year she led the efforts to bring this training to MARC. She worked with Katherine Hugh and Jenny Bishop to develop the curriculum/training specific to MARC and it is now part of our New Hire Onboarding.


Heather sets a high standard for herself and others in making sure we are always upholding MARC’s mission. She approaches everything she does with enthusiasm always considering the big picture and always in the spirit of MARC’s mission.


It is my honor to present this award to Heather.

Ian Schiro

Ian, your spirit here at MARC daily bring smiles to all people who come in contact or pass by you. We love to see you come in everyday, greet your friends, staff and be so eager to get to your job or volunteer site. You bring such a light and to everyone’s day and we are so excited to present to you the 2021 MARC Spirit Award!

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Lisa Christensen

It should come as no surprise that this year’s recipient of MARC’s Spirit Award is none other than Lisa Christensen. Lisa comes to work each day with infectious enthusiasm and genuine love for the work she does and the people that she supports. This is evident when Lisa is walking in the hallway and she meets people, you can’t help but notice the smile light up on their faces.


We experienced many challenges this past year with construction, moving to a new facility, and providing supports throughout COVID 19. Because Lisa was not able to operate Recreation programs during COVID 19 lock down, she was asked to pack and organize decades worth of records that were stored in our old facility. She carried out this task willingly and efficiently, even setting up the records in our new facility. She will be the first to tell you that technology is not her strong point, but when faced with the challenge of keeping people engaged while we were unable to meet in person, she was instrumental in setting up and delivering virtual services. Lisa has filled gaps in many areas and always went above and beyond to help us to meet our challenges.

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No matter what she is asked to do, Lisa always puts in her best effort to complete the task and do if well. Lisa recognizes the unique opportunities we have with our new facility and is always brainstorming ideas to create a meaningful and fun environment at MARC. We are very fortunate to have an employee like Lisa on our staff. She is an excellent mentor for her co-workers, is loved by the people that she serves, and shows her genuine passion for her work each day. It gives us great pleasure to honor her today.

MARC Self-Advocate Award

MARC Book Club

My name is Lisa Christensen, Director of Adult Recreation, and the moderator of Rec’s Virtual Book Club. Because of this book club, I’ve become a huge fan of Harry Potter. I am here to accept MARC’s Self Advocate Award on behalf of my Muggle friends…Brittany, Christa, Jeremiah, Marie, Meredith, Mike, Stella & Tim. I couldn’t be prouder of this group’s weekly commitment over the past year, the friendships they formed, the discussions we’ve had and the pure connection we have discovered through audio storytelling. Bravo my friends! Keep up the good work!

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George Johnson

George Johnson deserves this award because he is kind, loves to help his housemates with certain tasks, and his staff. George is very motivated. He loves to stay busy, doing chores, yard work and he is very proud to attend work to earn his paycheck. Working at MARC 1 as the group home manager, I’m so honored to be in George’s presence. He’s truly a great person. 

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MARC Volunteer Award

Larry & Joan Gray

In a time when we needed all available resources, Larry and Joan Gray stepped up and began a reading program last year. Participants look forward each week to listen to the fun and exciting stories they provide. They continued the program virtually even when they were on vacation. Joan has expanded her volunteer efforts and has begun teaching an art class. More than that, she provides the supplies when necessary. Some of their recent accomplishments include picture frames made out of puzzle pieces, Mother’s Day cards and bracelets. Larry has served on our board of directors and continues to serve on our development and finance committees. As parents of a young woman with disabilities the Grays are always ready and willing to pitch in and help. They can be seen at all of our fundraising and agency events. We are pleased to present Larry and Joan the Volunteer of the Year award.  

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Vox Church

Our relationship with Vox Church began they stopped by our office and asked if we needed volunteers. That was over 2 years ago. Since then, dozens of their members have done numerous projects for us including painting in our new home at 25 Industrial Park Rd. They continuously help with yardwork and home improvements at our residential program. Through their work they have helped us create beautifully warm and welcoming homes and a building that is more than just a facility but a place that we can be proud of and enjoy coming to every day. We are excited to continue our relationship with them and look forward to working together again. With gratitude we present the Volunteer of the Year award to Vox Church.

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MARC Employer Award

Plastic Design International, Inc.

MARC is very fortunate to have an ever-evolving relationship with PDI. Currently PDI has hired a group supported crew to attend to maintenance twice weekly. PDI also collaboratively works in conjunction with our employment department to allow us additional opportunities to learn throughout the year. Allowing us to train in the manufacturing world as jobs pop-up that PDI can use some additional help with, they call on us. This past year the National Arc awarded us a grant that we are using to enhance a Technology program at MARC. We are very grateful to PDI for allowing us to utilize their company as we literally scanned the complex PDI world using Occulus equipment. Our completed project at PDI allowed MARC to achieve this grant. We are so pleased to award and acknowledge Plastic Design International, Inc. as our Employer of the Year.

