Friday, December 5, 2014

NYSARC Trust Grant Embellishes LIves

Wishes and dreams came true for several people supported by The Arc of Delaware County as a result of a generous recreational grant of $10,000 from the Trustees of the NYSARC Trusts. When staff learned of this wonderful opportunity, ideas flowed forth as to how best to use this funding for those they support who might not otherwise be able to afford an experience that would greatly enrich their lives.

Annette Plath, Administrative Assistant at the Residential Office shared that when she heard about the NYSARC Recreation Grant opportunity, the idea of Shannon Robinson going to opera came immediately to mind.

Shannon has long harbored a love of the sweeping music of opera which was kindled by a chance connection in the Residential Office of The Arc of Delaware County.  Several years ago, Annette was playing a favorite opera in her office when Shannon came in to deliver some mail to her. She immediately recognized a kindred “opera” spirit when she saw him become transfixed upon hearing the music and invited him to sit down and listen.  Since then, Annette shared that Shannon has come in to her office many times, requesting to hear more opera music.  “He is transported by it” shared Annette.  She described how Shannon would relax into an office chair, put his head back and shut his eyes letting the music wash over him, occasionally uttering, “beautiful”.  She noted “He particularly likes duets and arias, from Puccini including “Madam Butterfly, La Boh`eme, and Tosca.”

In August,  Riann Warren, a staff member and Shannon attended “Madame Butterfly” at the Glimmerglass Opera. “I don’t think it hit him, what we were about to see until we arrived at our balcony seats”said Riann.  “Then his face just lit up!”  During the performance he became very calm and quiet as he took in every aspect of the performance.  And during intermission Shannon talked about how the man and women were in love. “Can we come again next year?” he asked on the way home.

When asked about why he likes opera music in particular, Shannon shared that the music made him feel “peaceful”.  When he feels upset or anxious he asks for opera music to be played.  “It makes me feel calm.” “I thoroughly enjoy listening to music with him, it touches me,” said Annette.

In addition, remainder fund grants totally $1,660,500 were awarded to support NYSARC guardianship programs statewide.  A total of $2,207,880 in remainder grants were awarded in 2014 to support recreation and guardianship statewide.  NYSARC Trust Services administers supplemental needs trusts that enable people with disabilities to remain in their home and community while retaining Medicaid services and other government benefits.   Information is available on how NYSARC Trust Services may benefit you:  our website , phone 1-518-439-8323, toll free phone 1-800-735-8924 or e-mail

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Elimination of Workshops - OPWDD Plan

The following link will take you to OPWDD's plan to eliminate Workshops; see page 7 for specific details.

Link to OPWDD's Plan to Increase Community Employment and Eliminate Workshops

Please contact us to be added to a list of advocates on this topic who are working to prevent the elimination of this very important aspect of employment services: or (607) 865-7126, ext. 151

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

NYSARC Trustees Award Supports Guardianship Services

The Arc of Delaware County was delighted to receive word that it will be receiving a grant from NYSARC’s Community Trust Remainder Funds in support of its guardianship services.

The Arc of Delaware County’s Guardianship Committee, comprised of dedicated members from the community, currently provides guardianship services to four people for whom NYSARC, Inc. serves as Legal Guardian.   The committee ensures all decisions made are in the best interest of the individual and are in harmony with the individual’s personal values and preferences, just as a concerned family member would do. 

The funds received from this grant will assist with ongoing expenses of operating the program and for life enhancing activities for people receiving guardianship services.

To learn more about Guardianship Services available through The Arc of Delaware County, click on the link below  or contact Kim Shaw at (607) 865-7126. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Before I Die” Program Concludes in Delhi

 On the very last day, people came up to the “Before I Die” boards in Delhi’s Courthouse Square to post up their personal dreams and aspirations… about 1,000 people before them ever since the program was launched on 9/11…the National Day of Service and Remembrance. Started in New Orleans in 2011 by a young artist named Candy Chang, who was troubled by a personal crisis and was seeking a way to express her thoughts, Before I Die has spread to over 70 countries in 34 languages on over 500 boards throughout the world.

