Friday, December 27, 2013

Photography Class Ignites A Lifetime of Creative Pleasure for Many

Several individuals jumped at the opportunity to participate in a photography class taught by professional photographer and community partner, Joe Damone. Joe is a graduate of New York Institute of Photography who hails from NYC and is also a resident of Andes, NY. He shared his love of the art of photography with others by providing 2 sessions of 6 workshops each at The Arc of Delaware County. 

Photo “rookies” as well as more experienced photographers whom have exhibited works in local galleries and other venues gained knowledge about the art of photography during the workshops. They learned the basics of digital photography, including picture composition, lighting, cropping, taking portrait photos, and many other techniques. The class visited several locations to experience taking photos in natural settings such as a farm and a covered bridge in Hamden, NY.

The photography program is so successful that a third workshop program is scheduled to begin on January 6th. With the colder weather, this class will be having indoor opportunities for photo shoots including a church in Delhi, the Delaware County Historical Association and the Heart of the Catskills Humane Society.

Photography can provide a lifelong conduit for creative expression and offers personal satisfaction and appreciation for the beauty that surrounds us. Bring some sunshine into your winter day by viewing photos taken during the summer/fall session of the photography class: Gems from Photography Class 

Thursday, December 26, 2013


George Suess, CEO from The Arc of Delaware County, continues to captivate audiences across the nation, including those at a recent conference hosted by The Arc of California.
“It has been a life-changing experience and process!” enthusiastically shared Lori Ramirez, CEO of The Arc of Fresno and Madera Counties, CA, when speaking of the training they have received from The Arc of Delaware County, NY.  This training, known as Shift Happens, has helped organizations across the nation shift from traditional reactive approaches to positive, proactive approaches in supporting people with disabilities, and guided them in making comprehensive, culture strengthening improvements.
With proven success in increasing the positives, such things as learning and growth, self-esteem, and productivity, and  reducing the negatives, such as incidents of abuse, neglect, assaults, and violence,  The Arc of Delaware County, NY, was engaged by The Arc of California to bring the Shift Happens training to organizations throughout the Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Oakland areas.  “We’ve taken our message how through caring and positivity you can improve productivity and performance to staffs as diverse as Alaska, Georgia, California, and of course New York among others, and have found our message resonates whether the setting is urban or rural, institutional or community based.” reflects George Suess, CEO of The Arc of Delaware County.
Embraced with firsthand knowledge gained from their roles and experiences at The Arc of Delaware County, Life Coaches Heidi Friedman, Valarie Stafford, and Katie Backus, together with George Suess, traveled to California to teach Boards of Directors, leaders, and direct support staff about this positive, proactive approach they use every day. 
The first day, the training they provided began with a focus on the importance of caring, and how even people who have devoted their entire careers to caring for others can take caring to an even deeper level by following the principles in the person-centered, positive, and proactive Shift Happens approach.  The second day walked people through building such an approach through specific HR practices, beginning with hiring the right people and then providing them with proper training, coaching, and ongoing support.  “It seems that everywhere we go, organizations are experiencing budget cuts or underfunding.  Simply telling people to do more with less doesn’t work.  They feel they have been doing more with less for years and there is no more room for their budget to accommodate cuts.  Part of the solution, we believe, is by increasing individual and team productivity through proactive strategies to improve accountability, cooperation, and teamwork.  We show organizations how to do this, and with a smile.” shared George Suess.

To learn more about The Arc of Delaware County’s unique approach, go to, or call 607-865-7126 and arrange for a consultation or visit.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Wishes Are Granted

When The Arc of Delaware County learned that they would be receiving a $6,000 grant from the Trustees of the NYSARC Trusts to support recreational opportunities for people they provide services and supports to, excitement filled the air.  Receiving this money has facilitated the granting of wishes for several people supported by The Arc who may otherwise not have had these opportunities.

 One such person is Kelly Piskacek.   She is an effervescent woman who has only dreamed of traveling from her small, country hometown to the glowing city of New York, where everything sparkles and the stars shine not only in the sky but on the stage.  This grant made Kelly’s wish come true.  She recently hopped on a bus, with her support staff, Life Coach Heidi Friedman, and was on her way to the big city.  Though the experiences were all very new to her, she navigated her way around like a superstar. She spent hours just walking around taking in the scenery and was in awe of all the tall buildings, she was pampered at a beauty salon, and of course did some Christmas shopping.  But perhaps her favorite part of the trip was to Radio City Music Hall. When the Rockettes started dancing Kelly was literally on the edge of her seat.  “I remember when the Santas started to appear 1 by 1 and Kelly was staring at the stage saying ‘Heidi look, Heidi look’--but she couldn’t take her eyes off of them. When the nativity set was performing a low but clear ‘WOW’ was heard. She was transformed into another world.” recalled Heidi.  At the end of the day Kelly returned to the hotel exhilarated, exhausted, and ready to do it all over again.

