DCI Presents Annual Elizabeth "Sis" Simons Memorial Award

Back Row: Jim Dixon, DCI Board Member; Dennis Crotzer, DCI Board Member; Joe Haines, DCI Board Member; Mike Fernan, DCI; Denise Geyer, DCI; Bill Conrad, DCI Board Member; Irene Davido, DCI;  Jim Prosper, DCI; Abbi Peters, DCI Board Member Front Row: Fran Kuhns, DCI Board Chair; Laura Sypien, Sis Simons Award Recipient; Heidi Thomas, DCI Interim Chief Executive Officer

Back Row: Jim Dixon, DCI Board Member; Dennis Crotzer, DCI Board Member; Joe Haines, DCI Board Member; Mike Fernan, DCI; Denise Geyer, DCI; Bill Conrad, DCI Board Member; Irene Davido, DCI; 
Jim Prosper, DCI; Abbi Peters, DCI Board Member
Front Row: Fran Kuhns, DCI Board Chair; Laura Sypien, Sis Simons Award Recipient; Heidi Thomas, DCI Interim Chief Executive Officer

Dickinson’s Board of Governors has honored Laura Sypien of Coudersport as the 2015 recipient of the Elizabeth “Sis” Simons Memorial Award.  

The award presentation was made at the Dickinson’s annual board meeting on September 23, 2015.  This prestigious honor recognizes a Dickinson Center direct service employee who consistently goes above and beyond in the performance of his/her duties.  Ms. Sypiens selection was based upon her exemplary performance as she consistently met the highest standards of service excellence.  

Laura Sypien began working for Dickinson Center, Inc.’s Recovery Program in March of 2009.  In December of 2009, she also began working part time in the Peer Support Program and transitioned to full time in April of 2011.  The peer support program is a community based adult service designed to serve individuals with a major mental health diagnosis. The peer program is meant to provide hope and inspiration to others that recovery is possible.  Peer Specialists are required to attend an intensive 2 week training course to become certified. Laura has gone beyond that requirement and earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology in December of 2014.

Laura has also taken on some responsibilities in Dickinson Center Inc.’s Crisis Program in Potter County since July of 2013. In addition to her current positions, she recently accepted a Part Time Supervisor position at the Drop In Center in Coudersport, which is known as The Place.
Throughout Laura’s employment, she has initiated several projects which have benefited Dickinson Center, Inc. and the consumers we serve. 

  • Laura served on the Potter County Leadership team. 
  • aura formed collaborative relationships with various human service providers in Potter County as well as the Potter County commissioners.
  •  Laura has spoken publically on the subject of mental illness with the intent to educate community members on the effects of having a mental illness and to reduce the stigma often associated with it.
  •  Laura organized an internal referral fair this past spring to help facilitate more referrals within the programs of DCI and generate more revenue for the company.
  • Laura put together a 5K at Sinnemahoning State Park this past May which was mental health awareness month, again with the intent to educate and generate awareness.
  • aura has been actively promoting the idea to open a Drop In Center for Potter County consumers for the past couple years.  This recently became a reality in August.

Heidi Thomas, Interim Chief Executive Officer states, Laura truly exemplifies what it means to go above and beyond as an employee.  Her contributions to DCI and the Potter County community go beyond the quality service that she provides to consumers daily.  In 2015, she organized a 5k race in Sinnemahoning to promote mental health awareness, planned an organization-wide program fair, and played an integral role in the start-up of a Drop in Center in Potter County.  Laura truly deserves this award, and we’re proud to have her as part of our DCI family.
 
Laura  received a monetary gift, an engraved clock,  and will have her name engraved on the Elizabeth “Sis” Simons Memorial Award plaque displayed at Dickinson Center‘s main office at 43 Servidea Drive, Ridgway.  Previous award recipients include: Kevin Leahy, Tonya Wolfe, Tammy Perkins, Heidi Eastman, Ed Badeau, Barb Cole, John Ogden, Dr. Paul Francis, Michael DeStefano, Jennifer Dippold, Dawn Dovensky, Tana Funair, and Pat Work. 

Elizabeth “Sis” Simons, was a founding member of the original Dickinson Board of Governors and served for over four decades demonstrating exemplary leadership, public relations, caring, and dedication to Dickinson’s mission.  She achieved an honorary “life” membership on the Board of Governors until she passed away on July 18, 2001.  The Board established the Sis Simons Award to honor her in memory and recognize her significant contributions to Dickinson Center, Inc.