CommunityStars.jpgAs a member organization of the New Jersey Association of Community Providers (NJACP), the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey (the Association) has the privilege each year to honor a brain-injured individual with a NJACP Community Star Award. On May 2, 2005, the NJACP held its Sixth Annual Community Stars Dinner to recognize this year’s 36 award recipients, and the Association gave its nod to Scott Rider. Scott sustained a traumatic brain injury in a 1991 automobile accident. He remained in a coma for more than six weeks and was paralyzed on his right side. With determination and courage, Scott moved through rehabilitation therapies, relearning how to speak and move. In 1999, Scott achieved his goal of walking on his own with the help of a walker. Today Scott volunteers regularly at the New Jersey Regional Day School, a state-funded special education facility in Jackson, New Jersey. There, he works as teacher’s aide for the Industrial Arts teacher. Each year more than 1000 wooden toys made at the school are donated to children in kindergarten, first and second grades. In addition to his work at the Regional Day School, Scott has been recognized by his town’s local newspaper as “hometown hero” and he also recently received a special proclamation by the Governor of New Jersey recognizing his commitment and hard work in the community. Scott also attends a support group and participates in TREK, an annual recreation program. Those who know Scott are ever aware of his friendly presence and positive attitude. He is truly an inspiration to the students he works with, and serves as unique role model. They look up to him as a person with a disability and find hope and encouragement in Scott’s optimism and life’s achievements. His hard work, determination and positive outlook also make Scott a role model for the brain injury community. For these achievements, leading to and including his recent NJACP Community Star Award, the Association congratulates Scott Rider. Thanks to my friend’s at the Brain Injury Association of New Jersey for passing this along.