The NYSARC Trusts administer supplemental needs trusts that enable people who have 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 programs as provided by statute.  In addition to the Recreation Grant, the Trustees awarded $1,225,500 to support Chapter Guardianship programs. Information on how you may benefit from a NYSARC Trust is available by calling 518-439-8323 or 1-800-735-8924 or by emailing  To learn more about The Arc of Delaware County, visit; to see more photos from Kelly’s NYC trip, click on the Flickr link on the homepage.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

And the Beat Goes On... The Rhythmic Arts Project Founder at The Arc for the Ninth Year

Eddie Tuduri, Founder/Director of The Rhythmic Arts Project (TRAP) visited The Arc of Delaware County at four locations this week. Eddie has been working with The Arc for over 9 years integrating the methods and techniques that he developed into The TRAP program and applying it in different ways to aid people in learning. Eddie explained, “The essence of The TRAP program is that it is fun. And it teaches people how to listen, follow directions, communicate, share, and many other social skills.  It draws people into the realm of learning.” He clarified that “TRAP is NOT a program on how to play the drums but rather a tool.” People learn with more of their senses in the TRAP program, because the drums and other rhythmic instruments provide a tactile, auditory piece to aid in remembering things.  They learn many skills such as sequencing, colors, math, coordination, social and communication skills as a result of the class. And the TRAP methodology can be used in a variety of learning situations.  For example, on Thursday, Henry Kamp received a lesson in timing from Eddie to hone his joke telling skills.  To tell a joke well, timing is everything!  Henry also learned about voice inflection and introducing emotion into stories and jokes. Henry and Chee Chee the Clown provide entertainment at several venues in Delaware County and Henry utilized the TRAP program while preparing for a December event at the Office of the Aging.

When asked what changes he had seen over the years spent with The Arc of Delaware County, Eddie shared that he didn’t see many pure TRAP classes being taught this week. However what he did observe was a variety of ways that segments of the TRAP program were being integrated into individualized learning. 

The joy and excitement that Eddie brings with each visit to The Arc of Delaware county was evident by the hugs, smiles, and warm greetings he received from those who have had the pleasure of being in his class before. 

Enjoy photos of Eddie’s visits to Community Living Skills-Walton, Resources for Industry –Walton and THRIVE-Hamden. (Photos not available from Community Living Skills-Arkville).

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Betsy Adamo Recieves Blesher Award

“Betsy is always looking for a better way to do things. She is interested in program activities, looks to protect and preserve building and equipment and is constantly vigilant about safety. She has been a wonderful resource and “additional pair of helping hands” at our Parent Support Meetings.” states Barb Thompson, Community Relations Assistant.

Examples of how Betsy personifies the six unifying principles of the Arc of Delaware County include:

Those We Serve Come First-Betsy kept the staff apprised of conditions that could affect the safety of those we serve including everything from icy parking lots to county fire training events where large vehicles commute through the parking lot.

Commit to Excellence- Betsy always looked to preserve and protect agency facilities and equipment while allowing planned program activities to run smoothly.  For example, when a classroom was to be used for evening child care, she would carefully wrap and secure computers and equipment to avoid potential damage.

Be Dedicated- She demonstrated her interest in program activities with comments, ideas, and suggestions.  She looked for the safe arrival and departure of the parents and children attending the Parent Support Group meetings. When the front building entrance was undergoing renovations she kept watch for new arrivals, guiding them to an alternative entrance while staff was occupied with the evening program.

Employee Satisfaction- Betsy always looked for ways to assist staff. Whether with set up or clean up after meetings, Betsy always asked what she could do to help. Many times she volunteered to put away equipment and clean up refreshments so staff could leave for home when programs ran later than expected.

Communicate Effectively- Betsy always checked scheduled building use and advised Community Relations of potential conflicts. This mitigated potential problems on several occasions.

Be Innovative- Betsy always found ways to make Parent Support Group activities successful. For example, when she learned that there would be crafts involving painting, she proactively slid plastic bags over tables to protect them and make clean up easier. For a Halloween Donut game she obtained plastic sheeting to tape under the donuts to ensure safety and cleanliness during the game.


Congratulations Betsy on your Blesher award!


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Carpentry Students Share the Fruits of Their Labors

Much was accomplished over the course of 7 weeks when Russ Neale, a community partner who has extensive skills in carpentry, led a comprehensive workshop this summer and fall.  Four students learned woodworking “A-Z”, from the various types of wood, their properties and uses, to safety and operation of equipment and tools.

  Each student designed and completed an individual project of their choosing. They also worked as a team to create a project together.  October 25th was a special day when they delivered their team project, an Adirondack chair and table, to be enjoyed by people at Main Street Residence in Delhi, NY.  

 Proudly displaying their craftsmanship are 2 of the students: Tracey Rossi (seated) and Will Vovchik standing behind Tracy. Also pictured (left to right) are staff from The Arc of Delaware County Mike Sikorski, Annette Plath, James Callender, and Russ Neale, Carpentry Instructor.  Not pictured, are two individuals from Community Living Skills-Walton that participated in the class.
Pictured showing his individual project is Will Vovchik with a cherry picture frame he made that enhances a drawing made by a friend.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Reaching out, Building Community

In this month of bountiful harvests which also encompasses Community Service Day on October 5th, The Arc of Delaware County recently reached out and supported local communities in a variety of ways.
Pictured in the photo from left to right are: Pat McDonald and Judy Ford from the Delhi Senior Community Apts., Tina Osadca, Gabrielle Rosario, SUNY Liberal Arts student, Adonis Smalls, SUNY Carpentry student and Matt Wilson.

For SUNY Delhi’s Community Service Day, people at The Arc of Delaware County’s Main Street Residence teamed with students from SUNY Delhi and enjoyed baking cookies together for delivery to residents at the Delhi Senior Community Apartments. In a note to The Arc of Delaware County the seniors wrote: “Thank you so very much for the platter of homemade cookies. We really appreciate your thoughtfulness and kindness.”

Pictured in the photograph are Carol Norwick, Secretary to the Principal and Thomas Ferrante who helped in the baking and delivery of the cookies.

