Recognizing the achievements of Craig Howard
Each year, MACS (The Maryland Association of Community Services) hosts an Awards Dinner to recognize the achievements of people in the disabilities community in areas including:
- Personal Accomplishments
- Professional Accomplishment
- Volunteer Activities
- Contribution to Community
This year SCI received 5 nominations and ultimately Craig Howard was chosen to receive the award. As a child, Craig was placed in Rosewood Center and in the early 1990’s moved out of the institution to a community alternative living situation. Finding he was not satisfied with his choices and opportunities, he decided to move back with his family. He struggled initially but in response became one of the first Marylanders to receive DDA in-home supports. Eventually Craig elected to move back to a more traditional residential setting but continued to explore options, including Self Directed Services and over the years, regularly calls his team together to meet and review and brainstorm about options. Craig has competitively and successfully been employed at places including Marriott Hotels, Popeye’s foods and Dollar Tree. He currently works out of the BWI airport.
Since 2014, Craig has been a member of Maryland’s self-advocacy group, People on the Go (POG), regularly attending meetings and helping at their 2016 conference. He actively contributes to discussions about many issues effecting people with disabilities, including voting, diversity and training for first responders. As a self-advocate, Craig has accessed services through the offices of Attorney General’s Office, applied to serve as guardian to his mother and accessed legal representation when needed for several personal issues. Craig does not only advocate but also for others. As a system’s advocate, he has spoken at public hearings regarding the need for in home supports as a service model for Marylanders, participated in POG “Stories Of Freedom” event. As part of a successful systems advocacy effort to close institutions, Craig was interviewed and filmed about his experiences in an institution and in 2008 participated in the Rosewood closing rally. Craig has participated in DDA Town Hall meetings about proposed budget cuts and was involved in a forum that met with the then-governor to discuss then newly forming Maryland Department of Disabilities. Craig has also served a term on the SCI Standing Committee. For the past 2 years Craig has served as Chair for the DDA Quality Assurance Committee and was the first person to hold this position who identified themselves as a person with a disability. This year the Committee has amended their charter to state that the chair position is to be held by a person with disabilities/or family member.
As a strong personal and systems advocate, Craig is greatly respected for his valuable perspective and ability to make a difference in the lives of people with disabilities!