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.