It is with great pride and pleasure that AHRC New York City announces that today, September 19th, 2014, we have received official accreditation from the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL)! We are gratified that an outside organization of distinction has recognized our commitment to providing excellent services and supports for people with developmental disabilities!
CQL is an international not-for-profit organization dedicated to the definition, promotion, measurement, and improvement of personal and communal quality of life for people with disabilities, people with mental illness, and older adults. For 40 years, CQL has been a leader in developing measures and indicators of quality in services and supports, and has partnered with public and private organizations offering consultation, training, and accreditation to agencies and systems that demonstrate quality in supporting people with disabilities.
AHRC New York City’s CQL Accreditation was the culmination of a four day visit to AHRC by three CQL professionals. The CQL team met with self-advocates, administrative and front-line staff working in different capacities throughout the organization, board members, and other stakeholders. They visited several programs and conducted a thorough audit of who we are and what we do at AHRC. The CQL staff made it clear that they were very impressed with the work in pursuit of person-centered excellence that they found at AHRC New York City!
In receiving CQL Accreditation, AHRC New York City has demonstrated our commitment to person-centered excellence, basic assurances, personal outcome measures (POMs), and other areas that have all led up to this wonderful day in our organization‘s history. It is not commonplace that an organization as large and complex as ours has attained this milestone. We want to take this opportunity to thank all of the AHRC staff who ensure that people we support are not only happy and healthy, but also have input into what they do and where they do it; and, to thank AHRC staff for working hard to ensure that each person’s vision and dreams for how they want to live their lives are supported. We are an extremely diverse organization in so many ways, yet we have come together as a cohesive unit to achieve this goal. In the coming months we seek to continue our successful initiatives and as always will look for ways to strive to continuously improve our services and supports.
The following was written by Lindsay Hyland, (New York member of the Sibling Leadership Network (SLN) and NY State Representative on the SLN Board,) and was recently shared through the publication, ANCOR LINKS. ANCOR, (American Network of Community Options and Resources,) is an organization which advocates and provides resource for private community providers of services to people with disabilities.
When my sister, Julia, first moved into a community residence I was both excited and apprehensive. I was excited that she was beginning to create an independent life for herself, like I was able to do, but also apprehensive that her needs and safety would not be met. My sister and I have a special way of communicating with each other and I feared that the support staff would never fully understand what she liked or needed. Would they know that she loves going for walks? Would they know if she was sick and needed medical attention? Would they get to know her like her family does and cater to her specific needs?
Six years ago, Christina D’Arpa became the house manager at Julia’s residence. It did not take long for my family to feel a sense of happiness and relief for my sister (and for ourselves!). Since Christina joined the house, she has gone out of her way to support Julia and every other individual in the house, including their families.
Christina spends countless hours designing events that cater to all the specific needs of the individuals in the house. I would never have known that my sister enjoys attending karaoke if it weren’t for Christina organizing an event around Julia’s love for music. She also endeavors to support my sister in her communication skills development. She works daily with her on these skills and we have seen a huge increase in Julia’s ability to ask for what she needs and wants.
Christina’s ability to support our entire family as well as all the families in the house is tremendous. She is keenly aware of the stresses that families go through when their family member’s quality of life is in the hands of support staff. Christina makes an effort to continually keep family members informed of everything that is happening in the house. She will send my family and I photos of Julia when she is at events or doing something special. She will send videos of my sister so that we are always well informed of the progress she is making on her communication skills. She also organizes house events such as BBQ’s, holiday parties, and birthday parties. It’s a great way to celebrate and to meet other families involved with the house.
When I was planning my wedding two years ago, Christina supported my desire to have Julia be a part of my wedding. She arranged to have support staff with her at the church so that we could all enjoy the special day. It meant so much to me to have my sister there by my side as I got married.
Christina is a huge advocate for supporting independence and learning in the house. My sister would be very content sitting in her room and playing with her toys all day but Christina and her staff go out of their way to challenge Julia and expose her to new and exciting things. Julia attends baseball games and really enjoys them! I would never have thought to take her to a game! Julia has also become an active part in the chores around the house. She helps with the grocery shopping and assists with the laundry and dish washing. At first glance, one would think she was not capable of doing these things, but Christina set her expectations high for my sister and believes my sister should be an active member of the house and community.
