AHRC New York City


AHRC New York City’s 66th Annual Dinner

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AHRC New York City’s 66th Annual Dinner was held on Saturday, May 16, 2015, at the Grand Hyatt in Midtown Manhattan. The rain outside did nothing to dampen the spirits, hearts, and minds of AHRC NYC leadership, staff, people supported, and honored guests, as all gathered to celebrate “two-thirds of a century of servicing people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” in the words of Steve Kroll, Executive Director of NYSARC, Inc., who was attending his first Annual Dinner. The evening was dedicated to Michael Goldfarb, who led AHRC NYC for 36 years and sadly passed away in October 2014.

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The honorees at the Annual Dinner this year included Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney, representing the 12th District of New York, receiving the AHRC NYC Humanitarian Award; community activists Willie Mae Goodman and Marie Dickson (posthumously), receiving the AHRC NYC Anne Kraus Memorial Award; and Dr. Joel Manley, DDS, Clinical Director for Special Needs Dentistry at Staten Island University Hospital, and Dr. Jamal Kobeissi, Psychiatrist at ACCESS Community Health Center, receiving the AHRC NYC Service Award. Music was provided by Deena Miller Productions, and returning as Master of Ceremonies was Max Darwin.

Joshua Hirsch was the Chairperson for the Dinner this year. His father, George Hirsch, served on the AHRC NYC Board of Directors from its inception and remained there for 56 years. “AHRC was a second family to [my dad], and by extension a second family to me,” he said. “In a literal and figurative sense, we will always be a family organization. That is our strength and that is our motivation.”

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Congresswoman Maloney commended AHRC NYC for its dedication and commitment to serving those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. “AHRC is a bedrock, a lifesaver, a source of salvation and hope in people’s time of need,” she said. She also presented Laura J. Kennedy, President of AHRC NYC and President of NYSARC, Inc., with a framed portion of the official Congressional Record, detailing the legacy and services provided by AHRC NYC. “To all of you with DD and ID, I salute you, I support you,” she continued. “I am inspired by this evening, I am inspired by your stories, and I pledge to continue to support your right to a healthy, safe, and fulfilled life.”


In her remarks Laura Kennedy remembered two Board Members who had passed in the last year, Al Agovino and Joan Raineri, as well as the late Governor Mario Cuomo, whom had previously been honored at the 57th Annual Dinner. Gary Lind, Executive Director of AHRC NYC, cited specific examples of how AHRC NYC has improved people’s lives across a broad spectrum of programs. Dr. Manley recounted his past experiences as a teacher and how it influenced him in forming one-to-one partnerships with his dental patients, many of whom have special needs.

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Dr. Kobeissi thanked his colleagues at AHRC NYC and ACCESS Community Health Center. “Working with all of you for the last five years has been enriching personally and professionally, and truly defines the meaning of dedication, love, resilience, and patience, and hope,” he said.

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Ms. Goodman implored parents to be advocates on behalf of their children with disabilities and made sure to mention the people closest to her heart. “This is not recognition for me or for you–this is recognition for the children at Willowbrook and the children of today.”

AHRC New York City thanks the event guests and honorees of the 66th Annual Dinner, as well as the dedicated staff who worked to make the evening such a success.

Brooklyn Day Hab Artists Travel to New Jersey for Gallery Exhibit

written by Megan Landrum, Community Support Supervisor, Brooklyn Day Habilitation

As Chad DeRoche, Alex Torres, and I rode the 3 train from Nevins Street to Penn Station we talked about New Jersey. Chad had taken a train into New Jersey before to visit his family. They live in a house with a parking lot. It’s near a basketball court and a buffet restaurant. Chad remembered being dependent on cars to get everywhere during his visit. It’s a fact of suburban New Jersey life that he doesn’t like.

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We were headed to New Jersey because a few weeks earlier, by happy chance, I had met Margaret, a curator at Arts Unbound, a studio and gallery for seniors and artists with disabilities. Art Saves Lives is a mantra that appears again and again on the walls and artwork at the gallery.

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The theme of this month’s group show, up from May 6th to May 28th, is soft sculpture. When Margaret mentioned this I immediately thought of Chad’s artwork–his sleeping bag, his pillow, his tent. I showed her the ArteMoose Collective’s website. Chad is a founding member and there are lots of photographs of his work and even a short video about him on the site. Margaret fell in love with the sleeping bag at first sight. This was a common refrain we heard at the opening reception. All night people approached Chad to tell him how much they loved and admired his work.

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The opening reception on the night of May 7th was a small, classy affair complete with wine, cheese, chocolate chip cookies. We sipped on ginger ale and talked to the gallery’s director, curators, and interns. We spoke to other artists in the group show. One woman designed silk scarves, a man around Chad’s age made jewelry, and a group of elderly women handmade a collection of dolls. Alex even tried on a handmade yarn wig! Everyone was very welcoming and we were invited to come back anytime. We were also invited to submit work to future exhibitions and open calls.