On October 8th Margaretville Central School hosted a Senior Citizen Dinner Dance in recognition of LiLY (Lifeforce in Late Years), a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of senior citizens. Again, using their baking skills, a group of self advocates from The Arc of Delaware County supported the dance by providing delicious desserts for the enjoyment of over 60 seniors who attended.  

And ending the month with a “ BANG” or should we say a “BOO!”, Community Living Skills in Walton hosted another popular Halloween Hoopla on Saturday October 26th where over 60 local children and their families enjoyed, crafts, games, a costume exchange, a “not-so-spooky” Halloween Maze and refreshments.

Reaching out, giving back, and fully participating in our communities- that are what being part of a community is all about!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Angie Edwards Nominated for Blesher Award by Entire CLS-W Staff

Angie pictured on the left of Blesher surrounded by the staff at CLS-W who nominated her

“During a time when CLS-W was growing and in need of additional staff, Angie stepped in, set up here and jumped in whenever needed” stated the CLS-W Staff in their nomination.

Angie Edwards is a Person Centered Planner located in The Arc of Delaware County’s Hamden office. She helps individuals with disabilities to plan their life and supports that enable them to live personally fulfilling lives. However, when CLS-W experienced a large increase in caseload, staff stated that Angie was a real team player- when help was needed; she rearranged her work schedule and jumped in to assist.

While at CLS-W she asked what she could do to assist one on one with an individual new to the CLS-W program. She followed up on feeding guidelines before assisting individuals and offered many helpful suggestions at staff meetings. CLS-W Staff was very appreciative of her efforts and her passion to be helpful. They wanted to express their appreciation by nominating her for a Blesher Award which was presented on Oct. 7th at the CLS-W facility.

Through her actions Angie exemplifies each of the 6 Unifying Principals of The Arc of Delaware County: Those We Serve Come First, Commit to Excellence, Be Dedicated, Employee Satisfaction, Communicate Effectively and Be Innovative.

Congratulations Angie!


Thursday, October 3, 2013

A Writer Scripts His Own Success

The journey of a lifetime has begun for Justin Kirby.  Justin has always enjoyed writing, acting, and theater. He shared, “I’m a big movie buff. I’ve been in plays before and I just love acting.” But he wanted to further his knowledge and hone his skills, so he started to look into colleges that offered theater classes. However before applying to college, Justin first needed to obtain a General Education Diploma (GED). This fact did not deter him and this year Justin attended a weekly class from January to July. However the process of obtaining a GED requires strong self motivation and determination to complete self studies using books and preparatory tests in Math, Social Sciences, Reading, and Writing. When asked what kept him motivated, Justin pointed to his parents and Valarie Stafford, Life Coach at The Arc of Delaware County who knew that he wanted to do this for years. The first step is always the hardest, but “Jeanne Ntibalkure (Service Coordinator) made the phone call with me to get me enrolled in classes”.  Val shared that Justin “showed a commitment and desire to work through it (the courses).” And on September 12th, Justin was thrilled to find out that he passed the test and earned his GED. He was especially proud that he passed the test on his first try and he and his family celebrated with a special dinner that night.

When asked what he would say to others considering obtaining a GED degree he said, “If you have a dream to get your GED, go for it. Don’t let anybody else tell you that you can’t.”  Justin looks forward to enrolling in a college theater program and in the meantime continues to write. “I’ve been working on writing my own movies.” The most recent movie script he is working on involves a romantic comedy set in New York City.  He shared, “I hope sooner or later one of my screenplays gets picked and turned into an actual movie.”

Friday, September 27, 2013

Wendy Miller Receives Blesher Award For Making a Dream Come True

Wendy was nominated for a Blesher Award for her timely and persistent efforts that culminated in making a dream come true for one of the gentlemen that she supports.  Wendy knew that he was a big fan of the Walton Football Team and always wanted to be a part of it.  Through her efforts he is now part of the team and has formed warm friendships with the players. Pam Moody wrote in her nomination, “Wendy facilitated a “dream come true” for this man to become a part of the Walton Football team. He has a title of “Sideline Assistant”, appointed by the players and coaching staff. He is supporting the players at all home games and is standing with them on the sideline.”
Wendy’s  actions and resulting accomplishments exemplify the 6 Unifying Principles of The Arc of Delaware County:
Those We Serve Come First- Wendy followed up with this man’s dream of being a part of the Walton Football Team.
Commit To Excellence- Wendy started early and assured she made contact with Coach Hoover weekly.
Be Dedicated- Wendy arranged her schedule to accommodate the individual to attend football practice and the other volunteer activities.
Employee Satisfaction- Wendy expresses her delight in the warm friendships he has built with the team.
Communicate Effectively- Wendy has communicated with Jessie and Bruce Baldi to assure his participation at home games.
Be Innovative- Wendy researched during the summer months what she needed to do to make this dream come true.
                                 Congratulations Wendy!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Accolades Abound for CLS-Walton Team

