Tuesday, November 29, 2011

“OUR SONG” Comes to Walton On December 8th

A free Open House set for Thursday, December 8th at Walton’s Resources for Industry (RFI) welcomes two groups of singers presenting their original music and lyrics to the community for the first time. OUR SONG’s creator, Elly Wininger—a Lake Hill, NY resident—is an award winning lyricist and guitarist. She leads the two groups, one from RFI and the other from Community Living Skills (CLS), also in Walton. Elly said that “OUR SONG‘s premise is actually simple: people interested in music gather as a team to create a theme, write their own lyrics, create the melody behind the words and then sing at a performance.”
The presentation of the two group’s songs is happening at a free community Open House set for Thursday, December 8th , starting at 1:00pm at RFI’s center on Route 206/190 Prospect Avenue in Walton. Wininger added that “the key to creating their songs was first learning to work as a team and add in some good old fashioned brain- storming for ideas and possible contemporary themes. In fact, the group from RFI all felt that the terrible storms of late August/early September that devastated many towns and villages in Delaware County was a story that needed to be told.”
In addition to the two groups from RFI and CLS, word of the OUR SONG program spread to some members of Delhi’s First Presbyterian Church Choir, four of whom are joining as singers with both groups on the 8th. One of them, Bea Mooney of Treadwell, said that “the opportunity was one that we wanted to be part of---when we heard about OUR SONG, we called and volunteered to help.”
Doug Anderson, RFI’s Program Director, said “We hope that the community will join us on the 8th for a free afternoon of great music, plus we have a couple of surprises in store for guests after the premier of the OUR SONG presentations, including stand-up comedy by Deposit’s Henry Kamp, and some special magic from Franklin’s Gavin Soccorso, a recently returned Marine Special Forces Lance Corporal, who served in Bosnia, Burma and South America. We will also be displaying a wide range of original artistic projects, from paintings to photographs and jewelry, some for sale. Light refreshments will be served at the end of the program.”
“Guests are also encouraged to bring donations for the Walton Food Bank, so desperately in need of food following the storms,” added Anderson. “Every can or box will help,” he added.
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.
Anyone with questions can contact: Steve Finkel at 607-865-7126 or email to: s.finkel@delarc.org .

Monday, November 7, 2011

“Shawn Bowker- Achiever of Dreams”

Shawn Bowker was recently honored as The Arc of Delaware County’s 2011 Outstanding Achievement Award, for the THRIVE (Together Helping Reach Individual Victories Everyday) program. Jessica Baldi, Life Coach, set the tone of the award presentation referring to Shawn: “Few times in our lives, we find ourselves truly blessed and inspired by someone we know. Despite challenges and obstacles, that often times will set us back, it’s amazing to witness someone overcoming and succeeding in spite of those hurdles.“

Those that have the ability to inspire others share common traits such as courage, persistence, perseverance, willingness to try new things, showing an interest in the world and people around them. Through the voices of friends, community members, and coworkers, a picture of Shawn emerged as stories were shared, a slide show presentation, and videos were shown that inspired all in attendance.

Shawn has challenged himself and others by participating in activities that far exceeded any expectations that were set for him. For example, a few years ago Shawn started taking horseback riding lessons. His persistence paid off as he gained the skills and knowledge that were needed to win ribbons and trophies at several events throughout the summer. And those that know Shawn shared that he has no fear. Through adaptive ski equipment, he pursues his interest in skiing. He rides to the top of the highest mountain at Belleayre Mountain Ski Resort and skis the 3 miles down to the bottom- loving every minute of it.

When Shawn first came to the THRIVE program he said that he wanted to walk again. His determination and subsequent progress at achieving his goal has been noticed by his friends. Tina Cawley shared, “He never gives up even if he doesn’t feel good… He tells me,” You keep on going too.” “Another friend Jennifer Gugliotti said, “He motivates me in the different things that he does.”

