The Arc Lexington Receives NYSARC Trust Recreation Grant

Lexington, a not-for profit organization that supports people with disabilities in Fulton and Albany counties, has been awarded $15,000 in grants from the Trustee Management Board of NYSARC Trust Services to support Lexington’s recreation programs.

NYSARC Trust Services administers supplemental needs trusts (SNT) that can make dramatic improvements to the lives of people with disabilities while enabling individuals to maintain eligibility for public benefits programs, such as Medicaid and SSI. For 2018, NYSARC Trust Services is proud to fulfill its commitment to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities by awarding a total of $2,778,500 in grants to The Arc New York Chapters statewide.

This year, Lexington received $15,000 to develop new recreational opportunities to enrich the lives of the more than nearly 1,000 people it supports. This grant money was used to provide recreational opportunities to individuals who attend the Day Habilitation, Family Services and Creative Expressions programs at Lexington.

The Day Habilitation program at Lexington offers approximately 120 individuals the opportunity to participate in a wellness plan called Engaged and Empowered. This plan offers daily activities ranging from adaptive sports and physical activities to gardening and cooking classes, as well as nutrition courses that focus on healthy eating. This year, for the first time, people participated in an adaptive water skiing program on the Great Sacandaga Lake. This program was a huge success and was enjoyed by all who attended. When describing the experience, participants used words such as “awesome”, “amazing”, and “thrilling” and said they are looking forward to the next event. One participant said he has never felt so “free” as he did while participating in the adaptive water skiing program.

People also participated in an Orienteering program in which they used a specially created detailed map to select routes and navigate a course through diverse and unfamiliar terrain. This was a truly unique experience that taught the participants valuable navigation skills that can be utilized in many other situations.

Additionally, through the grant we purchased 6 Jamboxx units, which are hands-free electronic, breath-powered instruments that bring the joy of music creation to people of all ages and abilities. These are a very exciting addition to our program that will allow many people to experience the joy of making music.

Gift cards were also used to access recreational opportunities at arts and cultural centers in the community such as the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts and other area businesses where people could experience indoor and outdoor recreation events in a smaller setting.

The Family Services program held a 10 week summer recreational program at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts.  Approximately 25 teens and young adults attended full-day activities that included classes run by certified instructors in Art, STEM, and Culinary arts; as well as, team building, sports, community outings, volunteering, and social skills activities.

Family Services also utilized the grant to fund a variety of recreational and social events. Each week during the summer, people attended museums and historical sites, such as the Museum of Innovation and Science (miSci) and the USS Slater. They also enjoyed bowling, movies, laser tag, and attending a gym specially adapted for children on the autism spectrum. All of these events and activities afforded participants an opportunity to practice social skills in a fun atmosphere. Approximately 150 people attended these events.

The Creative Expressions program offers evening and weekend activities to people who live in the community. One of the activities that the program offers is playwriting and acting. In the fall, a group of people performed an original play in front of an audience from the community including family and friends. The play was a huge success in building self-esteem and confidence. The play was written with the support of a literacy instructor, a local musician aided in rehearsing and performing the musical numbers, and a local producer assisted in the execution of the performance. The next endeavor of this talented group of people is making a movie. In order to assist with the production of this and future projects, a camcorder, film editing software, and a projector was purchased. In addition to recording and film editing, this will allow the performers to review their performances and determine areas to improve their skills.

 

About NYSARC Trust Services

NYSARC Trust Services has administered supplemental needs trusts since 1972, helping more than 16,000 people with disabilities protect their eligibility for government benefits and improve their quality of life. Our trust programs give people with disabilities the opportunity to remain in their communities with greater comfort and independence while providing peace of mind to their family and loved ones.

NYSARC Trust Services administers first- and third-party supplemental needs trusts, pooled trusts for income and resource (asset) protection, and individual trusts. When protecting settlement proceeds with a NYSARC Community Trust, we can also administer Medicare Set-Aside (MSA) accounts. For more information, please call 518-439-8323 or visit their website at www.nysarctrustservices.org.

