Monday, December 28, 2015

Funds Granted To The Arc of Delaware County Have Great Personal Impacts

The Arc of Delaware County was delighted to receive two grants from NYSARC’s Trust Remainder Funds for the purpose of supporting guardianship services and to provide recreation opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  The grants totaled $15,000.

With the Recreation funds, individuals were able to pursue a vast array of person centered recreational activities.  Roberta Butler was overjoyed when she learned funds were available to her.  She had long dreamed of attending a Christian concert and dining at seafood restaurant.  Together Roberta and her Life Coach, Janet, planned a very special evening, including attending a Matthew West Concert and dinner at Red Lobster.  Janet shared that in the days leading up to her special night, Roberta would inquire ‘how many more days until I go’ and together Roberta and Janet would review the calendar and continue to count down the days.  When the day she had been looking forward to had finally arrived, Roberta exclaimed “Today is the concert!”  They were escorted to their seats, two rows from stage.  Roberta stood all throughout the concert, singing, dancing and clapping along.  After the concert Roberta proclaimed “that was the best time ever!”

The funds received for guardianship services will assist with ongoing expenses of operating the Guardianship program and for life enhancing activities for people receiving guardianship services.  As the Guardianship Committee often fills the void of family, guardianship funds are often used to provide for birthdays, holidays, vacations and special events.  The Arc of Delaware County’s Guardianship Committee, comprised of dedicated members from the community, currently provides guardianship services to two 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. 

A total of $1,874,000 in remainder grants were awarded in 2015 to support recreation and guardianship to NYSARC Chapters 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 at  To learn more about Services available through The Arc of Delaware County, click on the services link at or call (607)865-7126. 
Roberta Butler enjoying a meal before the Matthew West concert.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Woodworking Class Gives Back


Local craftsman Russ Neale has been sharing his love of woodworking with people from The Arc of Delaware County for several years. His class is popular and people jump at the opportunity to take his class and learn all about wood, its properties, and how to make wonderful things. Several students have won prizes at the Delaware County Fair for the items they have made in Russ’s woodworking class.
From teaching safety practices to sensational wood finished products, Russ provides an in depth and fun experience for all! This Fall 4 participants created individual projects including ornate boxes and birdhouses and then worked on a group project together. View photos of the class, the items they made and the large planter box group project that was donated to Community Living Skills in Arkville, NY. View more photos: 

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

The Arc of Delaware County CEO Retires

George Suess receives the ‘Executive Excellence Award’ at the National Conference of Executives of The Arc.  Pictured with George, holding his award, are Steven Kroll, NYSARC Executive Director, Laura Kennedy, NYSARC Board President, Sharon Suess, Nat Thomas, The Arc of Delaware County Board member, and Molly Little, Director of Day Services and soon to be CEO for The Arc of Delaware County.
After 36 years of unwavering dedicated service to The Arc of Delaware County and a lifelong career in human services, George Suess will retire from his CEO position at the end of this year.   His future plans include spending more time with his family and continuing to spread the message of positive behavior supports.

It is difficult if not impossible to sum up George’s vast achievements and contributions over his extensive career with The Arc of Delaware County.   Through George’s guidance and inspirational leadership, The Arc has not only made significant contributions to the lives of children and adults with disabilities at a local level, helping them to live personally fulfilling lives, but by sharing the proactive philosophy and positive approach with other organizations George has lead the way to impacting the lives of countless individuals across the nation.  George’s contributions to the field were recently recognized by the National Conference of Executives (NCE) of The Arc when he was chosen to receive the Executive Excellence Award, the highest honor bestowed upon an executive leader of The Arc.

 The Arc of Delaware County’s Board has been preparing for George’s upcoming retirement for a few years, methodically planning for succession and transition.  Board President, Mrs. Robin Evanitsky shared “After a very thorough interview and selection process, we are pleased to announce that Mrs. Molly Little was chosen to serve as CEO effective January 1.” 

Molly first joined The Arc of Delaware County in February 1995 as a Social Worker Assistant.  Her dedication, commitment, and demonstrated leadership have earned her several promotions over the years, including Program Coordinator in 1996, Assistant Director of CLS-Walton in 1997, Program Director at CLS-W in 2000, and Director of Day Services in 2011.  Molly has a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and a Masters of Arts in Education.  She lives in Walton with her husband Ty and her three children Mara, Meyer, and Maddox.

“It is with great emotion that we announce George’s retirement; however we look to the future with eager anticipation and enthusiasm as we welcome Molly Little in to her new role as CEO.”   concluded  Mrs. Evanitsky.    The community will have an opportunity to congratulate George on his retirement and welcome Molly to her new role at a celebratory event in mid January; for details on the event contact The Arc of Delaware County Community Relations Dept. 607-865-7126.

