Monday, December 17, 2012

Dynamic Duo Earn Blesher Award


Pictured: Betty Brudege receiving her Blesher award at the December Residential Staff meeting
Betty Brundege, Residential Habilitation Professional and Kim Shaw, Director of Support Services were nominated for a Blesher Award by Beverly Hodges.  In the nomination Beverly described how they supported a parent in understanding and coping with her daughter’s transition from high school to college. Using life experiences with their own children, Kim and Betty kept in close contact with each other as they helped this parent successfully navigate the emotional and financial challenges of a college bound child. They eased the stress and helped this parent understand the complex paperwork and responsibilities involved with college financing. They both get an "A+" for a successful transition process.

Congratulations Betty and Kim!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Wishes Are Granted

When The Arc of Delaware County (Delarc) learned that they would be receiving a $5,000 grant to provide new recreational opportunities to people they support from The Trustees of the NYSARC Trusts, staff brainstormed ideas and looked over ‘wish lists’ of people they support to determine how best to use this grant money.  They soon discovered they were able to fulfill dreams for 5 people who have long desired such things as a vacation away from home, to sleep overnight in a hotel, a go to Washington DC, and to attend The Arc’s National Convention and meet self advocates from across the country and the world.  Planning began for a vacation to Washington, D.C. during the week of The Arc’s National Convention (also in D.C.) at the end of October.
Brenda Scott, Kelly Piskacek, Kevin Allen, Matt Wilson, Tina Cawley, and their support staff couldn’t have been more excited as they loaded their suitcases in the mini-vans and set out on their journey.  The drive from Delaware County to D.C. took a full day, but everyone was so thrilled this day had finally arrived (after months of careful planning) that time passed in the blink of an eye.  The next few days were packed with many new experiences – riding the Metro, touring our Nation’s Capital, seeing the White House, visiting the Capitol Building, Lincoln Memorial, the National Zoo, and Natural History and Air and Space Museums, dining in various restaurants, meeting interesting people, and much, much more.  There was never a dull moment.  

There couldn’t have been a more perfect wrap up for the trip than spending the last couple days at The Arc’s National Convention and International Forum.  Some of the highlights were sessions lead by self advocates and leaders from across world, walking the red carpet at the Gala Film Festival, and learning about what life was like for people outside of Delaware County, New York.  Everyone returned home exhausted, exhilarated, and grateful for the opportunity the NYSARC Trusts grant provided them. 

 The NYSARC Trusts administer supplemental needs trusts that enable people with disabilities to remain in their home and community and retain their Medicaid eligible services. The Trustees utilize remainder funds to benefit other persons with disabilities including unfunded Chapter guardianship as provided by statute.  During the last 12 months the Trusts have provided $750,000 to support Chapter Guardianship and over $50,000 in direct grants to needy individuals supported by Chapters. Information on how you may benefit from a NYSARC Trust is available by calling 518-439-8323 or 1-800-735-8924 or at  To learn more about The Arc of Delaware County, visit; to view pictures of the trip, click the Flickr link.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Blesher Awarded to Dawn Davis For Excellence In Planning

Dawn Davis, Program Assistant in the Business Office was nominated by Heidi Friedman, Jessica Baldi, and David Niermeyer for going “above and beyond” in organizing the trip to The Arc’s National convention in Washington D.C. They each wrote how they felt that Dawn exemplified the Unifying Principals of The Arc of Delaware County.

Those We Serve Come First- “Dawn sought out the desires of those involved (in the trip) and pursed their interests to make them a reality.”

Commit To Excellence-“She ensured that directions to and from locations were exact! We were given materials in plenty of time to review and prepare.”

Be Dedicated- “Dawn went above and beyond when it came to organizing the Washington trip. Life Coach’s just needed to open their information packets and the answers were there. You made our trip a total success. Travel to hotel and to activities was sooooo wonderful!

Employee Satisfaction-“Dawn worked hard on putting the Washington trip together so that it would be a success for both participants and staff.”

Communicate Effectively- “Amazing communication on all levels- from information to money to follow up. Awesome!”

Be Innovative-“Dawn went outside the average duties to pursue trying to get us into the White House. We appreciate the effort!”
Congratulations Dawn!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Heidi Friedman Receives Blesher For Making National Arc Trip A Success

Robin Williams, Life Coach 10 at CLS-Arkville nominated Heidi Friedman for a Blesher Award. She wrote a compelling nomination:

"Heidi invested so much personal time and energy into the preparation and support of one of our individuals, Kelly, who recently attended the National ARC convention in Washington, DC.   While I recognize that preparation for community inclusion is part of her job description as a Life Coach VII, she really went above and beyond her job description. Heidi recognized that Kelly was deserving of this opportunity, but would need a great deal of support to make it happen.
Many of the ways Heidi supported Kelly were in areas that Kelly would have not have been able to receive support, due to her current home situation.
Those We Serve Come First-

1.       In an effort to help the Kelly be prepared for social gatherings, Heidi brought Kelly home for a dinner with her family, where she guided Kelly in making appropriate conversation as well as basic table manners.

