Every Monday, Frankie Chan and Liang Yang can be found walking on their own from New York League Program C to arrive at Black Seed Bagel in the Lower East Side by 4pm. When they arrive, they exchange greetings with the servers who proceed to hand them bags of uneaten bagels that would otherwise have been thrown away. Next, they stop at Baz Bagel & Restaurant a couple blocks away to make their second pick up. Finally, they haul their cargo to The Bowery Mission, where they drop off the food to get weighed and distributed to the area’s homeless population. Frankie and Liang are volunteers for Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, an organization that brings uneaten food from restaurants to homeless shelters and soup kitchens around New York City.
When they first started volunteering, they were accompanied by their CSP Ruben Giraldo, but since January of this year, they have been walking the entire route by themselves. Yuliya Khripunkova, Transition Developer for the Adult Day Services Curriculum Team, emphasized their independence: “They go each week without us reminding them and are completely independent in this project,” she said.
Frankie explained, “We go without Ruben because we know what to do.” They do so because they enjoy the independence, but they also understand the importance of bringing the food to people in need.
While both Frankie and Liang speak with modesty about the work they do, Robert Lee, the CEO of Rescuing Leftover Cuisine has a different take: “Frankie and Liang have been invaluable volunteers since they started to help last year. It is amazing to have such dedicated, reliable, and punctual volunteers helping out on such a regular basis. Both have ensured that food that would otherwise be thrown away are used to feed the hungry, and their time in making this happen is what keeps our organization going. Their efforts have helped us to feed thousands of hungry people. Frankie has also become one of our esteemed Lead Rescuers, and he ensures that the excess food is rescued rain, sleet, or shine because food waste and hunger do not rest in these conditions.”
Frankie and Liang are not the only AHRC NYC volunteers to partner with Rescuing Leftover Cuisine. Other people who receive supports through AHRC NYC’s New York League Program C deliver leftover cupcakes from Dessert Club, ChikaLicious each morning to Bowery Mission, and people who receive supports through AHRC NYC’s Wendy Siegel Adult Day Center deliver leftover pastries from Ceci Cela to the South Side Mission in Williamsburg four days a week. With the help of dedicated volunteers from AHRC, thousands of New York’s less fortunate have been able to access to quality meals that they would otherwise be unable to afford.
As parents and students all know, the transition into adulthood can be a stressful period that is full of uncertainties for many families in transition from Special Education into Adult Services. There are many unknowns and questions about options, eligibility, and how the overall process works. For this reason, the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council‘s Education Committee hosts the Annual Spring Seminar titled, Journey to Adulthood, which allows parents, students, and transition coordinators to meet with an expert panel and provider agencies for an information session and an opportunity to link with provider agencies and all partners involved in the transition process.
The Education Committee is co-chaired by AHRC New York City’s past President, Laura Kennedy. This year, AHRC New York City’s Associate Director of Employment & Business Services, Salvador Moran was on the panel representing AHRC NYC as one of the key provider agencies on Staten Island. He spoke about transition services and what AHRC NYC can offer to parents and families. The panel also included Jennifer Prensky, Director of Transition and Academic Policy, NYC DOE Office of Special Education, Natalie McQueen, Transition Coordinator with NYC DOE District 75, Florence Tuchman Shomer, Teacher from Office of Travel Training with DOE District 75, Nancy Gentile, Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor from ACCESS-VR Staten Island Office, Joanna Buccellato, Transition Coordinator from NYS OPWDD, Margaret and Raymond Ferrigno.
As Candi Genovese, Borough Director of EBS Staten Island said, “It’s memorable to be a part of the transition process of a young adult’s life. It’s a special thing to be able to guide parents and the young adults, during a time when they have many questions.” The panelists spoke about important topics to parents and students in transition:
– IEP planning from school to adult life
– Collaboration with varies entities and partners such as volunteer agencies, employment services, ACCESS-VR, OPWDD and The Front Door, Adult Services
– The importance of Travel Training and Benefits Counseling
– Timeframes for transition
Following the seminar, some of AHRC NYC staff spoke with to parents and students, exchanged contact information for further discussions, and linked with families who need more information and assistance with services. Salvador Moran said, this was a “great opportunity to meet with parents, individuals, and advocates and present some of the creative employment initiatives AHRC NYC is doing in Staten Island.”
Naira Aslanyan, Regional Director of EBS Staten Island also attended the event: “Every day we come across parents and students who are uncertain and afraid of what future holds. Events like this are important so that families know they are not alone and they can seek help in obtaining services that their loved ones need and understand all options that are available to them.”
Anna Chakryan, AHRC NYC’s Program Manager for Staten Island employment programs sponsored by the Department of Youth and Community Development said, “This type of event help us focus on schools that need most help with transition services and link us to DOE Staff that can help families to connect with us.”
Friday June 12, 2015 was the opening reception for an exciting art exhibit featuring two talented people who receive supports at AHRC New York City‘s Cyril Weinberg Adult Day Center: Arthur Fairchild and Sharon Jackson. The two artists communicated beautiful stories through their artwork using a vast array of colors and creativity.