Always generous with their time and talent, CLS-Walton had many staff members assisting at other facilities and in other programs while at the same time experiencing a 37% increase in caseload. Their efforts didn’t go unnoticed.  Steve Finkel,  Community Programmer with The Arc of Delaware County nominated the entire staff at the Community Living Skills facility in Walton, NY for a Blesher Award.  Steve wrote, “Despite enormous challenges… the (CLS-W) team never missed a beat- “caring without restraint in spades!”. 
It is rare that an entire staff at a facility is nominated for a Blesher Award. However this team has “dug deep” and pulled together to meet these significant challenges. With the dedication and teamwork of every person at CLS-W, the Day Service program continued to operate smoothly and was able to maintain the high level of service that they provide under normal circumstances. 
Key points noted in the nomination of how the people at CLS-W demonstrated the Unifying Principals of The Arc of Delaware County include:
Those We Serve Come First-“Their human resources focused on our mission despite the challenges.”
Commit To Excellence- “Blending more people from Broome and CLS-Arkville and being positive and proactive.”
Be Dedicated- “Ensuring that the focus is on supporting their participants at all times- and making great strides on meeting Valued Outcomes!”
Employee Satisfaction-“ The pride in a job well done under very trying times – with still much to be done.”
Communicate Effectively-“With all the pressures, programs have happened as planned, annual meetings held, and communications flow as needed.”
Be Innovative- “Reaching out to others to help as needed so the level of service is maintained at a very high level.”
Congratulations to everyone at Community Living Skills-Walton. You are the ultimate example of how mighty many can be when they act as one.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Celebrating Direct Support Professionals Recognition Week

Recognizing Workers Who Support People with Disabilities

In honor of National Direct Support Recognition Week, The Arc of Delaware County, a not for profit organization which supports Delaware County’s children and adults with disabilities to live personally fulfilling lives, joins organizations from around the nation in celebrating its direct support workforce.

National Direct Support Professional (DSP) Recognition Week is celebrated annually across the country to honor the tens of thousands of workers who enable people with intellectual, developmental and other significant disabilities and their families to live healthy community-oriented lives.

The Arc of Delaware County has grown exponentially since it was founded in 1967; supporting nearly 400 individuals with disabilities and employing over 200 staff, the majority of which are direct support professionals, making it one of Delaware County’s largest employers. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo joins governors from across the nation in signing a Gubernatorial Proclamation designating this week as Direct Support Professional’s Recognition Week.  This is the sixth consecutive year the U.S. Senate has approved such a resolution. 
“Direct support professionals work tirelessly every day of the year administering skilled and compassionate care to seniors and individuals with disabilities,” Senator Collins (ME) said.  “I commend the important work carried out by direct support professionals that allows these individuals to stay connected with their community and their families, and I am pleased to have supported a resolution honoring all that these professionals do to help those in their care live meaningful and productive lives.” 

Heidi Friedman, Life Coach (aka Direct Support Professional) at The Arc of Delaware County shared “The people I support are exactly like everybody else, in the sense that we are all different. Being a DSP has made such a difference in my life; it can make a difference in your life also.”   
To learn more about Direct Support Professionals view this video: Direct Support Professionals-Helping Individuals with Disabilities Live Personally Fulfilling Lives

Thursday, August 29, 2013

"Sprucing Things Up" at SUNY Delhi

Students are returning to SUNY Delhi this week. Along with enjoying a fresh start to the academic year they can enjoy the freshly painted buildings which make the campus a welcoming sight.  The Arc and students from SUNY Delhi teamed together over the summer to paint several college venues including SUNY's Auto Lab and Russell Hall (a student dormitory). Steve Morganstern from SUNY Delhi Maintenance Operations shared:  “Your team did a fine job and I would be happy to have them back again!"  

Pictured Left to Right: Steve Morganstern and Bob Nicholson from  SUNY Dehli Maintenance Operations, Karl Williams, Jason Peck, Matt Anderson, Community Volunteer and Rachel Closs.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

The Arc of Delaware County Enters "The Choice Awards" Contest

The Arc of Delaware County recently entered 4 videos in NYSARC's "The Choice Awards" which recognizes excellence by our Chapters through their promotional videos and commercials. The goal of the contest is to recognize outstanding effort and quality by NYSARC's Chapters in furthering the public's awareness and understanding of individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and programs, supports, and services available through NYSARC, Inc. Enjoy viewing the many excellent videos and vote for your favorite!      

To view and vote on the on the Best Commercial Video: Commercial Videos
To view and vote on the -Best Promotional Video:  Promotional Videos
To learn more about the contest: The Choice Awards contest

Each person can vote for their favorite video once in each on the 2 categories: Commercial and Promotional videos.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Achieve With Us!

The Arc of Delaware County supports nearly 400 local children and adults who have intellectual and other developmental disabilities.  But many people may be surprised at the many other facets of The Arc of Delaware County including its level of local community impact, community partnerships, and the national recognition of both staff and programs.  Read the attached brochure or check our stories on our News blog for a more in depth view of what The Arc of Delaware County is all about.  Then consider becoming a member, donor, or employee!
A sampling of stories includes:
Local Community Impact:
“The Joy of Living Makes Life Worth Living – Celebrating President’s Project Week”

Nationally recognized workforce:

“ANCOR Names Heidi Friedman 2013 Direct Support Professional of the Year for New York State”

“Mutually Rewarding- SUNY Delhi Students Connect with Delarc”

Winners of the "Everybody Can" Contest Announced”



Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Aspiring Student Turned Cooking Sensation

