Ajith is a soft-spoken tenth grade student at the Pamela Martinez Matriculation School, whose gentle and helpful spirit and articulate ability in language have helped fellow Pathway students, staff, and visitors. After his father died when he was six years old, Ajith joined Pathway, along with his younger brother Balaji, who is now in the seventh grade. Ajith’s top subjects in school are English, math, and science, and his aim is to become a marine engineer. Ajith is grateful to Pathway for being a wholesome and good educational facility and for giving him shelter and the opportunity to learn. A serious and responsible young man, Ajith is a quiet leader and example, and his influence will be missed after his graduation from Pathway.
It was a day of celebration, filled with expectation and excitement, as young men and women and children with disabilities gathered from different parts of Chennai and the Kanchipuram District. All assembled in the “Southern Crown,” a splendidly-decorated, spacious hall at the GRT Grand, a popular five-star hotel, which was the event’s hospitality partner. Many of the participants, as well as their parents, had never seen such grandeur, and were proud to assemble to honor more than two hundred men and women with disabilities from throughout the region. This venue was selected to show and to honor talents, hard work, and abilities, and was organized by Pathway to give awards to those who demonstrated great promise despite challenges.
Pathway’s team, consisting of Sudha Subramaniam, Chandra Prasad and Dhuli Patnaik, made extensive visits to various organizations and institutions to evaluate the performance of youth in various vocational areas. After careful and meticulous study, selections were made for awards in three areas: first, individual (those showing mastery for particular vocation independently), second, group (Group who have excelled in a vocation in a factory or industrial assembly line) , and third, persons who had achieved open employment and successful mainstreaming. The group awards were called the Pathway Sabin Vocational Excellence Award given in honor of Sabin Children’s Foundation, San Diego and its Chairman Gary Sabin. The individual awards were named after benefactor Pamela Martinez of Capistrano Beach, California. Sixty-five such awards were presented by Mrs. B. Valarmathi, Honorable Minister for Social Welfare and NMP Govt. of Tamil Nadu, with P Sivasankar, Principal Secretary to Government Department of Differently Abled, Dr. K Manivasan, State Commissioner for the Differently Abled, and R Santhanam, formerly a Member of the Central Administrative Tribunal.
Dr. Prasad described the mission and services provided by Pathway and read messages from both Gary Sabin and Pamela Martinez. The event was well conceived and organized by president Sudha Subramaniam. Four women were recognized for rendering great services for the disabled. Chandra Prasad, Trustee, proposed a vote of thanks. The event was attended by many distinguished guests and was well covered by the press and electronic media. Attendees were treated to mouth-watering delicacies following the ceremony.
Message from Gary Sabin, Sabin Children’s Foundation, San Diego:
Dear Pathway Friends and distinguished guests – I am delighted to send you sincere Merry Christmas wishes and warm season’s greetings all the way from San Diego, California. I very much wish I could be there in person with you tonight to present the Sabin Vocational Excellence awards. I hope to pay you a visit soon. In the meantime, please know that’s I am so proud of the special young people who will be honored tonight for their excellence and hard work. You deserve this award. Please accept my heartfelt congratulations for you spectacular achievements. I have been following your wonderful progress through our dear friend, Dr. Prasad, and through others who have recently visited your facilities in Chennai. You are terrific!