NFL Super Bowl Champion Kurt Warner Speaks About the Importance of Inclusion at Gatepath’s Power of Possibilities Event
Warner shares his inspiring story about being a parent of a child with special needs
Burlingame, CA — Two-time NFL Super Bowl MVP and NFL Hall of Fame inductee Kurt Warner was the guest speaker at Gatepath’s 11th Annual Power of Possibilities event on March 21, 2019. As the parent of a child who is blind and has developmental disabilities, Warner has a personal connection to Gatepath’s mission of empowering people with special needs to achieve their full potential. “It was very inspirational to hear Kurt Warner speak at this year’s event,” said Gatepath CEO Bryan Neider. “Kurt had a remarkable NFL career, but his dedication to the community is even more impressive.”
In a conversation moderated by Emmy award-winning journalist Nancy O’Dell, Warner talked about how his son Zack shaped his perspective on life. “He showed me on a daily basis that when you allow someone with special needs to spread their wings, you’ll be amazed at the possibilities. You’ll be amazed by what they accomplish.”
Warner and his wife Brenda founded Treasure House, a supportive living community for young adults that focuses on independence, respect, and community integration. Like Gatepath, they help individuals of all abilities thrive and reach for their dreams. Warner emphasized that everyone can make a positive impact. “What I’ve realized over time is that it doesn’t take much to really impact people. Regardless of our circumstances, we’ve all been given a platform to do something for others. For me, it all starts with including individuals with disabilities in the things we do.”
O’Dell also shared her personal connection to Gatepath’s mission and described her passion for inclusion of those with developmental disabilities. “Growing up, my best buddy was my Aunt Ellen, who was born with Down syndrome,” O’Dell said. “I can remember watching her wanting so badly to be included in certain high school activities like band and cheerleading. So, I applaud organizations like Gatepath because they help provide opportunities for everyone.”
Gatepath presented its annual Neal Poppin Award to Mitzi Zwierlein, who’s been a dedicated employee of McDonald’s for 41 years. The award is named in memory of a man who was in Gatepath’s employment program and whose determination, spirit, and enthusiasm transcended any limitations he faced. “We are honored to recognize Mitzi as this year’s Neal Poppin Award winner,” said Neider. “She’s an amazing woman whose inspiring work ethic and positive attitude have earned her the respect and love of her colleagues and customers. She radiates joy in everything she does and sets a wonderful example for others.”
The 2019 Power of Possibilities event was made possible by title sponsor, Carole Middleton, and the following platinum sponsors: Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, Gatepath Auxiliary, and Sutter Health, Mills-Peninsula Medical Center. Other corporate sponsors included Arborwell, Bailard, Barulich Dugoni & Suttmann Law Group, Inc., Heffernan Insurance Brokers, SC Properties, D’Elia Construction Inc., Electronic Arts, GoPro, Graybird Foundation, Norman S. Wright Mechanical Equipment, Oracle, and Wells Fargo.
Gatepath has been a cornerstone of our community for more than 98 years, providing support services to individuals with special needs and developmental disabilities in the greater San Francisco Bay Area. Our mission is to empower people with special needs to achieve their full potential through innovative, inclusive programs, and community partnerships. With educational, therapeutic, vocational, and family support services, we provide support to an individual throughout his or her lifetime. We collaborate with businesses, third-party providers, local nonprofits, and various other organizations to bring the highest quality services to the children, youth, and adults in our programs. Together, we are creating a world where people of all abilities are fully accepted, respected, and included in all aspects of life – in the classroom, in the workplace, and in our communities.