Awards and Recognition Programs
The CORSE Foundation provided this annual award from 2010-2018. The Compass Award has been given to a member of the community who leads by example and has demonstrated a commitment and compassion to children with special needs and their families. This award has been given out at our annual Gala.
L-R: Tracy Johnston, Joe Annese, Deb Annese
The 2018 CORSE Foundation Compass Award was given to Steve and Meghan Helle
Steve and Meghan Helle have been loyal supporters of CORSE for years. They have been extremely generous major sponsors of our annual Golf Tournament and Gala fundraisers. Steve has always reached out to look for unique ways to benefit our CORSE families. This year, they went above and beyond to arrange for CORSE to throw out the first pitch at Fenway Park in July. A few of our CORSE kids got to go out on the mound and watch Maddy Legge successfully throw the first pitch. Not only was that such a touching moment for her family, Steve graciously hosted many other CORSE families throughout the ballpark to provide a wonderful family outing for many kids who made memories to last a lifetime!
(L to R) CORSE President Tracy Johnston, State Representative Joan Meschino, Meghan Helle, Steve Helle
The 2017 CORSE Foundation Compass Award was given to Joseph and Deborah Annese.
Joe and Deb have been avid supporters of CORSE since our inception in 2006. Their love and devotion to their grandchildren spearheaded their overwhelming generosity and meaningful support of our foundation. They are truly the perfect example of how our community has come together to support our children with the greatest of needs. Not only have they given of themselves, but they have brought in so many supporters from near and far to help CORSE become as successful as we are over the past decade. They have championed our annual Golf Tournament, which has become our most successful fundraiser each year. If that’s not enough, they both still continue to find additional ways to help CORSE throughout the year in meaningful ways through their family, friends and business colleagues. It has been our pleasure to meet the myriads of wonderful people they have brought into the CORSE community. We are so blessed to have Joe and Deb as part of our CORSE family. CORSE would not be where it is today without their steadfast dedication and commitment.
(L to R) CORSE President Tracy Johnston, Joe Annese, Deb Annese
The 2016 CORSE Foundation Compass Award honored our Middle School and High School Best Buddies staff. Our Best Buddies integration models provide meaningful opportunities or ALL
students to participate! These programs enhance a caring and
compassionate community that practices tolerance, peer
assistance and acceptance of differences. 5 years ago, Gates and
the High School took this innovative journey with CORSE to create
this new model and it has been an overwhelming success. Both
are immensely popular to ALL students regardless of need; the t
ypical ratio is 60% typically developing, 40% children with special
needs. The programs fill up instantaneously, and we now have
the upsetting task of actually turning away interested students
who are put on wait lists. We are over capacity, which is a
wonderful testament to our community and the values of our kids.
This student quote speaks volumes as to how our students view this opportunity: “While there are professionals all around to assist, the majority of mentoring is between the students and the peer mentors. This program was an eye-opening experience for me. I witnessed an incredible change in one boy. He did not let his disability stop him in the least. At first, he was very hesitant to try anything. But by the end of the program, I don’t think he even recognized himself. He had a smile ear to ear as people cheered him on. I felt as happy as he did. I am so grateful for the experience of working with these kids who have varying degrees of special needs. I was just happy to be with them, and they were happy to be with me. They definitely taught me more than I taught them! The greatest lesson I learned is that everyone has challenges – big or small, physical, emotional or mental, visible to the outside world or hidden from view. This experience has helped me accept my own challenges and realize how lucky I am.”
The 2015 CORSE Foundation Compass Award was given to Mariah Avallone. Mariah has served on EVERY Gala and Golf Committee as a Parent Volunteer since CORSE began, and was instrumental in getting CORSE nominated for the Patriot's $10,000 Myra Kraft MVP Award this past summer. She is one of our hardest workers and staunchest supporters though never looks for any accolades or spotlight. This quiet lady has worn many impressive hats – Harvard Graduate, Lawyer, Teacher - but the most important role she has ever had has been to raise Athena and Aurora. Athena has broken the mold on what she has been able to accomplish despite her many challenges associated with Autism, Prader Willi Syndrome, Smith Magenis Syndrome and Type 1 Diabetes. Aurora is one of the most incredible and mature role models anyone would ever have the privilege to meet. This is ALL because of Mariah’s dedication and commitment. CORSE has been very lucky to have her determination, strong-will, intellect and generosity in our corner since our inception 10 years ago.
