Manassas, VA – Andrew Clarke, Director of Community Services at Didlake, Inc, has been named recipient of an award that recognizes individuals whose volunteer efforts have a significant impact on creating opportunities for people with disabilities. The Opportunity’s Champion award was created by the Board of Directors of The Didlake Foundation in 2005 and is awarded only occasionally.
Clarke, who manages community-based programs at Didlake that serve more than 200 people with severe disabilities, was presented the award by Board Chairman Keith Scarborough and Executive Director Betty Dean. Mr. Clarke was nominated for the honor on the basis of his volunteer work for the Foundation, which “goes far above and beyond his professional duties”, according to Mr. Scarborough.
A marathon runner himself, Clarke initiated The Didlake Foundation’s participation as a Charity Partner in the 2009 Marine Corps Marathon. The Foundation Board cited Clarke’s contribution of “literally hundreds of hours of personal time to recruit, train and assist with the fundraising efforts” of each of the 15 runners on the team. With Clarke’s coaching and guidance, 14 of 15 participants completed the marathon and the team raised nearly $15,000.
Mr. Clarke more than doubled his personal fundraising goal for the event and his outreach efforts helped connect 139 new donors to Didlake. Said Clarke, “This award is very special to me – and it is all the more meaningful because it was made possible by the support of people who are my friends and neighbors. Our team overcame a lot of challenges to complete the marathon and meet our fundraising goal – but the people with disabilities who will be helped by our accomplishment face, and overcome, far more difficult challenges each and every day”.
Mr. Clarke is the third person to receive the Opportunity’s Champion Award. Previous recipients were Mr. Nathan Gilbert, Vice President of TFB Wealth Management at The Fauquier Bank, and Mr. Guy Hinkler, Director of Business Development at V2 Systems in Manassas Park.
Didlake, Inc. is a not-for-profit corporation headquartered in Manassas, Virginia. It was founded in 1965 to create opportunities for people with disabilities through services that connect them to employment, education and the community. It provides contract business services for commercial and government customers and has won numerous awards for its facilities maintenance; packaging/ assembly; and administrative services. The organization operates throughout the Washington, D.C. metro area, in the Roanoke Valley and in Greater Hampton Roads. It has approximately 1,200 employees and an annual operating budget approaching $50 million. Didlake, Inc. is licensed by the Commonwealth of Virginia, accredited by CARF and proudly serves the nation through the AbilityOne program. Its partners include the Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services, local Community Services Boards and United Way of the National Capital Area. For more information go to www.didlake.org.