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PCA Program Awards

Paul Kahn Awards for PCA Service

     Starting in 2010, the PCA Workforce Council and 1199 SEIU recognize five PCA's from different regions of the Commonwealth with an award for their dedication to their work and their employers. The PCAs are nominated by their consumer/employers or human services agency staff.

Ruth and Paul Kahn      This award is named in honor of Paul Kahn, a long time PCA employer and advocate who died this past January. Having personal care assistants gave Paul the freedom to live on his own terms. It allowed him to pursue his art, writing, teaching and advocacy activities. Without PCAs Paul would have remained institutionalized and could not have made his many contributions to the disability and independent living communities. This award, in his name, honors the PCAs who do this important work every day. Pictured to the right are Paul and Ruth Kahn.

2013 Awards

More photos from the Awards Ceremony at the Statehouse are in our Photo Gallery .


Kilra Hylton – Greater Boston

Kilra is proud of her ability to relate to her consumer employer, Florence Dunston. “She has been dedicated to me from day one”, said Florence. Kilra has also experienced frustration in her PCA work. She shared, “During one of the winter storms my employer needed to be rushed to the hospital and I got a $35 ticket for taking her. I was told I should have called an ambulance. Our jobs should be valued more than they are.” In addition to working as a PCA, Kilra has a diagnosis of lupus and as a result, she knows first hand the challenges of living with a disability. Kilra is also a strong advocate for expansion and funding for the Medicaid program and for ensuring continued funding of the PCA program.

Angela Bost – Western MA

Angela has worked as a PCA for 20 years. For the past 4 years, she has assisted Rosemary Burns who nominated Angela. When Rosemary was told she needed a wheel chair, Angela worked with her to strengthen her legs to the point where she can get around using a walker. Angela has also shown Rosemary how to use an Iphone and a computer. “Doing the work is really rewarding.” Angela said. “It’s a good feeling to help others. It’s a good feeling when you know that people appreciate your coming to their house and that it helps them to remain in their own home.”

Page King – Southeastern MA

Since 1995, Page, with some breaks to start and raise her own family, has assisted Cheryl and Timothy who are now in their forties and have developmental disabilities. Both individuals are prone to tantrums and when they have these issues, Russell Severs, their surrogate and adoptive father feels that the way Page intervenes and gets matters back under control is amazing. He states that “she does a much better job than I can do. Her method of dealing with tantrums is beautiful.” A Johnson & Wales graduate, Page previously worked in the food service industry, but she says that being a PCA is fulfilling and one of the best jobs she’s ever had. She states: “Being a PCA has taught me compassion and helped me to be a better mother.”

Barbara Constantino – Central MA

Barbara provides assistance to Priscilla, who is 96 and lives in Munson, over an hour and a half from her daughter, Jill. Jill nominated Barbara stating that “Barbara’s constant empathetic care has been as vital to my mother’s health and well-being as Barbara’s devoted attention to mothers more physical needs.” In addition to the care she provides, Barbara recruits and trains new PCAs for the family and has provided extraordinary care. When a tornado threatened Priscilla’s house, Barbara drove behind an emergency vehicle in order to reach Priscilla’s home. Barbara called Jill to assure her that things were okay and that she would stay with her mother and schedule other PCAs for as long as needed. Barbara even offered to take Priscilla back to her house, but Priscilla insisted on staying in her own home without electricity. So, they lived out of the cooler and used battery-operated lanterns for several days.

Ron B. Fillmore – Northeastern MA

Ron was the store manager of Pepperidge Farm in Wakefield for many years until he was laid off. Pat DeVito, the person who nominated Ron, worked in a state senator’s office. Pat knew Ron had taken care of other people on his days off and asked him if he would take care of her father, Lou.   When Ron suspected that Lou was suffering from dementia and had began “wandering” around, he put Lou to bed one evening and went and sat in his car outside the house. After seeing Lou get up and wander, Ron went back in the house and stayed with Lou until he got sleepy. Ron repeated this for several days until Lou could be evaluated and housing decisions could be made.   Regarding the transition from a store manager to a PCA, Ron said, its “not the income, it’s the outcome. Working with seniors and with persons with disabilities is more rewarding than working in the corporate world.”

2011 Awards - September 15

More photos from the Awards Ceremony at the Statehouse are in our Photo Gallery .


Luci Johnson of Lowell

photo of Luci JohnsonLuci was nominated by the father/surrogate of David, a 44 year old male diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and Spastic Quadriplegia. Luci is one of several PCAs assisting David. She always makes certain the other PCAs are up to date on any health problems David may be having. Two years ago, David transitioned from living with his parents to living in his own apartment. Luci visited him on her own time, including during an ice storm, to calm any fears caused by the new environment. The management of David’s building has chosen him as “resident of the year”.

Johanna Montalvo of Worcester

photo of Johanna Montalvo Johanna Montalvo has been a PCA for 9 years. She met her consumer/employer and helped her for about a year prior to being paid through the PCA program. Johanna said she believes in providing care for those who need it, something she learned in her native Dominican Republic, where a high value is placed on caring for others. “The most important part of my job”, Johanna said, “is that I feel useful and I like helping people.” Johanna is a delegate in the PCA union and has joined others at the State House to advocate for full funding of the PCA program and fair wages and benefits for PCAs.

Terri Morris of Middleborough

photo of Terri MorrisA former registered nurse, Terri has spent the last 30 years committed to the PCA program. When asked what she likes best about being a PCA, Terri said: "I'm helping someone's life be independent." Tom, Terri’s consumer/employer, describes her as being prompt, professional, and caring. "She takes her job seriously," explains Tom. Terri has taken a leadership role on behalf of PCAs in the Brockton area, and has run meetings there with local PCAs.

Patricia Peles of Springfield

photo of Patricia PelesBoth parents of Brian, a 22 year old man with severe disabilities, nominated “Trish” as Patricia is known to them. Trish has provided care to Brian since he was 4 years old. When Brian was in a full body cast for 10 weeks after serious surgery, Trish devoted herself to Brian’s care. Staff at the hospital remarked that maintaining cleanliness in that condition was extremely difficult, but that Brian was the cleanest person they had seen. Trish meets Brian’s bus from his day program every afternoon and cares for him until his parents get home from work. “We are totally at ease,” Brian’s father said, “knowing Brian is in great hands every day”

Noah Zizinga of Watertown

photo of Noah ZizingaNoah was born in Uganda and came to the United States when he was in his mid thirties. For 14 years Noah worked as a PCA for Jimi Tierney, a long time manager at the Boston Center for Independent Living (BCIL). Jimi was totally dependent on Noah for his care and, over the years, Noah became regarded as a member of Jimi’s family. About being a PCA, Noah said, “This work fulfilled me.” Noah has recruited others to work as PCAs. As Jimi’s PCA, Noah was a presence at BCIL and when Jimi died earlier this year, BCIL hired Noah as a skills trainer. Due to his diligence and hard work, his hours at BCIL were recently increased.

Award Winners from Prior Years

2010 Awards can be found on our Awards Archive page.

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