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The Arc of Schuyler is partnering with The Arc of Chemung (Elmira) and The Arc of Steuben (Bath/Corning) to host a rally to demonstrate support for increased funding from New York State to provide a living wage for direct support professionals. Direct support professionals are the core of the system of supports for 130,000 people in New York State who require long-term services. New York State intends to raise the minimum wage, but has yet to provide funding in the State Budget to provide a living wage for these valuable workers who provide direct care for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The rally will take place on Thursday, January 12 at 10:00 AM at the Arnot Mall's Community Room, located on the second floor, at the end of the first hallway past Regal Cinemas. Parents, family members, direct support professionals, board members, volunteers, and anyone with a heart for this issue are encouraged to attend. Attendees will have the opportunity to contribute to a mass mailing including postcards, personal letters, and photos taken at the event. Your presence will demonstrate your belief in the value of direct support professionals and the important work they do. The more we stand together, the stronger our voice.
If you would like to contribute to the effort, but are not able to join us at the rally, there are other ways to add your voice. Share your story or your support by mailing a personal letter to NYS Gov. Cuomo's office. Your voice matters. If you have any questions about this event or how to help, please contact Director of Community Relations, Holly Baker at 607.535.6934.
The Arc of Schuyler, Arc of Chemung, and Arc of Steuben are members of NYSARC, Inc., New York State's largest not-for-profit organization supporting people with developmental and other disabilities and their families. The 47 operating chapters comprising NYSARC support and serve people with developmental disabilities. With more than 110,000 members, the organization supports approximately 60,000 individuals and employes close to 30,000 people.
Feb. 1 Update - On January 31, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities Bureau of Program Certification completed their required inspection of construction work completed at our Canal St. Intermediate Care Facility in Montour Falls. We are on schedule for people to move back to their “new” home on Friday, February 3. The 10 single bedrooms look new and fresh and new flooring throughout the house eliminates some door thresholds making wheelchair maneuvering easier. The Arc is thankful to Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and our generous donors for providing funding needed to make this renovation a reality. This was truly a community effort with many thanks in order. Watson Homestead, Corning Catering, Elmira Structures and William Long Associates were great community partners who made this project go smoothly. We also recognize this was an all hands on deck venture for staff from all departments who helped out while residents were “on retreat”. Thank you everyone!
Original Article: Fans of the HGTV “Home Makeover” series are familiar with the excitement a family experiences leaving their home for a short time while construction crews complete an interior redesign to create a beautiful new space modified for the family’s comfort and enjoyment. That’s just the thrill that people living at The Arc of Schuyler- owned residence in Montour Falls will experience this January.
Through the support of the NYS Office for People with Development Disabilities and monies raised through fundraising efforts, the Canal Street home where 12 residents live, will be converted from shared bedrooms to single bedrooms, giving people added privacy and comfort in a space they can call their own.
“It has been part of our long range plan that our homes have private bedrooms,” Executive Director, Jeannette Frank said. “Eighty-percent of our residential options will have single bedrooms when this project is complete.”
Residents will enjoy a 4-week retreat at Watson Homestead in Painted Post during the remodel. “The team at Watson Homestead has been wonderful to work with in preparing for this project. The people we support and the direct support professionals who assist them are looking forward to the changes at Canal Street and in the meantime, people will definitely enjoy all that Watson Homestead has to offer,” Frank said.
Construction work is being completed by Elmira Structures, Inc. of Elmira, NY with design by Long & Associates Architects of Buffalo.
The Arc of Schuyler provides 24/7 supports for people with moderate to severe developmental disabilities, including autism, many of whom need medical and/or behavioral supports. Person-centered services are provided with family involvement encouraged to the extent possible.
As the holiday season comes to an end, The Arc of Schuyler would like to express our thanks to the many generous businesses, organizations, and individuals who help made this a wonderful Christmas for people who receive services at The Arc and their families. The Watkins-Montour Rotary Club continues to sponsor an annual holiday party at the Montour Moose Lodge – an event where people with disabilities, their friends, and families enjoy time together with food, friendship, and music donated by A Walk on the Wildside Entertainment. St. Mary’s of the Lake parishioners generously donated gifts to nearly 50 people who reside at Arc homes. Supporters who donate to The Arc also helped provide gifts that inspire joy and gratitude, and students from Odessa-Montour High School volunteered their time to package and wrap presents for Christmas morning. While many of the people we support are fortunate to be able to spend time with their families during the holiday, many others do not have that opportunity. The compassion and philanthropy of our big-hearted Schuyler County community has an incredible impact on the lives of people we support, showing how much they are cared about and reminding us all that Schuyler County is a great place to live. Thank you all for being a friend to The Arc and supporting a community of inclusion and kindness.
Michael E. Stamp
President, Arc of Schuyler Board of Directors
Local lawmakers met Wednesday with officials with from the Arcs of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, and Yates counties to discuss concerns about Governor Andrew Cuomo’s 2017-18 Executive Budget and the need for a living wage for direct support professionals who work directly with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Assemblymen Chris Friend, R-Big Flats, Phil Palmesano, R-Corning, and State Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, acknowledged the challenges that agencies will face when the state’s minimum wage increases at the end of this year.
Direct support workers are highly skilled, highly trained professionals who support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Increasingly, people who provide direct support are leaving this line of work as organizations that provide services are no longer able to offer competitive compensation.
Arc chapters must comply with the minimum wage increase that will go into effect at the end of the year. Because they receive the majority of their funding from the state, however, these organizations are facing
massive budget shortfalls unless state funding is increased in the 2017-18 budget. Without state funding, this mandated wage increase could impact the ability of Arc chapters to provide programs and services in the future.
