The Alexandra Dilger
For young adults
who have struggled with personal challenges
but have a goal in mind
and are determined to achieve it
The Alexandra Dilger Annual Award was created and funded by Gale and Patrick Dilger in memory of their daughter, Alexandra, who lived a rich and full life despite struggles with depression and anxiety throughout her teenage years and into her early 20s.
At the time of her passing at age 21 in November 2018, Alexandra was working on her undergraduate degree at Landmark College in Vermont, with the intention of progressing to graduate school.
Alexandra had eclectic and edgy tastes, ranging from independent films, to live music and theater, to science fiction, comic conventions and classic literature. She also had a deep affection for all creatures great and small and was planning to take part in a summer wildlife rehabilitation program in Botswana.
Even though at times setting aside the anxiety of getting started was a daunting obstacle, Alexandra loved international travel: boating across an iceberg-dotted lagoon in Iceland, zip-lining through the Costa Rican rainforest; hiking glaciers on the rugged West Coast of New Zealand, or strolling the James Joyce Literary Walk in Dublin, Ireland.
After a trip to see her brother in London, she wrote a college paper about the experience, in the third person:
“She is glad that she went, that she doesn’t have to live with the regret of not going, as she knew she would have regretted it, had she stayed at home. That would have been the easy choice – how easy it is to sit and do nothing at all, to curl up into yourself and be still, shrink away from challenge and discomfort like a flower closing up at the first sign of night.
She would go on many more trips all made easier due to the fact that she was able to take that first plunge. This trip was no remedy, no cure for her ails, but it was an accomplishment, a shaky step towards greater independence. She left for England wiping the tears from her eyes and came back with a smile on her face.”
Our hope is that this award will represent a step toward greater independence and accomplishment for another young adult: one who, like Alexandra, has wrestled with personal challenges, but has a goal in mind and is determined to achieve it.
The Alexandra Dilger Award will be given to one individual each year who has struggled and persevered in an effort to reach a goal. The recipient will receive support to continue their efforts toward attaining this personal goal. The process includes the completion of a brief nomination form by the individual themselves or an adult community member. Three finalists will participate in a friendly conversation with the nomination team.
A Little Compassion Inc’s mission is to change the lives of young adults with autism, intellectual, and developmental disabilities by creating employment and social opportunities that nurture their unique skills, strengths and preferences. We will also take the lead in increasing public awareness and acceptance that young adults with disabilities are vital and valuable community members.