7 community organizations, representing a diverse group of Delaware County people, joined together to support this program:  The Delaware County Office of the Aging, Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, the Delaware County Veterans Service Agency, Delaware Academy Central School District at Delhi, SUNY Delhi, The Arc of Delaware County, the First Presbyterian Church of Delhi---plus the valuable support of the Delaware County Maintenance Department.
The program allowed anyone to step up, pick up a piece of chalk and share their goals, dreams and personal thoughts in a very public, dramatic way.  An earlier program last year was successfully held on the campus of SUNY Delhi.  “We decided that it would be much more of a community program to move this meaningful idea into the community where everyone could participate,” said Elizabeth Sova, SUNY’s Director of their O’Connor Center for Community Engagement.

As the boards were being taken down last Friday, Amanda Green, a resident of Delhi and part of the team that launched the program in September at an assembly for Delaware Academy high school students, said “While it was sad to see the boards come down, so many people had an opportunity to share their dreams and thoughts.  Today I posted that my goal was to become a Teacher’s Aid in a local school---- it felt great to share my dream”.
Each day members of the community support team stopped by the boards to make sure there was plenty of chalk and room for people to post up their dreams.  Special kudos are due to Justin Foster, the SUNY Delhi faculty member who led a team of his students to construct the boards, install them in the Square on 9/11 and then remove them last week.  “It was a special commitment to our community,” said Justin.

Members of the sponsoring team included Rev. Sarah Hooker & Renee Maxwell of the First Presbyterian Church, John Boecke of the Veterans Service Agency, Tammy Christman of the Catskill Area Hospice, Delaware Academy Superintendent Jason Thomson and faculty member Abigal Oliver, Sally Kauffman/Becky Townsend/Steve Finkel from The Arc of Delaware County, Wayne Shepard of the Office of the Aging, Elizabeth Sova  from SUNY Delhi,  valuable support from the County’s Board of Supervisors Chairman, James Eisel, Christa Schafer and the County’s Maintenance Dept.’s Pete Montgomery, plus important technical help from SUNY’s Nicholas Wagner.  Everyone felt that “these are the types of programs that bring our county together in a positive, caring and productive way,  and are very important for the overall welfare of the county.   During often challenging times, we all need to work together for the best outcomes and results for everyone.”

Monday, October 20, 2014

Teachers and The Arc of Delaware County Launch Contest

For the 5th year, Beta Omicron, the local chapter of a world-wide educators’ organization, is working with The Arc of Delaware County to sponsor a contest open to all Delaware County school districts.  The purpose of the county-wide grades K-8 contest is to help students understand the strengths and embrace abilities of people with developmental disabilities.
 Beta Omicron is part of The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, a professional organization of women educators.  This local chapter has 40 members representing several of the Delaware County schools.  Their mission is excellence in education, so they have partnered with The Arc to bring awareness of the abilities of people with developmental disabilities to school kids and their communities.

The theme of this year’s contest is “Everybody Can---Be Included.” Students can describe in essay or PowerPoint format (grades 5-8) or poster (K-4) how they would include in their lives people with intellectual or developmental disabilities (I/DD). Kids likely have in their families, classes, or communities people with I/DD, such as autism, Down’s syndrome, learning disabilities, cerebral palsy, etc. The aim of the contest is to encourage kids to explore how they can help others feel included and valued.

Prizes will be awarded in 3 categories: Grades K-4 class poster Grades 5-8 individual essay or Grades 5-8 PowerPoint projects. First, second, and third place winners of each category will be awarded $100, $75, or $50 respectively. Each entry will be recognized with a certificate.

 The first year winner of the contest was Erika Liddle’s South Kortright 6th grade class which read the book 10 Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew, by Ellen Notbohm. Liddle recommends that other teachers enter the contest.  “You need to do it: you have a chance to make a difference in how children see things, and this is a great opportunity to build compassion.”  She said her students made a connection to a former classmate by realizing why he had behaved certain ways.  They developed a new understanding of his behavior and formulated ways they could have better included him.
For more information about this contest or for entry forms contact The Arc of Delaware County, Community Relations Department, Barbara Thompson (607) 865-7126 or email

Information and details can also be found on The Arc’s website:

Friday, October 17, 2014

The Art of Woodworking

Russ Neale, a community partner of The Arc of Delaware County, has shared his love of woodworking by providing many classes over the past several years.  Over a period of 8 weeks students learned about the types and properties of wood and how they can be used as well as how to operate and work safely with the tools and equipment in his workshop.   Russ’s class is very popular and and when students show their finished projects to friends,
co-workers, and family members, the more people want to participate.