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MARC Community Partnership Award

Harry E. Burr

There are not many folks in the Middlesex community that have not heard of Harry E. Burr. Harry is a prominent philanthropist and respected member of our community. He has worked with many nonprofit organizations for over 50 years stewarding their fundraising efforts. As a member of our development committee, Harry brings a wealth of knowledge and experience and commitment to aiding in our growth and furthering our mission. He has been on our President’s Council for over 7 years working with us to expand our employment options for participants and lending his expertise in business management, and corporate relations. Harry fondly describes his memories of getting to know MARC, our staff, and participants. 

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As a longtime resident of Cromwell, he has bumped into us on park outings and joined us at events. Most recently, he reminds us of how he has gotten lost many times in our new and spacious building. Yet, it has given him the opportunity to see the day-to-day activities and programs we provide. We are deeply grateful for his friendship and support and are honored to present the Community Partnership Award to Harry E. Burr  

MARC Employee of the Year Award

Mike Formica & Mike Pastorelle

This year the employment department has the unique pleasure of presenting our annual award for the “Stand out Employment Participant” to not one, but to two participants. Both Michael Pastorelle and Michael Formica are this year’s recipients. Both of these young men are in the Group Supported Employment Department. These gentlemen come to work everyday ready to go to work. The really great attribute that these two shares is their willingness to try new things, to learn new tasks, try new job sites and to take on additional responsibilities.

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Michael Pastorelle and Michael Formica are proud of the work that they do. They are always cheerful and genuinely happy to be going to work every day. Please join us in congratulating both Michael Pastorelle and Michael Formica for an outstanding year of growth and a job well done!

Ca-Shema Dempsey

It is my honor as a Residential Manager to present this year’s employee of the year award to CaShema Dempsey. Ca-Shema is truly a joy to have on our team at MARC IV. She has been employed with MARC Community Resources since 2016 and has experience working in both our Residential Department and Day Services. Ca-Shema is truly a woman of many talents, not only does she give exemplary care of our residents, but she is also very handy with our projects, setting up equipment such as assembling shelves. CaShema also has a good eye for decorating the home inside and out.    

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Cashema always keeps MARC’s mission and vision in her forethought when she assists with planning activities for our residential programs. She was an important member of the Juneteenth Celebration this year that was a great success. CaShema is an important part of the team, she is a leader and provides valuable guidance to the team. On Behalf of MARC Community Resources, I would like to pass on our thanks for your exceptional work and continued success.

Clara Huebenthal

We first met Clara over 5 years ago. Fresh out of college with a degree in digital media and design, she helped us update our website in 2016. Two years later, we were fortunate to bring her on as a permanent employee. She started as the office manager while assisting in our communications and marketing. However, she quickly took over and began managing our social media, email marketing, website and more. But she didn’t stop there. She’s brought us to the next level creating a new digital marketing and social media strategy with fresh new content and dynamic design. 

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She’s started a blog and monthly email communications to our constituency. She’s helped develop a new and soon to be launched branding that represents MARC and our values and provides direction and motivation for our stakeholders. This is just a glimpse of what she does in her role as communication and marketing manager. In fact, she goes far beyond what’s expected of her. She’s taken on the role of internal techie – guiding us along as we venture into virtual services and virtual and augmented reality. She’s our go-to for any and all questions regarding technology, hardware and software. If she doesn’t know something – she will figure it out! She is always motivated and has a drive to learn more and to always be the best at what she does, and to do the best she can for the organization. She serves on, chairs and co-chairs multiple committees and attends just about every event.  If you’re looking for the perfect employee, she checks off all the boxes – Strong Work Ethic, Reliable, Professional, Organized, Trustworthy, Courteous, Upbeat and Positive Personality. Clara is most deserving of the Employee of the Year Award. 

Katherine Hugh

Katherine doesn’t hesitate to go above and beyond every single day with her team and participants. Through COVID, she assisted with an emergency placement of a participant, on her caseload and worked hours on weekends ensuring he was settled and comfortable. During our staffing crisis, Katherine neve hesitates to jump on a van run or work on the floor, to ensure that all participants in her program receive services. Katherine has played a significant role in the day services team and never hesitates to lend a helping hand to her colleagues and supervisor during a crisis. Katherine you are very much appreciated, and MARC is honored to present you with the employee of the year award.

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Kitson Brown

Kitson, it is with great honor that I present you with the Employee of the Year Award. You are hard-working, dedicated, and always willing to assist in whatever is needed. But above all the one thing that makes you stand out is the fact that you are willing to do anything to improve the lives of the individuals in your care. They always come first and foremost with you. Again, it is a great honor to present this award to you. Congratulations.

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