The Thomas Baroch Advocacy Award was created by the Spina Bifida Association (SBA) in 2019 to recognize outstanding advocates on the national and/or state level. The award is presented annually to an individual who has had significant and lasting impact on advocacy for research and other policy issues affecting the lives of people with Spina Bifida. This years’ winners are Will Dickey and Meghan Sorensen.
Will Dickey has been an Employment Specialist with Cape Fear Vocational Services for seven years. He provides services to clients in Guilford County and throughout the western region of North Carolina. The Advocacy award was started just last year to commemorate Will’s dear friend Tom Baroch, who passed away from Spina Bifida. He was a well-known advocate in the Spina Bifida community that helped establish our activism and advocacy efforts today.
Will says, “Over the last decade I have been continually active with the national SBA haven being born with the condition myself. During this time, I helped establish the Spina Bifida Association of the Carolinas which is a national chapter that helps educate, advocate, and assist people with Spina Bifida in North and South Carolina. For the last two years, I have been co-chair of the national SBA’s advocacy committee. In this role, I work directly with the SBA CEO regarding policy and legislation that affects our fellow constituents. I also play an active role in coordinating The Spina Bifida advocacy event, “Teal on the Hill “, where our fellow constituents speak directly with their representatives in Washington DC.”
Tom Baroch was known by many as a man who cared about people with Spina Bifida. He was a long-time advocate who worked hard to make sure that the Spina Bifida community’s voices were heard both in the United States and abroad, especially in Guatemala. Before his sudden death in November 2018, he served on the SBA Board of Directors from 2001 to 2004; worked intensively with the SBA of Colorado and the International Federation for Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus; attended SBA’s first annual Teal on the Hill advocacy event, writing a reflection on his experience; and was working to help establish a Spina Bifida clinic in Las Vegas, Nevada.In 2018, a scholarship fund was established in his memory to provide adults with Spina Bifida the opportunity to attend Teal on the Hill.
In 2019, nine scholarships were provided to recipients across the United States, enabling them to travel to Washington, DC and meet with their Members of Congress. In addition, a Thomas Baroch Advocacy Award was set up in 2019 to recognize outstanding advocates on the national and/or state level. The award will be presented annually to an individual who has had significant and lasting impact on advocacy for research and other policy issues affecting the lives of people with Spina Bifida.
For more information about this scholarship award, visit:
For more information about Cape Fear Vocational Services visit: https://www.capefeargh.org