2.       Heidi arranged for Kelly to have a haircut with her own hair stylist outside of work hours.
Commit to Excellence-

1.       Due to Kelly’s current home situation, she was not prepared with supplies for a lengthy trip, especially one which included some ‘fancy’ stops.  These supplies included appropriate clothes, footwear and personal care items.  Heidi created a wardrobe for Kelly to choose from, using her relationship with the local Thrift Store.   Kelly was able to choose outfits from an array of quality clothing which were diligently sought out by Heidi to be the right fit and ‘style’ to Kelly’s liking.

2.       Beyond helping Kelly choose clothes, Heidi then took it upon herself to mend & hem any items which did not fit Kelly.  Kelly has a unique body shape, which meant that most pants and many jackets needed to be hemmed; all of which Heidi did on her personal time with her own supplies.
Be Innovative-

1.       To allow for Kelly to have the most independence while in DC, Heidi came up with a creative way to provide Kelly with guidance when getting dressed daily.  Heidi supported Kelly to pair up clothing and create outfits, and then took pictures of Kelly in these outfits. Kelly very much enjoyed these ‘fashion shows.’   Heidi helped Kelly pack these photos in Kelly’s suitcase for the trip, and while in DC, Kelly was able to choose from the photos what she wanted to wear, and then match the clothing items, so she could dress independently.

2.       Kelly has a unique set of goal which Heidi was able to address in some very creative ways, including addressing her computer goal, by teaching Kelly to use the Metro Card machine, an activity that otherwise might have been quickly done by staff, became a learning experience for Kelly.  
Communicate Effectively-
1.       Heidi has developed a strong relationship and level of trust with Kelly’s mother, this being one of the main reason’s Kelly was able to go on this week long trip so far away from home.   An opportunity she may have never had if Heidi had not developed this trusting relationship.  Heidi communicated with Kelly’s mother frequently to keep her up to date on the plans.

3.       Upon their return, Heidi assembled the many photos from the trip, again on her personal time and quickly created a display for Kelly to share with peers and staff.  Kelly outwardly glowed while sharing her trip photos with Heidi’s guidance. 

4.       At the staff meeting following Heidi & Kelly’s return, Heidi became emotional while sharing with us the details of the trip and Kelly’s reactions to different scenarios.  She quoted the following statements, which I think helped fellow staff get a wonderful feeling for how invested Heidi was, but also how important this entire experience was for Kelly.

 “There was not moment where I thought, this might not be the best idea” (before the trip,  Heidi was a bit nervous about the amount of activities Kelly would need to be ready to participate in, and also the new challenges she might face.) 

“You could see Kelly getting uneasy about something, …..especially the metro…..but then she would just buck up, put her chin up, and do it, you could see her working things out.”

“You could see Kelly absorbing everything around her; this really meant something to her.” 

Staff who work with Kelly have also noticed a difference since her return, “Kelly is a totally different person, she is shining with confidence and holding her head up higher.”

Overall I know this was one of the most time-consuming trips to prepare for, but Heidi did it all with so much energy and commitment, but also calmness in preparing Kelly for something she had never done before on such a large scale.    She has displayed every Unifying Principle, and the above examples are only a handful of actions I witnessed that deserve recognition in the form of this award."

Congratulations Heidi!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jim Hoyt Receives Blesher for His Ingenuity

On November 28th, Jim Hoyt, Operations Manager at RFI received a Blesher award.  He was nominated for this award by Ailisa Boyer who cited Jim’s creativity and hard work in developing a tool that was used at a transition services event held at Sidney High School.  Several service organizations including The Arc of Delaware County (Delarc), had information booths at this event. Ailisa wanted something to bring to the event that would highlight the fact that at Delarc, transition services is all about the personal approach to helping people achieve their individual goals. She said, “Jim’s construction helped give Delarc an edge when presenting to the community in an interesting way. Jim worked on this on his own free time at home. “
It was apparent that the “Wheel of Future” created by Jim had much thought put into its design.  “The wheel construction was effective, creative, and easy to work with” Ailisa wrote in her nomination. Jim also created a template that could be used by other departments within the agency.
Jim’s dedicated efforts at creating the “Wheel of Future” exemplify the 6 unifying principles of The Arc of Delaware County:
  • Those We Serve Come First
  • Commit To Excellence
  • Be Dedicated
  • Employee Satisfaction
  • Communicate Effectively
  • Be Innovative
Congratulations Jim!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Making Her Mark Volunteering In Her Community

