Friday, August 27, 2021

Roosevelt Island Disabled Association President Wendy Hersh Honored By NY State Senator Jose Serrano As 2021 Women Of Distinction - Congrats, It Is Well Deserved

Roosevelt Island's New York State Senator Jose Serrano honored Roosevelt Island resident Wendy Hersh as a 2021 Women Of Distinction.

According to Senator Serrano:

As we celebrate Women's Equality Day, I'm proud to announce Wendy L. Hersh, President of the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association (RIDA), as the 2021 Woman of Distinction for the 29th Senate District.

Each year, the New York State Senate's Woman of Distinction award highlights outstanding women living and working in New York State whose contributions have greatly enriched the quality of life in their communities and beyond.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the scope of RIDA’s work increased significantly over the last several months, not only to include the disabled, but seniors and all those in need within the Roosevelt Island community. Under Ms. Hersh’s leadership, RIDA has addressed food insecurity, providing food and PPE for those at risk. As the pandemic began, Ms. Hersh and her team organized a meal delivery program for RIDA members with food provided by the New York City Department of Education. As they saw a need outside of their membership, they expanded delivery services, and within a few months, more than 180 individuals and families on Roosevelt Island were receiving meal delivery.

In August 2020, RIDA started a food pantry in place of deliveries, providing a week’s worth of fresh produce, meats, dairy, canned goods, and shelf stable food for Roosevelt Island Residents.

You can read more about this year's Woman of Distinction here, and watch the New York State Senate's Virtual Program here.

 Ms. Hersh is a National Certified Rehabilitation Counselor and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. She is a former President and board member of both the Metro chapter of the National Rehabilitation Association and New York State National Rehabilitation Counseling Association. She has been working as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for New York State Education Department, Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) since 2004, and since 2016 as a Senior Rehabilitation Counselor, and is President of the Roosevelt Island Disabled Association. She also oversees a vocational program for kids and young adults at risk in her community.

Ms. Hersh has worked as a Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor for Bailey House, working with individuals with HIV/AIDS. As a Supervisor at ACCES-VR, she specializes in individuals with a wide range of disabilities. She has spearheaded a Downstate Reentry Pilot since 2016 for those involved in the criminal justice system, although she has been working with these individuals since 2009. Her unit at ACCES-VR engages people with disabilities who are incarcerated, prior to their release from prison, as well as those engaged with criminal justice agencies. She works to encourage and motivate them to take advantage of vocational rehabilitation services in order to help prevent recidivism. She created the Brooklyn Reentry Consortium and a resource guide to enable criminal justice agencies to work together more effectively for the success of their clients.

Ms. Hersh received a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology/Psychology from the University of Hartford in 1973 and a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from New York University in 2001.

Ms Hersh spoke with me about the Roosevelt Island Food Pantry operations last May

and the RIDA Disability Fair last July.

Congrats to Wendy Hersh, a Women of Distinction Roosevelt Island can be proud of.