On Tuesdays and Thursdays, people receiving supports through The Arc of Schuyler volunteer at Schuyler County's local foodbank. This is a great opportunity for people we support to use their work skills and they enjoy giving back to the community. Thanks to Catholic Charities of Schuyler County, Arc staff, and volunteers for making this happen.
Photo Caption: James Frank volunteering at Schuyler County's local foodbank.
The Arc of the U.S. Chief Executive Officer, Peter Berns, visited The Arc of Schuyler on Monday, October 10 to learn more about the agency’s programs, services, and supports for people with developmental disabilities.
The Arc of Schuyler’s 16th annual golf tournament hosted more than 60 golfers at the Watkins Glen Golf Course under sunny skies on August 19, 2016, raising more than $21,000.
The Arc’s annual charity tournament raises necessary funds to assist people with intellectual and development disabilities and their families. By sponsoring, supporting, and golfing in the tournament, individuals and businesses help provide critical services for people in the Schuyler County community.
Congratulations to the tournament’s first place team: Watkins & Nichols, including Bill Spencer, Rocco Scaptura, and John and Josh Robinson. The second place team included Dominick Franzese, Greg Gavich, Tom Gifford, and Gordon Perry, and the third place team was Bryan Christopher, Zac Young, Jeremy Nadeau, and Mike Woodard sponsored by The Bonadio Group.
This was the first year the tournament included a Hole-In-One putting contest, sponsored by Oswego County Mutual Insurance Company. The contest offered one golfer the chance to sink a 50 ft. putt for a $10,000 cash prize. John Robinson of Nichols, NY was the lucky winner of the raffle to take the shot. Robinson was just short of the hole.
Winners of other contests held on the course were: Jeremy Nadeau for men’s longest drive, Jeff Cook for men’s closest-to-the-pin, and Wendy Brooks for women’s closest-to-the-pin.
The Bonadio Group and Relph Benefit Advisors returned as Presenting Sponsors of the event. Birdie Sponsors were Empire Access, Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, and Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards. These sponsors and more than 100 other businesses, wineries, restaurants, and retail stores generously contributed through sponsorship or product donations.
“Many thanks to all the sponsors, patron supporters, and local businesses who donated items to make this year’s tournament another success – we really can’t do it without their help,” Tournament Chair, Dominick Franzese said. “The Arc’s tournament keeps going strong and continues to be one of the best tournaments in the area supporting a wonderful cause.”
March 1 marks the start of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Join The Arc as we harness the energy of DD Awareness to kick off our campaign, Your Right to Vote. 2016 is an election year, and it is imperative that people with I/DD, their families, friends, caregivers, and chapters of The Arc understand and exercise the right to vote. Elections matter. When you vote, you choose who represents the disability community at all levels of government. You have the power to choose who decides the structure and funding of disability programs. The lifelines of our community, like Medicaid, Social Security, and more, are impacted by who YOU choose to represent you. Make sure that in March, you are ready to have an impact and know your right to vote!
The Arc of Schuyler was awarded an $8,000 grant from NYSARC Trust Services in 2015 to enhance recreational opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Schuyler County community. Funds will be used for projects supporting The Arc’s health and wellness and arts initiatives.
In May 2015, Jack LaDouce, a member of Boy Scouts of America Troop 101 installed a bocce ball court at The Arc for his Eagle Scout Service project. His fellow scout, Robert Godlewski, made it his Eagle Scout project to add a cement pad to make the court wheelchair accessible. NYSARC grant funds will be used to further develop this outdoor recreation and relaxation area with the addition of new bocce equipment and court supplies, benches, and a canopy tent for shade during bocce play and other outdoor activities. Bocce enthusiasts are encouraged to contact The Arc if interested in helping to launch an inclusive bocce tournament in the spring.
A portion of the grant will be used to purchase a glass fusing and ceramic firing kiln. In 2013, a NYSARC Trust recreation grant was used to purchase a kiln for The Arc’s community arts center, the Franklin Street Gallery in Watkins Glen. Classes have been so popular that a second kiln is needed to meet demand. The Arc will pursue opportunities to partner with artists and local service organizations to offer inclusive ceramics classes at its 203 12th Street location.
2014 grant funds were used to develop a technology program for adults with developmental disabilities. This program has continued to have a strong following and includes iPad classes and internet café style socials where people can access the internet and technology staff to help with questions about their devices.
The Arc of Schuyler is chapter of the state agency, NYSARC, Inc. and an affiliate of The Arc of the United States. For more information, call 607.535.6934.
Photo Caption: Robert (Bobby) Godlewski smoothes cement at the bocce ball court built by fellow scout, Jack LaDouce. Both Bobby and Jack collaborated with The Arc to complete their Eagle Scout service projects.
Photo Caption (right): People receiving supports at The Arc enjoy a game of bocce ball.
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
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