Wednesday, December 28, 2016

NYSARC Trust Services Grants Benefit Many

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 people they support.   

With the receipt of $12,500 in recreation grant funds, individuals from The Arc of Delaware County have been able to enjoy an array of person centered recreational activities they may not otherwise have had an opportunity to enjoy this year.  For instance, Gary Grossman recently traveled to Florida to visit his parents, Henry and Kay, whom he hadn’t seen in a year.  Gary talks with his family regularly on the phone and keeps in contact through social media, but this personal visit was a rare treat.  This trip was made even more special with a day spent at Universal Studios with friend and traveling companion, Sean Henry.  Gary has vacationed in the past with a well known travel company that provides guided tours and personal assistance, however, with the availability of the recreation grant funds Gary was able to plan his own personalized trip and bring a travel companion whom he has known for years and enjoys spending time with.  In addition to spending time with his family, some of Gary’s favorite memories from his Florida vacation were having lunch at the Hard Rock CafĂ©, talking with the Disney characters, and meeting people from all over the world, such as California and Mexico.

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 $2,795,500 in remainder grants was awarded in 2016 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.


Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Jennifer Gugliotti - NYSARC's 2016 Self Advocate of the Year

Jennifer Gugliotti with NYSARC Board President Laura J. Kennedy

Jennifer Gugliotti, was honored as NYSARC, Inc’s. 2016 Self Advocate of the Year at their Fall meeting October 21st in Albany NY. Jennifer was selected from the many nominations of outstanding individuals submitted from Arc Chapters across the state.   To be considered for this award, an individual must demonstrate leadership and also by their actions, help to shape services in a way that benefits others. 

Jennifer is a strong leader and has always had a natural inclination toward helping others.  Her personal goal of becoming a teacher’s aide has led her down many paths to hone the skills needed to achieve this.  She felt it was important to gain public speaking experience and enhance her writing skills so she campaigned and was elected to several positions of the THRIVE Self Advocacy group including that of President and Secretary. Wanting to help others, Jennifer viewed her officer roles as an opportunity to share information that she felt would help others including healthy eating habits, maintaining a healthy weight, and making people aware of ways to protect against sun damage.

 Jennifer’s encouraging nature and desire to see others succeed has earned her the respect and admiration of her peers. She openly discusses her past challenges and how overcoming they helped her to achieve her dreams and goals.  In 2015 they selected Jennifer to receive the THRIVE program’s Outstanding Achievement Award. She was also previously selected to represent the THRIVE Self Advocate group at The Arc’s National Convention in 2010 and 2012.

And her advocacy doesn’t stop at the program level. Jennifer is a member of the Special Review Committee at The Arc of Delaware County and she provides presentations to local schools, Rotary clubs, Senior Citizen and church groups educating the community about the potential and capabilities of individuals with disabilities. As part of a state wide campaign she participated in a videotaped message to legislators advocating for employment services.

Jennifer is always looking for ways to expand her knowledge and has enrolled in several inclusive SUNY Delhi classes including Psychology and Early Childhood and Development. She volunteers at Sidney Central School where she reads stories to the children and assists the teacher with crafts. “I have learned that it is so important to always believe in yourself and to be strong”, shared Jennifer Gugliotti during her acceptance speech at the NYSARC meeting. “I would also like to thank everyone at The Arc of Delaware County for helping me become the confident person I am today, and for supporting me as I follow my dreams.”
L to R: Sheri Hull (THRIVE Program Director), Molly Little (CEO), Jennifer, Nate Thomas (Board Member - The Arc of Delaware County) and Jessica Baldi (Life Coach).

Monday, October 31, 2016

Those Who Go "Above and Beyond"

The Blesher recognition program was put into place to help recognize individuals who go “Above and beyond”. Because any employee can complete a Blesher Nomination form and identify the exceptional deeds they see their peers accomplishing, it is a wonderful way for employees to look for the positives and show what they respect and admire in their co workers. We thought you would like to read a few recent examples which may also spark ideas of other deeds and events that reflect the core values on which our agency is based, our Unifying Principles.
During the month of October Joan Dewing, Darius Newbold and Denise Jackson received Blesher awards.