Brenda Scott loved to cook and aspired to obtain a position as a cook in a restaurant. She decided to pursue this dream and jumped at the opportunity to enroll in SUNY Delhi’s Basic Food Preparation Lab course during the 2013 spring semester.  SUNY Delhi and The Arc of Delaware County have teamed together for several years to provide inclusive learning experiences for people with disabilities.  This connection has opened worlds of opportunity and fulfillment for not only people with disabilities but for the SUNY students in the inclusive classes as well.
 “Allemande”, “Bain-Marie”, and “Veloute” are not part of a foreign language but some of the numerous vocabulary words that students must master in the Basic Food Preparation course.  The class objectives included training in basic preparation of food groups, proper use and care of food service equipment, recognizing and identifying product standards, and food safety and sanitation standards of professional cooking. Over the course of 15 weeks, students learned the proper preparation of sauces, soups, salads, meats, vegetables, fish, eggs, pasta/rice, and sandwiches. They also learned how to organize and prepare food within allotted timeframes as well as concession stand set up, shopping, pricing food, and basic equipment operation. Their overall grade was based 60% on performance and 40% on tests and exams. 
Brenda passed with flying colors and immediately put her new skills and techniques to use when she planned and prepared a dinner for The Arc of Delaware County’s Board of Directors on May 23rd.  Brenda loves to share her favorite recipes with others as well and she regularly prepares selected dishes when she works in cafeteria at The Arc’s Hamden location. Pam Walker who manages the cafeteria said, “We have been reaping the benefits of Brenda’s cooking skills. Everyone really enjoys Brenda’s specialty dishes and she loves to plan and prepare them. She is a pleasure to work with!”
Brenda plans to continue her education by taking the next Food Preparation course offered at SUNY Delhi in August. 
Tasty Dishes Cooked Up in Class
To learn more about The Arc of Delaware County and discover more inspiring stories visit

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

The Arc of Delaware County Supports Graduates

Thirteen Delaware County High School graduates from each school district were awarded scholarships from The Arc of Delaware County. These students were selected by their schools and plan to continue their education in a field of study that will benefit people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Not only were these students chosen based on their scholastic abilities, but also their desire to help others must have been demonstrated with provision of services to their communities or schools.   

The 2013 recipients of The Arc Delaware County Scholarship include: Kelsey Little, Andes; Cassandra Wubbenhorst, Charlotte Valley; Megan Brosi, Delaware Academy; Samantha Mills, Deposit; Bethany Bierstine, Downsville; Jacob Gray, Franklin; Kelly Newman, Hancock; Samantha Bouton, Margaretville; Kathren Fairbairn, Roxbury; Brynn Davie, Sidney; Courtney Soule, South Kortright; Merisa Andrades, Stamford; and Alexandra Kilmer, Walton.

In a thank you letter to the agency, Hancock scholarship recipient Kelly Newman who is pursuing a degree in Special Education and English at SUNY Oneonta wrote: “Your generosity has inspired me to help others and give back to the community. I hope one day I will be able to help students achieve their goals just as you have helped me!”  For more information about The Arc of Delaware County, including career opportunities, visit or call (607) 865-7126.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Arc of Delaware Celebrates Successes at Awards Dinner

On June 14th The Arc of Delaware County recognized those who have inspired others through personal perseverance and individual growth and an individual who embodies the spirit of being a good neighbor. This Annual Membership Meeting and Achievement Awards Ceremony was attended by members, staff, special guests, Officers and Directors to celebrate these successes and to elect new Officers and Board Members for the upcoming term. 

Officers and Directors were sworn in to office by Wayne Marshfield, Hamden Town Supervisor, who has been a long time Member and supporter of The Arc of Delaware County. Officers for the 2013-2014 terms are: President, Robin Evanitsky; Vice President, Ira McIntosh; Secretary, Sandra Bullis; Treasurer, Lee Marigliano. Directors for the 2013-2015 terms include: Thomas Banks, Mary Jane Giarrusso-Wilkin, Bonnie Martin, Robert Rothenberg, Nat Thomas, and James Warren. They join Lori Cetta, Gerda van Leeuwen, and Ruth Vitale, whose two year director terms expire in 2014. 

Award winners received “Shining Star” trophies from Delarc and were honored with congratulatory speeches from Assemblywoman Claudia Tenny and Assemblyman Clifford Crouch’s Chief of Staff, Kathleen Moore. Certificates of Recognition were provided from both Assemblywoman Tenny and Assemblyman Crouch as well as from Senator John Bonacic.    

Award winners included Carousel Children’s Services’ (CCS) McKenzie Barnes who received her Outstanding Achievement Award for exceptional progress in developmental and social skills during the 2 years she has been attending the CCS program.

The Outstanding Achievement award winners of the adult programs were chosen by a group of their peers based on personal qualities and accomplishments they observed. 

The Outstanding Achievement Award winners in the adult programs include: Community Living Skills, Arkville- Gary Kain; Community Living Skills, Walton- James Jenks; Residential Services-Doris Knowles; Resources For Industry- Jean Borget; THRIVE- Warren Stelter.

Another award included the Father Eugene Willis Good Neighbor Award which celebrates people who embody the spirit of being kind and neighborly and supports the involvement of people with disabilities in their community. The recipient of this year’s award was Dave Bailey of Hamden, NY. Dave is the owner, operator of Hamden Auto Services and has shared his love of auto repair and restoration with two gentlemen, Francis and Warren, with whom he has developed genuine friendships. He has gone beyond being simply a teacher of auto repair, encouraging Francis and Warren to meet new people, explore their communities, and develop their personal interests. He shares a passion for snowmobiling with Warren and has invited him on several outings including competing together in racing events. When Warren participated in the tractor pull at the Delaware County Fair last year Dave attended to cheer Warren on.  

And Dave never forgets birthdays and other important events. Francis Schulz shared, “He helps me work on cars and has taught me lots of things. He made me like a part of the garage team. On my birthday (Dave) came to RFI and had lunch with me. When I am with him I get to meet new people and be a part of the community. I consider Dave a good friend.”

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 “2013 Membership Meeting and Awards Dinner”, click to view more photos of this event .