Monday, November 23, 2015

"I Ordered Take Out That Day"- A Life Enriched with Learning

Professor Christopher O'Brien and Brandy Parker
Brandy Parker has been interested in the field of psychology and has been taking classes for several years at SUNY Delhi.  When asked how she became interested in the field of psychology she shared: “It helps me understand more about myself and I wanted to learn more about why people behave and react to things  the way they do.”  

Assistant Professor, Christopher O’Brien stated, “Brandy is performing at the top of her class. She comes prepared to class and always has insightful comments. She raises her hand often and always has something valuable to contribute.”  He stressed that there is a lot of hard work, study, and preparation that is involved in order to do well in the class.  He said, “Brandy is a strong advocate for herself.  She submits her work early and emails me to ask me to let her know how she is doing.” 

Brandy said that Professor O’Brien challenges her in her studies.  She spoke about “reaction papers” that she particularly liked.  When asked what a “reaction” paper was, Professor O’Brien explained that it is a writing assignment 3-4 pages in length using an article of the student’s choice that is fairly current (printed in the last 6 months).  He stated that he makes the assignment purposefully vague because “My hope is that they find an article that interests them.”  The first requirement of the assignment is that they engage their critical thinking skills and ask themselves reflective questions such as what some alternative explanations might be, are there any loopholes in the hypothesis, etc. “I want them to“dig deeper” he stressed.   The second requirement is that they apply the concepts they have learned in class such as establishing a hypothesis, using research methodology, selecting variables, etc.

Brandy recently had cause to celebrate, after learning of the very high mark she received on an exam.  According to Becky Townsend who attends classes with Brandy, “Brandy is very responsible and she doesn’t normally treat herself to much.” Brandy chimed in, “But I ordered take out that day!” 

Monday, November 9, 2015

A Penchant for the Arts

Shannon Robinson points out his picture on display at Evenden Tower, SUNY Delhi
Shannon Robinson has a passion for the arts. He loves listening to music and has a special place in his heart for opera. Shannon shared that as he listens to music, he likes to draw.  This peripheral interest has taken flight as Shannon began taking a course at SUNY Delhi, “Freehand Drawing” taught by Assistant Professor, Lisa Tessier.  The course helps students to see, understand, and record visually complex items. Students are taught the basic principles of design and composition using both black and white as well as colored pencils.   

Recently one of Shannon’s drawings was selected for a display at Evenden Tower located on campus. Professor Tessier said that the drawings for the display were selected based on opinions of the students as well as her own perception of how well the drawing met the requirements of the assignment.  She had tasked the class to use shadow and highlighting to create dimension in an object using a range of 4 or more values.   When Shannon learned that his drawing had been selected to be a part of the display he said “It made me feel good”.   

Professor Tessier shared that Shannon’s line work has developed a lot. “He is really starting to see lights and shadows and is using a greater range of values. “  Other items Shannon has drawn include a perspective study on a commercial building, a figure study of his own hand, and the apple drawing that is in the display at Evenden Tower.  

On a personal note, Professor Tessier said, “It is so nice to have Shannon in class; he has a “can do” attitude. When I ask him to try something he responds, “I can do that.” He exemplifies a positive attitude and I appreciate that.” 
Shannon with (L to R): Assistant Professor Lisa Tessier and fellow students Jamie Walsh and Josephine DeSanto who also had pictures in the exhibit.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

A Recipe For Success- Student Pursues Cooking Interest at SUNY Delhi

Josh Tefft enjoys food preparation and cooking, helping to prepare the daily lunches offered to people located at The Arc of Delaware County’s facility in Hamden, NY.  He didn’t have to think twice when an opportunity to attend a culinary class offered by nationally recognized SUNY Delhi Culinary Arts program came along.  “I’ve always liked food and wanted to learn more about cooking.”  So this fall Josh enrolled in the Culinary Arts Basic Fundamentals Course taught by Judith Winters.  In class he has enjoyed learning in-depth cooking terminology and cooking principles, culinary history, proper storage/sanitation, nutrition, profitability, food science and cooking methods for a variety of food products.  Josh explained that a typical day in class consisted of students working together in teams to prepare food, operating all of the many pieces of kitchen equipment and experimenting with the new cooking skills they have learned. While there are some recipes that Josh would rather not repeat, he is open to tasting everything and has discovered several new dishes he plans to add to his cooking repertoire. One favorite recipe is a Belgium Waffle dish he recently prepared. “My favorite foods are breakfast dishes”, he added with a broad smile.  And his creativity was apparent as he reflected, “ I think the Hollandaise Sauce I learned will be something I can add to some of the dishes I (currently)  make.”
When asked what his favorite part of the class was, he said without hesitation, “I really like the people in the class!” Pam Walker, who works with Josh at The Arc cafeteria and attends the same class affirmed, “He really loves working with the other students, they are all very, very nice”. 

