May 19, 2020 Update:

A Message to Families, People Supported, and AHRC New York City Staff

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It is hard to believe we are beginning week 9 of the pandemic and the May 15th date for reassessing the situation has come and gone. As always, AHRC New York City’s highest priority is the health and safety of ALL members of our community. We continue to closely follow the recommendations of the NYC and State Departments of Health, the CDC and OPWDD about plans for reopening.  We continue to request that all readers of this publication remain vigilant in following the guidelines: wear masks and gloves whenever you are out of your home, traveling or engaging in necessary activities, and continue infection control protocol like handwashing with soap and water frequently. New York City has met 3 of the 7 health metrics that must be met prior to a phased re-opening, let’s get to 7 safely by doing this together!

Brief updates as of today:

  • AHRC NYC has incurred quite a number of losses of beloved people supported, their family members, and staff. That being said, reflecting on what is happening all over the city, the number of deaths, hospitalizations, and people exhibiting COVID Like Illness (CLI) has declined greatly in recent days. That being said we are continuing to vigilantly follow all guidelines as indicated above.
  • AHRC NYC’s Article 16 Clinic is currently providing individual and family counseling, speech services, and psychosocial evaluations via telehealth.  To make a referral or learn more about these services please call 212-780- 4491 or email
  • Testing – Understanding the importance of testing as a public health initiative, AHRC NYC, working in partnership with several local medical centers, will be offering antibody and virus testing in the not too distant future for individuals supported and staff through Quest, CityMD, and directly through OPWDD. Details to be released shortly.
  • AHRC NYC is proud to announce that our Chief Executive Officer, Marco Damiani, has been appointed to the Mayor’s Sector Advisory Council on Public Health and Healthcare. The Council’s goal is to reopen our City with strength and strategy. Having him represent our field on the Council is a very important statement about the value of our sector in restarting the economy and city life and will ensure that real-world guidance makes sense and keeps people safe.  READ MORE about this.
  • The week of May 4th was both Nurse Appreciation Week and Teacher Appreciation Week. See excerpts from Marco Damiani’s letters to our nurses and letters to our teachers. These sentiments are shared by all of us.

To our nurses, excerpt:

…Our nursing team is the lifeblood of our pandemic response and without question, your work is at the very essence of why we exist – to support, protect, and empower the most vulnerable among us. How many times nowadays can we use the word “heroic”? I will do myself one better, for you, our nurses: Behavior that is bold or dramatic, especially unexpectedly so.

That is the definition of “hero”. But really, what is unexpected about your response? Nothing. This is who you are, your very nature. And it is why your colleagues are so fortunate to have you here with us.

In the throes of this pandemic, you have gone wildly beyond the basics of the job. You are literally saving lives.

As an organization, we have counted on your wise counsel, your abundance of medical knowledge, your no-nonsense get-the-job-done attitude, your caring nature, and perhaps, most importantly, your humanity…

To our teachers, excerpt:

…To quote Mr. Rogers, “Anyone who does anything to help a child in his [her] life is a hero to me.” 

In the throes of this pandemic, you have gone beyond the basics of the job. You are all heroes.

As an organization, we have counted on your abilities, your knowledge, your spirit of fun and creativity, and most importantly, your humanity. Your understanding of the children you work with and their families, and your willingness to go the extra mile to assist them during this time of great need is a centerpiece of our daily battle with COVID-19.

John Steinbeck said, “Teaching might even be the greatest of the arts since the medium is the human mind and spirit.’ Your actions during the last two months have without question been demonstrations of the human mind and spirit…

  • On a happy note, AHRC New York City’s Our Broadway group continues to meet virtually in spite of the Coronavirus and to entertain themselves and us! They just Keep Dancing! (Note the images were shot pre-pandemic.) LEARN MORE.

Realizing that the needs of families extend beyond service delivery and continue to grow, families can refer to AHRC NYC’s Covid-19 Resource Guide which we continuously update to provide families with the resources they need.