Arc chapters in Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, and Yates Counties jointly held a legislative forum on Tuesday at The Arc of Schuyler in support of the “It Matters to Me” grassroots advocacy campaign organized by the local agencies’ statewide affiliate, NYSARC, Inc.
State Sen. Tom O’Mara and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano attended the forum to hear families, self-advocates, and staff members share their personal stories focusing on funding needs for residential housing and program development, employment choices, and preschool programs for people with developmental disabilities as well as for a wage increase for direct support professionals at nonprofit agencies.
Jeannette Frank, Executive Director at The Arc of Schuyler remarked that nonprofits provide critical services that contribute to the quality of life of the community, providing supports for some of New York State’s most vulnerable citizens.
Amanda Jakubowicz was one of many speakers at the forum. Jakubowicz, a service coordinator at The Arc of Schuyler, shared the story of a young man with disabilities and his mother who twice applied to the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities for residential placement. Their request was repeatedly declined. The man has since lost both parents and now relies on a non-relative caregiver who continues to struggle finding a more appropriate housing situation to meet his needs.
“There are many people I work with in situations like this and without funding in the 2016 state budget for residential developments, where will they go?” Jakubowicz said.
Terri Rogers spoke on behalf of her brother Mike. She voiced concerns that without state funding her brother will lose the opportunity to work in a job he’s been successful in at Arc of Steuben for years due to New York State’s efforts to move people with intellectual and developmental disabilities into community employment.
She said she would like to see her brother have the opportunity to have a choice of employment options based on his goals and interests and the guidance of Mike’s circle of support, the family members and human service professionals that work with Mike every day.
“There are approximately 8,000 people with intellectual and developmental disabilities working in sheltered workshops across the state,” Bernie Berns. Executive Director of Arc of Steuben said. “People should have a choice about where they work.”
Arc of Yates Executive Director, Daniele Lyman addressed the need for funding preschool programs for children with disabilities. These programs are at risk of closure. This is the first year Arc of Yates’ Keuka Lake School has received a rate increase since 2010. Lyman was followed by Adam Campbell, a parent of a child with Down Syndrome, who credited Keuka Lake School for his daughter’s progress and successful transition into regular education for kindergarten.
Many family and staff members also attended the forum to advocate for a minimum wage increase to compete with the NYS Labor Commissioner’s approved plan to enact a $15 minimum wage for fast food workers.
“In my 35 years as an agency executive, the single biggest structural issue in our field has been the lack of appropriate pay for our frontline staff and the work they do,” said Michael A. Doherty, Ph.D., Executive Director of The Arc of Chemung.
Three parents, a residential manager, and two staff members spoke on the issue, reasoning that direct support professionals should receive a comparable wage increase or they would be forced to leave for better paying jobs and supports for people with disabilities will be reduced.
“The expectations on direct support professionals have increased substantially and we are under enormous pressure,” Pat Wilcox, a 30-year Arc employee said. “Direct support professionals need a wage increase. We need it to retain employees, to recruit new employees, and to ensure people with disabilities have the best people working for them.”
NYSARC, Inc. is the State’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting people with developmental and other disabilities. Arc chapters in Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, and Yates Counties support more than 2,000 children and adults with disabilities and their families.
Photo Caption: (Left to right) Michael Stamp, Arc of Schuyler board president; Senator Thomas O’Mara; Jeannette Frank, Arc of Schuyler executive director; and Assemblyman Phil Palmesano listen as Arc of Schuyler board member and parent speaks on the issue of employment choices for people with developmental disabilities.
Season’s Greetings Friends of The Arc!
As The Arc of Schuyler nears the close of 2015, I want to thank you for supporting The Arc this year. The Holiday Season is a time when we all think about ways to help people and organizations in need. That is the purpose of our annual Holiday Appeal.
It’s important to note that your holiday gift will help The Arc provide inclusive community opportunities for your neighbors, friends, family members, and volunteers with developmental disabilities.