This summer Joe Pantale, Tina Cawley, Robert Dircks, and Tracey Rossi enjoyed creating  a variety of personal projects including small wooden chests, bird houses, and a team project that Robert and Tracey worked on,  a fabulous park bench that was donated to Resources for Industry in Walton, NY.   The pride and enjoyment over their finished projects can be seen on our Flickr site:


Friday, October 10, 2014

Savoring the Season

Dave Riordan and Bill Vagts enjoying a ride on the Delaware and Ulster train.
Several folks from Community Living Skills- Arkville celebrated the fall season with train rides; baking, hiking, and keeping our scenic highways clean.

Kelly Piskacek and her guest Bill Vagts enjoyed a fall train ride compliments of the Delaware and Ulster Railroad in Arkville, NY in appreciation of the assistance Kelly gave to the train service.  And, Garett Morgan, an avid outdoorsman, took to the trails to take in the beauty of the Catskill mountains.

Helping to keep the scenery beautiful, David Greenwood and Danny Woytowich volunteered to help clean along the parks and roadways in the “Adopt-a Highway” program.

Enjoying the fall harvest, Cathy Ippolito and Roseanna Starkweather used winter squash and honey to make healthy and delicious treats.

Everybody enjoyed the beauty of the season and the Catskill area in their own way. We hope you did too!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

"Before I Die" Community Project Kickoff Event

On 9/11/14 James Eisel, Chairman of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors and Supervisor of the Town of Harpersfield, kicked off the opening of the“Before I Die” community project at noon today before a large group in Delhi’s Courthouse Square honoring the tragic events of 9/11 with a moment of silence. This project allows people in Delaware County to share their thoughts, dreams, and aspirations with the community.

Mr. Eisel introduced a number of people from the county including Tina Mole’, the Supervisor of Bovina and Vice Chairman of the County’s Board of Supervisors; Wayne Shepard, Director of the Office of Aging; Elizabeth Sova, Director of the SUNY Delhi O’Connor Center for Community Engagement; Jason Thomson, Superintendant of the Delaware Academy Central School District in Delhi, Reverend Sarah Hooker, First Presbyterian Church of Delhi, Tammy Christman of the Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care; and Steve Finkel from The Arc of Delaware County.

Mr. Finkel noted that “The 7 organizations supporting this program, including the Veterans Services Agency of Delaware County, the County Maintenance Department and the thousands of Delaware County people they serve and represent, have been very supportive of this unique program that started in 2011 in New Orleans with a young artist named Candy Chang.” The program has grown to reach out to over 70 countries in 34 languages, from China, Russia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, to South and North America, crossing all political, social, ethnic, religious and geographical

“Getting this program launched was a team effort, a real community program that included Justin Foster, a SUNY faculty member in their Building Technologies curriculum and 10 of his students that helped construct and install the Before I Die boards in the Square, and Nicholas Wager, who, with Rev. Hooker were the social media and technical wizards behind getting the word out to all, “ Finkel added.

Finkel concluded by thanking everyone….”for coming, caring and sharing….and importantly, giving back to your community on this very important national day of remembrance.

For more photos of this event visit:

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Sharing Dreams

On the opening day of school Amanda Green shared her dream of becoming a teacher’s aide with students at Delaware Academy High School.  As part of a team of presenters which included Rev. Sarah Hooker from the First Presbyterian Church of Delhi and Steve Finkel from The Arc of Delaware County, Amanda helped encourage students to participate in the upcoming “Before I Die” community wall that will be available Sept. 11th- Oct. 17th at the Courthouse Square in Delhi, NY.  By sharing her dream she hoped to encourage others to share their thoughts, ambitions, and dreams.
Amanda told of the many steps she has already taken towards achieving her dream including receiving her GED earlier this year and seeking classroom experience by volunteering in Mrs. Coleman’s Kindergarten class at Delaware Academy.  She has updated her resume and hopes to obtain a full time teacher’s aide position in the future.  Amanda knows that dreams become reality only when people are committed and patient.  She said that she worked toward her GED goal for 5 years.  “The hardest part is doing it every day, trying to schedule time to fit it in. It’s hard, but don’t give up!”  To view Amanda’s previous story about earning her GED:
And in the journey toward her goal of becoming a teacher’s aide, Amanda has gained experience in public speaking and really enjoyed getting to know the children in the Kindergarten class.  “The kids are so much fun! “ She shakes her head and laughs, “When my back is turned, (it is so funny) some of the things they try.” She also shared that she hand selects a story to read to the class and is amazed by all the questions they ask about the story.

