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.