Susan Graves Honored for More Than 30 Years with Rappahannock Adult Activities

by | Dec 14, 2015 | News

By Susan Larson. Photo of Susan Graves provided by RACSB,

Susan Graves, Rappahannock Adult Activities, Inc. (RAAI) Day Support Assistant Coordinator, will retire December 25, 2015, ending a more than 30 year tenure working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in Planning District 16.

The Rappahannock Area Community Services Board (RACSB) will host a farewell celebration from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17, at the Harper A. Gordon Building, 750 Kings Hwy in Fredericksburg. A formal presentation will take place at 5 p.m. Community members interested in attending are encouraged to bring photographs and written well-wishes to help fill a keepsake book for Susan. Refreshments will be served.

“Susan was my first partner when I began my career at Rappahannock Adult Activities,” said RAAI Coordinator Meri Brooks-Payne. “She taught me how to support people with dignity and respect.”

Graves began her career at RAAI supporting individuals through an enclave as part of Rappahannock Service Corporation — later to become Rappahannock Goodwill Industries. “Susan played a pivotal role in moving RAAI from a pre-vocational workshop to a day program, focusing on social, recreation and leisure skill development,” Brooks-Payne said. “Susan embraced the philosophy of community integration, supporting many individuals to explore their home communities and participate in the give and take of everyday life.”

Graves also coordinated and implemented offsite locations that helped the program offer services to more individuals and at facilities closer to their homes. She personally helped to open day support sites in Caroline and Stafford Counties.

In 1991, Graves championed a program for senior adults with intellectual disabilities through a grant from Virginia Commonwealth University, identifying double geriatric households. Using a model program out of Charlottesville and working in collaboration with community partners including Rappahannock Area Agency on Aging, Graves implemented a senior group program for 10 individuals.

“Susan has been part of this program for so long and has so many great stories and memories — she is one of the great RAAI historians,” Brooks-Payne said. “We use that knowledge to help guide decisions we make to this day.”

Graves lives in Stafford County. She has three sons and five grandchildren.

Founded in 1970, the Rappahannock Area Community Services Board (RACSB) provides public mental health, intellectual disability, substance abuse, and prevention/early intervention services to the residents of Planning District 16, which includes the City of Fredericksburg and the counties of Caroline, King George, Spotsylvania, and Stafford. For more information, visit www.racsb.state.va.us or call 540-373-3223.

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