VIP Services, located at 811. E. Geneva Street in Elkhorn, has been nominated for an Impact Award from VISIT Lake Geneva for their ongoing efforts to serve adults with disabilities.
VISIT Lake Geneva created the Impact Awards in 1974 to recognize individuals, businesses and non-profits who make a positive, significant impact on life in the community. VIP Services is nominated for The Community Betterment Award, which recognizes non-profit organizations that strive to enhance and improve the quality of life in the Lake Geneva region.
VIP provides a variety of services for adults with disabilities, including countywide transportation options and adult day programming, and they have received local acclaim for their involvement in community service. Area residents who nominated VIP also cited the organization’s vocational programs and their efforts to help those with traumatic brain injuries find sustainable employment and achieve greater independence.
Craig Poshepny, Executive Director of VIP Services, spoke of the award and VIP’s vocational programs in a statement at VIP earlier this week.
“VIP is profoundly grateful for this honor, and we remain dedicated to helping adults with disabilities find meaningful opportunities for employment in the community,” Poshepny said. “Our mission includes helping those with traumatic brain injuries achieve their vocational goals, and we proudly added a TBI survivor to our team in the last year.”
Thomas Hapka, a UW-Whitewater graduate, sustained a life-threatening brain injury shortly after his graduation. He struggled to find employment until he was hired by VIP.
“My injury ended my career and knocked me out of the workforce for several years,” Hapka told a gathering at the campus bookstore. “When I was finally able to look for opportunities again, every company turned me away because of my disability. VIP was the first organization to see value in me and give me a chance.”
Hapka currently serves as a communications assistant, helping VIP with event promotions, press releases, and the creation of social media content. He also recently published a book – “Life Beyond Brain Injury: A Survivor’s Guide” – and he will be the featured speaker at VIP’s observances of Disabled Author’s Day on October 2nd.
Poshepny hopes Hapka’s story will raise awareness about the contributions people with disabilities can make to the community when they are given the opportunity.
“One year ago, Tom was unemployed and being overlooked by hiring managers who could only see his disability,” Poshepny said. “Now he is a valued member of our team and he has written a book that will help fellow brain injury survivors and those caring for them. I think this is a perfect example of the many things TBI survivors can accomplish with the right opportunities and accommodations. That is what VIP works very hard to provide.”
Those interested in learning more about VIP Services are encouraged to visit vipservices-inc.org or call 262.723.4043.