Toward Maximum Independence Honors Outstanding Individuals
Updated: May 14, 2019
Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) had the privilege of honoring several outstanding individuals at our Transforming Lives Gala on September 8, 2018 at the Lafayette Hotel in San Diego. It was an unforgettable evening to benefit children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Outstanding Resource Family: Juan Arguello and Judith Solano
(TMI Executive Director Rachel Harris, Juan Arguello, Judith Solano and TMI Board President Bryan Shull)
Juan Arguello and Judith Solano have been with TMI since December 2016. They have had two resource children (formerly termed foster children) with developmental disabilities in their home, and have made a huge impact in both of their lives! From the first day they became resource parents, Juan and Judith have been absolutely amazing with the children. The family sees the children as their very own, and go out of their way to enrich the lives of the children in their care.
(Juan and Judith)
In April 2018, Juan and Judith adopted their first resource child placed in their home, and are now in the process of adopting their second TMI resource child. Not only are Juan and Judith very strong advocates, they also go out of their way to make sure their kids receive all supplemental therapies and services that will benefit their lives for years to come. From trips to the coast, parks, beaches, amusement parks and museums, to actively volunteering in school events and family outings, Juan and Judith make sure that the girls are included in every single event. Next year, Juan and Judith are planning to take the girls to Costa Rica to meet their extended family.
From the bottom of our hearts, we want to say, “Juan and Judith, thank you for opening your home and your hearts!"
Outstanding Supported Living Staff: Tommie Ruffino
(TMI Board President Bryan Shull, Tommie Ruffino, TMI Executive Director Rachel Harris, TMI Supported Employment Director Marcus Byrd and TMI Associate Executive Director Jessie Campbell)
Thomas "Tommie" Ruffino has been a dedicated TMI employee for more than 27 years. He has provided services to several Supported Living clients during his time with TMI as a live-in staff. Tommie has lived with TMI’s Supported Living client, Clay, for five years, and has provided services to him for 11 years. Prior to moving in with Clay, Tommie was Blaise's roommate for six years. Sadly, Blaise passed away in December 2017. Tommie also previously cared for Ollie for 16 years until Ollie also sadly passed away.
(Tommie and Ollie)
Tommie is very dedicated to the clients he works with and TMI. He has built trusting relationships with his clients, other support staff, supervisors and San Diego Regional Center. Tommie truly cares about the clients he supports and gives them 110% every day and that is why he was honored as TMI’s Outstanding Supported Living Staff. Thank you for your service and dedication, Tommie!
Outstanding Employment Solutions Client: Jamie Young
(TMI Supported Employment Director Marcus Byrd, Jamie Young, TMI Executive Director Rachel Harris, TMI Board President Bryan Shull and TMI Associate Executive Jessie Campbell)
Jamie Young first began receiving TMI Job Coach services when she was first hired on April 6, 2006 as a Courtesy Clerk at VONS in Pacific Beach twelve years ago! She has excellent customer service skills. There are many repeat customers to the store because of the conversations they have had with Jamie while she bagged their groceries or helped them out on the sales floor.
One day while on cart duty in the store parking lot, Jamie was summoned by a customer that seemed to be in distress. Jamie kept her cool and informed the store managers, who in turn called 911. It turned out the customer was having a stroke. Jamie’s quick thinking and calmness under pressure were key in getting the customer the care and treatment that ultimately saved his life.
(Jamie working at Vons)
Jamie helps customers and keeps her Job Coach informed with regards to scheduling and remembering upcoming vacations and days off. Jamie is a star and a real asset to Vons! TMI is honored to present Jamie as this year’s TMI Employment Solutions Outstanding Client Award.
These amazing individuals are a reflection of the work TMI is doing to transform lives each and every day. Congratulations to you all!
Toward Maximum Independence (TMI) has been transforming the lives of children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities since 1981 and those who are deaf and hard of hearing since 2000. Like all of us, our clients are born with hopes, dreams and the drive to contribute to society. TMI strives to help our clients to realize their hopes and dreams by providing Employment Solutions, Community Living Services and Family Support Services throughout San Diego, Riverside and Imperial Counties.