Marisa Romano is a poised young lady who knows her mind. She considers herself a “self advocate” and pursues her interests with purpose and drive. Marisa shared, “I really like to work with kids and I do a good job with them.” She said that she knew these things about herself from the enjoyment she experienced caring and playing with her young cousins. So, through connections made through a program Marisa participates in, Resources For Industry, arrangements were made for her to volunteer at the Hancock Community Children’s Center Preschool Program. Marisa resides in Cadosia and helping at the center enables her be an integral part of her local community. She has volunteered at the program for over 3 years and has formed strong bonds with the other volunteers as well as the children she works with

The Hancock Community Foundation provides “Birth to College” support for children in Hancock. And the Hancock Community Children’s Center is an important part of the network of supports offered through this foundation.  The center provides care for children in 2 programs: birth through age 3 and the preschool program serving children ages 3-5. Currently the Preschool program has 22 children enrolled.  Linda O’Brien, Executive Director shared some impressive statistics that measure the success of these programs. As this is the 12th year of the program, the seeds that were sown at the start have now produced an increase in graduation rate from 36% to 79%. The teachers at the Hancock Elementary School can readily identify those children that had participated in the Children’s Center by their readiness, knowledge, and skills acquired prior to attending Elementary school.

Marisa begins her day at the preschool program at 8:30am. She is in charge of teaching the children their numbers and days of the week during a daily review of a large wall calendar. She also enjoys selecting and reading a story to them during story time and assisting them with their arts and crafts activities. She gently corrects and provides praise while encouraging questions and interaction.  Barbara Leonard one of the center’s Directors said, “Marisa has a beautiful singing voice and when there are songs, sometimes the children would stop singing just to listen to Marisa’s voice”.

Marisa shared the thing that surprised her most about her child care experience is how different the children are year to year. She loves meeting each new child and knows the feeling is mutual. At the end of her day, “the children don’t want me to leave.”  This was proved true when she left after our interview. Several children ran and hugged her and all said “goodbye Marisa” in unison as she left. Heather McAdams, Life Coach at Resources for Industry who supports Marisa observed, “Marisa is awesome with the kids! I just step back and watch her work with them.”

In addition to her volunteer work at the center, Marisa is very proud of being a self advocate and helping others become self advocates; she “speaks up for people’s rights.” She also enjoys spending time with friends and playing Bingo.
To view more photos of Marisa at the Hancock Community Children's Center visit our Flickr site at:

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What Does It Take To Be A Friend?

George Suess, CEO of The Arc of Delaware County said, “It takes time and reciprocity.” The Arc of Delaware County has long advocated for ways in which people with disabilities can not only become part of the community and accepted , but also develop true friendships in which people delight in sharing each other’s company. 
Warren Stelter became friends with David Bailey, owner/operator of Hamden Auto about 7 years ago through Janet Stoop a Life Coach at THRIVE. Janet had previously introduced Warren to snowmobile racing and explained, “Warren likes anything that runs and is loud so snowmobile racing was right up his alley.” She knew that her friend Dave also loved snowmobiling so she introduced them to each other at a snowmobile event. Dave relates how he immediately liked Warren because of “his phenomenal sense of humor.” He related that Warren shares his love of practical jokes.  At the garage, Warren and Dave demonstrated a favorite prop used for one of their pranks- an old air horn from a truck. Both Warren and Dave love to surprise people with the blast that happens when they hook it to the air compressor.  Warren enjoys developing ideas for pranks and jokes that keeps the garage team laughing and on their toes.
The sharing of mutual interests and supporting each other is a large part of friendship. Warren always has his friends at the garage in mind and brings items he thinks would be useful when he visits.  A stray cat adopted the garage and Warren brought a jar in to collect donations for its care. “Garage Kitty” has been a fixture at the garage for a long time.
When Warren participated in the Lawn Tractor Pull at the Delaware County Fair this year, the entire Hamden Auto Service business closed so that all of the employees could see him compete. Dave related, “We were excited and proud of Warren. We are competitive individuals and Warren was competing, and so we all wanted to see him at the Tractor Pull.” They also had chipped in to buy Warren his own toolbox for his tools he uses when helping with the many projects at the garage. Currently Warren and Dave are working on restoring a ’69 Chevy truck. Dave said, “Warren enjoys doing anything that needs doing around the shop.” This includes sanding, painting, and helping with mechanical repairs.
Outside the shop they share time together going to snowmobile races. And each year Dave takes Warren out for his birthday.
Friendships are reciprocal and enrich each other’s lives. “A friend is a gift you give yourself.”~ Rovert Louis Stevenson
If you would like to take the next step and make a personal connection contact The Arc of Delaware County via email: or call our Community Relations department at (607) 865-7126. View more about “Making Community Connections” on our YouTube site:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

