Marriott Celebrates Disability Awareness

Young people with disabilities and their employers are taking center stage this month as the Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities honors exceptional accomplishments in five cities across the country.

“Each year we mark National Disability Employment Awareness Month by paying tribute to the individuals and organizations that are shattering the stereotypes about hiring the disabled,” says Richard Marriott, Chairman of the Board for the Marriott Foundation and Host Marriott Corporation. “We’re delighted that in addition to honorees, mayors and school superintendents will join us in several cities as we celebrate our Bridges program.” The program is offered in Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, Atlanta, San Francisco, and the Washington, D.C. area.

The “Bridges…from school to work” program has matched 5,500 high school seniors with disabilities to paid employment since its founding by the Marriott Foundation 13 years ago. More than 1,500 organizations participate, including UPS, Coca-Cola and the IRS.

Richard Marriott will present awards in the following five cities:

Philadelphia: October 1, 2002:


¤ Arlette Archangel, Youth Achievement Award. Arlette has received high marks for her professionalism at the PennDot Drivers’ License Center, where she takes license photos and maintains the camera equipment ¤ Wawa Food Markets, Employer of the Year Award. This convenience store has given seven Bridges students diverse positions ranging from running the cash register to stocking shelves ¤ Crescent Iron Works, Small Business Award. This steel manufacturing company treats employees as part of the family. Motivated Bridges students progress from welding to designing plans for such contracts as the Eagles football stadium ¤ Bill Montgomery, Leadership Award. In addition to employing six Bridges students at Riverfront Fishtown Kensington CDC, Montgomery has encouraged business, civic and political leaders to get involved with the program.

Chicago: October 15, 2002:

¤ Zachariah Schenkel, Youth Achievement Award. Despite no prior work experience, Zachariah is now one of the best new employees at his neighborhood Jewel-Osco store ¤ Crate & Barrel, Employer of the Year Award. Three Bridges students were hired for seasonal positions last year. Two have since expanded their employment to 30 hours a week thanks to support from Crate & Barrel’s manager and Bridges supervisor ¤ Wilkinson Studios, Small Business Award. The president of the business tailored jobs to meet the needs of two Bridges students with severe physical disabilities and helped them overcome difficulties with transportation. She has also actively promoted the Bridges programs to other companies.

Los Angeles: October 23, 2002:

¤ Guadalupe Varela, Youth Achievement Award. Guadalupe’s extraordinary personality enabled her to get a full-time position at the Long Beach Aquarium, despite transportation obstacles that require her to take two buses and walk four blocks—on crutches ¤ The Los Angeles Dodgers, Employer of the Year Award. Last season, two Bridges students served as ushers and ticket takers at Dodger Stadium; this season there are 19. The supervisor attributes this dramatic increase to the remarkable “zeal and high caliber” of Bridges’ candidates ¤ El Tapatio Markets, Small Business Award. Seven students this year and five last year, have been hired by this store in Watts to handle all aspects of its operation ¤ Alfonzo Dave, Jr., Leadership Award. Mr. Dave, the recently-retired division chief of the Employment Development Department, has for many years hired Bridges students, introduced Bridges to industry leaders, secured funding and promoted the program to city and county officials.

San Francisco: October 24, 2002: 

¤ Rory White, Youth Achievement Award. Rory has been excelling at Safeway since he took the initiative to get a job there two year ago. Recently promoted to Bakery Apprentice, his manager says Rory is one of the top employees and is counted on for his effectiveness and accuracy ¤ Starbucks Coffee, Employer of the Year Award. During the past 18 months, eight Bridges students have been hired at three stores. In addition, jobs have been arranged in new locations as students have relocated for college and other reasons. Starbucks flexible work environment has bolstered students’ self-esteem, guided them toward success and established mentor relationships with caring adults ¤ Janet Woo and Betty Quach, Leadership Awards. These Bank of America employees have arranged countless interviews in a wide range of departments resulting in more than 12 placements for Bridges students. Their ongoing support for the program includes serving on the Business Advisory Council, posting all entry-level positions, and following-up with supervisors to ensure new hires progress in their jobs.

Atlanta: October 29, 2002:

¤ Jamie Greenwood, Youth Achievement Award, DeKalb County Public Schools. Thanks to persistence in finding the right match, Jamie has evolved from a quiet, introverted student to a confident, person with good interpersonal skills while working full-time at Riverside Academy, a day care center ¤ Hector Rodriquez, Youth Achievement Award, Atlanta Public Schools. Hector, who works as a steward at the Four Seasons Hotel, is a determined worker who showed promise early on when he received the vocational student of the year award from his high school. He is the first Hispanic student in Atlanta to win the Bridges award ¤ Kmart, Employer of the Year Award. In the past two years, Kmart has employed 16 Bridges students and ensured their success by providing training opportunities. Managers also let students use their facilities for special fundraising events ¤ Julie Tucker, Leadership Award. In addition to being an active member of the Business Advisory Council, Julie has secured four jobs for students in less than a year. She continues to find opportunities where she works (United Parcel Service) and has helped with training classes, sponsored a job-shadow day and organized tours of UPS.

The Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities ( was established in 1989 by the family of J. Willard Marriott to foster the employment of people with disabilities. Bridges is supported in part by grants from the U.S. Department of Education (Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services) and the U.S. Department of Labor (Employment and Training Administration).