The Arc New York Elects Saundra Gumerove President

Committed disability advocate to lead statewide nonprofit serving people with developmental disabilities and their families

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The Arc New York, the largest nonprofit in New York state supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), elected Saundra M. Gumerove, Esq. as its President.

Nearing its 70th year in operation, The Arc New York Board of Governors tapped Gumerove at its annual convention to lead the call to action uniting  51 regional chapters in its campaign to update public policy and laws to better support the growing number of New Yorkers with disabilities and their families.

"It's a critical time for disability advocates, and I am proud to serve as President," said Gumerove. "Across New York State, Chapters of The Arc New York will stand together for greater understanding, inclusion and opportunity on specific issues. Progress, in my 30 years as an advocate, attorney and parent, only comes through a shared commitment to engaging local communities and all levels of government."

Gumerove comes to office at a time when thousands of New Yorkers with I/DD are in immediate need of housing and face an onerous, unclear process for placement; are struggling with a shortage of direct support professionals who ensure daily living needs are met; and face challenges arising from gaps in teacher compensation between preschools that serve children with developmental disabilities and typical schools.

Gumerove is poised to address these issues, after serving as a member of The Arc of the United States Policy Committee for the past 10 years and Chair of The Arc New York Government Affairs Committee for seven years. Gumerove also has been active on the board of AHRC Nassau, an Arc New York chapter based on Long Island.

"Saundra has been a powerful and persistent advocate for countless families for decades," said Mark van Voorst, Executive Director of The Arc New York. "She is committed to the unique experience of how disability impacts lives. We welcome her leadership to advance our collective mission and vision."

The Greatest NIGHT OUT Coming to Nigra Arts Center!

The Lexington Foundation’s annual Night Out will take place at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts on Thursday, September 20, at 6 p.m. The arts center is located at 2736 State Highway 30, Gloversville.

The theme of this year’s fundraiser gala is The Greatest Night Out, inspired by the hit movie musical The Greatest Showman. The party will feature live music from Flame and Our Secret Love Society, food and cocktails from Union Hall Inn Restaurant, roaming performers, raffle and silent auction items, and plenty of circus-themed surprises.

At the event, Lexington will be honoring businesses and individuals who have helped make Lexington what it is today. Century Linens of Gloversville will be recognized as the Employer of the Year for their partnership with Lexington. Century Linens has a strong record of hiring individuals with disabilities to be employees at their business. Assemblyman Marc Butler will be acknowledged for over 20 years of supporting Lexington and the men and women it supports. The Assemblyman retires at the end of 2018. Jack and Shirley Scott, owners of WENT Radio will be thanked for supporting Lexington from the day they bought the station in 1986. Jack and Shirley have been strong advocates for Lexington and individuals with developmental disabilities. The life and contributions of the late Brian Hanaburgh will be honored at the event. Brian served as Chair of the Transitions and Nigra Art Center Advisory Board and for over 20 years he served on the Lexington Foundation Board. Anita Hanaburgh and family members will be on hand to accept the tribute to Brian.

Proceeds from this special event benefit the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts, a community arts center open to the public that hosts rotating art exhibitions, concerts, fun family events, theater performances, day camps for children, and classes in music, dance, fine arts, yoga, cooking and more.

The Greatest Night Out will also celebrate the achievements of the students in the Transitions program and raise funds for its Elmore Scholarship Fund. Transitions is a post-secondary program that provides training in skills young adults with autism and other learning differences need to live independently and follow their college and career dreams. Its evidence-based curriculum covers social skills, health and wellness, independent living, self-management, and self-advocacy and leadership. Transitions offers weekend Mini Camps, weeklong specialty camps, summer programs, year-long programs and a Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies in collaboration with Fulton-Montgomery Community College.

“This is a great opportunity to gather and support Transitions and the Nigra Arts Center, two of Lexington’s newest programs,” said Shaloni Winston, Transitions founder and executive director of The Arc Lexington. “It is also a wonderful way for us to honor and thank those who have been so supportive of Lexington over the years. They have helped us become who we are and supported us to build programs such as the Nigra Arts Center which benefits the entire community and Transitions where we are helping to change the lives of young adults with learning differences throughout the northeast, and we are excited to welcome the public to share in our students’ success. We hope you will support our work by attending the Greatest Night Out and contributing to our scholarship fund.”