When Josh learned that his midterm grade was an A- he said that he was a little surprised.  “I thought I was doing pretty good in class, but not THAT good!... It’s pretty cool!”

Monday, October 5, 2015

Community Service Day- Mixing Up Some Fun Together!

Residents from Main St. and Elm St. celebrated Community Service Day  with SUNY Delhi College students Rachelle Cassatt, Kirsten Knutson, and Iveilsse Torres by baking cookies for residents of the Delhi Community Senior Apartments.  

In addition to the SUNY students other bakers include: Gary Grossman, Doris Knowles, Cindy White, Therresa Vengen, Shannon Robinson, and Kevin Hamill.

There was some time between baking the cookie batches so the college students and Main and Elm Street residents had some fun playing board games.
The day was topped off by happy smiles from the cookie recipients at the Delhi Senior Apartments. 

Monday, September 28, 2015

Gentle Giant Visits Community Living Skills-Walton

Rita Altobello, is a person who likes to give to others. Her compassionate heart has led her to volunteer at many places including the Human Society and at Bobbev’s Leonberger Kennel in  Andes, NY  where she delights in interacting and caring for these beautiful dogs.  

Rita Altobello at Bobev Leonberger Kennel, Andes, NY
So it was not a surprise when Rita expressed that she wanted to have others meet and enjoy the Leonberger dogs that she has been helping to feed, groom, and care for each week. The kennel owners , Bob and Bev Travis, have for many years taken these gentle giants into nursing homes, senior housing complexes, schools, and walked in parades to acquaint people with this unique breed of dog. They readily agreed  to making a visit to The Arc’s Community Living Skills facility in Walton with Rita and the Leonberger, “Brody” on September 1st.  

L to R Front Row: Wendy Miller, "Brody", Rita Altobello, Beth Aiken
L to R Back Row: Val Stafford, Hilary Miller, Bev and Bob Travis

View photos of their visit on our Flickr site or click here:

To learn more about the Leonberger breed visit Bobev's Kennel webpage at:

Friday, September 18, 2015

"Everybody Can- Achieve" Contest Announced

Ms. Bussiere's 1st Grade Class, Downsville Central School
Achieve means “to gain with effort”. Isn’t that what life is all about, striving toward something important, wanting to be more and accomplishing one’s dreams?

A local contest held by The Arc of Delaware County and Delta Kappa Gamma, Beta Omicron Chapter for over 6 years has opened the eyes of Delaware County students to the fact that people with disabilities are just like them, in that  they have hopes, dreams, and goals and work hard to achieve them.  And those students who have experienced the “Share, Learn, Grow” program at The Arc of Delaware County have been surprised and amazed as they witnessed  not only the struggles and courage of people with disabilities but also their abilities, talents and achievements. One student who participated in the contest and visited The Arc shared,
 “I learned that no matter what challenges you face in life, you can accomplish your dreams.”

The theme of this year’s contest is “Everybody Can- Achieve”.  Students in grades k-8 and after school program groups are invited to take the challenge of learning about people with disabilities and their achievements and then creating a project from what they have learned. 

Prizes will be awarded in 5 categories: Grades K-4 class poster project, Grades 5-8 individual essay project, Grades 5-8 Individual or Small Group PowerPoint project, after school program small group project using any medium and after school program large group project using any medium. First, second, and third place winners of each category will be awarded, $100, $75, or $50 respectively and every entry will be recognized with a certificate.

Anne Bussiere, 1st Grade Teacher, Downsville Central School, reflected on their participation in last year’s contest: "My class had a blast making the poster! They were thrilled when they won and were able to donate their winnings to Heart of the Catskills and the school's rain forest fundraiser. They learned they could really make a difference!"

Schools and After School Groups can request a free interactive presentation by The Arc of Delaware County and Delta Kappa Gamma to be held at their school. Pam Thompson, Delta Kappa Gamma shared:  The elementary kids at Downsville and Walton last year were eager to learn about Braille, sign language, and Autism.  They eagerly practiced ways to communicate with people with these developmental disabilities."   
Pam Thompson from Delta Kappa Gamma during a Downsville Central School Presentation

For more information and details about this contest visit the "News" section on  our website at  For additional information contact The Arc of Delaware County, Community Relations Department, Barbara Thompson (607) 865-7126 or email

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Edgevilla Farm Hosts Workshop on Farming in Delaware County

Local farmer, Paul Aitken of Edgevilla Farm has “opened his barn doors” to lead a class in learning about farm life in Delaware County. Edgevilla is located in Hamden, NY and owned by Paul, Margie and Beth Aitken. The farm was purchased by Paul’s grandfather for $2,200 and has been in operated by the family for over 99 years. With over 140 acres of cropland, 50 beef cattle, 70 chickens, 2 goats (Lucy and Ethel), and a pet duck (Harold) this was a perfect environment to learn about all aspects of farming. 