“This is not something that’s surprised us,” O’Mara said. “It’s going to have a big impact on agencies like the Arc. We’re here to try to work together on a strategy to help make up for what is going to be a major impact. Service provider agencies have very tight budgets as it is. This is going to exacerbate the staffing issues that already exist.”
O’Mara, Friend, and Palmesano said they supported the Arc chapters’ efforts to increase funding, starting with the 2017-18 budget.
“The impact of the unfunded minimum wage increase on agencies that serve the most vulnerable New Yorkers, those with developmental disabilities, is one of the most important issues we’re facing,” Palmesano said. “If we are not making sure the quality of life and quality of care for developmentally disabled people is addressed, then we’re failing the tax payers and failing New York. We have to make every effort to make sure we’re addressing this need.”
Arc officials said they will continue to create awareness for this issue as the budget process moves forward. A letter-writing campaign to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a #bfair2directcare social media campaign, and a rally planned for early January are among the efforts to draw attention to the need for increased funding for direct support professional pay.
“This needs to be a priority,” Palmesano said. “There’s no greater service than providing care to improve the quality of life for our most vulnerable citizens, people with developmental disabilities. For me this needs to be the top priority before we address anything else.”
The Arcs of Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben and Yates counties are members of NYSARC, Inc., New York State’s largest not-for-profit organization supporting people with developmental and other disabilities and their families. The 47 operating chapters comprising NYSARC support and serve people with developmental disabilities, including those with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, autism, and neurological impairments, in every county in the state.
With more than 110,000 members, the organization supports approximately 60,000 individuals and employs close to 30,000 people.
Photo (Top): Assemblyman Chris Friend, left, Senator Tom O’Mara, Arc of Schuyler Executive Director Jeannette Frank, Arc of Chemung Executive Director Michael Doherty, Assemblyman Phil Palmesano, Arc of Yates Chief of Staff Mary Mansfield, and Arc of Steuben Executive Director Bernie Burns met to discuss the need for increased funding from the state to cover wage increases for direct support professionals
Photo (Bottom): Senator O'Mara and Nancy Thomas, Arc board member and parent.
Christy Pandozzi is embarking on a new career in food service at the Human Services Complex in Montour Falls. Your support of vocational training and other services provided through The Arc has helped Christy achieve her career goals and she wants to tell you her story.
“I’ll be working in the kitchen preparing food for the Office for the Aging Home Delivered Meals service and Silver Spoon Café,” Christy said about her new role. “I’m really excited about what I will learn. It makes me feel good that I’ll be cooking for and helping other people in our community.”
Christy is thankful to the people and for the services that helped her reach her goals.
“I learned a lot in my training at Glen Industries and The Arc - how to process different foods, measure ingredients, how to cook safely, and how to keep the kitchen clean. I also learned a lot from my community support staff person, Sharon. She’s taught me how to plan meals, shop for healthy foods, cook at my home, and budget my money.”
Christy is also a frequent public transit rider. “I’ve used Schuyler County Transit for years to get to work and I’ll be able to use it every day to get to my new job too.”
Her outstanding work ethic and positivity has made Christy a role model for many. “Lots of people who also want help to work in the community come to me with questions. I tell them to keep working hard, learn all you can at The Arc, be patient, and ask for help. The people and all of the opportunities available at The Arc helped me and they’ll help you achieve your goals too.”
Your contributions make it possible for The Arc to provide the vocational training, community supports, transportation, and other meaningful opportunities assisting Christy and others in your community.
Your holiday gift to The Arc will have a powerful impact on people with developmental disabilities and their families. You can make your tax-deductible gift today by clicking DONATE NOW.
The Arc of Schuyler advocates on local, state, and national levels for continuity of services, rights, and inclusion of people with disabilities through our parent organization, NYSARC, Inc., and as an affiliate of The Arc of the United States.
Thank you for your continued commitment to supporting family members, neighbors, and friends with disabilities. Thank you for giving a voice to The Arc’s cause. Thank you for your generosity!
Photo Below: Christy with her team of co-workers and support staff at Glen Industries.
Lace up your sneakers for the biggest running event in Watkins Glen, The Arc Grand Prix Run at Watkins Glen International. This 3.4 mile run/walk on the world famous road course returns for its fourth year on Saturday, April 8 during WGI’s Opening Weekend.
The annual Arc of Schuyler charity race has raised more than $30,000 since 2014 for the not for profit organization that provides supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Since its inaugural event, the race has brought more than 2,000 participants from the Southern Tier, Finger Lakes, and Allegany area, as well as out-of-state visitors.
Online registration for the race is now open at www.arcgrandprixrun.org. Early registration fees are $25 for adults and $10 for youth ages 5 – 12. Race organizers are encouraging participants to register early to guarantee their shirt size and avoid the $5 registration increase after March 11. The committee is also seeking volunteers. Volunteer registration is also online.
As in former years, Watkins Glen International Opening Weekend activities, including pace laps, will begin at 10:00 AM. Prizes are awarded to the top pledge raiser and to the team with most members. Race merchandise and add-ons inluding checkered socks, bumper stickers, and Drive The Glen passes are available for sale on the website. The Arc of Schuyler receives $15 of each $25 Drive the Glen pass sold through The Arc Grand Prix Run at WGI.
The Arc Grand Prix Run planning committee is now seeking business, club, and individual sponsors. Sponsors can receive promotion on the race shirt, signage at the event and race course, ceremony recognition, and advertisement on The Arc Grand Prix Run website, social media, and printed program. For sponsorship, registration or volunteer information, contact Director of Community Relations, Holly Baker at 607.535.6934.
The Friends of the Watkins Library, FOWL, was honored Oct. 13 with the Grass Roots Award, presented by the Southern Tier Library System.