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!