Camphill Ghent Honored with National Award for Culture of Diversity and Inclusion

Photo by Catherine Dodge-Smith

Camphill Ghent has received the 2018 Hobart Jackson Cultural Diversity Award from LeadingAge, a national association representing 6,000 nonprofit aging services organizations throughout the United States. Camphill Ghent’s Executive Director, Onat Sanchez-Schwartz, and Board chairperson Jerry Schwartz will accept the award at the LeadingAge national conference in Philadelphia on October 30, 2018.

Camphill Ghent prides itself on being the only integrated assisted living home in New York State serving seniors both with and without intellectual and developmental disabilities ((I/DD). Community inclusion for I/DD individuals is core to Camphill Ghent’s inclusion and nondiscriminatory philosophy and practices.

At Camphill Ghent, seniors with intellectual and developmental disabilities are active participants in all levels of the community’s activities, whether social, recreational, artistic or volunteer. For example, many I/DD residents are members of the hand chimes (similar to handbells) choir, making music alongside residents who are former music teachers and choir enthusiasts. Some residents use their time to give back to other organizations through volunteer projects. Others read and write poetry alongside former professors and songwriters.

Camphill Ghent’s commitment to community membership for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities came in response to the need for appropriate residential communities for seniors with disabilities. This value stemmed from the international Camphill organization. Founded in 1939 and established in North America in 1959, Camphill was in the forefront of meeting the needs of the I/DD population within a cooperative community, where each member contributes his or her own special gifts and talents based on their abilities, rather than disabilities. (September 19, 2018)