Joan Dewing, a Residential Housing Profession in our Residential program was instrumental in the creation of the agency quilt that was a retirement gift to CEO George Suess. Through Joan’s coordination, instruction, sewing and communication, staff and people supported by The Arc of Delaware County had the opportunity to express their sentiments to George in a beautiful way.

Joan volunteered many, many hours of her personal time building the quilt, making it easy for people unfamiliar with the quilting process to participate. She was creative in problem solving as the quilt progressed resulting in a truly beautiful and meaningful gift. Joan was presented with her Blesher award on October 7th.

Darius Newbold, Assistant Director of Finance was nominated for a Blesher award for providing assistance to the Residential team on topics that extended well beyond his financial responsibilities such as Medisked and E-MARS programs. He attended many house and leader meetings to explain and expand their knowledge. In the nomination Darius was described as “professionalism personified” They said that If Darius doesn’t know an answer he finds out! Darius received his Blesher award on October 19th.

Denise Jackson, Administrative Assistant at THRIVE learned of an individual’s desire to volunteer in her local community. Denise was instrumental in helping Lanora Nash-Steinbacher achieve a dream by making her aware of an opportunity. She then made the necessary connections with family and staff to allow the individual to fulfill her desire. She went above and beyond in supporting the individual to prepare for and participate at the event. Denise received her Blesher award on October 19th.

Denise Jackson (Left) with Lanora Nash-Steinbacher (Right)
There are so many outstanding acts of kindness, professionalism, creativity, ingenuity that make our agency great. Congratulations to these three recent Blesher Award recipients!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Becky Townsend Receives Blesher for Keeping People Safe

Blesher recognized Becky Townsend for taking great care of RFI’s car fleet on September 19th.

Becky was nominated by Mary Cullen who wrote, “Becky has gone to many lengths to make sure cars are in good working order… She makes sure cars carry an up to date emergency first aid kit, have current registrations and inspections, and checks to make sure oil changes are completed timely.”

Because of Becky’s commitment to excellence, dedication, communication, and caring for those who use the vehicles; employees can use the cars with confidence knowing that they are well equipped, maintained, and safe.

Thank you for your hard work and dedication which helps to keep both staff and those we support safe Becky!

Monday, August 15, 2016

For Selfless Dedication - The Arc of Delaware County's Board of Directors Receives a Blesher Award

On August 10th, The Arc of Delaware County's Board of Directors received a Blesher Award. Molly Little, CEO nominated the entire board for "Selfless dedication of time and talents while serving on the board." Through their hard work, support, and dedication they help to assure people with disabilities live personally fulfilling lives.
Congratulations and thank you to each board member for helping The Arc of Delaware County fulfill its Unifying Principals: Those we serve come first, commit to excellence, be dedicated, employee satisfaction, communicate effectively, and be innovative.

Pictured Front Row L to R: Gerda van Leeuwen, Bonnie Martin, James Warren, Blesher Lil Heart, Johna Peachin, Kathleen Green, Ira McIntosh, Vice President.
Back Row L to R: Amy Beveridge, Lori Cetta, Nat Thomas, Treasurer, Robert Rothenberg, Robin Evanitsky, President, and Thomas Banks
Not present were Directors: Mary Jane Giarrusso- Wilkin and Sandra Bullis, Secretary.


Joining the picture with the Board of Directors are: Molly Little, CEO (back row, second from right), Barbara Rothenberg, COO (first row, second from right) and Teresa Skinner, CFO (back row, second from left).

The Artist Within Us

"Voice!" is a juried art exhibition celebrating the creative voices of artists from New York State. Hosted by The Arc Otsego for the 12th year, this exhibition reminds us of the power of art to transcend disability and stereotypes and reveals our common ground, celebrating everyone's unique abilities.

Two Delaware County residents, Thomas Ferrante and Lewis Pepper were invited artists who displayed their textile and acrylic painting works in this year's exhibit held at the Martin Mullen Art Gallery, SUNY Oneonta.

Thomas Ferrante lives in Margaretville, NY and began taking weaving classes at The Artisan's Guild four years ago. He discovered that he enjoyed working on a loom and has woven several rugs using a variety of yarns and patterns. He has exhibited his works at Delaware County Fair, winning several ribbons. His submission to the "Voice!" exhibition was a southwestern themed woven rug wall hanging.

