AHRC New York City


Together to Albany

On Wednesday, July 2, 2014, five people who are supported through AHRC New York City’s Residential Services programs participated in a state-wide celebration called Together to Albany.  The event included people from NYSARC Inc. Chapters from across the state, with people from each Chapter carrying a special flag that was created to celebrate NYSARC Inc.’s 65th Anniversary. Individual chapters celebrated in unique ways, some through walks and others with awareness bike rides, and the event culminated on July 11th, as the flag reached the Capitol steps in Albany, NY, where Chapter Executive Directors and people who carried the flag throughout the state had gathered.

Maiden Lane Flag copy

Beginning at our Maiden Lane headquarters with a ceremonial flag exchange that included Executive Director, Gary Lind, AHRC NYC’s portion of the journey included visits to notable attractions across the boroughs of New York City: the Staten Island Ferry terminal, South Street Seaport, Flushing Meadows, and the Bronx Zoo.

Together to Albany MONTAGE copy

Participating in the New York City leg of the journey were Inter-Office MessengersWilliam KasparKenneth Katz, Philip KuyaroStuart Natko, and Yvonne Russell, who were joined by AHRC NYC’s new Director of Residential Services, Monica Santos.  While riding in the van to one of the chosen destinations of the day, William suggested, “We should do this every year!”  With opportunities to visit a variety of local attractions, the group had a great time as they traveled, and at one particular location, the merry go round at Flushing Meadows, they encountered a separate group of visitors who had stopped by the park for the afternoon, visiting from AHRC NYC’s Bronx TBI.  After a quick ride on the merry go round, the group headed to the Bronx, where they met with a group from the Westchester Chapter of NYSARC Inc.

Bronx Zoo Montage copy

Gathering at the entrance to the zoo, the group performed another ceremonial exchange of the 65th Anniversary flag, handing it off to the people who would carry it for the next leg of the journey to Albany.  The event was not simply an opportunity to promote awareness for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, but also a chance for people to meet with other Chapters, and to share in a 65 year legacy of quality supports that celebrates the amazing lives that are made possible through our mission.  AHRC New York City would like to thank everyone who helped to make this journey a success, and we look forward to more opportunities to participate in future events with our fellow Chapter members!

Join Zulu P for their Mixtape Release Party at the Wythe Hotel on June 25

Join Zulu P, a group of musicians who are supported through AHRC New York City programs, for their Mixtape Release Party at the Wythe Hotel on June 25.  Details are listed below:


AHRC New York City’s 65th Annual Meeting

HEADLINE Annual Meeting

On the evening of Monday, June 9, 2014, AHRC New York City staff, people receiving services through AHRC NYC programs, family members, and invited guests came together at the Betty Pendler New York League to celebrate 66 years of accomplishments in the field of services for people with disabilities. The 65th Annual Meeting continued the long-standing tradition of recognizing those who carry the agency’s mission forward, using their talents to make the world a better place for people with disabilities, and their families.

The laughs and the smiles, and the joy that I see at this meeting are impossible to find anywhere else,” said AHRC NYC Board member and event ChairpersonAnthony Lazanas, while greeting the audience. “There is the pure joy of knowing we’re doing the best we can in helping people to achieve their dreams, and to fulfill their potential to contribute [to their communities]We should not forget that for every smile, there is a tear and a struggle that someone is facing right now… That’s why we’re so blessed to have these wonderful families around us, to give us the strength to fight, and come out on the other side smiling.

Following some words of encouragement from AHRC Board PresidentLaura J. Kennedy and AHRC NYC Executive DirectorGary Lind, the evening continued with accolades for the people who help to make our organization strong, and meaningful.  Awardees from AHRC NYC facilities across the five boroughs appear below:

AHRC NYC congratulates the recipients of this year’s

Awards to People Receiving Services:

I Awards

Above montage: from top to bottom and left to right by rowLeonardo LarrazabalManhattan EBS, Employment and Business ServicesAyden PaulHoward Haber Early Learning CenterEducational ServicesTyrone SmithBetty Pendler New York League, Adult Day ServicesJessica SalandyHome Care Services; and Ann BeyerleBloomberg Residence, Residential Services.

Christina Conroy with Tara Fialco

Above: Tara Fialco, who attends AHRC NYC’s Super Saturdays recreation program, was joined on the stage by Christina ConroyAssistant Group LeaderSuper Saturday programCamping and Recreational Services, who introduced Tara to attendees, and invited everyone to listen to Tara as she brilliantly played the songs Let’s Go Fly a Kite and Downtown on the piano.  Tara is a self taught pianist, who learns songs by ear and practices until she knows how to play them.  Christina supports Tara through the Super Saturday program, and both Christina and Tara received awards during the event.

AHRC NYC congratulates the following staff, 

who were honored for their outstanding work:

S Awards

Above montage: from top to bottom and left to right by rowFritz St. JusteVolunteerFrancis of Paola ELCEducational ServicesRuby WhiteSubstitute Direct Support ProfessionalSuperior Direct Care, Inc.Roxine CastonDirect Support Professional, 157th StreetResidential ServicesMarrissa McMillanArticle 16 AdministratorFamily and Clinical ServicesMary BuckleyJob Coach, Staten Island, Employment and Business ServicesMelinda LimCommunity Support ProfessionalFisher Adult Day CenterJessie BackeIncident Review CoordinatorAdministration. 