The opening of the art exhibit was a huge success and will remain open throughout the summertime. People from Cyril Weinberg, the Poppenhusen Board, and community art lovers came to see the exhibit.
Community Support Supervisor, Jason Schneider knew of The Poppenhusen Institute from being an Urban Park Ranger. He scheduled two small groups of people being supported at Cyril Weinberg who expressed an interest in learning more about the history of Queens to have a tour. Susan Brustmann, Director of The Poppenhusen Institute conducted the tours. On one of the tours, Community Support Professional, Amina Ashraf from Cyril Weinberg Adult Day Center asked Susan if an art exhibit could be organized around the creative work of people receiving supports through AHRC NYC. The result was a beautiful art exhibit at a nationally recognized historical landmark that dates back to 1868. The 147-year-old building is still serving the needs of the College Point and surrounding communities.
To learn more about The Poppenhusen Institute, please visit: http://poppenhuseninstitute.org/
The ESCAPE NOW project is a community oriented effort of AHRC New York City Department of Adult Day Services and Teachers College at Columbia University. For over twenty years, the project has concentrated on educating people with developmental disabilities using the Effective Strategy Based Curriculum for Abuse Prevention and Empowerment, (ESCAPE). ESCAPE NOW empowers people with disabilities over twenty-one years of age in all five New York City boroughs to identify and extricate themselves from verbally or physically abusive situations. Originally the program was geared to help women help themselves to prevent sexual assault. Today ESCAPE helps men and women recognize, avoid, and handle abusive situations. The curriculum is used in all of AHRC NYC’s adult day programs and has been introduced in other AHRC NYC departments.
St. John’s University‘s Ishita Khemka, Ph.D, Columbia University Teachers College’s Linda Hickson, Ph.D, and AHRC NYC’s Aikaterina Chatzistyli spoke at Columbia University Teachers College on May 21, 2015. They spoke about the importance of ESCAPE NOW and the value of knowledge in preventative decisions; the seminar received a great response.
The project has added a SmartBoard app, assessment checks, an individual participation binder, new and up-to-date research and surveys, field tests for feedback, and a certificate of completion. Additionally, it has audio and visual vignettes covering sexually and physically abusive situations. The course attempts to reinforce the information in each unit auditorily, visually, and through focus groups.
The attendees collaborated in groups on ways to spread the word about ESCAPE NOW and how to get out of abusive situations. Many individuals who attended the seminar seemed inspired, passionate, and interested in becoming ESCAPE NOW instructors. ESCAPE NOW is a great way to protect the community’s rights and to keep the people with developmental disabilities safe.
The 66th Annual Membership Meeting on Monday June 8, 2015 was a great success. Family, friends, people supported by AHRC New York City, and its Board of Directors and staff members were present to receive awards and to support the people receiving them.
Executive Director, Gary Lind and AHRC NYC’s outgoing Board President, Laura Kennedy reported a number of notable achievements that have taken place within the last year, including: The development of a new Mission Statement; our organization’s achievement of accredidation from the Council on Quality and Leadership; budget modifications that provided a salary increase for staff; the introduction of an electronic version of the AHRC NYC publication, The CHRONICLE; the receipt of major grants from the state government for improvement in technology; the expansion of the Melissa Riggio Higher Education program to include students at HOSTOS Community College in the Bronx; a new waiver service for Pathways to employment was added; AHRC staff helped integrate 4 people move from the Brooklyn Developmental Center into the community; a pilot care management program was launched, which is a precursor of the manage care effort; we assumed the operations of previously FEGS-run day programs in the Bronx and Manhattan; 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:
AHRC NYC congratulates the recipients of this year’s
Awards to its staff:
Laverne Stinson; Home Care Department Charlie Reynoso & Rebecca Fitle; New York Restoration Project (NYRP) Maria DeDios; Department of Employment and Business Services Rosetta Williams and Patricia Nelson Ponder; Department of Residential Services Nicole Marquez; Department of Education Elizabeth Guida and Amado Marte Taveras; Melissa Riggio Higher Education Scholoarship winners Mike Ortega; Department of Adult Day Services Tabitha Bernard; Department of Family and Clinical Services Donna Gifford and Jennifer Amendola; Department of Public Information
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: Michael Chang, Joanna Cowen, and Anthony Perna.
The Melissa Riggio Scholarship, named for AHRC NYC’s college programs, was awarded to:
Elizabeth Guida, Amado Marte Taveras, Joseph Adia, and Nadezhda Goldfard.
Community Partner Awards were given to: Redd Sevilla, Executive Director, New Life Community Development Corporation (New Life CDC) and Charlie Reynoso, New York Restoration Project (NYRP).
AHRC NYC’s Employer award went to Veterans Administration Harbor Healthcare System for their efforts to support employment opportunities for people with disabilities.
Invited guest, Donna Limiti, Director Region 4, NYS OPWDD, joined the event to officially install the newly-elected AHRC Board of Directors. We are pleased to welcome returning Board Members, new Board Members, as well as AHRC NYC’s new Board President, Angelo Aponte.
AHRC NYC thanks all who participated in making the evening very special!