"Is Abuse Inevitable?"- George Suess, CEO Answers the Question

In July, the National Conference of Executives (NEC) of the Arc held its 2012 Summer Leadership Institute in Indianapolis, IN.  George Suess, CEO of The Arc of Delaware County (NY) led a Pre-Conference seminar where he shared what he learned about hiring and retaining the best staff members.  He was also interviewed by Michelle Fischer, host of The Arc of Indiana's podcast, "A View from My Window" about how to build systems where abuse is NOT inevitable.  George spoke about building these systems around the right set of core values that inevitably create the right culture where people with disabilities can thrive and not be subject to abuse.  He shared that when you find employees that share the same values and train and support them, great things happen!

Listen to the full podcast here: "Is Abuse Inevitable?"

Follow Michelle Fischers "A View from My Window" podcast by liking her Facebook page at:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Arc of Delaware County Leading the Way with Vantage Point

 In the wake of renewed efforts to improve the treatment of individuals with severe developmental disabilities in the state of New York, The Arc of Delaware County (Delarc) is experiencing a surge of interest in its training initiatives from both government officials and industry professionals. The focus is primarily on Delarc’s Vantage Point training program, a unique exercise that puts able-bodied individuals into situations where they experience first-hand what it’s like to go through life with a disability.

By the end of the third quarter, more than 70 individuals will have gone through the Vantage Point program, a 44% increase over 2011, with the organization on track to reach close to 100 participants for this year alone.

“The increased interest in Vantage Point is testament to the commitment of those in our field who constantly seek ways to improve care for those with developmental disabilities,” said George Suess, CEO of Delarc. “After more than 30 years implementing a philosophy of positive reinforcement without physical intervention, we are eager to have others experience our approach in action and gain insights into how those with disabilities should be served.”

 As part of the Vantage Point program, participants are put through a series of exercises that simulate real-life disabilities. Participants are required to negotiate the physical obstacles encountered from a wheelchair; identify individuals and locations while blindfolded to replicate visual impairments; and engage in a variety of mental exercises that challenge memory and other cognitive functions. At the same time, participants interact with Delarc staff who demonstrate their hands-on approach to care and service, which blends proactive support, constant encouragement and positive reinforcement to achieve desired behaviors, without ever resorting to physical intervention or restraints.

 Among those participating most recently in Vantage Point is a group of senior staff from the New York State’s Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD). Leading the way was Commissioner Courtney Burke who went through Vantage Point in early August as part of her ongoing commitment to learning about different ways to improve and enhance the quality of service provided to disabled citizens in the state.

 “During my experience I observed both constant positive reinforcement and constant check-ins to see how people were doing,” said Commissioner Burke. “I was particularly impressed by the respect and genuine affection shown by Delarc staff to everyone.”
In addition to OPWDD officials, professionals from across New York and other parts of the country have visited this summer to learn from Delarc.  Among them was a team of four staff from The Arc of Fresno, California, two from the Arc of Westchester County, and three from rehabilitation agencies in Connecticut.

“As the only organization in New York State with a Board of Director’s policy prohibiting any physical intervention, mechanical or pharmacologist restraints, we are very proud of the successes we’ve witnessed among those in our care as a result of our positive approach,” said Suess. “We are delighted to have an opportunity to work with state officials and other professionals in our field to share our philosophy and training programs with the ultimate goal of eliminating all instances of abuse among those caring for people with developmental disabilities and improving their quality of service.”

For more information about The Arc of Delaware County and its Vantage Point program, please visit


Monday, August 27, 2012

The Arc of Delaware County's video wins a First Place at Film Festival

The first annual “Art and Soul of the Catskills Film Festival" was held this past Friday and Saturday. Submissions to the film festival were accepted from all levels of filmmakers who were either residents of Delaware, Otsego, Ulster, Green, Chenango, and Schoharie counties or whose films were produced in or made the subject of these Counties. Over 42 films were entered and judged in 5 categories.  The Arc of Delaware County’s video, “Making the Shift to Community Connections” won first place in the short documentary category.