Disney Store

Above: The AHRC NYC Employer Award was given to Teresa Footman, representing the Disney Times Square Store.  (Above: Melissa Martinez and her daughter with Steve TowlerAssistant Executive Director, AHRC NYC, Gary LindExecutive Director, AHRC NYC, and Sharyn Van ReepinghenAHRC NYC Board Member.

Scholarship Awards

Above: Each year, the Helen and Jack Gorelick Sibling Scholarship is awarded to brothers and sisters of people with disabilities.  We congratulate this year’s recipients, Kenji Fujitani and Lindsey Ottesen.  The Melissa Riggio Scholarship, named for AHRC NYC’s college programs, was awarded to Ousmane Kone and Beverly Love.

John Flaherty

John Flaherty has worked as the Director of AHRC New York City’s Residential Services department for over 21 years.  During this time, he has made an important difference in thousands of people’s lives, especially the individuals and the families we support and all of his many colleagues at AHRC NYC.  “It’s been a real honor to work here for all of these years,” said John. “And it’s been a blessing to work with all of the individuals, Board mebers, families, and all the staff of the department.” John’s leadership and commitment to our mission will be sorely missed, and we wish him all the best.

Dr Lawler

Each semester, a group of Pace University students are paired with people receiving services through AHRC NYC programs, to collaborate on projects which benefit both parties.  Since its inception in the fall of 2007, more than 200 Pace students and 200 people supported through AHRC NYC programs have participated in the service learning partnership. Dr. James LawlerProfessor of Computer Science and Information Technology, Pace University’s Ivan Seidenberg School, (who founded the partnership with AHRC NYC Board MemberDr. Marilyn Jaffe-Ruiz,) was honored for the opportunities he has offered to his students and to people with disabilities. “Of course this is shared with all of my students,” said Dr. Lawler, accepting his award. “I really appreciate it.  Thank you very much.”

Donna Limiti

Invited guest, Donna LimitiDirector Region 4NYS OPWDD, who joined the event to officially install the newly-elected AHRC Board of Directors summed up the evening, saying, “This is incredible. Congratulations to all of the award winners! I want to tell you, AHRC, you have a wonderful family!

AHRC NYC thanks all who participated in making the evening very special.


5 Myles Gallery Animation Exhibit



On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, invited guests and local residents gathered at 5 Myles Gallery in Brooklyn, to view short animated videos created by artists with disabilities from AHRC New York City’s Walter and Evelyn Redfield Center, (aka Williams Street).  The group exhibition, titled Finding a Vision, included work from artists, Denise BrinsonSilvana DuncanNatasha GembkaFrancis KarmiolfGilda LindenblattDanny MarreroGlen Russ, and Robert Schulbaum, each of whom attended the event, engaging with visitors while explaining the process of creating their work.  Along with their videos, the artists included the individual elements used within the animations as a part of the exhibit.



In order to create their animated works, the artists conceptualized their projects.  Some chose to write a story, while others used their animation skills to celebrate a personal passion, or to explain a concept.  Once the concepts were in place, the artists began to create physical pieces of artwork, which were arranged and photographed frame by frame with digital cameras, and compiled within an animation app called Smoovie.

Each step of the process was completed with assistance from Art ConsultantJoslyn Richardson, who noted the unique quality of animation as a medium that allows people to create a cohesive, time-based expression by accomplishing small steps over time.  “One of the artists happens to speak very slowly,” said Joslyn, “but animation provides her with an opportunity to play with time, to speed up her message for an audience, and to communicate in a new way.”

The exhibition space was arranged by Community Support SupervisorNick Legowski, who connected with the gallery curator through a friend.  The resulting display was visually striking, and offered artists to show the community what they can do.



Do you know how the atom works?” asked animator, Gilda Lindenblatt, greeting guests. “I can show you.”  To the tune of a blaring brass band, Gilda’s piece, Atoms and Planets, explains the arrangement and function of protons, neutrons, and electrons as they operate inside the most basic unit of matter, the atom, and compares their orbits to the workings of our solar system.


Glenn Russ is a big music fan, and used his drawing and animation skills to recreate a performance of The Jackson Five that was broadcast on the Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour in September of 1972.  To do so, Glenn created faces to represent each character, and added one of several mouth positions when capturing each frame with the camera, adding lip sync to his creation and bringing his characters to life.

Glenn’s drawings have also been featured in print, in the book, Drawing Autism, by Jill Mullin. The book celebrates the artistry and self-expression found in the drawings, paintings and collages created by people diagnosed with autism.

AHRC New York City thanks the 5 Myles Gallery for inviting these artists to share their work, and also the support staff who work each day to help people to achieve their goals.  In addition to the videos described above, six other animated videos were displayed, with themes including friendship, fashion, science fiction and abstraction.  Links to all the videos appear below.



CSI Prepares Students to Become Full Citizens

Click HERE to read a great article about AHRC New York City’s Melissa Riggio Higher Education program at the College of Staten Island, recently published by csitoday.com.