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Recognitions in honor of Disability Awareness Month


In honor of this month’s designation as “Disability Awareness Month,” the Mission Viejo Diversity + Inclusion Task Force recognized an individual, business and organization that provide exceptional services for people with disabilities. 

The recognition, which took place on October 18, was based on a new program designed to praise those who go above and beyond in our community. The honorees were based on nominations sought last month. 

Becky Heinzen was feted for her tremendous efforts with students in our community. She worked as a disability teacher in the Saddleback Valley School District for more than four decades before retiring due to health reasons. During her tenure, she volunteered for programs like Special Olympics and multiple field trips over the years. A compassionate and proactive teacher, Becky was known for sharing information about current affairs with her students, which helped them learn about things happening around the world.   

Braille Institute was honored for its work in supporting people with vision loss. This nonprofit organization offers a bevy of free programs, classes and services serving thousands of students of all ages -- helping to demonstrate that vision rehabilitation is a beginning; not an end. Braille Institute serves people throughout Orange County including Mission Viejo.  

Ralphs grocery store on Marguerite and La Paz was recognized for its commitment to hiring people with disabilities. Ralphs employs men and women with all kinds of abilities. Multiple locations across Orange County hire folks within the disabled community, but this Mission Viejo store was honored for the compassion and empathy shown by co-workers and the store’s efforts in giving people with disabilities the opportunity to be employed, gain confidence, and financial independence.  

Established in 2020, the Mission Viejo Diversity + Inclusion Task Force consists of local volunteers who work to promote diversity and inclusion within Mission Viejo.   

For more information, contact diversity@cityofmissionviejo.org or 949-470-3061.  

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