This film tells the story of Delarc and the connections being made by people with disabilities in the communities in which they live.  Sheri Hull, THRIVE Program Director shared “We felt like we needed to do it in a meaningful way (make connections). Doing things that were meaningful for them and that really had to do with their life choices and goals.”  This film consists of a series of vignettes of people with disabilities engaged in their communities with activities such as working at a local auto repair shop and vegetable crop farm, taking classes at SUNY Delhi, taking horseback riding lessons, learning skills and assisting at a day care center. And the ultimate outcome of community connections in which real relationships and friendships are formed is powerfully demonstrated by this video.

George Suess, CEO of The Arc of Delaware County shared “ At the actual showing of the video, Saturday afternoon, the audience was very small but their response when the video ended was over the top. Loud and sustained applause with big smiles all the way around.” You can view this award winning video on our YouTube site or by clicking here: Making the Shift to Community Connections

George Suess, CEO listens as The Arc of Delaware County's video
 "Making the Shift To Community Connections"
wins a first prize at the 1st Annual Art and Soul of the Catskills Film Festival
The ASCFF welcomes submissions from all levels of filmmakers providing they are residents of Delaware, Otsego, Ulster, Green

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Jessica Baldi and Janet Stoop Recognized With Blesher Award for Making “Camp Work” a Success

Jessica and Janet were nominated for a Blesher Award by Steve Finkel, Community Program Life Coach. In his nomination he stated,” They both worked as a team to make the recently completed “Camp Work Program” a success for our folks, despite staff shortages and some very hot weather!

They’re the best!” Jessica and Janet supported people from Delarc as they assisted in readying Camp Shankitunk for the summer season and also helped maintain the facilities while the 4 H Camp and Day Camp programs were in session.

In order to qualify for a Blesher award, those nominated must have exemplified the Unifying Principles of The Arc of Delaware County. In using their, talents and abilities, these ladies have gone above and beyond job expectations to provide a wonderful opportunity for those they support.

Steve wrote that Janet and Jessica exemplified the 6 Unifying Principles in the following ways:
Those We Serve Come First-“Regardless of staffing issues, they were there to make this program happen.
Commit To Excellence- “Great Outcomes, great feedback from camp staff.”
Be Dedicated- “They really know how to overcome almost any obstacle or problem.”
Employee Satisfaction- “You can see it in their (Janet and Jessica’s) faces. They are proud to support those we serve to see rewarding outcomes.”
Communicate Effectively-“Despite very busy schedules, you always knew “what’s up” and “what’s happening”.
Be Innovative- “Overcoming schedule changes and other obstacles never were barriers to their achieving success!”

Congratulations Janet and Jessica!

Friday, July 27, 2012

Unifying Principles in Action at the 2012 Staff Retreat

The Arc of Delaware County (Delarc) held its Staff Retreat on July 20th at Scott’s Family Resort located on beautiful Oquaga Lake in Deposit, NY. The Staff Retreat is eagerly looked forward to each year by Delarc’s employees as a chance to interact together as well as have fun, relax, and take part in a variety of learning activities.

The morning program included a presentation by guest speakers, Polly and Dylan Emmons who gave their personal story about living with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of Autism. This mother and son team spoke about how they discovered Dylan had Autism and how they navigated the obstacles and solutions presented to them as Dylan grew up to the amazing young man he is today. Dylan graduated from Ithaca College this Spring and will continue pursuing his interest in writing while working on his Master’s Degree at Sarah Lawrence College this Fall.

After their presentation, a variety of interactive activities were centered around the 6 Unifying Principles of The Arc of Delaware County. Employees were broken into teams as they took up the challenge of each activity that represented a Unifying Principle –Those We Serve Come First, Commit to Excellence, Be Dedicated, Employee Satisfaction, Communicate Effectively, and Be Innovative.

After a delicious luncheon Delarc staff had an opportunity to get to know each other better while participating in a variety of afternoon activities including golf, boat rides, yoga, massage, horseshoes, volleyball, and classes in art (Zentangles), mind exploration,volleyball, fly casting, bicycling, and just plain relaxing around Scott’s Resort.

Several Departments had created gift baskets around the Unifying Principle theme and these were raffled off at the end of the day.

What a great place to work! To find out more about how you can become part of the Delarc Team visit our Career Page at

Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Arc of Delaware County Awards Scholarships

The Arc of Delaware County (Delarc) is one of the country’s most progressive and unique organizations serving children and adults with developmental disabilities. Each year, Delarc awards scholarships to high school students that will be attending college to further their studies in the field of Human Services.  The recipients selected by their schools should not only have demonstrated scholastic ability but also been active providing service to their communities and/or school. The scholarships were sent to each school for presentation at commencement or awards ceremonies.

