Copy of EXHIBITION

Jill Hrinda-Patten
Jill Hrinda-PattenExecutive Director
Jill, Founder and Executive Director of Mission Empower, lives with her husband, Kirk Patten, of 24 years and her Son Rodolfo, Rudy, 11 years old. Kirk and Jill went to Guatemala in 2007 to adopt their wonderful son, Rudy. Jill has significant disabilities herself, and she owes her success in life to her parents having high expectations of her and to being included at school completely starting at sixth grade.

Jill brought together other parents and advocates with and without disabilities to form Mission Empower in December, 2007. “We all new that there was a need to support families and students to understand and advocate for true inclusion in school and the community”, Jill said. “Kids were still segregated like I was in the 70’s and 80’s; we had to do something about that!” And thus Mission Empower was born. We formed because of the passion of a small group of committed volunteers working long hours with no to little pay.

<strong>Curtis Jones Jr.</strong>
Curtis Jones Jr.Assistant Director / Director of Training & Leadership Development
Curtis is a graduate of Mercyhurst Prep High School and Thiel College with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a minor in Theological Studies. Curtis is the oldest of 14 children and is married and has 4 children of his own. He serves the local community in a variety of ways from political, social, and religious sectors. He has worked in the area of social services specifically with youth for over 15 years.

He has worked as a staff member in residential treatment facility, a TSS worker, an Alternative Education Instructor, and has supervised several programs related to youth development. Curtis has also served as a Youth Pastor and is currently coaching high school track and football. Curtis has and will continue to dedicate himself to empowering people and improving the community that we live in.

<strong>Harriet Langer-Williamson</strong>
Harriet Langer-WilliamsonDirector of Family Support & Advocacy
Harriet is the parent of seven children. Six of them have or did have IEP’s for school. She enjoys helping parents/families get the best education for their child/children. “Many times an extra set of eyes and thoughts can help develop great educational IEP’s,” says Harriet.
<strong>Linda Jarzynka</strong>
Linda JarzynkaAccountant
Linda was born and raised in Harborcreek and has spent all of her life in this area. She has been employed full time for Erie County in the Department of Human Services, Office of Mental Health/Intellectual Disabilities, as the HealthChoices fiscal officer since 2008. This position has opened her eyes to the many special needs of our community, both in physical/intellectual disabilities and mental health, and the importance of ensuring that all individuals have a chance to succeed in life. Her work at Mission Empower takes place behind the scenes, but still allows her to be a small part of all of the exciting and growing programs being offered to assist those with disabilities.
<strong>Alan Dunfee</strong>
Alan DunfeeDirector of Mission Employment
Alan Dunfee has worked with persons with disabilities of all types for almost twenty years. Alan has a background in sales and marketing, business management and the Americans with Disability Act. Alan also has been the Director of a federal program to provide independent living services for six counties in northwestern PA providing, Skills Training, Peer Counseling, Advocacy, Nursing Home Transition and housing.

Alan has been on many advisory committees over the years, such as, the Mayors Disabilities Advisory Committee for the City of Erie, The Disability Advisory Committee for Representative Phil English and Disability Advisory Committee for IU 5. Alan has worked on legislation in Harrisburg and Washington D.C. where he worked to advance the rights and roles of individual with disabilities in all aspects of inclusion, community, work, housing and life. Alan is a person with a disability and the proud father of twins Liam and Ella. Alan has lived and worked in the Erie area for most of his life.

<strong>Lincoln Jamison</strong>
Lincoln JamisonYouth ENVISION Connector
Lincoln is a 2005 graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor’s degree in communication studies, and a minor in history. He has worked with adults with disabilities before as a skills trainer and peer counselor. He brings over 19 years of personal experience living with a disability to the table for Mission Empower. Having acquired a spinal cord injury at the age of 14 he has transitioned from high school to college to the workforce successfully, and continues to serve the community in other capacities.

He grew up in Scottdale, Pennsylvania and currently lives in Erie. Active in his community and alma mater, Lincoln serves as a volunteer assistant coach for Edinboro University’s wheelchair basketball team. Along with his dedication to Edinboro University he serves on the Disability Concerns Committee for the Western Pennsylvania United Methodist Conference and on the Scottdale Parks Commission serving to improve the accessibility of parks to persons with disabilities in his hometown. His motivation for empowerment and equality for those with disabilities stems from his personal history with disability, and the desire to see every person treated as equals.

<strong>Joseph Weber</strong>
Joseph WeberWeb Consultant
Joe is a recent graduate of Allegheny College with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Science and Studio Art (double major). He was inspired to create a successful program those who have disabilities during college when he led a chapter of Best Buddies International. Now was the youth program coordinator (also known as Youth ENVISION) at Mission Empower, focusing on developing a two-pronged Transition Success Pilot Program utilizing best practices of self-advocacy / determination and building social capital of youth ages 14-18 in Erie County.
<strong>Emily Dollemore</strong>
Emily DollemoreAmeriCorps VISTA
Emily is a recent graduate of Mercyhurst University with a bachelor of arts in Russian Studies. During her final two years of study, she tutored fellow students taking Russian language courses, spent a semester abroad in St. Petersburg, and worked in Mercyhurst’s CREATE program with youth on the autism spectrum to build independence and assess college readiness. Herself having experience with disabilities of her own, and keenly interested in strengthening Erie County’s diverse community, she is delighted to be the coordinator of Mission Empower’s Transition Success program, focusing on strengthening its practices of encouraging inclusion and self-advocacy among youth ages 14 to 18.