AHRC New York City


Call to Action

Governor Cuomo has implemented a $15/hour minimum wage for fast food workers and State workers.

The Governor is developing his State Budget for next year as you read this message.


Please send letters to the Governor, your local legislators, and your local newspaper.

It is especially important that the Governor hear from Direct Support Professionals and other staff who support people with developmental disabilities


Tell the Governor – As you work to increase the state’s minimum wage, I ask you to consider me and the importance of supporting direct support wage increases!

CLICK HERE to use the NYSARC website to automatically send emails and find your local legislators to tell the Governor what we need.

Printed letters can also be generated. Send letters to:

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224

Once you click the link, click on the box that says “take action”. If you want printed letters click the circle on the right next to “printed letters” then fill in the sender information.

I have also attached the letter in Word format for your use.

This is our opportunity to influence our own future. Please join us and thank you for your support of this initiative!

National Disability Employment Awareness Month Event

National Disability Employment Awareness Month, (NDEAM,) is the time to celebrate the many contributions of America’s workers with disabilities. The theme for this year, which marks 70 years since the first observance, is “My Disability is One Part of Who I Am.” In observance of the celebration, AHRC New York City’s Employment Business Services department hosted an appreciation dinner on November 4, 2015 for its contracted employers at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, New York. The event was a slam dunk and all were proud to be in attendance.


wGary and Board

Board Members Sharon VanReepinghen and Anne Gordon with AHRC NYC’s Executive Director, Gary Lind.

Many awards were distributed and several people were recognized for all that they do. Outstanding Employer Awards were given to employers who support and encourage their employees with developmental disabilities. These awards went to the companies featured below:


wEmployer Cards

In celebration of the night, sports trading cards decorated the event space, themed to highlight the companies that employ people with disabilities, as well as the people who have obtained employment through AHRC NYC programs.

wPeople Employed through EBS Programs

The Special Honoree award went to Marie Elena Chindamo, Chief Human Resources Officer and Executive Vice President of Human Resources for the Brooklyn Nets and Barclays Center.


When a person goes out to work for the first time, it is a life-changing event,” said Steve Towler, Associate Executive Director, AHRC NYC said. “Having a job is one of the big parts of citizenship, and having that opportunity is something that is valued by Americans across the country.”

wNDEAM Montage

The staff of AHRC New York City’s Employment Business Services worked hard to host this event and it certainly was a success. Here’s to next year’s NDEAM event!


Microsoft Office Specialist Out of School Youth Program

EBS’s Microsoft Office Specialist Out Of School Youth program is funded by Department of Youth and Community Development to better the lives of young people with developmental disabilities.  As a part of the program, students learn to use programs commonly found in today’s business offices.


This program is expanding my experiences,” says Tunisha Saldeen. “It is teaching me a lot that I didn’t even know was out there. The main reason I like it is because everyone was so open, welcoming, and nice from the first day I came here.”


Tunisha Saldeen

Tunisha Saldeen

Aleyah Mack adds, “For me, this is a different experience.  I have never worked with computers before.  My favorite part of the program is that it I am making new friends and it is giving me more career opportunities.”

Through the OSY Microsoft Office Training Program, students’ skills are strengthened and their career opportunities grow. The classes are hands-on and each student receives the help that they need in order to succeed.

AHRC NYC and NYSID Celebrate New Employment Programs for People with Disabilities

On September 17, 2015, New York State Industries for the Disabled, (NYSID,) and AHRC New York City‘s Employment Business Services department held an event at the Wyckoff Heights Medical Center in Brooklyn. The purpose of the event was to give back to the community and to say “thank you” for helping to employ people with disabilities.

wWyckoff Height Hospital MONTAGE

Three new AHRC NYC employment programs: PROMISE, Project Search, and the Community Employment Specialist program each partner with NYSID to acquire contracts to employ people with disabilities. Some of the contracts AHRC NYC EBS currently has contracts with are the MTA, the Department of Labor, and the Fire Department of New York.

wNYSID WORK Tshirt folks

PROMISE, a pilot program, targets 14 to 16 year-old students receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI).  Students with families receiving public assistance are sought out early and are helped to gain work experience that they wouldn’t otherwise receive.  The students will hopefully be in a better position to work, and not dependent on SSI upon graduation.  The program has been running for about a year. PROMISE is working to train school employees how to best support their students through their journey.  PROMISE operates in all 5 boroughs, but the biggest groups of students are in the Bronx and Brooklyn.  Schools are very much involved, as they recommend students that would be good for the program.

wEBS crew at Wyckoff Hospital

Project Search is an intensive vocational development program for students in their final year of high school. The students work at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx or at Wyckoff Medical Center, where they are trained, work, and receieve support as they work to improve their lives.  Participating students rotate through different departments in the hospital to see what they like best: X-ray, clerical, housekeeping, patient transport, and other areas.  Experiencing multiple departments has been great for the students because many times they start out thinking they want to do one job and end up doing something different in the end. Project Search has helped students for about 2 years and continues to make a difference.

The Community Employment Specialist program trains staff members in schools to help people with disabilities through technology and trains them to help people transition from school to the workplace.

The Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, (OPWDD,) is strongly focused on programs that facilitate the employment of people with disabilities, with a major focus on transition. These new programshelp to ensure that people with disabilities get the services they need so they can serve their communities and succeed in the workplace.

Self-Advocacy Meeting

On Friday September 18, 2015, the Self-Advocacy Leadership Council met AHRC New York City’s Executive Director, Gary Lind.

wSelf Advocacy Meeting 01

The council consists of five highly-experienced self-advocates, who discussed some of the primary concerns for self-advocates with Mr. Lind.  The agenda included:

– improvements needed for InterAgency Transportation Solutions (IATS) and Access-A-Ride services

– the need for affordable accessible apartments

– educating people about the experiences of people with developmental disabilities

The council consists of Chad DeRoche, Kristin Thatcher, Paul Scherzinger, David Olenick, and Abe Roberts. They were accompanied by CSPs Mary Del Ray, Will Mueller, Justina Hendricks, and Manuel Torres. The council will meet with Mr. Lind quarterly.