Lewis Pepper, a resident of Sidney, NY has been interested in drawing from an early age. His work has been displayed at SUNY Delhi, the Delaware County Fair, and various other venues including The Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. He has attended art classes at SUNY Delhi and Harpursville Senior Center where he has mastered several paint mediums including watercolors, acrylic, and oil paints. His favorite art subjects are wildlife and country landscapes.
His submission to "Voice12" was an original acrylic painting of a chipmunk that he was able to study up close as he fed him out of his hand.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Going "Above and Beyond"- Bill Field is Recognized with a Blesher Award

Bill Field, Director of Facilities and Corporate Compliance Officer at The Arc of Delaware County was recognized for “going above and beyond” his duties by THRIVE staff and participants on July 27th when they presented him with a Blesher Award. 

 During a recent air conditioning system malfunction that lasted several days Bill once again showed his genuine caring for people. As described in the Blesher nomination, Bill immediately jumped into action checking with program staff to assure there were no heat safety concerns for individuals, he used his ingenuity to secure and strategically place large barn fans throughout the building to keep air as cool as possible, and arrived at the building early each morning to open windows and cool down the building. Bill constantly checked on the status and comfort of everyone in the building throughout the day. by THRIVE staff and participants. 

Bill’s actions and caring were greatly appreciated by everyone!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Carousel Children's Services Staff Receives Blesher Award

On August 14th Blesher Lil' Heart paid a visit to Carousel Children’s Services (CCS) to bestow a Blesher Award on the staff who were responsible for the continuation of excellent services to children in the program during a staff shortage.

Beverly “Honeybee” Tuthill, Program Manager shared that staff accomplished this by working together, supporting each other, and by being innovative in coming up with new ways to work with the children. “They used communication effectively to keep each other informed, and took on extra duties with a smile” she said.

Congratulations Carousel Children’s Services!

Pictured in photo L to R: Front row: Andrea Misa, Kristin MacRabie, Blesher, Sibel Finn.
Back row left to right - Lillian Moore, Kristina Anderson and Emily Tackabury


Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Community Living Skills-Arkville Recognizes Travis Rausch With a Blesher Award

When Travis Rausch arrived at CLS- Arkville on Thursday, July 14th, he was surprised to be greeted by Blesher. But he was even more surprised when it was announced that he was the one to receive a Blesher Award that day! The CLS- Arkville staff had nominated Travis because of his willingness to step in and help, always with a smile on his face. He is currently covering CLS-Arkville’s transport needs and he quickly built a strong rapport with staff and those we support. Staff noted, “Travis has a very fun attitude and is a pleasure to be around! He has a “can do” attitude!”  It was noted that he consistently displays “SEAN” (Smart, Eager to Learn, Ambitious and Nice) qualities.

Congratulations Travis!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

A Night of Celebrations!

Myles Magnan recipient of Carousel Children's Services Outstanding Achievement Award
An evening filled with stars occurred on July 8th when The Arc of Delaware County held its Annual Membership meeting and Awards Ceremony at SUNY Delhi’s campus. This event which was sponsored by Relph Benefit Advisors serves as a keystone celebration recognizing the outstanding achievements of individuals in each of The Arc’s programs, as well as honoring community members and volunteers who have enhanced opportunities for people with disabilities, provided dedicated service, and embodied the spirit of being kind and neighborly.

This year’s award winners received "Shining Star" trophies from The Arc of Delaware County and Certificates of Recognition from Senator John Bonacic, Senator James Seward, Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, and Congressman Chris Gibson. Dignitaries attending the event included Joe Angelino who presented Certificates of Merit from Assemblyman Clifford Crouch, and Wayne Marshfield, Town of Hamden Supervisor.

George Suess Outstanding Achievement Awards were presented to individuals who have been an inspiration to others through their personal perseverance, and individual growth. Award winners included Myles Magnan (Carousel Children’s Services), Dolores Hirschel (Community Living Skills-Arkville, Fred Hammond (Residential Services), David Barnhart (Resources for Industry), Edson Jones (THRIVE) and Donald Sedor (Community Living Skills-Walton).

Community recognition awards were presented to three individuals: Kalii Tas, Fred Doyle, and Dave DeForest.