In addition, your gift helps The Arc provide many other supports in our community, including:
- Public transportation services through Schuyler County Transit and mobility management services through a free information and assistance call service named Transportation Link-Line, which connects people in and around Schuyler County to transportation options.
- Affordable and free classes and workshops at Franklin Street Gallery welcoming all ages from homeschool students to seniors. The Gallery promotes the work of regional artists and hosts public art receptions to advance the arts in the Schuyler County area.
- Food co-packing services for start-up food product companies through Glen Industries.
- Seneca Shine auto detailing for private and commercial customers.
- Volunteers at local nonprofit organizations. In 2015, more than 700 volunteer hours were provided at Office for the Aging, Seneca View, Watkins Glen Library, our local food pantry and parks, and through a weekly paper shredding service day at The Arc. By coordinating these and other volunteer experiences, people with developmental disabilities are empowered to be meaningfully involved in their community.
Please explore our website for information about these and other community services.
When you support The Arc of Schuyler, you’re investing in innovative programs that enrich the community. Please make your tax-deductible holiday donation today online here or by mail. You can print and complete this form to submit with your donation in the form of check or money order and mail to The Arc of Schuyler, 203 12th Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.
If you have already given to The Arc this holiday season, we are grateful for your gift. Thank you for making The Arc your Charity of Choice!
Chairman, The Arc of Schuyler Development Committee
The Arc of Schuyler and Schuyler County Office for the Aging jointly hosted a brand launch event for Transportation Link-Line, known as the Schuyler County Transportation Call Center since its implementation in July 2014. The event was held in the Silver Spoon Cafe in the Human Services Complex on November 10. Speakers included Schuyler County Administrator, Tim O'Hearn; Office for the Aging Director, Tammy Waite; Mobility Manager, Amber Simmons; Assemblyman Phil Palmesano; Sharon Sitrin Moore, representing Senator Tom O'Mara; and Veterans Service Agency Director, Joan Scott. Attendees received Transportation Link-Line giveaways and were among the first to screen the Transportation Link-Line infomercial, branded and created by Howell, Liberatore, & Associates.
What is Transportation Link-Line?
Transportation Link-Line is a free information and assistance service that connects people in Schuyler County and neighboring communities with transportation options. Transportation Link-Line also provides public outreach and travel training and responds to public inquiries regarding transportation solutions.
What are the Transportation Options?
Transportation options in and near Schuyler County may include:
- Public Transportation (e.g. fixed route, route deviation, and Dial-A-Ride services)
- Driver Services (through partnering agencies: Schuyler County Office for the Aging and Veterans Service Agency)
- Specialty Transportation Services (e.g. rideshare, car/vanpools, voucher programs
Who Can Use Transportation Link-Line Services?
These services are available to the general public, including seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and anyone needing a ride in or around Schuyler County. Transportation Link-Line will assist in determining eligibility for ride options and the service that will best meet the riders’ needs.
How do I contact Transportation Link-Line?
A Transportation Link-Line representative is available Monday - Friday, 9:30 AM - 2:30 PM. Transportation Link-Line accepts inquiries and requests by:
- Phone: 607.535.3555 (If a representative cannot be reached, caller may leave a message and that call will be returned within the next business day.
- In-Person: Transportation Link-Line Office is located at 210 12th Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891
What Makes Transportation Link-Line Possible in Schuyelr County?
Transportation Link-Line is funded by a Veterans Community Living Initiative grant, NYS Department of Transportation, and Schuyler County Office for the Aging. It is operated by The Arc of Schuyler, a not-for-profit organization providing supports to people with developmental disabilities. The Arc also provides specialty transportation and mobility management services and operates Schuyler County Transit public transportation. Transportation Link-Line launched in July 2014 and averaged 150 calls per month in the last year. This call volume is expected to increase with the adoption of a new brand, marketing, and word of mouth referrals. Please help raise awareness about this important community service.