Steve Finkel, who provides program support at The Arc of Delaware County helped to develop the 7 week curriculum with Paul. Steve shared, “The goal of this workshop series is to teach interested participants the history, traditions and operation of a Delaware County farm...its successes, struggles and systems that go into managing a farm business and lifestyle in today's world versus that of their family 99 years ago.”

Scott Rogers, Jan Sturdevant, Frank Schulz, David Greenwood, Roseanna Starkweather, Randy Palmer, Gary Grossman, and Thomas Slavinski have enrolled in the class and recently toured the buildings, learned about Edgevilla’s history, and are now looking forward to learning about farm economics, herd management and care, and the marketing of the farm products. They will also witness the development and organization of one of Edgevilla’s many festivals hosted throughout the year- The Corn Maze which is occurring on September 19th and 20th and a Haunted Corn Maze Oct. 3 & 4 and Oct. 10 & 11.

Join the class as they learn about farming by visiting our Flickr site at:

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Ribbons Galore!

The Delaware County Fair gives people the opportunity to showcase their talents and interests and enjoy a bit of friendly competition in the process. Several folks we know brought home ribbons and checks. Visit our Flicker album and roll over the photos for captions to find out we caught enjoying the fair!…/delarc/albums/72157657078311948

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Oh What a Night!

June 19th was a night to be remembered! Over 185 people attended The Arc of Delaware County's gala event at Farrell Hall located on SUNY Delhi campus.  As music from a jazz trio led by Michael Suchorsky drifted up and through the room, people mingled and excitement built in anticipation of the awards to be presented. Local and national dignitaries attended including Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc’s national office;  Paula Brown, local Representative for Congressman Chris Gibson; Wayne Marshfield, Hamden Town Supervisor; Tina Mole’, Bovina Town Supervisor; Thomas Mills, Delaware County Sheriff; and Paul Metcalf and Mark Pulinski , representatives from Relph Benefit Advisors , sponsors of  the event.
After a delicious dinner prepared by CADI staff, the Annual Membership Meeting was held and officers, directors and committee members were installed in to their respective positions for the upcoming term.   
Officers for 2015-2016: Robin Evanitsky, President;  Ira McIntosh, Vice President; Sandra Bullis, Secretary; and Lee Marigliano, Treasurer.
Directors for 2015-2017: Thomas Banks, Amy Beveridge, Mary Jane Giarrusso-Wilkin, Bonnie Martin, Robert Rothenberg, Nat Thomas, and James Warren.  They join Sandra Bullis, Lori Cetta, Robin Evanitsky, Ira McIntosh, Gerda vanLeeuwen, and Ruth Vitale serving the term 2014-2016.
Nominating Committee members for 2015-2016: Lori Cetta, Robert Rothenberg, Nat Thomas, and Gerda van Leeuwen.
Following the Membership meeting, Outstanding Achievement Awards were presented to six individuals who were nominated by their peers and staff for being an inspiration to others through their personal perseverance and growth. Those receiving Outstanding Achievement Awards included:  Finnley Hanway,  Carousel Children's Services; Rose Racht, Community Living Skills, Arkville; Nicholas Hrywanak, Community Living Skills, Walton; Rita Altobello, Residential Services; Robert Eckert, Resource For Industry; Jennifer Gugliotti, THRIVE. Their accomplishments were recounted by staff and peers and then “Shining Star” trophies were presented along with certificates from Congressman Chris Gibson, Senator John Bonacic, Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, and Assemblyman Clifford Crouch.
Four community partners were honored with “Shining Star” plaques and certificates.  Receiving Partner of the Year Awards for enhancing opportunities for individuals with disabilities were Delhi Campus Child Care Center and Delta Kappa Gamma, Beta Omicron Chapter. The Dr. Gerald Burday Professional Excellence Award was presented to Lieutenant Tim Buckley for demonstrating a commitment to excellence in meeting individual needs and encouraging growth helping individuals with disabilities achieve their true potential. Receiving the Father Eugene Willis Good Neighbor Award for embodying the spirit of being kind and neighborly was the Tri Town Dance and Social Club.
This annual event serves as a testament and living example of the impact of The Arc of Delaware County’s positive, person centered approach to helping people with disabilities live personally fulfilling lives.  Heartfelt goodbyes were passed between friends and new acquaintances alike as people left with an invigorated spirit to carry on The Arc’s mission that they are committed to.

To view more photos from this special night visit: