Blackstone Valley Tribune
November 2017

Charles Washburn (center) of VSA Massachusetts, accepting the UniBank Community Building Award from Alternatives Executive Director Dennis H. Rice (left) and Janet Amorello, Senior VP of Marketing at UniBank (right).

Each year, at the organization’s annual Thank You Reception, Alternatives recognizes an individual or group that has used their talents and resources to strengthen the community with the UniBank Community Building Award. This year’s award, Alternatives’ most prestigious, was granted to Charles Washburn, recently-retired Executive Director of VSA Massachusetts. Over 800 people were on hand at the Boxborough Regency as Charlie accepted the honor from Alternatives’ Executive Director |Dennis H. Rice and Janet Amorello, Senior VP of Marketing at UniBank.

In her remarks, Amorello described Charlie’s impressive 30-year career at VSA Massachusetts where he pioneered Universal Design programs that enhanced the accessibility of the arts and promoted the involvement of people of all abilities in the cultural life of public schools and communities. Charlie’s commitment to his local community has been unwavering. In addition to his work with the VSA, he was one of the founders and organizers of First Night Worcester, which has grown into a major cultural event, and he continues to be an asset on Alternatives’ ValleyCAST Board of Directors.

Alternatives serves individuals with disabilities through a network of 60 programs across Central Massachusetts. With its arts and culture subsidiary, ValleyCAST, the organization hosts community events for people of all abilities to enjoy. The vision that has driven Charlie’s career mirrors Alternatives’ own values. It’s a vision of an inclusive community, strong through shared resources and supportive of artistic expression that unites us all.