Tuesday, December 27, 2011

"Garage Team" Nominated for Blesher Award

Dave Hotaling, Steve White, and John Wilber were nominated by Kelly Gardepe for going “above and beyond” in making the internships of Fred and Francis successful. Kelly wrote that these men deserved this recognition by demonstrating the 6 Unifying Principles of The Arc of Delaware County:

Those We Serve Come First: They would stop what they were doing to help Fred or to answer questions. They always made his training their top priority.

Commit to Excellence: They would change their work days to accommodate their (Fred and Francis’s) appointments and changed their own schedules to accommodate their training.

Be Dedicated: They would always shuffle work around to make sure there was always something for them to do and learn.

Employee Satisfaction: They treated Fred and Francis as equals and made them a part of the garage team.

Communicate Effectively: They communicated effectively by repeating things or adjusting terminology to ensure they were getting the best training.

Be Innovative: They had a big part in setting up both internships. They would help with the scheduling and creating the internship as a whole.

Congratulations to Dave, John, and Steve!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A Toy Story

Tina Osadca spearheaded efforts at Community Living Skills- Walton (CLS-W) to gather toys for children. The toys were delivered Dec. 15 to Community Bank in Walton, NY. Donna Bundy, Branch Manager of Community Bank, formerly Wilber National Bank in Walton, explained that the bank has been accepting toys for children of the Walton Central School District for over 20 years. They typically are able to provide toys for approximately 300 children and so they greatly appreciated the donation from Tina and CLS-Walton.

Anna Conway, Life Coach at CLS-W, related that Tina is a very caring person. While discussing their plans for Christmas, Anna had shared her plans for buying gifts for her children. Tina asked, “What about the kids that don’t have moms or dads? We need to get them some (gifts).”

So they discussed ways to help children that may not be fortunate enough to receive gifts this year and decided on participating in the local “Walton Toy Bank” program. Within a week Tina had made collection boxes for the toys, advertised the toy drive with posters and announcements throughout the CLS-W facility, and successfully concluded the effort with 2 full boxes of toys.

Tina said, “Every kid needs a present for Christmas!” When she delivered the toys to Community Bank Tina said they were surprised and thanked her. It made her feel “Great!” she shared.

Tina lives in Franklin and loves to sew and write to friends and family. When asked what she wanted for Christmas she related,” A new purple notebook!”

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

“Our Song" Gives Gift of Music to Participants and Community

On December 8th, over 100 people attended the community open house presentation of “Our Song” held at Resources For Industry (RFI) in Walton, NY. This event was a culmination of several workshops held at The Arc of Delaware County’s (Delarc’s) RFI and Community Living Skills (CLS) in Walton.

The workshops were conducted by Elly Wininger, award winning musician and song writer. Participants created their own music and lyrics and then hosted this open house to share their musical creations. Steve Finkel, Life Coach at Delarc shared: “This program is not just a musical activity, but stresses a foundation of enjoyment and satisfaction that music can bring, especially if it’s your own!” Steve had heard about Elly’s workshops and approached her with the idea of hosting workshops at Delarc, she agreed. Elly said, “Music is transformational”, she shared that during the workshops many people had experienced a heightened sense of participation and the ability to express themselves.

Lyrics and themes were developed during the first two workshops and were based on what people shared that affected them or interests that they have. One song, “The Flood”, was developed by the RFI workshop attendees, was about how Hurricane Irene and Lee impacted them either on a personal level or affected them through experiences of people they knew. Elly said that during song development, one person observed that the group was “listing all the bad things that had happened, but there were some good things that happened too”. That comment inspired the group to list the many volunteer efforts they had been a part of or had been a recipient of, as well. This song ended up being a crowd favorite at the performance.

Bruce Besdansky and Elly Winiger provided accompaniment with guitars during the performance. Also participating in the workshops and performance were community volunteers and members of the First Presbyterian Church of Delhi choir- Bea Mooney, Tom Little, Ed and Joyce Goff. Reflecting on this experience Bea shared: “What a blessing it was to be part of this event. As with mission work and any outreach, I always walk away feeling like I took so much more than I gave, and I try to give my all. I enjoyed every second of it and would love to be invited back again!”