Individual tickets for the Night Out are $100. Young professionals under the age of 40 can purchase tickets for $75. Tables for 10 and several sponsorship levels are also available. For more information, visit http://thearclexingtonfoundation.org/2018-night-out.

#ABLETOSAVE: Information from the ABLE National Resource Center!

The ABLE National Resource Center (ANRC) has launched their month-long #ABLEtoSave grassroots campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to educate and inform the general public about Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts. The goals of the #ABLEtoSave campaign, which runs throughout the month of August, are to increase awareness about ABLE accounts and to increase the amount of ABLE accounts opened across the country.

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ABLE accounts are tax-advantaged savings accounts that have the potential to significantly increase the independence and quality of life of individuals with disabilities without jeopardizing benefits such as Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Informational Webinars on ABLE-related topics will be held on Wednesday each week. To see the calendar and sign up to participate, visit our events page. To learn more about the #ABLEtoSave campaign and ABLE accounts, visit the ABLE National Resource Center website (www.ablenrc.org)and be sure to “like” the ANRC on Facebook and Twitter (@theABLENRC).

Lexington's Shaloni Winston on News Channel 13!

Did you catch Lexington Executive Director Shaloni Winston on WNYT NewsChannel 13 this past weekend? If not, click on the image below to check out the video and see her talk about our Transitions program, #AutismAwarenessMonth and more! To learn more about Transitions, visit www.transitionsusa.org! #TransitionsUSA

Rock for Abilities Concert!

Flame, Lexington’s world-renowned rock band, will perform a concert for the community on March 16, 2018 at Lexington’s Gloversville facility, 127 East State Street, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. The concert is open the public.

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Flame will present the concert as Lexington celebrates National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Flame performs around the state and country and last year were the headliners of a concert celebrating abilities in Carpi, Italy, in northern Tuscany. The band performs more than 75 concerts a year, traveling on a specially designed motor coach that has racked up several hundred thousand miles and is due for replacement. Having produced six albums featuring their own music and cover pieces, the band of talented musicians is dedicated to sharing their music and helping people see that everyone has both abilities and disabilities. Celebrating abilities is what motivates the band and makes them sought after as performers.

Lexington celebrates National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to showcase not only Flame, but the success of many men, women and children with different abilities. Lexington is very proud of the accomplishments of the many individuals whose success in daily life, work, volunteerism, school and college work, and raising families shows how capable they truly are. Flame’s concert is part of this month-long celebration highlighting all that the men and women supported by Lexington do to give back to their community.

Tickets for the community concert cost $5 each and are available at Lexington’s Johnstown location, 465 N. Perry Street; Lexington’s Gloversville location, 127 E. State Street; Lexington’s Oppenheim location, 405 County Highway 114, St. Johnsville; the Fulton-Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce, 2 N. Main Street, Gloversville; and Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market, 20 N. Main Street, Gloversville. Tickets will also be available at the door on the day of the event. Audience members are encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item to donate in exchange for the chance to win a door prize. All donated non-perishable food items will benefit local food pantries. Lexington participates in fundraising and food collection throughout the year to benefit a variety of community agencies. Proceeds from this concert will go to the fund to purchase a new Flame tour bus.

In addition to the concert, Lexington is sponsoring a poster contest to help raise public awareness for the importance of equality in our society. Students at Fulton County elementary, middle and high schools are welcome to submit art that celebrates equality and differing abilities. This year’s theme is “Together We Have No Limits.” Entries will be judged and top winners chosen from each age group. Winners will receive two free tickets to the Rock for Abilities Concert, where they will be publicly recognized, receive a gift basket and get the opportunity to meet the members of Flame. Top posters will be on display at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts in the Flame recording studio until April 25. In addition, the school with most entries will win a free Flame concert. For information about the contest and how to enter, contact Lynette May at (518) 661-9932 or MayL@lexcenter.org. Entries are due by March 8.