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DHHS Celebrates Anniversary with Lumbee Vocational Rehabilitation Tribal Program

Phil Protz, Director of Program Policy Planning and Evaluation at DHHS, with Lumbee ambassadors wearing traditional attire. On the left and right of Protz are Kaya Littleturtle and John Oxendine, employees of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina.

Phil Protz, Director of Program Policy Planning and Evaluation at DHHS, with Lumbee ambassadors wearing traditional attire. On the left and right of Protz are Kaya Littleturtle and John Oxendine, employees of the Lumbee tribe of North Carolina.

Jan. 24, 2017 — Several DHHS divisions joined the Lumbee Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Program to celebrate Ability Day, their 10th anniversary of serving individuals with disabilities in its tribal territories.

Division directors from Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Services for the Blind, and Services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing were in attendance, including Phil Protz, Director of Program Policy Planning and Evaluation at DHHS.

Protz said the event, coordinated by Lumbee Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Program Director Celeste Hunt and her staff, “created an electrifying sense of community, support and encouragement for individuals and youth with special needs.”

“DHHS directors were thrilled to be part of this special anniversary celebration as a highlight to our agencies’ collaboration over the past 10 years,” Protz said.

The N.C. Assistive Technology Program was on hand to help with demonstrations, as well as encourage people to speak out at the celebration, which was held at the Boys and Girls Club in Pembroke.

The Nov. 16 celebration included students from local schools — including those with special needs — transition specialists, local service organizations and dignitaries. It featured cultural presentations of Lumbee tribal heritage and values from Lumbee ambassadors, testimonials and speeches from former UNC-Pembroke Provost and Vice Chancellor Zoe Locklear, DVRS Director Tara Myers and Protz. 

Huntsaid the event “was an amazing day in Lumbee Country.” 

“It was a pleasure to have our state partners attend this much-needed event and collaborate with us to disseminate information for our tribal members with disabilities in reference to vocational rehabilitation services," she said.

 

Author: 
Ryan Hill