The 2012 recipients of The Arc Delaware County Scholarship are:

  • Jasmine Jester of Charlotte Valley Central School, attending the College of St. Rose majoring in Clinical Psychology
  • Katherine Bracci of Delaware Academy, attending Mohawk Valley Community College, majoring in Health
  • Jennifer Newman of Deposit Central School, attending Elmira College, majoring in Nursing.
  • Harley Rae Frey of Downsville Central School, attending SUNY Cobleskill, majoring in Early Childhood Education.
  • Sarah Gladding of Franklin Central School, SUNY Delhi, majoring in Nursing.
  • Tabitha Althiser of Hancock Central School, attending Onondaga Community College, majoring in Human Services/Special Education
  • Daphne Ancona of Margaretville Central School, attending Kutztown University, majoring in Psychology
  • Sydney Peters of Roxbury Central School, majoring in Human Social Services.
  • Alaina Wagner of Sidney Central School, attending SUNY Oneonta, majoring in Psychology
  • Rebecca Johnson-Quigley of South Kortright Central School, attending SUNY Delhi, majoring in Nursing
  • Nicole Burgher of Stamford Central School, attending SUNY Oneonta, majoring in Early Childhood Education.
  • Elizabeth Patterson of Walton Central School, attending St. Rose, majoring in Speech Pathology.

In a thank you letter to the agency, scholarship recipient Tabitha Althiser wrote, “It means everything that you gave me this scholarship. This scholarship is helping me out paying for college. It has also been a pleasure working for the summer at the Walton location (Delarc’s Community Living Skills- Walton facility)”. Tabitha indicated that she applied for a summer job at CLS-W to obtain insight and experience in the field of Human Services.

For more information about The Arc of Delaware County, including career opportunities, visit or call (607) 865-7126.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Blesher visits Marian Ewain, A Positive Person Who Always Finds a Way!

Marian Ewain, a Life Coach at Community Living Skills-Walton was nominated by Heather McAdams for a Blesher award.  Marian is well known for her willingness to jump in and help whenever and wherever she can.  Heather shared that Marian found a way to support not only the people at CLS-W but also those at RFI who thoroughly enjoy attending “Creating Art Together” (CAT) classes. Congratulations to Marian who received her Blesher award June 28th!

Heather wrote the following examples demonstrating how Marian exemplifies the 6 Unifying Principles of The Arc of Delaware County: 

  1. Those We Serve Come First
    “Marian was very flexible and was able to help support three folks from RFI, so they could attend classes.”
  2. Commit To Excellence
    “Marian is willing to jump in whenever she is asked.”

3.       Be Dedicated
“When Marian was approached to help RFI she jumped on it and gave me an answer the next day.”

4.       Employee Satisfaction
“Marian has an awesome “can do” attitude.”

5.       Communicate Effectively
“Marian kept me updated on how the folks at RFI were doing at CAT class.”

6.       Be Innovative
“Marian found a way to support her folks at CLS-Walton and the folks at RFI at the same times.”

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Flower Power in Margaretville

Danny Vollmer and David Greenwood have been working together to help beautify the Village of Margaretville. Both men have had a personal interest in gardening and were pleased when Heidi Friedman, a community inclusion specialist, found an opportunity for them to put their passion to work by tending the flower boxes that line the parking lot of the Village of Margaretville parking lot. David has been volunteering for 3 years and Danny has been a part of the project for 1 year.

The flower box project got started when Heidi contacted Karen McMurray, Village Clerk, who along with Mayor Bill Stanton enthusiastically supported the project. Karen made a connection with local resident Joe Kiss who is very active in the community. Joe worked alongside David and Danny imparting his knowledge of plants and gardening to them.

David expresses joy every time he tends to the flowers by socializing with other community members. Danny sums up his feelings by stating: “I love watering the flowers, they are so pretty.” David and Danny take pride in their community and enjoy the opportunity to develop new connections.

The Arc of Delaware County strives to include people with disabilities in their communities by supporting them in exploring their individual hobbies, talents, and interests.
To view more photos of Danny and David's flowers click here:

Monday, June 18, 2012

The Arc of Delaware County Celebrates Much Success

The Arc of Delaware County‘s Annual Membership Meeting and Achievement Awards Ceremony was held at the Holiday Inn, Oneonta, June 8th.  Members, staff, special guests, Officers and Directors gathered together to elect new Officers and Board Members for the upcoming term and to celebrate the outstanding achievements of people they support, community members, and partner organizations.