The famous Chinese philosopher Lao-tsu said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Amanda is well on her way to making her dream a reality.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

OPWDD "Front Door To Services" Presentation

Whether a graduating student plans to continue his/her education, join the work force, or pursue some other interest at home or in the community, the Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) may be able to offer supports and services to ease the transition.

To help students with developmental disabilities and their families learn more about what supports and services are available following graduation, The Arc of Delaware County is hosting what OPWDD refers to as a Front Door (i.e. front door to services) presentation on September 24, 2014, from 5:00 until 6:30 p.m. 

This free presentation will take place at The Arc of Delaware County, 34570 State Highway 10, Walton, NY 13856.  To register or for more information contract Kim Shaw at 607/865-7126, ext. 104 or

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Community Partners Join Forces in "Before I Die" Wall Project 9/11 through 10/17

“Before I Die” is a global art project that invites people to reflect on their lives and share their personal aspirations in a public space. Humbly launched in 2011 by an artist from New Orleans, Candy Chang, the program has spread to 70 countries, in 34 languages on over 500 “walls”…..crossing all political, ethnic, religious and geographical boundaries. 
The program will be kicked off on Thursday, September 11 at Noon at the Courthouse Square in Delhi and is tied in with the anniversary of 9/11 as part of the National Day of Service and Remembrance. “The program allows people to share their feelings, ambitions, dreams and goals in a very public, yet anonymous way,” said Sally Kauffman, a resident of East Branch, who is joining the team on the 11th for the kickoff. “We hope that the community will join us on the 11th at noon to launch this community-based program focused on bringing people and their thoughts together in a creative and inspirational way,” she added.

The Before I Die boards will be up in the Square from September 11th through October 17th.  Boards have been posted worldwide from Russia, China, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Australia, and Japan to North and South America.  “The three boards in the Delhi Square are really shared spaces where people of all ages can write their views on the meaning of life, opportunities yet to be achieved, express sadness, joy, forgiveness…even shame…the range of emotions will match the number of people that will share their aspirations with everyone who views them,” emphasized Becky Townsend from Walton.

Come by Courthouse Square, Pickup a Piece of Chalk & Share With Us. It Will Feel Great To Do So!
“We simply ask that people treat these 3 spaces with dignity, respect and care---they are, after all, everyone’s spaces and thoughts to share,” said Renee Maxwell of Delhi.   A number of Delaware County organizations have come together to support this program, including: Catskill Area Hospice and Palliative Care, The Arc of Delaware County, the Delaware County Office of the Aging,  the First Presbyterian Church of Delhi, the Delaware County Veterans Service Agency, SUNY Delhi,  Delaware Academy Central School District at Delhi and the Delaware County Maintenance Department.     “In fact, last year SUNY Delhi students had a Before I Die program on campus.  It was a great success and we’re glad it has moved to a more community based location,” noted Elizabeth Sova, SUNY’s Director of the O’Connor Center for Community Engagement. “We encourage everyone to come by the Square on the 11th, or any day until October 17th to pick up a piece of chalk and share their thoughts and dreams,” she added.   Visit the website: . “Like” us on Facebook: BeforeIDieDelhi,NY .

 Photo caption:   Come by Delhi’s Courthouse Square starting at Noon on September 11th  to share your thoughts and feelings on one of the 3 “Before I Die” boards…it will feel great to do so!

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Arc of Delaware County's 2014 Annual Staff Retreat

The Arc of Delaware County Staff
The Arc of Delaware County held it's Staff Retreat at Scott's Family Resort in Deposit, NY on August 1st.

During the morning session, employees from all departments and facilities mixed together and had fun getting to know each other during the relay races and variety show skits they performed.