(L to R) CORSE President Tracy Johnston, State Representative Jim Cantwell and 2015 Compass Award Winner Marian Avallone
Our 2014 Compass Award winner was Michael Connor, All Stars Program Director, Scituate Recreation Department. Mike was one of our original coaches for our recreation programs. Without his innate ability to work with kids of ALL abilities and have them maximize their full potential in each program, CORSE would not have gotten such positive accolades from the community overall, and this launched us into a very successful recreation provider that serves kids with and without special needs. He had already been such a role model in our community already for typically developing kids, It was a natural fit for him to excel in our customized programming. He is now in his 8th year working with us. Mike treats every kid as an equal athlete, having high expectations of what each can do. It is hard to find that balance of high coaching expectations while creating an environment where all the kids are having the time of their life. Kids love taking Coach Mike’s programs. He develops a special connection with each child and each family. The kids know that they have high expectations to fill but they will enjoy every moment as they accomplish their goals. He is our All-Star Coach that we depend on greatly.
2014 Compass Award Recipient Mike Connor
The theme for 2013 was celebrating our community and the people who have given CORSE a home. The organizations that have programming affiliations with CORSE have made a tremendous difference for our children and their families. These affiliations have been a gift in the lives of many who might not have had the chance elsewhere to achieve. The following organizations were honored: Lauren McGonagle and Elizabeth Walsh, Funtastics, Booth Hill Farm, AccesSport America, Scituate Public Schools, Scituate Recreation Department, Scituate Youth Center, Xplosion Dance Center. To acknowledge all these organizations have done for CORSE, at our 2013 Gala a group of children who have participated in CORSE programming sang "Home" and "What a Wonderful World". Click here to see a video of the children singing.
Our 2012 Compass Award winner was Jennifer Vitelli, Director, Scituate Recreation Department. Jen was instrumental in establishing the very successful partnership between Scituate Recreation and CORSE that enables us, together, to offer high quality recreation programming that allows children with special needs to just feel like any other kid having a great time in a community program.
2012 Compass Award Recipient Jennifer Vitelli
In 2011, our honoree was Dr. Susan E. Martin, former superintendent of Scituate Public Schools for her ongoing dedication to our students and community. She embodies the community spirit of the foundation by assuring that SPS collaborates with CORSE, Scituate Recreation and many other community organizations to assure that our kids receive the best experience possible for the WHOLE child.
2011 Compass Award Recipient Dr. Susan Martin (far right)
with (from left) Gina McClellan, Jennifer O'Neill, Jim Cantwell and Tracy Johnston
In 2010, four high school students were honored for their continued dedication to our CORSE programs and their personal impact on our students: Bridget Burke, Kathleen Burke, Zachary Sogolow, Josh Sogolow. Each of these high school students donated numerous volunteer hours and was the perfect role model not only for students with special needs but for all students in our community. The CORSE participants light up whenever they are around.
From left, Zach Sogolow, Bridget Burke, Kathleen Burke and Josh Sogolow
Scituate High School Graduate Scholarships
Our first scholarship is to be awarded to a senior or post graduate who has received Special Education services through an IEP or 504 plan and is planning to further their education in academic or vocational study. This student should complete the application, demonstrating their commitment, hard work and enthusiasm toward overcoming challenges that they may face on a regular basis. It will be awarded to a student who seeks to contribute to society in a meaningful way through the advancement of their education and skills.
Our second scholarship is to be awarded to a senior who has demonstrated commitment to community service for the CORSE Foundation working with children with special needs as a positive role model. The applicant must have extensive volunteer and/or work hours in a CORSE program(s) and positive evaluations from the program supervisor(s). This student should complete the application by explaining their commitment, responsibilities, impact and overall experiential benefit by working in the program.
Bill Verseckes Award
The CORSE Foundation provided an annual award from 2007 – 2012 to two middle school students in memoriam to Bill Verseckes at the 8th Grade Recognition Awards held at the end of the school year. Mr. Bill Verseckes was the Gates Middle School guidance counselor for 35 years. Nothing made him happier than helping a student pull themselves together and mature into a fine citizen of the Gates School Community. This award was to honor two students for their all-around significant improvements during their two years in the Gates Middle School.