The Arts Unbound community was very impressed by all of the work that the ArteMoose Collective artists have been doing. One of the gallery curators lives in Brooklyn and a studio visit to Brooklyn Day Hab may be in the future. We had a great time at the opening reception and we’re grateful to have participated.

AHRC New York City and SUNY Maritime Students Engineer Winning Project Designs

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When confronted with a problem, engineers tend to solve them. So when SHREDability and Hudson River Services found themselves facing logistical issues that affected their workers’ efficiency and safety, they partnered with NYSID‘s Project CREATE and students and faculty at SUNY Maritime College to come up with a solution. On April 30, the final projects were presented at the Mechanical Engineering Student Design Symposium. Dr. Joseph Levert coordinated efforts between the students and community partners, including NYSID and AHRC New York City.

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Hudson River Services had rotary floor buffers that were hard to control, required many hours of training, and damaged walls and furniture. The students through research and intense analysis recommended “a newly available buffer with an orbital motion and an economic model” that would make it easier for Hudson River Services workers, some of whom have disabilities, to control and learn to use them. At SHREDability, the moving and weighing of shredded paper was inefficient and difficult; here, another group of students designed a reverse leaf blower system that quickly sucks up paper, and also suggested using truck scales to more easily weigh new deliveries.

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These projects truly promote integration and expose the students to a population of workers they ordinarily would not work with,Jennifer Lawrence, Manager of Corporate Communications for NYSID, said. “The symposium was a great venue to show what student teams worked on during the year,Naira Aslanyan, Regional Director for Staten Island Employment and Business Services, said. “It is important to remember that most of these students that worked on service learning project will go on to work for high profile companies as engineers and now they are more aware about people with developmental disabilities and about things they can do which will hopefully increase exposure and create employment opportunities.

Extraordinary Staff Members Honored for their Outstanding Work

AHRC New York City and Stony Brook University honored over a dozen employees as part of the Extraordinary Direct Support Professional Recognition Program. Over two days, May 5 and May 6, some of AHRC NYC’s finest workers attended workshops and discussed important issues pertaining to care giving, best serving people with disabilities, and ensuring job satisfaction.


Marvin L. Colson, M.S., Director of Developmental Disabilities Programs at Stony Brook’s School of Social Welfare, helped lead the discussions, and along with Kathy Broderick, Associate Executive Director, and Bertha Murphy, Clinical Assistant Professor & Former Director of Undergraduate Programs and Associate Dean for International Social Work at Stony Brook (Retired), handed out the awards.


The honored employees were: Brian Corbin, Manager at Bloomberg Apartments, Residential Services; Kelly Anderson, Residential Services; Marla Morrison, Community Support Professional, Dorothy and Michael Styler Adult Day Center; Magedelena Santoro, Community Support Professional, Joseph T. Weingold Adult Day Center; Luc Bernard, Medicaid Service Cooridnator; Aida Justo, Medicaid Service Coordinator; Zelma Sprotely, Residential Habilitation CoordinatorHome Care; Collins Baffoe, Director Support ProfessionalHome Care; Sandra Wynter, Residential Habilitation CounselorHome Care; and Brendaly Carter, Direct Support ProfessionalHome Care.

AHRC New York City congratulates all of these outstanding employees and commends them for their dedication to improving the lives of the people we serve everyday.


Meet the Author of
“Autism and Parents with Autistic Children”
Gilbert Lane
Join Other Bronx Families for a Round Table Discussion

Date and Time: Wednesday, June 10, 2015 from 6:00-8:00 pm

AHRC’s Howie Stone Adult Center
1420 Ferris Place Bronx, NY 10461
Gilbert Lane, the author of “Autism & Parents with Autistic Children” will be our guest at the AHRC New York City Bronx Membership Meeting. He will be speaking about his wonderful book which gives concrete advice on parenting an individual with autism and presents compelling and hopeful stories of families who have struggled in this endeavor and triumphed! Gilbert Lane is the father of a 41 year old autistic son and has had over thirty years of teaching experience in Harlem, New York City. Visit Gilbert’s website www.gilbertmlane.com for more information.
No need to read the book prior to attending. We are certain you will want to read it after hearing him. We will all listen to what Mr. Lane has to say and we will share our experiences with our own family members.
Gilbert’s discussion will be followed by an invitation for everyone present to join in a round table discussion about Bronx family needs.
Directions: 6 Train or Bx8 Bus to Westchester Square/East Tremont Avenue
Parking is available at the Howie Stone Center but limited to first come, first served.


Jennifer Amendola at 212-895-3446 or email jennifer.amendola@ahrcnyc.org


Donna Gifford at 212-780-2713 or email donna.gifford@ahrcnyc.org