AHRC New York City celebrated nearly seven decades of excellence at the 69th Annual Meeting, held on Thursday, June 14th at Pace University. Nearly 200 members, staff, and families from AHRC NYC honored people supported, coworkers and friends receiving awards, watched as the new Board of Directors and Officers were installed, and heard the accomplishments from the past year and what to look for in the year ahead.

Dorothy Crossway with Marco Damiani

Dorothy Crossway with Marco Damiani

We talk a lot about hope. I think hope is a terrific thing, but we need more than hope,” Marco DamianiCEO of AHRC New York City, said. He was presiding over his first Annual Meeting as CEO. “We need action, we need inspiration, we need innovations, and we need ways of seeing the future as best we can so that we can help define it.” He spoke about AHRC NYC initiatives such as the upcoming switches to Care Coordination and managed care, the organization’s leadership in maintaining quality services, and the June 1st Leadership Summit as highlights during his first six months as CEO.

Awards for Staff Members and People Supported

Seven people receiving services from AHRC NYC programs were recognized at the Annual Meeting. The awardees were Thomas Gambaro from Kings Highway Day CenterXavier McInnis from Camp AnneWilson Donaven Rosa from AHRC Middle/High SchoolAlberto Hernandez from Employment and Business Services-ManhattanWanda Rivera from Family and Clinical ServicesLee Cornwell from Home Care Services; and James Medina from Staten Island Apartments.

Thomas Gambaro from Kings Highway Day Center

Thomas Gambaro

Thomas Gambaro received praise for his custom-made clay figurines that he often works at his day program. “The reason why I think the world needs more happiness is that folks have forgotten how to be happy, or what it feels like. That’s why I share my art,” said Thomas.

Staff members receiving awards included Djaka CondeCommunity Support Professional from Betty Pendler Day ServicesDorothy CrosswayOffice Information Systems ManagerCamping & RecreationCheryl (Renee) TownsParaprofessionalFrancis of Paola Early Learning CenterAnna ChakryanProgram CoordinatorEmployment and Business Services-Staten IslandLisa LovellSenior Medicaid Service CoordinatorFamily and Clinical ServicesMaylene HodgeDirect Support ProfessionalHome CareDon Dzwonkowski, RNResidential Services; and Joe SzmullerEntitlements Manager (Retired)Finance.

Thank you AHRC for giving me an opportunity to see my American dream come true,” Djaka Conde said.

I love my job, I love camp, I love AHRC,” Dorothy Crossway said. “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve your children and your camp.

A Fond Farewell

Gene O'Neil was thanked for her decades of service to AHRC NYC as Angelo Aponte and Sharyn VanReepinghen looked on

Gene O’Neil was thanked for her decades of service to AHRC NYC

Angelo Aponte presided over his final Annual Meeting as President of the AHRC NYC Board of DirectorsSharyn Van Reepinghen was formally installed as the new President later in the evening. Both Sharyn and Angelo sought to thank retiring Board Member Gene O’Neil, whose family has been involved with the organization for over 50 years.

Truthfully, I have only met great people here at AHRC NYC, and if you stay around long enough, you will too,” Gene said.  “I’m getting a little old, so somebody else has to do the work now, but thank you. My kids had a beautiful life because of AHRC.