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.
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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