Hi! My name is Ross and I want to tell you a story about myself.
I went to school in Watkins Glen and lived with my family for many years. I moved to my new home on Canal Street in Montour Falls four years ago. I was excited about opportunities The Arc gave me. I was able to get my first electric wheelchair that I can drive by myself to wherever I need to go. I was also able to get an iPad that helps me better communicate with people. I like that I can volunteer and help other people too! I became a certified instructor to co-teach Tai Chi classes. I also help at the local food pantry.
I was happy about how far I had come, but there was still something I really wanted:
My own bedroom.
For the whole month of January, my housemates and I stayed at Watson Homestead Retreat Center while our house got a makeover. We had a lot of fun and people there were really nice, but we looked forward to going home to see all the changes and our new bedrooms. Finally it was time.
We celebrated with a ribbon cutting, and I got a key to my very own room. I opened the door and saw my TV and a closet with shelves that I can reach without help.
I couldn’t stop smiling!
With the support of my staff and family, I’m now making plans to achieve new goals.
I look forward to exploring possible jobs and earning a paycheck, learning how to manage my own money, using public transportation, and taking steps to live as independently as I can.
Thank you for your support.
Ross LaFever (Chairman, 2017 Membership and Fund Drive)
Ross is able to have his own bedroom, because people like you care.
The Arc of Schuyler needs friends like you who believe in the mission that people with developmental disabilities have rights to fulfill their dreams.
You can make a difference! Will you make a donation today to help Ross and people with developmental disabilities lead their lives with purpose and achieve their goals?
With sincerest gratitude for your support,
Michael E. Stamp (President, The Arc of Schuyler Board of Directors)
P.S. Your tax-deductible gift will create life-changing moments now and into the future for people and families who depend on The Arc of Schuyler. Thank you!
The Arc of Schuyler Celebrates Successful 4th Year of The Arc Grand Prix Run at Watkins Glen InternationalTuesday, 11 April 2017 13:17 Written by The Arc of Schuyler
Franklin Street Gallery was awarded a $1,600 Community Arts Grant by The ARTS Council of the Southern Finger Lakes for the Gallery’s All Access Art series, entering its fourth year in 2017.
All Access Art is a weekday program offering drawing, watercolor, and ceramics classes instructed by professional artists in the Finger Lakes region. Students range in ages from 8 to 70 and have included home schooled students, retirees, and people with developmental disabilities learning and creating in an inclusive and positive environment. The Community Arts Grant covers instructor and supply fees, so there is no cost to students. The classes fill quickly and often have a waiting list for enrollment.
In 2016, All Access Art student, Andrew LaVere, gave a presentation to the Horseheads Kiwanis club about autism and his participation in the program. His father, Richard LaVere, noted, “Andrew has attended many of the workshops at Franklin Street Gallery, creating everything from ceramics to amazing watercolors. The staff and instructors are first-class.” The Kiwanis club made a generous donation to Franklin Street Gallery to support continued programming for adults with developmental disabilities.
Franklin Street Gallery is operated by The Arc of Schuyler, a not-for-profit organization providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. All Access Art classes begin in January 2017.
As Gov. Andrew Cuomo prepares to unveil his 2017-18 budget, about 100 advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities gathered at the Arnot Mall to send the governor a message – be fair to direct care.
Representatives from the Arcs of Chemung, Schuyler, and Steuben, including direct support professionals (DSPs), self-advocates, and parents of people with disabilities rallied at the Arnot Mall Thursday in support of increased pay for DSPs, who work with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities on a daily basis.
Arc representatives were joined by State Sen. Tom O’Mara, R-Big Flats, and Assemblymen Chris Friend, R-Big Flats, and Phil Palmesano, R-Corning. All three legislators had previously expressed their support for additional funds in the 2017-18 budget for human-services agencies like Arcs that provide services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Their support included signed letters to the governor.
“Direct support professionals are the heart and soul of these organizations,” Palmesano said. “The work you do is truly God’s work. You need to light the governor’s switchboard like a Christmas tree. We are talking about the most vulnerable members of society.”
Arcs across New York State have joined with other human-service agencies in the #BeFair2DirectCare campaign, asking the governor to include an additional $45 million per year in the next six budgets to offset the impact the increase in minimum wage will have on agencies that rely on government funding.
“Our system faces a work-force crisis, the likes of which we’ve never seen,” said Bernie Burns, executive director of the Arc of Steuben. “The system is in chaos, perhaps even on the verge of collapsing. When it fails, who will take care of the people developmental disabilities? $45 million is a small amount of money, but we need it. It’s the right thing to do.”
Jeannette Frank, executive director for the Arc of Schuyler, implored the governor to hear the pleas of his constituents.
“Governor Cuomo, we know that you know that New York needs a trained and skilled workforce to provide the highly individualized help and support people with disabilities need to stay healthy and have a meaningful life,” Frank said. “But nonprofits that hire and train staff to support people with disabilities can not keep up with New York’s minimum wage increases without a revenue adjustment from the state. We need $45 million in this year’s budget to avert a looming staffing crisis.”
Those attending the rally were asked to contact Governor Cuomo to express their support for increased funding for direct support professionals by signing letters and postcards that will be sent to the governor. They were also asked to urge their friends, family members, and colleagues to contact the governor.
“We need to make sure we get the governor’s attention to put $45 million in his budget,” said Mike Doherty, executive director of The Arc of Chemung. “We need to continue to fight for this. If it is not in the budget coming out, then it needs to be put into the 30 day amendment.”
O’Mara said supporters should not stop at one letter or phone call.
“This is an issue I’m committed to fight for,” O’Mara said. “Write letters, send emails, and make phone calls. I urge you to do all three as soon as possible.”
The governor is expected to release his preliminary budget in the next two weeks. It will be followed by negotiations between Cuomo and the legislature that will result in a final budget for fiscal year 2017-18. The state budget deadline is April 1.
Perhaps the most moving testimony came from Marie Dean. Dean had lived in one of The Arc of Chemung’s residences, but through her own hard work and the mentoring of direct support professionals, Dean not only gained her independence by getting her own apartment in the community, but also by being hired as a direct support professional by The Arc of Chemung.
“(Direct support professionals) do not give up on people with disabilities, no matter what,” Dean said. “Without these people, I wouldn’t be on my own. They have made a huge impact by caring, and being our friends, and helping us learn that we can be independent and our differences don’t mean anything.”
Supporters who wish to contact the governor can email gov.cuomo(at)chamber.state.ny.us.
They can also show their support by calling (518) 474-8390 or by writing to The Honorable Andrew H. Cuomo, NYS State Capitol Building, Albany, 12224.