Receiving the Father Eugene Willis Good Neighbor Award was Fred Doyle. This award is given to those who actively support involvement of individuals with disabilities in their community. The tremendous personal growth of an individual was directly attributed to the kind and caring relationship that Fred nurtured as they worked together volunteering at The First Presbyterian Church of Stamford.

The Partner of the Year Award was presented to Dave DeForest, Assistant Professor of Applied Sciences at SUNY Delhi. Steve Finkel from The Arc shared, "Dave has championed a diverse list of learning opportunities for people with disabilities including, kayaking, gardening, survival training, snowshoeing, skiing and many more activities. Both SUNY students and Arc participants have learned a lot about each other in the process".

The Luella Rogers Exemplary Volunteer Award was presented to Kalii Tass of Fishes Eddy, NY. Kalii has been volunteering for over 10 years at Community Living Skills-Walton (CLS-W). Hilary Miller, Program Director at CLS-W shared that Kalii "is an essential piece to the success of people at program. It is clear that she has long standing relationships with people shown through her interactions of compassion and friendship…She unhesitatingly steps in wherever and whenever needed."

During the Membership meeting Officers and Directors were sworn into office by Wayne Marshfield, Hamden Town Supervisor, and Jennifer Guigliotti. Serving for the 2016-2017 term are President, Robin Evanitsky, Vice President, Ira McIntosh, Secretary, Sandra Bullis, and Treasurer, Nat Thomas. The Directors for the 2016 – 2018 term include: Sandra Bullis, Lori Cetta, Robin Evanitsky, Kathleen Green, Ira McIntosh, Johna Peachin, and Greda van Leeuwen. Serving on the Nominating Committee for the 2016-2017 term are: Lori Cetta, Robert Rothenberg, Nat Thomas, and Gerda van Leeuwen.
Kalii Tass recipient of the Luella Rogers Exemplary Volunteer Award
It was fitting and that the community fireworks which had been delayed due to weather the previous week lit up the sky as The Annual Dinner was ending. What a night to remember!
To view photos of this event visit our Flickr site:

Friday, June 17, 2016

Eating Smart

 L to R: Denise Darling, Andrea Day (Instructor), Amanda Green, and Lanora Nash-Steinbacher.

The Delaware County Cornell Cooperative Extension service provides Eat Smart Programs at several convenient locations throughout Delaware County. When the “Discover My Plate” Eat Smart program was recently offered at Cornell’s Hamden location, people jumped at the opportunity to learn more about healthy eating.

These ladies (pictured) along with Alethea Stanton, Perry Ragusa and James Spath (not pictured) enjoyed learning about adding more color to meals by increasing fruit and vegetables, the importance of whole grains and fiber in the diet, rethinking what they drink and reducing sugary beverages, and eating healthy portions. They enjoyed an in-class “pop up” store learning about selecting and purchasing produce. Then the “piece de resistance” was the preparation and enjoyment of a lunch prepared during each class. The final day of class was celebrated with a healthy taco lunch. Ole’!

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

A Tale of Three Blesher's

Shown L to R: Val Stafford, Terri Beers, Blesher, and Justine Kelly
Val Stafford received a Blesher Award For exemplifying the Unifying Principles for leading by example by being willing to “step up and step in”, providing assistance whenever and wherever needed, being a positive, supportive mentor to both staff and those we support.

 The CLS- Walton team nominated her and wrote: “Val always has not only an open door but an open heart and mind. She’s always willing to step up and step in.” Some examples were given such as when they were short staffed she jumped right into a classroom to teach for the day, she is always quick to find the right answers to their questions, she makes staff and those we support feel valuable, she always has an upbeat and positive attitude, she knows her audience and gives praise and constructive criticism in a way that is well received, and last but not least, she is really great at coming up with new ways to help individuals work on coping skills and ways to communicate their wants and needs.

Justine Kelly and Terri Beers received a Blesher Award for exemplifying the Unifying Principles through exceptional teamwork that resulted in an individual achieving personal fulfillment with a highly successful college presentation. They helped Bruce Besdansky as he prepared a model of a brain, helping him study it and prepare for a presentation in front of a class.  “Bruce was smiling ear to ear with his final project. He was very proud”

Justine Kelly and Bruce Besdansky with Bruce's Brain Project.
            Congratulations to Val, Terri and Justine!






