Thombs named volunteer of the year by Looking Upwards
Photo: Dr. Michael Thombs with Carrie Miranda, executive director of Looking Upwards
Dr. Michael Thombs, associate professor in the Department of Business Studies and Economics, was recently named volunteer of the year by Looking Upwards, the Middletown agency supporting adults with disabilities and children with special health care needs. The annual award recognizes exceptional commitment and volunteer efforts on behalf of persons with disabilities.
“Dr. Thombs has been instrumental on so many levels impacting positive outcomes,” said Michele Banks, the agency’s day enrichment, vocational and community-based family service administrator. “We are extremely grateful that he continues to share his talents, passions and skills and inspires people with disabilities to expand the scope of their knowledge base and comfort zones.”
Thombs has been teaching sign language for many years, organizing the yearly black light Christmas production that’s done completely in sign. He facilitates sign and bag lunch conversations for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, events that include Mass at Salve’s chapel.
He also contributed to the human rights film created by Looking Upwards, signing a scene alongside a student. He has taught robotics and inspired robotic arts for agency children and adults, and he has contributed to Learning Unlimited’s partnership with Salve in many ways, including mentoring theater productions, Christmas concerts and classes, technology classes and helping write business plans.
“He’s engaged our folks in creating and showcasing at a maker fair,” Banks said. “He’s facilitated functional math classes and bingo, and has offered a wide range of other educational opportunities both at Looking Upwards and Salve Regina. He inspired a compassion art contest by creating beautiful wood frames to showcase the work of our artisans who took part and who received the most votes from their peers.”