Blue skies prevailed during the afternoon so that everyone could enjoy the water sports, outdoor volleyball and horseshoe courts, golf, and relaxing at the water's edge. Many enjoyed the various workshops presented by staff. A great day was had by all! View photos of the fun had by Staff at:

To learn how you can become a part of our team visit our Career page on our website:

New Employees Recognized at the Retreat

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Love of Working Hard Sustains Long Term “Lucky” Connection

Lucky Dog Farm and Store, was aptly named by owners Richard and Holly Giles when they saw their shelter rescue dogs happily bounce around their newly acquired farm in 2000. “What lucky dogs they are” Holly exclaimed as they watched them appreciate their new surroundings.  And the word “lucky” can be used to describe the people whose lives have been touched by this business, from workers, to customers, to community members. 
 One individual, David Nichols has been with Lucky Dog almost since its inception. Janet Stoop, employee at The Arc of Delaware County shared that “David is a person who loves work. He seeks out work wherever he can and works very hard!”  And Richard Giles shared that it’s been good to see David grow over the 14 years he has worked on Lucky Dog farm.  “He’s good, steady help. He’s taken responsibility and has become independent in his work. He has a really good ability to switch from job to job quickly.”

David Nichols and Kalain Joslin working the fields.
With over 45 acres dedicated to crop production David is kept very busy helping to weed, cultivate,  stake, and tie the many varieties of organic vegetables grown on the farm including beans, tomatoes, corn, beets, peas, and leafy greens. He is involved in the growing process from seedling to harvest and enjoys seeing the beautiful produce that is sold at farm markets in Margaretville, Callicoon, and NYC as well as at restaurants and retail stores.   When asked what part of the work he favors most, David shared, “I like to do the weeding!” With David’s enthusiasm and enjoyment of the work he accomplishes, it has been a satisfying and mutually rewarding partnership between Lucky Dog Farm and David.

Richard Giles, Owner and David Nichols at Lucky Dog Farm greenhouse.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The Arc of Delaware Helps Students Along Career Path

Several Delaware County High School graduates have chosen college fields of study that will prepare them for a career benefiting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.  Thirteen students (one from each Delaware County school district) were awarded scholarships from The Arc of Delaware County. The Schools made selections based not only on each student’s scholastic abilities, but also on their proven desire to help others as demonstrated by services they provided to their community or school.

The 2014 recipients of The Arc Delaware County Scholarship include: Jennifer Andrews, Andes; Brittany Kopp, Charlotte Valley; Tyler Cumpston, Delaware Academy; Kaitlyn Wingerter, Deposit; Chyanne Gransbury, Downsville; Lynndon Huyck, Franklin; Caitlyn Wormuth, Hancock; Kaitlin Short, Margaretville; Ian O’Brien, Roxbury; Josiah Clarke, Sidney; Kayla Rose Quigley, South Kortright; Ashley Tait, Stamford; and Sarah Layton, Walton.

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

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Shining Stars- The Arc of Delaware County Celebrates Outstanding Achievements


The Arc of Delaware County held its Annual Membership Meeting and Awards Ceremony on June 13th at SUNY Delhi. Over 30 beautiful orange and yellow flower arrangements adorned the tables and highlighted The Arc of Delaware County’s new logo and brand.  Created by people at The Arc’s Resources for Industry facility, they lent an elegant touch to this festive event.

In addition to electing new officers and board members, this annual event celebrates the successes of individuals and contributions of community partners whose actions impact and improve the lives of people with disabilities.

Officers and Directors that were sworn in to office by Wayne Marshfield, Hamden Town Supervisor, for the 2014-2015 terms are: President, Robin Evanitsky; Vice President, Ira McIntosh; Secretary, Sandra Bullis; Treasurer, Lee Marigliano.  Directors for the 2014-2016 terms include: Sandra Bullis, Lori Cetta, Robin Evanitsky, Lee Marigliano, Ira McIntosh, Gerda van Leeuwen and Ruth Vitale. They join Thomas Banks, Mary Jane Giarrusso-Wilkin, Bonnie Martin, Robert Rothenberg, Nat Thomas and James Warren whose 2 year terms expire in 2015.

After the business meeting, award winners’ accomplishments were highlighted in speeches by staff, friends, and community members who shared their thoughts and those of the peers who nominated them for Outstanding Achievement awards.  This year’s winners received “Shining Star” trophies from The Arc and Certificates of Recognition from Senator John Bonacic, Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, and Congressman Chris Gibson.