Friday, May 20, 2016

Meet Molly Little, Our CEO


Molly Little has been enjoying her position as CEO of The Arc of Delaware County since the retirement of former CEO George Suess in  January 2016. She shared that inclusive experiences and positive supports for people with disabilities was instilled in her from early childhood.  Molly’s journey of growing up with children with disabilities began at age 4 when she was enrolled in an integrated preschool program and continued throughout her school years. “My framework for life has been we all have abilities and disabilities. Some of my friends from preschool had speech therapy, leg braces and I just thought, this is life.”

Throughout high school and college Molly worked in residential departments, day camps, and day programs for people with disabilities. Once she completed her undergraduate degree a family member encouraged her to apply for a position at The Arc of Delaware County because they thought that its positive, no restraint policy would be a great philosophical fit.

In February 1995 Molly accepted a position as Social Worker Assistant at The Arc of Delaware County.  She thought that this position would be rewarding but temporary.   However, she never left because “I fell in love with the agency”.  She accepted increasingly responsible positions including Program Coordinator, Assistant Director, and Director of Day Services. Her experiences provided a broad perspective and knowledge of the functioning of the agency from many levels. And she shared that she always loved every position that she was in.

She made the decision to throw her hat in the ring for the CEO position mainly because of the timing. She wanted to have the opportunity to learn from key long term employees whose retirement is on the horizon.

She is fully aware that she became CEO at a very challenging time in the field. Allowable services, funding, and regulations are all changing. “There are a lot of unknowns but we will figure it all out together.” She feels she can be a good influence at a crucial time. “This is an awesome team, this has been a smooth transition and the former CEO George Suess and the board have been very supportive. And because people are so talented at this agency I don’t lie awake worrying about things.” She shared that believing in what she does, making a difference in people’s lives and working in a positive, proactive atmosphere with talented and dedicated people makes it all easy.

If she had a dream “bucket list” Molly would love to see smaller group homes and people being able to have their own bedrooms.  And as workshops change she would like to make sure that the people we support continue to have the highest quality of supports and services that are very person centered. “We can help the others in this field understand that people with disabilities can and do learn and grow.”  She also would like to explore a variety of mental health services for people with disabilities.

During the first months of her tenure she spent time in all of the departments, gaining a different level of understanding of the agency and more importantly getting to know all of the people in the departments.” I knew I was going to see a lot of talent. It is really fun to see everything going on.” 

Molly has come to love and appreciate all of the benefits of living in Delaware County.  “I am grateful that this agency is located in Delaware County, small town America at its best. One of the things that I love about Delaware County is that people embrace everyone; we don’t have to fight a lot of discrimination or segregation. People with disabilities are not tucked away somewhere. I know that can be a big issue elsewhere.”

Monday, May 16, 2016

More Signs of Spring!

Despite the chill and drizzle in the air, a reunion of sorts transpired at Launt Pond on Friday. For a number of years members of The Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and The Arc of Delaware County have enjoyed meeting together in the Spring and releasing fish into local rivers and waterways. Pictured here on May 13th are folks from both DEC and The Arc preparing to receive and release the trout into Launt Pond near Walton, NY.

And turning up some dirt to prepare the way for butterflies… Community Partner, Dave DeForest , Assistant Professor at SUNY Delhi and Harry Dorsey , a 2nd year Adventure Recreation student, partnered with The Arc of Delaware County to “spring clean” EDU’s Butterfly Garden. It wasn’t all work and no play. Everyone enjoyed a cookout and picnic after the work was done. Afterwards, Heidi Friedman sent Dave a message: “I would just like to say THANK YOU for the great day yesterday. Both Garett and I appreciated all the time and effort you put into the planning-- Garett smiled all the way back.” See more photos on our Flickr site:…/delarc/albums/72157665894796034
View a video of the (EDU) Outdoor Education Center here:

Friday, April 22, 2016

Earth Day 2016

The Arc of Delaware County, the Catskill Forest Association, and students from Delaware Academy joined together to celebrate Earth Day today.  They planted apple trees around the Delaware Academy school garden located near Smith Pond.
Jim Waters, Catskill Forest Association Director plants the first tree.

Standing 2nd from left is Michael Cipperly, instructor at Delaware Academy and to his right are Mark German and Robert Dircks.
Smiling at a job well done is Jamie Menhinick with Robert Dircks providing a drink of water for the newly planted tree.