The Compass Awards

Every year we shine a spotlight on talented professionals who support Tennessee Disability Pathfinder. From helping us increase engagement and expanding audiences to assisting us with providing disability resource information and support to individuals and families in Tennessee, these folks have gone above and beyond! We want to recognize and reward the efforts and continued support of those community collaborators who contribute to the growth of Pathfinder and our service to the disability community.

The Process
Nominees are determined by criteria for each award (see below). Once nominees are decided, all team members cast their ballots in any category. Nominees are then notified via email of their nominations and announced on social media. The winners are announced during a LIVE presentation on social media during December.

Winners of these prestigious awards receive:

  • an official award letter,
  • a printable Award Certificate,
  • a Pathfinder Pack (filled with the newest Pathfinder swag & a small gift),
  • a write-up in The Compass January newsletter,
  • an announcement posted on our media page, and
  • social media coverage announcing the winner with their organization’s logo and contact information.

For more information about The Compass Awards email us at

The Compass Contributors Award

The Contributors Award goes to the individual or organization that contributed most to Pathfinder’s communications through outstanding content via newsletter and social media engagement.


  • Willingness to provide articles for The Compass Newsletter (without prompting or hesitation)
  • Quantity and quality of article submissions and social media content
  • Analytical data showing the engagement of our readers to contributions.

The I & R Awards (New)

The Information & Referral Award (I & R Award) & Information & Referral Multicultural Award goes to the individual or organization that assists Pathfinder through their outstanding collaboration in connecting people to Pathfinder and serving as a valuable provider for individuals needing services.


  • Willingness to assist Pathfinder staff in meeting the resource needs of individuals we serve.
  • The number of referrals to Pathfinder
  • Commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusive practices.

2023 Compass Award Winners

The winner of the 2023 Compass Contributors Award is Jennifer Fisher of The Arc Tennessee – FESPED TN!

Family Engagement in Special Education-Tennessee (FESPED-TN) is a collaborative project of The Arc Tennessee and the Tennessee Department of Education. We help to empower parents and caregivers and increase family engagement in special education.

This group consists of eleven individuals with background experiences as educators, mental health professionals, parents, caregivers of individuals with disabilities, and disability-related fields. The family engagement team members can provide the knowledge and support from an educator and parent perspective.

Jennifer Fisher is the Communications specialist for The Arc Tennessee – FESPED TN.

Additional Nominees: 

The winner of the 2023 Compass Information & Referral  Award is TDHS’ Tennessee Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired – Independent Living Services!

The Department of Human Services’ Division of Rehabilitation Services offers several programs to assist individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Their Independent Living Services program enables customers to care for themselves in their homes and communities, instructors provide direct services to individuals on a one-on-one basis and coordinate other services that may be available from other agencies and organizations. Services may include:

  • Guidance and Counseling
  • Functional Low Vision Evaluations
  • Orientation and Mobility Services
  • Instruction in Communication Skills such as braille, use of recording devices, books in alternative formats, etc.
  • Instruction in Daily Living Skills
  • Leisure Time Activities
  • Information and Referral

Additional Nominees: 

The winner of the 2023 Compass Multicultural Information & Referral  Award is Laura Da Fonte of Hispanic Family Foundation!

The mission of Hispanic Family Foundation (HFF) is to utilize their platforms of economic, social services, advocacy, and culture to educate and strengthen Nashville’s Hispanic and immigrant communities.

The program consists of three factors in helping the community.


  • Early Literacy Program and Bilingual Story Times allow parents and children to develop a love of reading and learning from an early age
  • Adult Literacy Program includes our Adult English Classes, HiSet Classes (GED Equivalency), Adult Computer Classes, Entrepreneurship, and other seasonal classes and workshops offered for a nominal fee
  • Baila School is all about learning the art of dance, music, and culture

Disaster Relief:  Donations collected and given to families in need after losing their housing or household items due to a fire or natural disaster

Community Outreach Events:

  • Health Fairs
  • Dia de Los Reyes
  • Community Baby Showers
  • Easter Egg Hunt
  • Baila Summer Camp
  • Back to School School Supplies
  • Giving Tree – Christmas event that involves trees with ornaments that have a child’s assigned number and choice of toy and size of coat or shoes for community members to choose and purchase the wish list for a child in need. People in the community come to the Giving Tree to become Angels of Hope, not just for the child, but also for the family in need.
  • Las Posadas / Christmas Toys for Smiles – children’s entertainment, prizes and free tamales, hot chocolate and cupcakes

Laura Da Fonte is the Office Manager for HFF.

Additional Nominees:

  • Vanderbilt Kid Talk, and
  • TN Step, Dorca Rose & Patricia Valladares (Vayadares)

Click here to see the awards provided to our 2023 award winners.