Outstanding Achievement Awards were presented to individuals who have been an inspiration to others through their personal perseverance, and individual growth.  Award winners included Karlie McCool, Maria Villacorta, Jacob Alvarez III, Marlana Volpe, Rhonda Reynolds, and an individual from Community Living Skills, Walton.

Community recognition awards were presented to three individuals. Bonnie Hamilton, Director of Public Health received Partner of the Year Award which is presented to the community partner that has done the most to enhance opportunities for individuals with disabilities in Delaware County. Beverly Tuthill, Carousel Children’s Services Director shared, “Bonnie has been a devoted advocate for children with disabilities for more than 30 years. She looks for innovative ways of getting a child’s needs met when traditional methods aren’t working or aren’t available.”

The Father Eugene Willis Good Neighbor Award was presented to Chester (Chet) Delameter, Jr. This award celebrates people who embody the spirit of being kind and neighborly and supports the involvement of people with disabilities in their community. Chet, a professional clown was introduced to Henry Kamp who shared his love of performing. Chet shared, “We hit it off right away and now we perform at Senior Meal sites and at the THRIVE program in Hamden. We’ve been performing together for 3 years and I really enjoy it!”

Dr. Amber Tatnall, Assistant Professor of Psychology, SUNY Delhi received the Dr. Gerald Burday Professional Excellence Award, an award that recognizes individuals who encourage growth and help people reach their true potential.  In 3 short years, Dr. Tatnall has greatly expanded inclusive learning opportunities for individuals with disabilities including hosting 12 individuals in her psychology classes, developing the “Study Buddy” program where SUNY and Arc students work together on projects outside of class, working with the O’Connor Center to have Arc participants join with SUNY students in community volunteer activities, and creating an “Inclusive Learning” link on the SUNY Delhi website.

Emotions ran high as people reflected on the accomplishments of those recognized at this year’s event. Kathryn Snyder an employee of Kiddee Corner preschool in Stamford where Marlena Volpe volunteers shared “We have a saying at Kiddie Corner and it is Kiddie Corner is not just a preschool it is a family and we are very happy to have Marlana as part of our family.” And Leanne Norwood, sister of Rhonda Reynolds said, “I’ve been very proud of what she (Rhonda) has accomplished because of the programs and services she receives from The Arc.”

To learn more about The Arc of Delaware County and how you can be involved as a member, volunteer or employee, visit our website at: And to view more photos of this event visit:

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Consolidated Supports and Services Training Offered

Consolidated Supports and Services is a self directed OPWDD service option that empowers people with disabilities and their circle of support to design and manage services based on the needs and desires of the individual.

Kathy Creagh, Individualized Services Coordinator from OPWDD will present information on this new option so that you can determine if this new service is right for you or your loved one. Join us July 15th, 5:30 – 6:30 pm for this free presentation at the Delaware County Resource Center, 34570 State Hwy 10, Hamden, NY. Register by July 11th by contacting Kim Shaw at 607/865-7126 ext. 104.

(People with disabilities, families, advocates, and service providers encouraged to attend.)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Townsend Elementary School Recieves 1st Place Award in Everybody Can Contest.

Awards were presented to Nancy Gavett’s 5th grade class at Townsend Elementary school, Walton, NY on May 7th. The entire class won first place in the countywide “Everybody Can” contest in the literature category.
Each year, The Arc of Delaware County and Delta Kappa Gamma sponsor the “Everybody Can” contest to build awareness , understanding and acceptance of people with disabilities. On behalf of the class Nancy Gavett accepted a check in the amount of $100 and a Certificate of Excellence. Principal Mike Snider accepted a plaque recognizing Townsend Elementary School’s commitment to increasing understanding and acceptance of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and for creating “Ambassador’s of Change”. For more information about the 2014 Everybody Can Contest visit: Celebrating National Developmental Disability Awareness Month through Recognizing “Everybody Can”

Pictured in the photo is the 5th grade class and first row: (in purple) Barbara Thompson, The Arc of Delaware County and next to her is Nancy   Gavett, 5th grade teacher. On the far right, first row is Pam Thompson, Delta Kappa Gamma. Standing on the far right, back row is Mike Snider, Principal.


Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Arc of Delaware County and SUNY Delhi Partnership Highlighted in Think College

The Arc of Delaware County has been working with "Think College" to highlight the strong relationship that has developed over the years between our agency and the State University at Delhi. Think College is a national organization dedicated to developing, expanding, and improving inclusive higher education options for people with intellectual disability. 

