Unified Community Connections, which serves children and adults with disabilities throughout Maryland, presented the Samuel A. Tucker Memorial Can Do Award to Jarred Aaron Jones. Jones, 16 years old and diagnosed with cerebral palsy at an early age, attended the agency’s Delrey School and currently attends Kenwood High School in Essex, Md.

“This award is being presented to a person with a disability who has shown extraordinary drive and determination to achieve their goals,” said O.J. Brigance, who presented the award to Jones at Unified Community Connections’ annual Hoodstock fundraiser. Brigance, an agency board member and senior advisor to player development for the Baltimore Ravens, has Lou Gehrig’s disease, a degenerative motor neuron disease.

“Jarred is the personification of strength, courage and resilience,” Brigance said. “We don’t get to pick the cards we are dealt in life, but we most certainly have a choice in how we play the hand. This young man is a living testimony to the human spirit.”

Jones attended Unified Community Connections’ Delrey School, where he learned to interact with children with similar disabilities through group therapy and classroom activities. He transitioned to public school in third grade and has since co-managed basketball and baseball teams and joined Kenwood High School’s sports science program.

Jones plans to graduate from high school and attend the Community College of Baltimore County to study mass communication with a concentration in sports.

He wants to become a sports analyst or commentator.

“I live my life to the best of my ability and do not allow my disabilities to define my limitations or my possibilities to achieve greatness,” Jones said.