Northbrook Arts Commission

Spotlight on ICODA

International Center On Deafness and the Arts (ICODA)
"Best New Freedom Community Program"



ICODA was founded by Northbrook resident and Arts Commissioner Dr. Patricia Scherer. During its twenty-nine years of service, ICODA has grown from a two-room family operation to become a highly regarded regional arts center for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The NEW FREEDOM AWARD ceremony was held at Navy Pier on July 22, 2003. Inspired by the example of former Chicago Police Officer Jim Mullen, the NEW FREEDOM AWARD was created to introduce the world to the industry committed to creating new freedoms for the 57 million Americans with disabilities.

Hundreds of nominations were received by the foundation and after careful evaluation and research the judges selected five finalists for each of the 18 unique categories. During an awards ceremony in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier on July 22, 2003, the inaugural NEW FREEDOM AWARDS were presented to businesses, organizations, and individuals who created the most demonstrable new freedoms for people with disabilities.

ICODA was a finalist, and received the award for BEST NEW FREEDOM COMMUNITY PROGRAM. This award acknowledges an individual or organization that pioneers inspiring community programs that include people with disabilities thereby enriching the community. Others finalists for the BEST NEW FREEDOM COMMUNITY PROGRAM included:

  • National Easter Seals
  • Ronald McDonald House
  • International Association of Lion Clubs
  • Paraquad

Dr. Patricia Scherer was also a finalists for the BEST NEW FREEDOM INDIVIDUAL. This award honors the individual whose efforts have the most extraordinary impact on people who have a disability. Dr. Scherer was nominated as the founder of the International Center on Deafness and the Arts (ICODA.) The award was presented to Steven James Tingus who is currently the Director of the National Institute of Disability and Rehabilitation Research with the U.S. Office of Education. Other nominees for this award were:

  • Jim Mullen - Jim Mullen Foundation
  • Christopher Reeves - Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation
  • Judge Ann Burke - Co-founder of the Special Olympics

Among the New Freedom Award winners in other categories were: The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, IBM, Microsoft, Shriner's Hospital for Children, Joe Ahern, President & General Manager of CBS/WBBM-TV, Exceptional Parent Magazine, Able-TV, Christopher Reeve/Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, Chicago Lighthouse for People who are Blind or Visually Impaired, and the Robert R. Mc Cormick Tribune Foundation.

Congratulations ICODA and Dr. Scherer!

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