To bring attention to critical issues affecting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, their families, and providers and staff dedicated to serving them, NYSARC Chapters statewide, including The Arc of Schuyler, will conduct awareness events throughout this fall. These events will include town hall meetings, family/legislative breakfasts, news conferences, media roundtables, and visits with their Legislators in November and December.
The events are part of "It Matters to Me," a statewide grassroots advocacy campaign organized by NYSARC, Inc., designed to share the personal, compelling stories and circumstances of concerned families and providers on the issues that matter most to them. The Arc of Schuyler is partnering with Arc of Chemung, Arc of Steuben, and Arc of Yates to host Senator Tom O'Mara and Assemblyman Palmesano on December 10 for a legislative meeting.
NYSARC produced a 6-minute video as part of the "It Matters to Me" campaign that highlights the grassroots advocacy campaign's key issues, with an introduction by NYSARC President Laura Kennedy.
What are the Key Issues?
- Program Development: New Residential and Day Opportunities
- Employment: Providing Choice and Opportunity for People with Developmental Disabilities
- Direct Support Professionals: Fair Compensation for Frontline Staff
- Preschool Programs: Investing in Our Children
For more information about these issues and more videos, visit the It Matters to Me Advocacy Action page
The Arc of Schuyler has joined #GivingTuesday, a global day of giving that harnesses the collective power of individuals, communities, and organizations to encourage philanthropy and to celebrate generosity worldwide. Occuring this year on December 1, #GivingTuesday is held annually on the Tuesday after Thanksgiving and the widely recognized shopping events "Black Friday" and "Cyber Monday" to kick-off the holiday giving season and inspire people to collaborate in improving their local communities and to give back in impactful ways to charities and causes they support.
#GivingTuesday is a great day to support The Arc of Schuyler, your Charity of Choice.
What can you do?
Make a Gift
- You can give a gift through this website by clicking here.
- You can mail your donation by check or money order to The Arc of Schuyler, 203 12th Street, Watkins Glen, NY 14891.
- or You can visit us - we'd love to thank you in person!
Acknowledge a Friend or Family Member
- Making a tribute donation to The Arc in honor or in memorial of a friend or family member is a thoughtful gift. You can do this online or include this note with your gift in the mail.
Consider Planned Giving
- There are many ways to make a Planned Gift to The Arc. Read more here.
- Read about volunteering at The Arc here.
- We are also seeking volunteers for our upcoming fundraiser - The Arc Grand Prix Run at Watkins Glen International. You can sign up to volunteer here and you get a FREE shirt!
Franklin Street Gallery is pleased to announce artist, Daniel Gallagher, of Corning, as the People’s Choice award winner of its 4th annual Homegrown Arts exhibit.
The exhibit is on display until November 15, 2015 and features paintings, photographs, and other works celebrating the landscapes and agriculture of the Finger Lakes.
Gallagher’s entry, “String of Pearls” was awarded the People’s Choice award after a tally of votes submitted by open reception attendees and gallery visitors since October 2. This is Gallagher’s first time participating with Franklin Street Gallery. String of Pearls, is a close-up image of a sequence of cascading pools with fall leaves. The high gloss metal printing technique gives the image a glowing effect, a method that gallery visitors admired and wanted to learn more about.
Colleen Maas Pastore, of Watkins Glen, was awarded an Honorable Mention recognition for her acrylic painting, “Autumn Mist.” Pastore has exhibited at Franklin Street Gallery for 6 years and this is her third acknowledgment as an exhibit winner. Currently, Colleen’s artwork can be seen at Franklin Street Gallery, Seneca View at Schuyler Hospital, and the Watkins Glen Are Chamber of Commerce Visitor’s Center. As a member of the Monday Painter’s group, you can see Pastore’s paintings at many of the beautiful vistas in the area. Her work is in private collections throughout the United States and several foreign countries.
Both artists received a cash prize from exhibit entry fees. Franklin Street Gallery thanks community members for participating in this exhibit by submitting their votes. This year’s Homegrown Exhibit broke the Gallery’s record for submissions of art, participating artists, and People’s Choice voting ballots.
