Everas STAR Awards Nomination is In!

Everas STAR Awards Nomination is In!

It’s that time of year again, when provider agencies gather to celebrate the successes of the people they support in the community. This year is the 15th Annual NJACP Community Star Awards Dinner, an event that honors people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for their accomplishments as they live and work in communities throughout New Jersey. Everas has participated in the event since its inception, and it is one of the most highly anticipated evenings and highlights of our year. No one – people who have developmental disabilities, their friends, family and support providers – leave this event without a smile on their face.

This year Everas is proud to nominate William “Bill” Barkhorn to be recognized as an NJADCP Community Star.

William Barkhorn, known as Bill to his friends and family, was born in 1952. Due to prenatal complications, Bill was born with intellectual and developmental disabilities and blindness. Bill lived with his family growing up, however at the age of 23, he moved to Johnstone Training Center where he resided for twelve years. Bill moved out of Johnstone in 1987, just a few years before the State of New Jersey made the final decision to shut down the institution and support the people living there through community based services. This was a time of new beginnings for Bill and many of the people he came to know while living there. Bill moved to his new home in Jersey City, where he continues to live today.

Bill lives a full life in his home and community of 27 years. He lives with five housemates, several of whom have also lived in this home for more than twenty years, sharing life’s trials and celebrations together. Bill loves to be helpful with household responsibilities, especially baking and cooking. He is a big support to his roommate, Petey, who is deaf-blind. He always makes sure Petey knows what is happening in the house, letting him know it’s time for dinner or time to get ready for the day’s activities. Bill has a passion for music and a favorite pastime is listening to the oldies on the radio. If anyone can’t remember the name of song or artist from that time, Bill is the “go to guy” – he can nearly always name that tune within the first few notes. He is a regular at the local diner, and is known for his favorite order – “Cheeseburger, swap the fries for mashed potatoes”.

Bill is a brother and uncle, and loves to spend time with family as often as possible. He starts talking about the holidays weeks before, and loves to share stories about the time he spent with his family when he comes back to his own home. He likes to go on vacation, and recently took his first trip in an airplane to Florida for some fun in the sun. He has also decided to try his hand at bowling, and joined a league last year. He loves taking walks in the park, attends mass once a month, and looks forward to picking out new music for his collection.

Bill and his housemates underwent a challenging time in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, as their home was flooded. The damage was severe requiring renovations that took nearly four months to complete, and through that time, Bill was clear – he just couldn’t wait to get home.

Everas Community Services, Inc. is happy to provide the support Bill needs to live as independently as possible and participate in the activities that he chooses and enjoys. It is an honor to recognize him as an NJACP Community Star and to celebrate the opportunities that are created for people with developmental disabilities through community based services and supports.