Wednesday, May 22, 2013


The American Network of Community Options and Resources (ANCOR) recently recognized Heidi Friedman of The Arc of Delaware County’s Community Living Skills program in Arkville as the 2013 Direct Support Professional of the Year for New York at their Annual Conference in Washington, D.C.  “We at The Arc of Delaware County are very proud of Heidi.  With this award we celebrate her dedication, knowledge, and advocacy on behalf of people with disabilities here in Delaware County and across the nation.” said Catherine Tweedie, Director of Community Relations.


Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) provide a rich mosaic of daily support services for the many Americans with disabilities. These DSPs are integral in helping people with disabilities participate in their communities and lead full and independent lives.


“Most Americans are not aware of the critical work DSPs do every day and the essential role they play in the social and economic life of communities across the country,” said Dave Toeniskoetter, president of ANCOR. “We want to make sure DSPs like Ms. Friedman are recognized for the difficult but inspiring work they do every day.”


“DSPs are on the front lines supporting people with disabilities and ensuring those individuals are granted full inclusion in their communities,” said Renee Pietrangelo, CEO of ANCOR. “It is absolutely essential that individuals, like Heidi Friedman, are given the recognition and respect they deserve.”


ANCOR’s Direct Support Professional Recognition Award is given to those who personify the values of ANCOR’s National Advocacy Campaign, which works to ensure a well-trained and sustainable direct support workforce. Nominees are judged on the work they’ve done to build social networks, substantive community participation and advocating for the people they serve.


The Arc of Delaware County, where Heidi is employed, is a not for profit organization providing community based supports and services to over 300 children and adults with disabilities.  It is one of the largest employers in Delaware County with a workforce of nearly 200.  It is a Chapter of NYSARC, Inc., and is affiliated with The Arc of the U.S., and ANCOR. For more information about The Arc of Delaware County, visit

Read additional news about Heidi and her award as published in The Daily Star on 5/21/13 by visiting Area Life Coach Wins State Recognition

The ANCOR is a national trade association representing more
800 private providers of community living and employment supports and services to more than 400,000 individuals with disabilities. As a nonprofit organization, ANCOR successfully addresses the needs and interests of private providers before Congress and federal agencies, continually advocating for the crucial role private providers play in enhancing and supporting the lives of people with disabilities and their families. Through its National Advocacy Campaign, ANCOR seeks to obtain the resources to recruit, train and retain a sustainable direct support workforce. ANCOR provides organization, professional, leadership development and networking opportunities and services and is continually working toward partnerships and collaborations that advance our vision, mission and goals. Its prime goal is to be the indispensable leader, resource and advocate for a diverse private disability services network that ensures full citizenship and engaged community participation for people with disabilities of all ages. For more information about ANCOR, visit

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Mutually Rewarding- SUNY Delhi Students Connect with Delarc

For several years, SUNY Delhi and The Arc of Delaware County (Delarc) have partnered together to develop opportunities for both students at SUNY Delhi and people with disabilities. Friendship, learning, and experience have been the mutual rewards of this partnership.

Olivia Nicholson, a Liberal Arts student, completed a Service Learning Project at Delarc’s Community Living Skills facility in Walton. And Alexandra Rogers, an Early Childhood Education student participated in an internship at Delarc’s Carousel Children’s Services (CCS) which is located at the SUNY Delhi Campus Child Care Center (DC4).

During her Service Learning Project, Olivia developed a strong bond with Tina Osadca.  Olivia shared, “I have a wonderful time with Tina.  I am so glad I met her, she has honestly become someone that I care about and think of often. It wasn't just a relationship built because of a service learning project, it was a mutual connection between two people because I can honestly say I enjoy every moment with Tina and it is real. We talk, we smile we laugh a lot together.” “I never would have thought I would bond with someone so strongly, and I bonded with a lot of people at Delarc because everyone is all so cool in their own way.”

Olivia wrote a letter to Tina illustrated with photos and pictures to commemorate their time together and celebrate their friendship. You can view photos of her letter at our Flickr site or click here:

Alexandra Rogers has been an intern at CCS since October 2012. She shared her internship goals were to learn the basics of being a teacher in a classroom with special needs children.  She also wanted to learn more about autism and how autistic children interact with non autistic children.

She shared: “I have learned how important it is to be a positive and happy role model. I learned how to help children get out of their tantrum mode and also how to prevent tantrums. Being positive 100% of the time is a big thing I learned because your mood affects a child’s mood. Reinforcement is also a huge part of what I learned. “ “I have also learned a lot from the autistic children in the classroom. I learned that more enclosed chairs help to keep them calm and still. Also the use of a weighted spoon helps the child figure out his boundaries and put pressure on the weak bones. I learned how important it is to make them feel important. Some children came in the classroom in the morning in a bad mood. If you show them attention and love such as giving hugs it can really go a long way.” You can view photos of Alexandra working with the children at CCS on our Flickr site or click here:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Kevin Keeps Kids Fit at Andes Central School

Kevin Allen has been given the title of “Volunteer Assistant Coach” at Andes Central School. Kevin loves sports and working with the children in K-1st grades during gym class. He independently sets up and supervises games as well as leads the exercise class. The coach says, “Kevin is just phenomenal”. When he arrives at school the children flock to him.
To view more photos of Kevin and his class visit our Flickr site by clicking here:

Friday, April 12, 2013

Comedy and Magic Delights Crowd

Henry Kamp and Chester Delamater (Chee Chee) have teamed together to produce a comedy and magic act that delighted the audience at Delarc’s Hamden, NY facility on 4/11. This is the 2nd time they have entertained together, the first being at the Senior Meals site in Walton, NY. 
For years, Henry has loved being a comedian and delighted audiences at several events in both in Delarc and at other venues in Delaware County.  Chester Delameter also known as Chee Chee the Clown is a well known performer in our area and learned about Henry and his interest in entertaining while performing at Delarc. For the 18 months Chester has shared his expertise with Henry on presentation and costume design while Henry has become an important part of the act with his comedic repartee. Chester said it was great working with Henry.  “He comes up with things that really work well and we enjoy bouncing jokes back and forth to each other.”
To view more photos visit our Flickr site at:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

The Joy of Giving Makes Life Worth Living -Celebrating President's Project Week 3/25-3/31

Several individuals from The Arc of Delaware County have been volunteering and giving back to their communities for many years.

