Ulster-Greene ARC graciously received a grant in the amount of $10,000 from NYSARC Trust Services. The monies will be used to provide enhanced recreational opportunities including financial support for people to attend summer camp, go to horseback riding lessons, experience a ceramics class, visit a local water park, dance the night away at a Halloween Party with live music, exercise at the YMCA and carve the slopes with the help of a local adaptive ski program.
“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”
While many organizations are content with “serving people”, with developmental disabilities including autism, Ulster-Greene ARC is committed in our approach of “supporting people”! This model is much more than just semantics. We believe that by empowering each person to make choices and do for themselves, as independently as they are able, with guidance, commitment and, often times, a shoulder to lean on, they will gain learned experiences and attain profound personal achievements at home, at work, and in life.
“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think.”
The success of this principle rests significantly on the effectiveness of our employee training programs. Promoting the education and investment of people means that staff, who support others, must be competent at critical thinking, teaching, community networking, job discovery, behavior support and technology. To accomplish this we have doubled the amount of education we offer to our employees by enhancing orientation, revising annual trainings and implementing the job discovery process. We are equally excited about partnering with the National Alliance of Direct Support Professionals and the College of Direct Support to further our goals.
“Education's purpose is to replace an empty mind with an open one.”
Also, we must prepare the young adults we support in our School-to-Work Program who are transitioning out of high school and into the world of employment. Job readiness is critical for the success of this next generation and a space designed specifically for developing young minds is vital.
“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn.”
Our Staff Development and Administrative teams could not be more enthusiastic about championing this endeavor! We recognize that our infrastructure must also evolve as training schedules are forced to work around room availability in three different buildings and audio/visual equipment and materials are transported from one location to another. Our vision is to renovate our former residential building (Palmer) into a state-of-the-art training center, inclusive of large, fully equipped, training rooms with internet connectivity, an Interactive Training Room, the School-to-Work hub and a commercial kitchen that can be used to train people interested in food service careers.
“Education is the ability to meet life's situations.”
Please consider making a contribution to our 2014-2015 Annual Appeal that will be directly used to fund our new Training Center. Your donation may be sent via the mail by using the enclosed envelope or made online by visiting our Annual Appeal webpage at www.ugarc.org/ways-to-help/annual-appeal. Checks should be payable to Ulster-Greene ARC Foundation. Any gift is greatly appreciated.
“Learning is a treasure which accompanies its owner everywhere.”
On behalf of the people we support, our dedicated staff members, Foundation and Board of Directors, I wish you a blessed holiday season and a very happy New Year!
John McHugh, Executive Director
"We now accept the fact that learning is a lifelong process of keeping abreast of change. And the most pressing task is to teach people how to learn.”
Disability Employment Awareness Highlighted During October
While other ideals may be more publically celebrated during the month of October, Ulster-Greene ARC is very proud to put the emphasis on a topic closely aligned to our mission… National Disability Employment Awareness Month!
“Our mission at Ulster-Greene ARC is to provide opportunities for people and support them in it. We recognize as one organization that we cannot do it alone, and for this we appreciate our partnerships with our elected officials who actively support this and other advocacy organizations to get the word out about the value of a diverse workforce,” states John McHugh, Executive Director.
National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) got its start back in 1945 when the United States Congress enacted a law declaring the first week in October as “National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week”. Shortly thereafter, the word “physically” was removed from the designation to include all types of disabilities and acknowledge the attributes of all those affected by a challenge. In 1988, Congress again changed the name to its current moniker “National Disability Employment Awareness Month” and extended the commitment to the full month.
This year, Field Goods, a budding, farm to table, local food and produce delivery service, based in Athens, received a dual honor. The Greene County employer was bestowed the inaugural Employer of the Year Award from Ulster-Greene ARC back in April at the Annual Humanitarian Awards Dinner and was recently acknowledged by the Capital Region Employment Alliance.
“We are deeply honored by receiving this award recognizing our employing valued workers with disabilities,” said Field Goods founder and President Donna Williams. “I built Field Goods on the belief in the power of small business and work to change lives, and we are seeing that happen. Our partnership with ARC has been so important in growing our business.”
Lynn Slofkin, Ulster Greene ARC Job Developer, nominated Field Goods for both awards based on Donna’s dedication towards matching employees with jobs that capitalize on their interests and abilities.
“Donna will make accommodations in an employee’s schedule based on the availability of transportation and will offer individualized supplemental assistance to provide workers the utmost opportunity to develop their job skills and succeed in the position,” acknowledges Lynn.
Ulster County based employers acknowledged for their role in hiring a diverse workforce and receiving a NDEAM Award from the Mid-Hudson Employment Alliance were Millens Metal Recycling in Kingston, Ollie’s Bargain Outlet in Kingston, ShopRite of Kingston, ShopRite of Ellenville and Ten Broeck Commons in Lake Katrine, which received one of only two Regional Awards.
The Office for People With Developmental Disabilities’ (OPWDD) Works For Me Awards is all about promoting the “Employment First” platform in hiring people affected specifically by an intellectual or other form of developmental disability. It is exciting to acknowledge Advantage Sales & Marketing, a sampling and promotions enterprise, who employs people to work within Sam’s Club in Kingston, won the First Runner-Up Award for the Medium Business Category out of all other employers state-wide.
As we always say at Ulster-Greene ARC, “When opportunities are not readily available… You have to create them”!
This was exactly the case when Ulster-Greene ARC began discussions with Just-A-Buck, a dollar store franchising corporation. Now, some eighteen months later, it is awe-inspiring to see the newly opened Just-A-Buck store in New Paltz getting rave reviews for not only their deeply discounted merchandise, but their hiring practices.