Finding the right words to express gratitude is sometimes hard but whenever I walk into my sister’s house and see the smile on her face, I know that she is happy and safe and independent.
A myriad of colors, canvasses, and crafts lines the walls and halls of AHRC New York City’s Brooklyn Day Habilitation Adult Day Center. From an origami-inspired tabletop piece to a large quilt depicting social justice figures and phrases, the artwork featured here showcases a wide variety of talent and personalities. A number of the works will be featured as part of the Arte Moose Collective, which is launching a website dedicated to featuring the artists and their pieces in the near future. Each of the artists participating in the art collective will be featured prominently on the new site. Each artist brings a unique perspective to their shared experiences in the day program and in their surrounding community.
Chad DeRoche is a founding member of the Collective and his work is quite varied. Chad is visually impaired and has taken up sculpture and tactile works to combat this.
Chad’s most recent project is an amazing model of what appears to be a towering roller coaster surrounded by a red house and trees. He has had his work exhibited at Kingsborough Community College and the Pratt Institute, both in Brooklyn.
Fernando Cruz has been inspired to create his art both from his personal life and from artistic experiences out in the community. His most recent work, Mexico, made from a piece of board left over from Chad’s sculpture, resembles a Jackson Pollock painting he saw at MoMA and celebrates his national heritage.
Fernando recently visited Mexico and said “I liked it and I loved the food!” Fernando’s other works include Bones I and Bones II, both of which were inspired by an exhibit he saw at Atlantic Center about bones.
Gifford Moy, the youngest member of the collective, focuses mainly on sculpture. He recently made a colorful tabletop decoration based on origami techniques, fusing paper and different kinds of tape together; it is fittingly entitled One of a Kind.
Gifford also crafted The Honeymooners, two movie stars made out of wood and clay who travel around in their Honeymoon Special Cars. The young artist created a stop-motion animation film starring his creations that premiered at the FiveMyles Gallery.
Denisha Brown‘s art features jumbled colors of varying hues coming together to form intricate patterns and grids. Her work is meticulous and takes hours to complete.
Denisha’s magnum opus thus far is Sopido Torpedo, a remarkable work in which various pastels and paint fuse to create a world of complex drawings and M.C. Escher-esque designs.
Alexander Torres focuses primarily on painting. His work features all types of imagery, including religious, social, personal, and athletic perspectives. The paintings alternate from bright, warming colors to dark, brooding ones.
Perhaps the piece most indicative of Alex’s style is The Boss, which is part tribute to George Steinbrenner, part self-portrait, and entirely eclectic.
Supporting each of the artists as they create each new project, Community Support Professional Megan Hummell, provides direction and opportunities for artistic exploration. She recognizes the importance of creativity as a means of self-expression. Each artist featured in the collective works closely with Megan to achieve their artistic vision. With a background in art education and having displayed some of her artwork as part of a special staff artwork exhibition in the lobby of AHRC NYC’s Maiden Lane headquarters, Megan is thrilled to share her gifts and knowledge with all of the people she supports. “I love working here because I get to actually see the power of art impacted,” she says. “It helps give them the power to use their free time productively.”
On September 14th Zulu P, a rap group formed at Betty Pendler New York League, will be a part of a great night of music at PIANOS NYC in SoHo. Zulu P will be performing right after The Mix, a German band which is made up of musicians both with and without developmental disabilities. Also appearing are Moira Lo Bianco, a singer/songwriter from Italy, and The Confidentials.
Tickets are $8 each and all attendees must 21 or older with a valid ID. The show is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. with Zulu P going on at 9 p.m.
There’s nothing better than live music, so come support the musicians supported by AHRC New York City and have a good time!
Behavioral Health System Planning Forums – Fall 2014
The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene is hosting three forums to gather input to improve the behavioral health system. The forums are open to all members of the public and we hope to hear suggestions from a wide range of community stakeholders: consumers, people in recovery, youth, families, providers, peer advocates and peer specialists, advocates and others. CLICK HERE to access the flyer, with details of this event.