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.