November 13, 2014, Harrisburg – Scranton artist Bill Teitsworth was recognized by PAR (Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability) as recipient of its Direct Support Professional of the Year Award for his 40+ years of outstanding dedication to the support of individuals with intellectual disability and/or autism. Mr. Teitsworth was honored as part of PAR’s 2014 Solutions Conference in Harrisburg this week, an event which drew over 450 participants.
“This award honors a direct care staff person employed by a PAR member organization who has shown extraordinary determination and success in empowering individuals with intellectual disability or autism to lead fulfilling and enriching lives,” explained Kathy Brown-McHale, CEO of SPIN, Inc. and Vice Chair of PAR’s Board of Directors.
This honor was bestowed upon Mr. Teitsworth for bringing his love for the arts to the individuals he serves. Early in his career, Teitsworth realized the need for a creative outlet for the people with disabilities he supported, and recognized their unlimited potential for developing artistic talent. He decided to share his love of the arts with the people he served by creating, teaching, and maintaining classes in the fine arts for individuals who may have never had the opportunity to express themselves creatively.
Not only did he create and teach art classes, but he helped his students achieve full integration into the local art community through shows at local Scranton art galleries. He now is the lead coordinator for Keystone Community Resources’ Artworks Gallery and Studio, a program that would not exist without him. Through this program, Keystone’s artists have received recognition at the local, state and national levels. One of Teitsworth’s students, Ethan Gerber, was the recipient of PAR’s Everyday Images Award in 2013. Many of his other students continue to find their voices through the creation and sharing of their artwork.
Mr. Teitsworth and his fellow 2014 awards recipients exemplify the theme of this year’s conference, “From caring comes courage.”
Pennsylvania Advocacy and Resources for Autism and Intellectual Disability (PAR) is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to strengthening the capacity of its membership to provide person-centered services to Pennsylvanians with intellectual disability and/or autism. PAR member organizations support over 50,000 individuals with intellectual disability as well as over 8,000 people with autism in over 8,400 locations in the Commonwealth. For more information, visit www.par.net.