Sarasota resident receives prestigious statewide honor

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TALLAHASSEE, FL. - Sarasota resident Korinne Kaliher received the fourth annual Idelio Valdes Leadership and Advocacy award during Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day in Tallahassee.

Governor Rick Scott presented the award to Kaliher, who was honored for her exemplary personal achievements and her efforts in promoting disability awareness throughout her community.

Named in honor of Idelio Valdes – a South Florida resident, member of the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC) and self-advocate who passed away in November 2009 – the award was first presented in 2010 to Broward disabilities advocate Frank Shalett. In 2011, Jacksonville resident Kara Tucker received the award, and in 2012 Ocala resident Thomas J. Moon received the award during Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day, an annual event that serves as a forum to generate awareness and provide information about the value and importance of inclusion and services for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Kaliher, a student at the Academy for Community Transition at Oak Park in Sarasota, is a member of the Developmental Disabilities Committee of the Community Alliance of Sarasota County, and has spoken on disability awareness issues to the Girl Scouts of Gulf Coast Florida and the Home Depot store in Sarasota.

“Korinne has a positive outlook and is always encouraging people with disabilities to get out in the community and become active, participating members of society,” said FDDC Chair Kathy McAllister. “She believes in making the world a better place and sharing her message of valuing and accepting persons with disabilities, emphasizing one's ability rather than their disability. She has found her niche as a public speaker and has a wonderful message to share with everyone she meets.”

The FDDC is a non-profit organization charged with advocating and promoting meaningful participation in all aspects of life for Floridians with developmental disabilities.