Rhonda Reynolds assists at the Stamford Library on a weekly basis, helping to shelve the returned books and keep things organized and looking great! Rhonda enjoys both the work and the close personal connections she has made at the library. She loves baking cookies and bringing them in to share. The staff at the library ensures that Rhonda's birthday is a special day when they celebrate it together.

Kevin Allen has been given the title of “Volunteer Assistant Coach” at Andes Central School. Kevin loves sports and working with the children in K-1st grades during gym class. He independently sets up and supervises games as well as leads the exercise class. The coach says, “Kevin is just phenomenal”. When he arrives at school the children flock to him. Also a sports lover, Thomas Ferrante volunteers at Margaretville Central School. The third grade and middle school children look forward to his enthusiastic participation and assistance in their gym program every Friday.

Sharing their love of reading Tina Cawley and Jennifer Gugliotti read to children at South Kortright and Sidney Central Schools. Tina enjoys not only reading to the children but assisting the teacher with activities related to the story. The teacher had enjoyed having Tina assist in the classroom so much that she contacted Arc staff to ensure that Tina would return to her class the following school year.  Jennifer develops an activity for the children based on a story that the teacher has selected; she assembles and brings all of the materials with her to class and loves helping the children with the activity after she finishes reading the story.

In addition to individual efforts, self advocates combine their efforts to support both local and world communities. Each month over 20 people attend Self Advocacy meetings to conduct a variety of activities, including planning and implementing fund raisers.  Funds raised have benefited communities near and far, such as local flood victims and the Wheelchair Foundation which provides wheelchairs for people in need throughout the world.

These are just a few examples of the many ways people are contributing their gifts of time and talent to their communities. Volunteerism is a meaningful and important part of the lives of individuals from The Arc of Delaware County, we love to give and get much personal satisfaction in return!



Thursday, March 28, 2013

Winners of the "Everybody Can" Contest Announced

The months of March and April have long been nationally recognized as Developmental Disability Awareness month and Autism Awareness month respectively, but students in Delaware County have been working for several months on raising their awareness in these areas thanks in part to a contest hosted by The Arc of Delaware County (Delarc) and Delta kappa Gamma. For the past 3 years Delarc and Delta Kappa Gama have teamed together to provide a challenge to students in the form of a competition known as the “Everybody Can” contest. The goal is to encourage Delaware County children in grades K-8 to learn more about developmental disabilities utilizing a variety of resources, and then create projects that demonstrate what they have learned. While the prize money awarded to the contest winners is enthusiastically received, the ultimate reward is that of the heart- as empathy, understanding, and appreciation of people with disabilities. This contest is meant to support development of these traits at a young age which will serve them well throughout their lives.


The Everybody Can contest was open to all Delaware County Elementary and Middle schools. Each participating school chose their top 3 winning projects which are then submitted for consideration in a county-wide competition in three categories: Class Projects from grades K-4, class projects from grades 5-8, and individual and small group projects from grades 5-8.
 The County Wide K-4 winner was Mrs. Feltman’s 3rd grade class from South Kortright Central School. The students wrote and illustrated a book “Autism A-Z” based on what they learned while researching the topic of Autism.  In addition to their cash prize, they will enjoy a special interactive presentation at their school from The Arc of Delaware County and Delta Kappa Gamma.
 The County Wide Grade 5-8 Class project was won by Mrs.Liddle’s 6th Grade Class from South Kortright Central School for a banner that they created “Everybody has the ability to be GREAT at something”.  The banner emphasizes abilities and how people can achieve their dreams regardless of whether they have a disability.  In addition to their cash prize, Mrs. Liddle’s class will enjoy a trip to visit The Arc of Delaware County to participate in the “Share, Learn, Grow” mentorship program.  This one-day program pairs students with people supported by Delarc who serve as their guides and mentors throughout the various activities of the day. One student wrote after their visit last year, “It was a good experience working with people that do everyday things just in a different way” And another shared, “I really had a wonderful time at Delarc. My mentor Tina and I had a lot of fun!”

The County Wide individual and small group category had 3 winners.  First place was awarded to Faith Dianich, Sonia Reeves, and Emily Feltman from South Kortright Central School who worked together to write and illustrate a book about a boy who is blind and was initially avoided at a new school, but later became admired for his abilities and strengths.  Receiving 2nd place in this category was Demitri Jaramack from Franklin Central School for his essay on developmental disabilities affecting both people that he knows and famous individuals.  Third place winners were Kaitlynn Hall and Michaela Valkavich from Andes Central School for creating a display board themed “Ability is a state of mind. It is a can do attitude!” and a large puzzle emphasizing, “Everyone Fits In”.