The story, A Shared Mission: Adult Agencies and Colleges Working Together to Support Lifelong Learning is told from the point of view of a faculty member, Dr. Amber Tatnall who has been a strong supporter of inclusive learning and taught several inclusive classes. In the story she reveals the depth and breadth of the relationship between SUNY Delhi and The Arc which has provided so much opportunity and enrichment for both college students and people with disabilities. 

We hope this story will provide insight and illustrate a successful partnership model so that other organizations will be inspired to reach out to institutions of learning in their communities and create their own opportunities for learning. To view the story:

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Bringing Baskets of Cheer

L to R: Maria Villacorta, Roseanna Starkweather, and Kelly Piskacek
On April 17th, an active group of 4 self advocates from Community Living Skills in Arkville brought joy and happiness to several residents of the Kirkside Home for Adults in Roxbury and Mountain Laurel Gardens in Arkville  Using Easter baskets donated to them by Dollar General, Kelly Piskacek, Roseanna Starkweather, Cathy Ippolito, and Maria Villacorta, filled them with candy and messages of friendship.

“These ladies like to celebrate holidays and always look for ways to brighten the holidays for others.” shared Heidi Friedman, Life Coach and mentor to the group. “Because we had the baskets the idea just naturally grew into this splendid event.”

The idea was “hatched” at a meeting in January. In making the decision to take on this project, Roseanna shared that she thought that the adult home residents would enjoy the candy and Maria said that it would make her happy to deliver the candy to the people.

For over 5 years these ladies have enjoyed a close connection with residents of Kirkside. They regularly participate in many activities together including bible study, bingo, attend sing-a-longs and luncheons. And with the ladies also attending bingo at Laurel Gardens, Kelly felt that their idea of making and delivering the baskets was “A great way to make new friends”.

After a full day of delivering over 35 baskets, the women happily reflected on their day. Cathy summed it by saying, “I’m sure that the folks we give the candy to will be happy to be remembered.”

To view more photos of these ladies making deliveries: Baskets of Cheer

Cathy Ippolito

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

“Third Time's A Charm"- A Story of Success through Perseverance"

L to R: Janet Stoop, Lisa Nichols, Amanda Green, Kayla Constable

“Third Time’s a Charm!” This is an old familiar saying but most people misinterpret it’s  meaning to believe  that if you repeat an action to achieve desired results,  odds will be that whatever you were trying to do or achieve will magically happen on at least the 3rd try. But what this quote is trying to convey is that by practice, perseverance, and never giving up you will achieve your goal- eventually! Don’t give up, keep on-keeping on!
A young lady, Amanda Green is a living example of success after perseverance. One of her longstanding goals was to obtain her General Education Diploma (GED). In the past 2 years she has really focused on her goal by attending Tuesday night classes held at Townsend Elementary School library and then by working 4 hours each day during the week with Kayla Constable, her primary Life Coach at The Arc of Delaware County. Twice she did not pass the exam. She was very disappointed and shared, “When I said I wanted to quit, Lisa Nichols (a lead Life Coach at The Arc) said “We don’t give up here, I don’t let my kids give up and I’m not letting you give up.” That was that, she turned her back and walked away and I started studying again.”
When asked what her hardest subjects were, “Quadratic equations!” she exclaimed. “But now I have them down pat.  Also, writing countless essays was hard too. I had thought I could write about whatever I wanted to and it was hard to write about something I was told to write about (a topic not of her choice).”
After taking the GED exam for the 3rd time, Amanda would occasionally log on to their website to see if the grades were posted. When she logged on Feb. 20th she saw a message that indicated “diploma sent”.  Stunned and unsure what the message really meant, she ran down the hall to show Janet Stoop, the Life Coach who had taken her  to her Tuesday night GED Classes. Janet confirmed to her that it was true, she passed!  Amanda shared that she burst into tears of happiness as did her mother when Amanda shared the good news with her.
When asked what she would say to others thinking about or currently working on their GED, she replied,” The hardest part is doing it every day, trying to schedule time to fit it in. It’s hard, but don’t give up! It is WORTH IT!”

With GED in hand,  Amanda has her sights set on accomplishing her dream of becoming a Teacher’s Aide.  With her determination and discipline there is no doubt that her dreams will become reality.