The College of Charleston REACH Program will honor Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg during a ceremony on April 24, 2018.

John Tecklenburg

John Tecklenburg

Mayor Tecklenburg will be awarded the Director’s Award during REACH’s annual End of Year Celebration being held in the Stern Center Ballroom beginning at 9:30 a.m.

The mayor was selected as this year’s recipient of the Director’s Award because of the actions he has taken throughout the year to increase awareness of inclusion in post-secondary education at not only the College of Charleston, but also in the local community and beyond.

Under Tecklenburg’s direction, the City of Charleston sponsored the Inclusion Summit in February 2017, attended by various companies, service providers, and persons with intellectual disabilities, where employers and subject-matter experts explored ways to enhance employment opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities. He also re-established the City Commission on Disability Issues in March of 2017, and gave the official start to the 2016 Gavalas-Kolenko Foundation James Island Connector Bridge Run, which raises funds for college scholarships for students with disabilities.

On December 3, 2017, Mayor Tecklenburg recognized the REACH Program’s executive director with a proclamation declaring Edie Cusack Day in conjunction with the International Day for Persons with Disabilities. At the start of April, he also honored the REACH Program with a World Autism Awareness Day proclamation to correspond with the global event. Through these acts, he has helped highlight the REACH Program’s ideals of full inclusion and self-determination, both on campus and in the local community.

Previous award recipients include Donald Bailey, founder of College Transition Connection, the organization that provided the original grant funding for the REACH Program; former College of Charleston President P. George Benson, who was president during the REACH Program’s inception and has been a tireless advocate for both the Program and full inclusion; and Kelly Owen, a professor at the College of Charleston who has gone above and beyond to ensure an inclusive, quality education for students with and without disabilities.

The REACH Program at the College of Charleston is a four-year, fully inclusive certificate program for students with mild intellectual disabilities. The program provides students with an education that allows them to explore and realize their potential. REACH promotes academics, social skill development, independent living skills, and career development.