After serving a maximum of six consecutive one year terms as Board President, Robert Rothenberg has turned over the reins of leadership. Officers for the 2012-2013 term are: President, Robin Evanitsky; Vice President, Ira McIntosh; Secretary, Sandra Bullis; Treasurer, Tim Crain.  Directors for the 2012-2014 term are:  Sandra Bullis, Lori Cetta, Tim Crain, Robin Evanitsky, Lee Marigliano, Ira McIntosh, Gerda van Leeuwen, Ruth Vitale, Alan Zimmerman; they join Margie Aitken, Thomas Banks, Mary Jane Giarrusso-Wilkin, and Robert Rothenberg whose two year director terms expire in 2013.

Officers and Directors were sworn in to office by Wayne Marshfield, Hamden Town Supervisor, long time Member and supporter of The Arc of Delaware County, and Dale Anderson, representing people who receive services from The Arc. 

Six Outstanding Achievement awards were presented to individuals that have inspired others in each of The Arc of Delaware County’s programs.  Award winners were bestowed with Oscar-like trophies and plaques, honored with Certificates of Recognition from Assemblyman Peter Lopez and Senator John Bonacic, and surprised by a letter of congratulations from Governor Andrew Cuomo.  Assemblyman Lopez also personally congratulated and thanked the staff and volunteers for making all the successes possible.

Carousel Children’s Services selected Jonathan Roy as Outstanding Achievement Award winner.  Jonathan was selected by his teachers for his exceptional progress this past year. 

 The Outstanding Achievement award winners of the adult programs were chosen by a group of their peers.  Selection committees for each program were formed to discuss qualities award winners should possess, and accomplishments of nominees were reviewed and considered. Lisa Nichols, Life Coach of the THRIVE program shared, “The individuals (on the nomination committee) really are observant and they pick up on different things than we do as staff…  they really pick up on the key pieces that are important to this process.” 

The Outstanding Achievement Award winners in the adult programs include:  Community Living Skills, Arkville- Gerry Sparks;  Community Living Skills, Walton- Russell Beadle; Residential Services- Corinne Jones; Resources For Industry- Mark Fenner; THRIVE- Brenda McCall.

Other awards included the Dr. Gerald Burday Professional Excellence Award which recognizes a professional or team of professionals who demonstrates a commitment to excellence so that each individual they touch reaches his or her true potential. The winner of this year’s award is Family Resource Network of Oneonta, NY for providing outstanding support and programs to the Parent Support Group facilitated by the Arc of Delaware County.

The Father Eugene Willis Good Neighbor Award celebrates people who embody the spirit of being kind and neighborly.  The recipient of this year’s award was Nat Thomas of Margaretville, NY.  Nat has become a teacher, mentor, fellow artist, and friend; Nat recognized and nurtured the artistic talents of James Mould. He helped James establish his first gallery showing at Longyear Gallery in Margaretville, NY which further led to an additional gallery showing in Mainview Gallery, Oneonta.

The Partner of the Year Award was presented to the community partner that has done the most to enhance opportunities for individuals with disabilities in Delaware County. This year’s winner was Walton Nursery School. Through the support of the Board of Directors, Walton Nursery School has always been supportive of a program that integrates children with and without disabilities. This collaboration gives all children, regardless of ability level, the opportunity to learn and play together.  Speaking of interactions with children from the Walton Nursery School, Joan Stone, Classroom Aide shared, “Instead of fear or animosity toward their peers with special needs, they develop compassion, understanding, and love.”

To learn how you can become a part of The Arc of Delaware County as a volunteer or employee, visit our website at:    To view photos of the “2012 Membership Meeting and Awards Dinner”, click on the Flickr button located on the homepage of the website.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Mike Terry Recognized with Blesher Award For “Can Do” Attitude

Blesher Lil Heart, the mascot of The Arc of Delaware County, met Mike Terry as he was completing a bus run at CLS-Arkville on May 30th .  Mike was nominated by Heidi Friedman  who shared, “Mike comes to work with a great positive attitude and shares it with everybody.”

Mike’s attitude demonstrates the 6 unifying principles of the Arc of Delaware County everyday:

1.)  Those We Serve Come First
Mike asks questions so that he can better work with our individuals.
2.) Commit To Excellence
Mike takes pride in his driving and maintaining the safety of those we serve.
3.) Be Dedicated
Mike has changed his personal schedule to accommodate the needs of Delarc.
4.) Employee Satisfaction
Mike pitches in and helps wherever needed.
5.) Communicate Effectively
He has the ability to communicate but also to listen to others.
6.) Be Innovative
He saw a need and built a “lunch box holder” on the bus. This was a help to people riding his bus place their lunch pails in a safe and accessible spot.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

“Share, Learn, Grow” Program Creates Ambassadors for Change

Hancock Elementary School and Walton Central School students experienced the Arc of Delaware County’s “Share, Learn, Grow” program in May. This was a special treat for the students who were recently were County Wide and School Wide winners of the Arc of Delaware County’s “Everybody Can” contest.