In addition to the musical performances, laughter and amazement could be heard from the audience as comedian Henry Kamp and mentalist Gavin O’Rourke-Soccorso entertained with jokes and mind reading demonstrations.

A separate OUR SONG performance took place at Carousel Children Services.

OUR SONG is funded in part by a grant from the New York Council on the Arts’ Decentralization program, administered in Delaware County by The Roxbury Arts Group.

Visit our Flicker site for more photos of this event at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/organize/

Monday, December 5, 2011

Teaming Together to Grow Compassion

For the second year in a row, The Arc of Delaware County (Delarc) and Delta Kappa Gamma are working together to help build a lifetime of caring and compassion for students in Delaware County. With news of the negative effects of bullying and peer pressure, this contest endeavors to challenge students to see past differences and focus on the person inside.

The theme of this year’s contest is “Everybody Can” and is open to all Delaware County Elementary and Middle schools. The goal is to educate students and their communities about people with developmental disabilities and strengthen character by building compassion and caring. Students are encouraged to take a proactive approach to increase their knowledge and awareness by utilizing resources provided from the contest packet, independently research the topic by requesting a self-advocate from Delarc to speak to the class, read articles, books, visit websites, and interview family and community members. Projects that students can create for entry in the contest are only limited by the imagination. Some examples of projects include: songs, poems, posters, videos, book reports, creating a puppet show or role playing scenario, creating a power point presentation, planning and hosting an event or creating a children’s book.

There are three cash prizes for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each school. And winning entries from grades 5-8 will also be entered into a county-wide contest for a chance to win a Grand Prize of $500 or laptop computer, and scholarships for their class to participate in Delarc’s “Share, Learn, Grow Mentorship Program.” The “Share, Learn, Grow Mentorship Program” is an interactive one-day program where people with disabilities serve as mentors to the students; the students are paired up with people supported by Delarc and they spend the day side by side learning, sharing, and getting to know each other at one of Delarc’s facilities.

Erika Liddle, South Kortright Central School teacher, whose 6th grade class worked together on a class project for the contest last year and won the Grand Prize, had this to say to other teachers considering entering the contest: “You need to do it; you have a chance to make a difference in how children see things, and this is a great opportunity to build compassion.” Participating in the contest and the “Share, Learn, Grow” program was how her students learned a valuable life lessons. One thing that struck her during her class’s reading of a book about autism was a connection the kids made to a former classmate. What they had not understood about this child was why he had behaved certain ways. They had an “aha” realization that probably this child had autism and that explained why he had behaved a certain way. The students’ visit to Delarc reinforced this understanding . “This program fits hand in hand with discussing bullying and its impacts,” shared Erika. Before, they may have been inclined to shy away from him, or perhaps pick on him because of the differences, but after their contest experience, their eyes were opened.

To learn more about this contest or to request an information packet for this contest, contact Catherine Tweedie at Delarc, (607) 865-7126, email Catherine@delarc.org or Pam Thompson at Delta Kappa Gamma, (607) 746-3497 or email pandg1@live.com. The contest is running through February 1st, 2012.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Heidi Friedman Receives Blesher Award

Heidi Friedman, Life Coach 7 at CLS Arkville, received a visit from Blesher Lil’ Heart on November 30th. She was nominated by Hope Townsend, Program Director who shared: “Heidi is committed to excellence and is extremely dedicated. She (Heidi) is always here- early and working on other department projects such as flower and car care.” Having earned 24 Time Utilizations Awards, it is not surprising to know that she is described as a person who understands the important role she plays in the lives of those we serve daily. They know they can count on her. Time Utilization Awards are given monthly and recognize employees who schedule and utilize their leave time appropriately. Heidi encourages others to try hard to earn Time Utilization Awards and recognizes and congratulates those who do earn them. Congratulations Heidi!