Terrie A. Rymer, longtime director of the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago's Legal Advocacy Services program, has been honored with the 2013 Diane Lipton Award for Outstanding Educational Advocacy on Behalf of Children with Disabilities.
The award, which was presented by the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates, Inc. (COPAA) on March 7 in Albuquerque, honors exceptional contributions to the mission of obtaining high-quality educational services for children with disabilities.
Rymer served as director of the Jewish Federation's Legal Advocacy Services program for 23 years, and was instrumental in the development of a community of lawyers, advocates and allied professionals in the Chicago area who are dedicated to ensuring that all children receive a free, appropriate public education. She retired in December 2012.
"Terrie advised, counseled and encouraged countless professionals working with children and families over the decades," said David Rubovits, Jewish Federation's Senior Vice President of Planning. "Her contributions to the lives of people with disabilities-and those who are typically-abled, too-cannot be overstated."
In particular, Rymer is known and respected for her commitment to two particularly vulnerable populations in the special education system: abused and neglected children, and members of the Orthodox Jewish community. According to Howard Sitron, President and CEO of Jewish Child & Family Services, which administers the program for Federation, Rymer recently won a challenging due process hearing in which she not only obtained an appropriate placement and extensive services for the child, but also was able to craft a way for the parents, both of whom have significant mental health disabilities, to participate in the hearing.
A skilled litigator and negotiator, Rymer continues to serve on several community boards, including the Chicago Bar Association's Mental Health and Disability Law Committee, the Illinois State Bar Association's Standing Committee on Mental Health Law, and the Illinois Attorney General's Disability Rights Bureau.
"Jewish Federation is very proud of our Legal Advocacy Services program, and Terrie embodies that program," Rubovits said."Terrie fought for each child like he was her own. She held school districts' feet to the fire and ensured that they fulfilled their obligation to these children and their families.
"She gave them more than help—she also gave them hope."
as posted at JUF News http://www.juf.org/news/local.aspx?id=420287
For Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Chicago's Legal Advocacy Services : http://www.jcfs.org/Legal-Advocacy