60 Honorees For 60 Years- Janet Rico

As we prepare to celebrate our 60th Anniversary on Thursday, November 19, we will be featuring our honorees in this space. Learn more about their contributions to The Arc of Massachusetts and how they have enhanced the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Spotlight Honoree: Janet Rico

Janet Sweeney RicoAs a Nurse Practitioner and a leader in the field of nursing and health sciences education, Janet has been engaged for decades in advocating for greater support and health care access for people with disabilities as well as for the elderly. Now Assistant Dean of the Graduate Nursing Programs at Northeastern University’s Bouve College of Health Sciences, she continues to inspire her students to focus on the long-term needs of those who face ongoing healthcare disparities.

Janet served on the Board of The Arc of Massachusetts from 2004 to 2010 and began another term in 2014. She also served on The Arc’s Healthcare Committee, which oversaw the publication of the landmark study Left Out in the Cold: Health Care Experiences of Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Massachusetts (2008). In her former role as Director of the Family Nurse Practitioner program at Simmons College, she advocated for the collaboration with The Arc in setting up Operation House Call to include nursing, nutrition and physical therapy students. Her vision for The Arc is to increase the involvement of young families just beginning their journey and to continue to be a strong force in advocating for accessible, high quality healthcare for those we serve.

Janet and her husband Art have two daughters, Michelle and Lauren. Lauren is 24 and loves her peers and loving staff at The Arc of South Norfolk day program. She continues to inspire her Mom with her resilience, patience and love for life.

Ray and Doris Nickersons


Stewards: Ray and Doris Nickerson

Ray and Doris Nickerson established the Daniel Nickerson Memorial Fund following the death of their son. It assists The Arc in its advocacy efforts. Ray served on The Arc Massachusetts Board from 1974 to 1985, one of the few to serve a 3-year term as President.

Senator Karen Spilka


Public Officials: Karen Spilka

Karen Spilka has championed self-sufficiency for persons with disabilities. She played a key role in the Department’s name change to DDS, advanced budget goals for family support and employment while being a bridge builder between advocates and legislative leaders or the administration.

VinfenCorporations, Foundations, and Agencies: Vinfen

As a leading provider of community-based services to people with psychiatric conditions, intellectual and developmental disabilities, brain injuries, and behavioral health challenges, Vinfen has been transforming lives for over 35 years. Vinfen supports people in achieving their goals and leading more independent, productive, and valued lives as members of their community.

Pat Pakos


Families and Volunteers: Pat Pakos

Transition policy and practice was greatly advanced by Pat Pakos. Along with her husband Pat generously supported The Arc but her biggest contribution was maintaining our commitment to family education.

To learn more about this year’s honorees visit: http://thearcofmass.org/the-arc-of-massachusetts-60th-anniversary-gala-honorees/

Join us in celebrating 60 years at our Gala

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