“The support and encouragement we have received from the community is tremendous. It’s truly a testament to our mission of hiring a locally sourced, diverse workforce. Thanks to Ulster-Greene ARC, we have taken a storefront that was vacant for a long time, gave it new life and provided jobs for sixteen people. We are excited to be a part of the thriving New Paltz community and hope that our neighbors, if they have yet to do so, will shop our store and discover the real value of a dollar,” notes Matt Heupler, Store Manager of Just-A-Buck.
Also acknowledged during the month of October, New York State Industry for the Disabled (NYSID) sponsors the annual William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Awards. This year, Ulster-Greene ARC was proud to nominate Jean Mary Shields for this wonderful honor. (Click photo at left to be taken to NYSID's 2014 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award Yearbook)
At the awards ceremony, Tom Occhiogrosso, Commodities Sales Specialist acknowledged, “Jean Mary, you are an inspiration to us all. The work that you do in assembling drug test kits is truly helping others in their drug rehabilitation. Your outstanding performance and attention to detail inspires others to do the same.”
Ulster-Greene ARC is proud to partner with over 100 employers across Ulster, Greene and Dutchess Counties. We encourage others to take a moment and reflect on the benefit that can be received by hiring this amazingly talented, capable, and eager to work segment of the workforce.
Celebrating the Season at Brookside School
Brookside School holds its annual Fall Festival with the support of volunteers and community members
Autumn is a glorious time of year in the Northeast. Pleasant temperatures, picturesque foliage, and an abundance of apples and other harvested bounties provide the perfect backdrop for the annual Fall Festival held at Brookside School.
“We love to make learning fun,” states Marcene Basch-Johnson, Director of Educational Services at Brookside School. “Our Fall Festival is just one way that we can bring community members together and teach the students in a very interactive way.
The Fall Festival features an experience in turning apples into apple cider, a meet-up with miniature donkeys and a few rounds of pumpkin bowling.
About six or seven years ago, Bill McKenna, a member of the Town Board in Woodstock, and Donald Allen, City of Kingston Deputy Fire Chief, were asked by a friend if they would bring their cider press to Brookside School to teach the students how to make apple cider. The rest is history. Every year since, they each take a day off from their “real jobs” to volunteer at Brookside’s Fall Festival, cider press in tow and the bed of their pick-up truck full with apples thanks to Mike Moriello, owner of Apple Hill Farms in New Paltz.
“We enjoy it. The process of making cider hasn’t changed in years and we love to come to Brookside and demonstrate it for the kids,” says Bill.
The next stop at the Fall Festival is to see the miniature donkeys thanks to Little Brays of Sunshine, a unique group of volunteers based in Ulster Park who have a small herd of seven miniature donkeys, three of which came to Brookside School. The students have the opportunity to pet the donkeys, brush their coat and simply get some one-on-one time with these lovable animals.
“They are donkey ambassadors,” says Steve Stiert, the organizer of Little Brays of Sunshine. “A donkey’s natural demeanor is very calm and gentle, yet they are often very misunderstood animals. I am frequently asked if they will kick or bite. That type of behavior is very uncharacteristic and so our group loves the chance to get out into the community and introduce donkeys to others. Some people call it ‘donkey therapy’, but we just consider them wonderful animals and an excellent way to get people away from technology and outside in the fresh air.”
Along with Steve, there are eight other volunteer members in the group including Larry Futrell, Nick Destefano and Rachele Levy who joined Steve at Brookside’s Fall Festival.
To cap off the activities the students participated in Pumpkin Bowling. A seasonally inspired spin on regular bowling, students each line up at the top of the hill behind the school, grab a pumpkin and roll it down the slope towards the bowling pins. Thanks to Davenport Farms, who offered a fantastic discount on the pumpkins, there were plenty of orange colored “bowling balls” to go around.
This year, NYSARC, Inc. proudly celebrates its 65th Anniversary, which has been a journey of advocacy and support for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities and their families throughout New York.
As the Ulster and Greene Counties Chapter of NYSARC, Inc., we were proud to help support and rally publicity for this momentus milestone.
Begining on Monday, July 7th at the Walkway Over the Hudson and ending on Friday, July 10th, at the stairs to the Capitol in Albany, Ulster-Greene ARC hosted and took part in three different celebrations that brought attention to the mission of NYSARC and it's local county chapters.
On Monday, July 7th, Ulster-Greene ARC joined with Dutchess ARC, Orange AHRC and SullivanArc at the Walkway Over the Walkway Over the Hudson. With the support of Ulster County Executive Mike Hein, the four chapters attached their county's tassel to the NYSARC flag and spoke a little about value of the NYSARC mission.
On Tuesday, July 8th, Ulster-Greene ARC met up with sister chapter (COARC) at the Rip Van Winkle Bridge in Catskill. Much like the event at the walkway, we were grateful to have the participation of Tracy Magee from New York State Assemblyman Peter Lopez's office and Assemblywoman Didi Barrett.
On Friday, July 11th, a small group from Ulster-Greene ARC traveled to Albany to rally with other chapters of NYSARC from across New York State. Not only was it a gorgeous day, but more than 1,000 people participated in a walk from the Corning Preserve to the steps of the Capitol building. Local New York State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk, 46th Senate District, took time to speak at the event and acknowledge the immense value that NYSARC and it's county chapters offer.
Daily Freeman YouTube Videos of Walkway Over the Hudson Event
Lance Wheeler Video of Rip Van Winkle Event
See the Daily Freeman's photo gallery of Walkway Over the Hudson Event, please click on the link below.
Check out the articles published in the Daily Mail and Register Star Newspapers
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