The gallery is proud to fulfill its mission of advancing artists of the region and bringing regional-based arts and culture to the Finger Lakes community. Franklin Street Gallery is a nonprofit community arts center owned and operated by The Arc of Schuyler. The gallery opened in 2009 and promotes Finger Lakes regional artists by recognizing their artistic accomplishments with professionally judged and publicly juried exhibits and provides inclusive art programs for youth and adults. Visit www.arcofschuyler.org, stop by the gallery at 209 N Franklin Street in Watkins Glen, or visit on Facebook to learn more about classes, exhibits, and special events.
The Arc of Schuyler will receive a federal grant to help with the purchase of four wheelchair-accessible buses.
The $182,981 award for The Arc was among grants for public and non-profit organizations approved by the Federal Transit Administration and announced in October by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The funding will allow for purchase of accessible vehicles and other equipment used to transport seniors and people with disabilities. The total cost of The Arc’s purchase is $228,726.
The Arc of Schuyler provides supports, including transportation, residential, and employment services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism and their families.
The FTA approved $39.4 million for New York State that will purchase 415 vehicles and equipment, the Governor’s office said.
“One of government’s most important responsibilities is to ensure vital services reach the most vulnerable citizens,” Cuomo said in a news release. “This funding will assist community organizations in providing transportation services to the elderly and people with disabilities and improve their access to food, health care and other essential services.”
Since the state Department of Transportation began administering the federal Enhanced Mobility of Seniors and Individuals with Disabilities program in 1974, more than $210 million in grant funding has been secured to help purchase about 4,500 accessible vehicles. The program was significantly expanded in 2015 from solely funding vehicle purchases to now including capital projects, operating assistance and mobility management services which build coordination among transportation providers in order to expand the availability of service.
A total of 152 non-profit and public organizations received awards in 2015. These organizations provide more than 1.8 million passenger trips annually for seniors and people with disabilities in New York State.
Central New Yorkers saved 8,000 miles of alone-in-car driving during the 2015 two week Car-Free Challenge that closed Monday, October 5.
Schuyler was among seven counties that promoted the Car-Free Challenge, which required participants to visit www.carfreechallenge.wordpress.com to compete for a grand prize by logging their experiences using public transportation, car-pooling, bicycling, or walking instead of driving alone in a vehicle to reach their destination. Participants in Schuyler County logged more than 50 daily entries and contributed almost 500 miles to the Central New York total.
Tracy Wells of Watkins Glen was the randomly selected winner of the Schuyler County grand prize gift basket.
The challenge was open to anyone living or working in one of the participating counties – Chemung, Cortland, Herkimer, Oneida, Schuyler, Steuben, and Tompkins. Many shared stories about how much they enjoyed the exercise and tranquility of biking or walking to work or running errands in the perfect weather.
“I felt more energized after walking rather than driving and got to chat with a few neighbors along the way,” said Peggy Tomassi of Odessa.
The Car-Free Challenge organizers stressed that you didn’t need to go “Car-Free” to participate. Mobility Manager Amber Simmons led Schuyler County’s participation in the challenge. “We wanted to make the challenge accessible to everyone, so people didn’t necessarily need to go ‘car-free’ to join,” Simmons explained. “Going ‘car-lite’ is greener and encourages people to explore other transportation options like carpooling, which still takes cars off the road.”
Participants who carpooled to get to work or other activities expressed that they felt less stressed, enjoyed conversation with other riders, and planned to continue.
“I carpooled with a friend to a church activity,” said Jeanne Johnson of Rock Stream. “It was nice to visit while we rode together and a little planning ahead takes care of most any problem that may come up.”
The organizers thank those who joined the Car-Free Challenge and are looking forward to more participants next year.
For more information, visit www.carfreechallenge.wordpress.com or contact Mobility Manager Amber Simmons at 607.220.9476.
Photo Caption: Mobility Manager, Amber Simmons presents grand prize basket to Schuyler County Car-Free Challenge Winner, Tracy Wells of Watkins Glen.