To learn more about the “Share Learn Grow Program” which is available to all Delaware County grade 5-8 classes, call 607-865-7126 ext. 139.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Istook Family Shares the Joy of Racing

Don and Laurie Istook, owners of a professional race car team, wanted people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to share in the joy of racing. For a second year in a row they have invited members of The Arc to be honorary crew members and follow with them on a circuit of 9 races across the country in the Pirelli World Challenge Series.  In the attached video, Laurie shared,"I want people to see our crew members with intellectual disabilities out here and realize they have so much potential if they're given the opportunity." Click on this link to read the full story, view the video, and watch the races live online. The Arc Audi Racing Program.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Making Her World a Better Place

Jan Sturdevant used her love of animals as a springboard for ideas to contribute to her community.  She wanted to sponsor a project that would benefit and improve the lives of animals. After much consideration she chose the Peace Plantation Animal Sanctuary in Walton as the focal point of her project.
The Peace Plantation does not receive financial assistance from local, state, or federal governments and relies solely on charitable contributions.  Presently there are over 300 cats and a variety of other animals that call Peace Plantation home. And when Jan learned that sometimes animals are never adopted but live out the rest of their lives at the Peace Plantation she wanted to find ways to help these animals. 
Throughout the month of February Jan developed a list of items needed, decorated, and delivered several large donation boxes with a Valentine theme to Community Living Skills and Resources for Industry in Walton, The Arc of Delaware County’s “THRIVE” center in Hamden, and the Delaware Regional Center in Masonville.  The donation boxes were beautiful and caught the attention of those that passed through these facilities. Many of the people knew Jan and about her project. They gave generously resulting in a large cache of toys, treats, blankets, laundry soap, paper towels, cleaning solution, bleach, kitty litter, and many other items.
Michael Reed, Director of Facilities at the Peace Plantation was on hand when Jan delivered the items February 26th. With a big smile he thanked Jan. “We really appreciate what you have done. We rely on donations such as this.”
To see photos of Jan delivering items to the Peace Plantation visit our Flickr site at:
Each person can make a difference. As Margaret Mead said: “Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have.”

Thursday, February 21, 2013

'Seeds' Exhibit Takes Root

Congratulations to James Mould and fellow artists Wendy Stanton and Maria Brockman for their new exhibit at the Roxbury Art Center.  The following article appeared in the Catskill Mountain News on February 5th:

Roxbury — Seeds, a new exhibit at the Roxbury Arts Group’s Walt Meade Gallery, explores the blossoming nature that art has on individuals and the communities in which they live.
The exhibit features the artwork of three artists, Wendy Stanton and Maria Brockman of Oneonta, and James Mould of Stamford. Wendy, Maria, and James have been working with their mentors, Zena Gurbo and Nat Thomas, who are curating this exhibition which celebrates the creative and transforming power of the artistic process.
Saturday opening
The exhibit opened on Saturday, Feb. 2 and the public is invited to attend an artist reception on Saturday, Feb. 9 at 4 p.m. at the Walt Meade Gallery, located in the Roxbury Arts Center at 5025 Vega Mountain Road.
Wendy Stanton is a founding member of The Center for Self Expression/Main View Gallery & Studio in Oneonta, which is a program of the Arc Otsego. An avid lover of nature, Wendy enjoys combining the natural world and the super natural in her art. She works swiftly and with great confidence, barely stopping to look at what she has done before she is off onto the next project.
Maria Brockmann has been involved with The Center for Self Expression/Main View Gallery & Studio for three years. She had little previous instruction but possesses strong innate talents and love of drawing and painting. Within months she absorbed and learned everything Artists Instructors and staff had to offer. She continues to be inspired by other artists and creates work that incorporates new and old skills, often using nature as her diving board into a world governed by beauty and detail.
Stamford artist
James Mould, also a lover of nature, discovered his artistic talent three years ago when he retired from farm work and moved to Stamford. He was soon recognized for his artistic talent in the pen doodles he would make on his note papers. Since this time, James has created a series of tree drawings that are both of this world and not. James finds he is inspired by nature and finds his artwork not only continues provide him with endless satisfaction but has connected him with others in a way he had not experience before.
All three artists, as well as exhibit curators, Nat Thomas and Zena Gurbo, will be in attendance at the artist reception.
The exhibit runs through April 13 and the Walt Meade Gallery is open to the public Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information about this event, please contact the Roxbury Arts Group at 607 326-7908.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

“Cooking Up Opportunity”

Left to Right: Brenda Scott, Steve Finkel, Tom Slavinski, Blesher, and Pam Walker
Steve Finkel, Life Coach 7 was presented with a Blesher award on February 5th for his efforts that resulted in expanded career opportunities in the Food Service Program for 2 individuals. He pioneered new educational experiences in collaboration with the SUNY Culinary Program that will enrich the quality of the lives of these individuals. Steve was nominated for this award by the entire THRIVE team at The Arc of Delaware County (Delarc) in Hamden. 

Steve has demonstrated Delarc’s 6 Unifying Principals as follows:

1.       Those we Serve Come First
Steve discovered opportunities for those we support to participate in this experience that will help them achieve their dreams.
2.       Commit To Excellence
Steve sought out an educational experience that will have a great impact on their future.
3.       Be Dedicated
Steve worked hard to keep the process moving so these individuals could experience this educational opportunity during the Spring semester rather than the Fall semester.
4.       Employee Satisfaction Steve sought input from program staff regarding strengths, capabilities, potential of the individuals to help assure their success in the program.
5.     Communicate Effectively
Steve pursued this activity with  the SUNY Culinary Department in a professional manner, making this a positive experience for all.
6.       Be Innovative
Steve made this opportunity for these individuals happen by thinking outside the box, yet focusing on the valued outcomes desired for them.