2016 Brighter Futures Awards

Group Website(Above: Magdaline Biawogei, SC; Joe Mangano; Joel Goldberg, CEO; and Jessica Wagaman, Unit Manager)

Quality Progressions is very proud to announce that Victor Croes and the Mangano Family were selected to receive the 2016 Brighter Futures Award for Emotional Achievement from the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services! Victor and the Mangano’s were nominated by Nicholas Mangano’s Supports Coordinator, Magdaline Biawogei, for the honor. Kimberly Cooper and Johnny Cartagena, Supports Coordinators at Quality Progressions, received honorable mention at the event for the Emotional Achievement Award and were nominated by Emily Langan for the award.

Please join us in congratulating Victor Croes, The Mangano Family, Kimberly Cooper and Johnny Cartagena for all of their hard work!

Victor & The Manganos
For Victor Croes and the Mangano family, “It’s All About Community” isn’t just a motto – it’s a way of life. When they saw a need in their community for inclusive and accessible recreational activities, they took action. Victor – a longtime volunteer with the Special Olympics – wanted to give children in Roxborough the same athletic experiences he had growing up. In order to make this happen, he tapped into his community resources.

Two years ago, Victor launched a free softball program for children with disabilities in Roxborough through his local recreational department. He called on neighbors and friends to help organize the program and serve as volunteers. The program was an instant success, which inspired the Roxborough Eagles youth football league to start a free flag football program for children with disabilities in 2015. Victor reached out to the Mangano family during the planning process and encouraged them to sign their son, Nicholas, up for the league. After meeting with Victor, the Mangano family knew that this something their son and community desperately needed and vowed to do whatever they could to help.

The Roxborough Eagles special needs flag football program launched in September 2015 with thirteen athletes ages 6 to 16. Unlike other football programs, the team is non-competitive and does not participate in games. Instead, the team focuses on building important life skills around the game of football. After the success of the flag football team, volunteers sought to transform their local playground: Gorgas Park. The Mangano family – like many of the football team players – frequently visits the park, even though the playground equipment isn’t accessible for children with physical or intellectual disabilities. They’re now working to get an area of the park, located next to Roxborough High School, designed specifically for children with special needs. Mr. Joe Mangano is thrilled at the prospect of having a wheelchair accessible swing at his local park, and says that ‘all playgrounds should have adaptive equipment like Pennypack Park. There’s no reason why any child should be excluded from the playground.”

Kim & Johnny
When Juan began receiving Supports Coordination services from Quality Progressions last year, his life filled with uncertainty. At the age of 49 he found himself homeless, without any natural supports, and facing serious health issues. His parents had suddenly passed away, leaving Juan on his own for the first time in his life. With nowhere to go, he began staying with friends whenever he could. After an unfortunate incident at a homeless shelter, Juan vowed to get his life in order by addressing his physical and mental health. With help and encouragement from his previous and current Supports Coordinators, Kim and Johnny, and Lifesharer, De’Andre, Juan has worked diligently over the last nine months to get his life back-on-track and is doing better than ever.

In order to properly address Juan’s health concerns, Kim needed to help him find safe, permanent housing. This was paramount, as Juan is a diabetic and needs a permanent address in order to attend regular medical appointments and store his insulin. She immediately began sending out referrals to residential providers and completed a Waiver application in hopes of finding Juan a home through Lifesharing. Unfortunately, due to a lack of services, Juan was hospitalized numerous times in order to address kidney failure and depression. During this hectic time, Juan became involved with Bible Way Church and re-dedicated himself to living a healthy, stable life. He also began working on repairing and strengthening his relationship with his children.

Within a few months, Kim’s hard work paid off. Juan was not only accepted into the Consolidated Waiver but had numerous residential providers willing to offer him permanent housing. After touring a few homes, Juan made a great connection with his current Lifesharing provider, De’Andre, and now lives in a neighborhood where he not only feels safe, but feels at home. Living with De’Andre has had a positive impact on Juan’s life. He’s working for DePaul USA as a food truck driver, has consistently managed his sugar levels, has lost over 50lbs thanks to exercising and swimming at the Kroc Center, and is more involved in the community than ever before. Finally, with proper services and supports in place, Juan has established a strong network of friends in the community and is putting his health and wellness first.