Miami Gardens Disability Advocate Receives Top Award

Miami Gardens resident Denise Prehay received the 14th Annual Idelio Valdes Leadership and Advocacy Award – the state’s top honor recognizing an individual with a developmental disability. The award is presented each year by the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC).

Prehay was selected to receive this prestigious award for promoting disability awareness, serving in countless leadership roles, and having a history of achieving her personal goals. She started a network for people with disabilities in Jamaica, where she was born and attended primary school. Her goal was to increase awareness and support for people with disabilities and to advocate for what they can do, especially with limited resources. Prehay has a master’s degree in social work and serves on a panel of future doctors at the University of Miami-Mailman Center.

Prehay holds many leadership positions in the community. She is the president of People First of South Florida-North Dade Chapter and is a board member of Family Care Council-Area 11. Prehay is also a trainer at Self Advocate Leadership Training (SALT) thru the University of Miami-Mailman Center and at the Leadership Education Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program. She was an attendee at Special Game Day program through the city of Miami Gardens, a model for several years through the Bold and Beauty Project, and an alternate board member with Florida Self-Advocates Network'D (FL SAND.)

“Idelio Valdes was a resolute leader with the purpose of bringing the community together,” says Prehay. “I believe the spirit of intra-community development is essential if we are to understand and assist each other in our community. Being a person with a disability helps me to give a unique perspective on the challenges we face and a better idea on how we can resolve these challenges.”

APD appreciates the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council (FDDC) recognizing outstanding Floridians that exemplify the importance of community and empowerment.  Congratulations to Denise Prehay. Thank you for your leadership and for your contributions to the system of care.

Idelio Valdes Leadership and Advocacy Award recipient Denise Prehay with the Agency for Persons with Disabilities Director Taylor Hatch at Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day at the Capitol.

Left to right: Florida Developmental Disabilities Council Executive Director Valerie Breen, Idelio Valdes Leadership and Advocacy Award recipient Denise Prehay, Florida Developmental Disabilities Council Director of Public Policy and Advocacy Margaret Hooper at the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day dinner in Tallahassee.