Awards and Recognition 

Earl Walden and Linda Gonzales Awards

The Earl Walden Award for Outstanding Achievement in Rural Advocacy and the Linda Gonzales Award for Outstanding Rural Youth are presented each year at the APRIL Conference.

 

Who was Earl Walden?

In the early days of APRIL, Earl was a great friend and supporter of our new organization. As a colleague who worked at ILRU (Independent Living Research Utilization) in Houston, Earl had a heart as big as Texas and a gift for finding resources or solutions to problems as easy and smooth as his southern drawl. He took APRIL under his wing when we needed an advocate on our side, and when he died suddenly in 1997, we felt his loss greatly. Establishing an award in his honor has been a long-time objective of both APRIL and ILRU. His wife, Betty, joins us each year to present the award.

 

Who is Linda Gonzales?

Linda began her career in Independent Living working at a center in California and later at New Vistas CIL in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Later, through her work as a consultant, she began her life with APRIL. Linda built many strong bridges throughout the IL Community working closely with ILRU, the University of Montana and the University of Kansas, just to name a few. Linda grew the APRIL organization to the successful entity we all benefit from today. For more than 20 years, she was the matriarch of a diverse family of members that span this entire country. When Linda approached Kent State University and the Student Disability Services Office to implement an intern program at the APRIL office – the APRIL Youth Movement was born!

Today, APRIL has adopted 2 youth board positions into the organizational By-Laws; formed the APRIL Youth Steering Committee; and holds APRIL Youth Pre-Conferences and Youth oriented tracts at the annual Conferences.

Through Linda’s efforts, APRIL was a recipient of a Christopher Reeve Foundation grant to bring youth to the APRIL Conference in 2006. APRIL will continue to recruit, mentor, promote and enable youth to become the future advocates and leaders of the Independent Living Movement. It is a great honor to establish this award to recognize and celebrate Linda’s many contributions to the youth movement and Independent Living.

 

Guiding Principles for Nomination:

Nomination Forms are distributed with conference materials which are usually sent out in the early summer prior to that years' conference. Criteria for nominations for these two prestigious awards follow:

 

Earl Walden Award:

Please consider the following Guiding Principles as you make your nomination and explain your reasons for nominating this particular person/organization.

  • Directly assisted persons with disabilities living in Rural America
  • Exhibited a steadfast commitment to the improvement and growth of the Independent Living mission and philosophy;
  • Demonstrated the ability to bridge gaps and/or build strong partnerships among those concerned with improving and strengthening the Independent Living movement;
  • Demonstrated the commitment to improve access to Independent Living by all people eligible;
  • Demonstrated a commitment to broaden their own knowledge base and improve their ability to contribute to the cause;
  • Demonstrated a commitment to implement new and innovative ideas and/or projects in the Independent Living world; and
  • Promotes pride and action in the rural disability community.

 

Linda Gonzales Award:

Please consider the following Guiding Principles as you make your nomination and explain your reasons for nominating this particular person/organization.

  • CIL / SILC is a Member of APRIL
  • Directly assisted youth with disabilities living in Rural America
  • Exhibited a steadfast commitment to the improvement and growth of the Independent Living mission and philosophy;
  • Demonstrated the ability to bridge gaps and/or build strong partnerships among those concerned with improving / strengthening the Independent Living and Youth movement;
  • Demonstrated the commitment to improve access to Independent Living by all people eligible;
  • Demonstrated a commitment to broaden their own knowledge base and improve their ability to contribute to the cause;
  • Demonstrated a commitment to implement new and innovative ideas and/or projects in the Independent Living world; and
  • Promotes pride and action in the rural disability community. 

 

Current: Current:
2010 Earl Walden Award 2010 Linda Gonzales Award
2009 Earl Warden Award 2009 Linda Gonzales Award
2008 Earl Warden Award 2008 Linda Gonzales Award
2007 Earl Warden Award
2006 Earl Warden Award
2005 Earl Warden Award
2004 Earl Warden Award
2003 Earl Warden Award