AMIB proudly presents this year’s Cochran Award to Virginia, an individual who made ‘notable strides in self-advocacy, independence and community integration’. In September 2018, Virginia joined our community, moving in with us after living with her mom. Initially, there were concerns from her family about the transition, doubting her ability to adjust. However, Virginia not only adapted seamlessly but also flourished in her new environment, showcasing remarkable independence and an eagerness to handle tasks on her own.

Her growth is evident in the way she has expanded her daily living skills, finding joy in dressing herself and styling her hair. Beyond personal care, Virginia actively contributes to the household by taking on responsibilities such as washing dishes, cleaning tables after dinner, and participating in meal planning, cooking, and baking. Her enthusiasm extends to holiday decorations, where she willingly assists staff in creating and putting up festive displays.
Virginia’s helpful nature has evolved to the point where she now serves as a mentor for new arrivals. Going the extra mile, she ensures their smooth integration, offering a warm welcome and taking care to remind them of essentials like jackets for outings and necessary funds for trips. Additionally, she actively advocates for others during food shopping, ensuring the lists include items everyone enjoys, especially those who may struggle to communicate their preferences.

Recently, Virginia achieved another milestone by securing a spot in a competitive job training program. Facing multiple candidates for a single position, she diligently prepared for the interview with staff, delivering an impressive performance that resulted in her successful appointment.

Over the past five years at AMIB, Virginia’s journey has been marked by tremendous personal growth. Observing her gain confidence and take pride in her accomplishments has been a joy for our community. Virginia’s unwavering strength and determination in pursuing her goals have not gone unnoticed. Congratulations Viriginia, on your well-deserved recognition!