The “Share, Learn, Grow” program is designed to foster understanding and respect for people with disabilities. It is also a program that challenges students to see past differences and focus on the person inside and will have lifelong impacts on their relationships with others. Catherine Tweedie, Director of Community Relations explained, “There are no members of our community more important to changing attitudes about people with disabilities than our children. Through increased education and understanding they can become the ambassadors of change.”

The students arrived in the morning and were introduced and paired with a person who receives supports from Delarc who served as their mentor and guide throughout the day. The children enjoyed a variety of activities including budgeting classes, art projects, and making pizza. They also had the experience of a simulated disability while perform various tasks such as assembling boxes with a kitchen mitt on one hand and reading and following directions that were written backwards. Students and mentors shared their thoughts and feelings about what they had learned. Blesher Lil’ Heart, the mascot of the Arc of Delaware County, joined the students for a special activity to help encourage positive interactions.

Comments from thank you letters received from the students reflected the success of the program. Kaylee Gill wrote: “I really did learn that people with any disability can do every day things even more than before (my visit). Thank you for an awesome day.” William Gross shared, “I really had a wonderful time at Delarc. My mentor, Tina and I had a lot of fun. I hope someday we can come back!”

To learn more about the Share, Learn, Grow program visit our website at and select the” Share, Learn, Grow Mentorship Program” video on YouTube. Or view the Hancock Central School and Walton Central School photo sets on Flickr at: All Delaware County schools, grades 5-8 can participate in this program. Contact the Community Relations Department at 607-865-7126 for more information or to schedule a visit.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Rebecca Townsend Receives Blesher Award

Rebecca (Becky) Townsend was nominated for a Blesher Award by Steve Finkel for going “above and beyond” the requirements of her position. Becky has been supporting Brandy Parker as she fulfilled a personal desire to attend college. Brandy has been attending classes at SUNY Delhi and Becky has been an integral part of making her experience a success. Because of her successes at college, Brandy was asked to participate in a symposium in New York City in which she, some of her classmates, and the instructor, Dr. Tatnall were invited to talk about this inclusive college classroom project. Steve wrote: “I feel that without Becky’s support this unique opportunity for Brandy would not have occurred.” Becky has demonstrated the 6 Unifying Principals of the Arc of Delaware County: 1. Those We Serve Come First- Becky shared her personal time to help Brandy achieve her goals. 2. Commit to Excellence-Becky has committed herself to provide quality support to Brandy in all aspects of Brandy’s college experience. 3. Be Dedicated- Becky focuses on proper preparation and works with Brandy to ensure she is prepared for all college classroom requirements. 4. Employee Satisfaction- The joys of self esteem and satisfaction felt by Brandy provides a “reward” for Becky. 5. Communicate Effectively- Becky is thorough as evidenced by Brandy being well-prepared for all aspects of the program. 6. Be Innovative- Without Becky’s support, Brandy would not have had this unique opportunity to attend and participate in this symposium. Congratulations to Becky!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Politics with Respect

After weeks of campaigning, several members of the THRIVE Self Advocate group were elected to the offices of President, Treasurer, and Secretary. Excitement was in the air as the members of the Self Advocate group gathered to hear the candidates speak. It was a festive occasion and voters were greeted with posters enumerating the qualifications of each candidate as they arrived. Balloons adorned the tables and many political mementoes were handed out by the candidates in an effort to garner last minute voter support. Each candidate was given an opportunity to present a speech detailing their qualifications and experience. In turn, the voters had an opportunity to ask many probing questions of each candidate. Each speech, as well as the questions and comments were respectfully considered. The panel of candidates included: President-Tina Cawley, Becky Hand, Brenda Scott, and Stephen Huff Secretary- Erin Balcom, Nancy Hayden Treasurer- David Nichols, Lilly Johnson, and Joseph Fitapelli After ballots were collected and counted the winners were: Brenda Scott- President, Erin Balcom-Secretary, and David Nichols- Treasurer Several of the Self Advocates were involved in making the election a success. Special mention was made that Cory Tatton was instrumental in helping several candidates with their campaign strategies. Visit our Flickr site at: to view more photos of the election.