Shawn serves as a role model to people in his community as well. He enjoys giving his time and sharing his knowledge by volunteering at Downsville Central School- his hometown high school. He has coached baseball and is continuing to coach basketball. He calls drills to the team, and presents awards to his team at their annual sports banquet.

Although people know Shawn in different ways, as student, community member, coach, mentor, and friend, all agreed “Shawn is a really nice, caring guy. He cares about other people.”

Friday, November 4, 2011

Opportunity Found Close to Home

Things fell into place for Marlana Volpe when a connection was made between The Arc of Delaware County and a preschool program located a few blocks away from Marlana’s home in Stamford, NY. Marlana had expressed an interest in working with children in a child care setting. For the past two years she began taking child care classes at Resources for Industry in Walton, NY. Marlana said, “I am more comfortable with kids… I like all of it (taking care of children)”.

The Kiddie Corner Preschool program is a nonprofit organization and serves approximately 18 children ages 3-4. Kris Anderson, one of the teachers at the center explained, “We are set up to be involved with community, and this is one of the ways to accomplish our goal.” So when Kiddie Corner was approached with the idea of having Marlana volunteer to assist in their preschool program, they were very receptive to the idea.

Marlana is well prepared when she arrives at Kiddie Corner Preschool. She brings songs, stories, and crafts she learns at RFI to share with the children. During snack time and circle time she assists the teachers and at the end of the day helps the children with their backpacks when they are getting ready to leave. She also helps with some of the administrative tasks of filing and preparing bulletin boards. “Marlana is always willing to do what I ask her. And if she hears me ask a child to do something, Marlana will make sure that the child follows through with what they were asked to do”, said Kris.

Marlana, and those that know her, have said that her involvement with Kiddie Corner has made her more confident, outgoing, and assertive. A former “homebody” who rarely left the house now enjoys going on field trips with the children and building friendships with those she works with.

When asked what she would say to others considering working with The Arc of Delaware County, Kris said, “It’s rewarding to all involved. You should definitely give it a try.”

The Arc of Delaware County is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support people with disabilities in living personally fulfilling lives. To learn how you can help The Arc fulfill its mission, visit www.delarc.org.

Talent Exposed

The Arc of Delaware County and the Catskill Mountain Artisan Guild (CAT) have collaborated to develop and implement a series of workshops with the purpose of exposing people to a variety of arts who typically don’t have the opportunity to do so. This series of workshops started in May 2011 and consists of month long workshops, each concentrating on a specific type of art: drawing, painting, pottery, beading, singing, dancing, acting/radio, sewing, writing, weaving, print making, and collage. Jill Cline of the CAT summarized her feelings about the program, saying “Creativity is innate in people. Every human being has creativity within, but whether this creativity is discovered or developed depends on whether people are exposed to the various arts and materials available.” This series of workshops has done that and more.

James Mould has participated in 3 of the workshops and says the experience has changed him in many ways. He explained that prior to taking the workshops he found it hard to try something new. When he started drawing about 3 years ago he worked mainly in pencil and with markers. These workshops have exposed him to other materials and techniques. Jill Cline shared that at first, James wanted to do what he knew; he was comfortable with that, but not inspired. When he started exploring materials that he had never encountered such as watercolors, oils, acrylics he really grew personally and artistically. “He grasped the concept that art is infinite and it excited him.” Heather McAdams, Life Coach said that she has seen many changes in James. “He is open to trying new things now. He is coming out of his shell more and more. He loves his art work and always has his portfolio with him.” James has sold some of his artwork and has recently been invited by other artists to exhibit some of his works at the Longyear Gallery in Margaretville, NY in January 2012.

Speaking for the CAT organization Jill shared, “We feel lucky that we get this chance and opportunity to teach.” They are seeing the self discovery of natural talent that the students hadn’t known they had. “From the little bit we give, we get back so much more” said Jill.
To view some of James Mould’s artwork, visit The Arc of Delaware County’s website at www.delarc.org and click on the ‘Flickr” link.