Sunday, 27 September 2020

wherecommunityhappensIt’s Thursday night at the Harvest Café and Lounge, the place “where community happens” in rural Montour Falls. An acoustic guitarist, veterans, teens, and dining friends are gathered for a night of great food and karaoke entertainment. Harvest Café owner, Valerie announces, “Let’s welcome to the stage – Darlene and Terri!”
Applause and smiles sweep across the room. Everyone is clapping or tapping their foot to the beat of Darlene and Terri’s duet. Darlene’s face says she is exactly where she wants to be, not just because she’s a former rock band vocalist, but also because she’s sharing her passion with a woman she is proud to support and who she enjoys spending time with. To the Harvest Café patrons, Valerie, and her staff, Darlene is not a direct support professional nor is Terri a person with a developmental disability.
Here, they are all members of a diverse community sharing a passion for music every Thursday night.

Photo: Darlene Abidin (left) and Terri Swartwood (right) sing karaoke on stage at The Harvest Cafe & Lounge in Montour Falls.

Filmmaker, Jason Crane, interviews people receiving supports through The Arc, employees, and community members to find out what Christmas means to others. Click the image to see the video. Happy Holidays everyone!


The persistent beep of Bill Haeffner’s pager wakes him at 2 a.m. The sun hasn’t even risen and he’s scheduled to work at the restaurant in the morning, but within moments, he’s out of bed, dressed in his gear, and out the door. “If it’s to help somebody in need, I don’t mind getting up a little early,” Bill said.

Since May 1995, Bill has been a member of the Watkins Glen Fire Department, an entirely volunteer department that responds to fire, EMS, and other emergencies in a 58 square mile district.

To be a firefighter, Bill has to fulfill exhaustive requirements including completion of over 180 hours of initial fire safety, medical training, CPR, and Certified First Responder, as well as other annual refresher courses. Late night and early morning calls along with hazardous conditions are all part of Bill’s job.

“It’s all part of being a firefighter,” Bill remarks. “I’m always ready to help the guys by getting necessary tools, changing or filling the air pack bottles, or anything else they need. I’ve made a lot of friends at the department.”

The story of Tom Havens helps us understand what happens when a n individual, an organization, a family, and a community work together to fulfill a dream. Tom has been involved with Glen Industries for many years. Tom is also a lifetime resident of Schuyler County who lives very independently and who is also known by many in his community. Like anyone else, Tom has goals about his life, his future, and his work. His journey has had its ups and downs but Tom’s values and his dreams have served him well.


This short video made in 2009 describes Tom’s story, his successes, and how a supportive circle of friends, family, co-works, and community pulled together, so he can succeed. Tom is still a valued employee of Savard’s Family Restaurant in Watkins Glen.


StacyBurdickOn Tuesday mornings at Watkins Glen Elementary School, three second-grade students seated at a round table in the cozy and colorful school library anxiously await the arrival of their friend, Stacy Burdick.

When Stacy walks into the library, the girls smile and greet her. Stacy collects the books that she and the girls have selected, and the group settles down to read. Stacy, who receives supports through The Arc of Schuyler, has been regularly volunteering at Watkins Glen Elementary School since 2007. She worked hard to hone her reading skills so that she could become a volunteer at the school and read to elementary students. Her time is well spent with the students as they practice reading with one another.


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Donate by Mail: Please make checks payable to The Arc of Schuyler, and mail to: The Arc of Schuyler, 203 12th St., Watkins Glen, NY 14891

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