Lexington Receives CQL Accreditation with Distinction!

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In late September, the Council on Quality and Leadership (CQL) announced that after a week of intensely hard work, not only was it renewing Lexington’s accreditation, it was awarding them Accreditation with Distinction. Lexington is the first agency of its kind in New York State to earn this honor and one of only ten in the world.

This four-year honor recognizes Lexington’s excellence in its operations and plans for the future. According to Shaloni Winston, Lexington’s executive director, the agency owes its excellent scores in the accreditation process to the constant dedicated efforts of its 1,700 employees, who work hard every day to help the people they support lead happy, healthy, fulfilling lives.

“I am honored to see Lexington among the ranks of the other agencies with this distinction, but the credit goes to each and every person on Lexington’s team,” she said. “Lexington’s employees are defined by their big hearts and open arms, and we are so happy that CQL has recognized their excellence with this accreditation. I thank CQL for the honor and our employees for the roles they play every day to make this happen.”

Lexington first received a four-year CQL Person-Centered Excellence Accreditation in 2013, and this year’s upgraded accreditation represents measurable growth and progress in the agency’s continuing mission to be the best possible provider to children and adults with disabilities and their families, as well as to be the best possible employer for its staff and contribute positively to the community.

This honor came after a week of top-to-bottom review, conducted September 25-29. The detailed, rigorous process ensured that the services Lexington provides meet the high standards expected of such an agency.

Accreditation with Distinction is not the end of the road, though it is the highest accreditation an organization can receive. It is an ongoing process of self-improvement for Lexington, and when the CQL team returns in four years, they will be examining the agency’s progress between now and then for further improvement and innovation.

Lexington Holds its 23rd Annual Family Services Conference

Lexington, Chapter of The Arc New York, will hold its 23rd Annual Family Services Conference on Tuesday, November 14, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 465 N. Perry Street, Johnstown.

This conference is an opportunity for individuals with disabilities, their parents and families, and professionals who support individuals with disabilities to meet and share stories, strategies and resources for supporting young people with disabilities. This year’s theme is “Dream Big.” 

The conference will feature several guest speakers presenting on a variety of topics about parenting and supporting young people with differences. It will begin with opening remarks from Assemblyman Marc Butler of New York State’s 113th District. After that, Shaun Evans, DPT, will give the keynote presentation, titled “Dream BIG … ANYTHING is Possible.” Evans is the Vice President of Education at Ainsley’s Angels of America Foundation. He will share his family’s story of extreme persistence, love and togetherness as they supported his oldest son’s dream of running across the USA, 3,200 miles in 60 days, despite being born with cerebral palsy.

Concurrent breakout sessions will follow the keynote presentation. Tina Beauparlant of Parent to Parent of NYS will present “Planning for a Successful Transition from High School to Achieve Your Child’s Dream.” She will share a parent’s perspective on how to help your child have a successful transition from high school while supporting their dreams.

Joy Stockwell, who has worked for OPWDD for 30 years as a direct support professional, Self-Direction professional and Self-Direction liaison for the Capital District, will present “Exploring Self-Direction.” Her presentation will offer insight on the OPWDD Self-Direction program, which offers people who are eligible for OPWDD services the flexibility to choose the mix of supports and services that are right for them and let them live the life they want.

After lunch, Keith McCauley, Region III Deputy Director of OPWDD, will give a keynote address, in which he will provide updates from the past year at OPWDD. Two more concurrent breakout sessions will follow.

Renee Carr will present “Mental Health and Wellness.” Carr is the Coordinator of Education and Information-Referral Services as well as a certified mental health first aid instructor at the Mental Health Association in Fulton and Montgomery Counties. Her presentation will provide an overview of mental health-related diagnoses. It will incorporate tools to help manage some of the symptoms related to mental illness and provide a better understanding of their impact on one’s wellness. 

Dr. Kristin Knapp-Ines, a licensed clinical psychologist and board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA-D) who regularly conducts trainings, presentations and workshops at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), will present “Supporting Individuals with ASD to Meet Their Full Potential in Meaningful Employment.” This training will briefly describe the definition, characteristics and misconceptions that are common to individuals with ASD, some of the challenges they may face in the workplace due to social deficits, and suggestions and tips for working with individuals with ASD in the workplace so that they may reach their full potential.

Attending any two sessions will qualify an attendee for one FET annual required training, which allows people to maintain their status in the Home and Community Based Medicaid Waiver Service.

There is no cost to attend for individuals with disabilities or their parents and families. For professionals, the cost is $75. For more information, to register or to arrange for transportation and respite/childcare, please call Lexington Family Services at (518) 773-2014. Attendees may pay at the door or mail registration and payment to Lexington Family Services at 43 Harrison Street, Gloversville, NY 12078.

LEXINGTON’S NIGRA ARTS CENTER RECEIVES AWARD OF EXCELLENCE

The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts in Gloversville, New York is being honored with a 2017 Award of Excellence by CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. This award acknowledges their creation of an inclusive environment where artistic expression and diverse creativity can flourish for all aspiring and established artists, both with and without disability. The community-based facility offers classes, exhibits, productions, concerts, camps, workshops, and other enrichment experiences where all participants are respected as artists, actors, dancers, musicians, and aspiring chefs.

  Angela Rapp Kennedy, Vice President, CQL; Mary Kay Rizzolo, CEO, CQL; Shaloni Winston, Executive Director, Lexington; and Daniel Richardson, Deputy Executive Director, Lexington

Angela Rapp Kennedy, Vice President, CQL; Mary Kay Rizzolo, CEO, CQL; Shaloni Winston, Executive Director, Lexington; and Daniel Richardson, Deputy Executive Director, Lexington

“The Nigra Arts Center has a genuine attentiveness to each person as an artist. Instead of focusing on disability as being the context for their creation, each artist’s work stands on its own, just as it should. It’s a refreshing approach,” says Mary Kay Rizzolo, President and CEO of CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership. CQL is presenting five recipients with the 2017 CQL Award of Excellence at the 2017 CQL Conference, themed ‘Blueprint for Person-Centered Practices,’ in recognition of best practices in human services.

The Lexington Foundation, of Lexington, a chapter of the Arc of New York, owns and operates the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts. Following numerous Personal Outcome Measures® interviews, Lexington discovered that many people had interest in the creative arts and wanted more opportunities to enjoy and express themselves. This center is unique in that community members take part in program activities, right along with those receiving more formal supports. The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts also does not differentiate artists based on diagnosis during juried exhibitions, as there is no reference at all to an artist’s disability. 

“We are most proud to see people with disabilities recognized for their individual talents and abilities by everyone who comes to the arts center.  Every day they are learning and sharing experiences with others who have common goals and aspirations. This has helped them feel respected and to be true members of the community,” said Shaloni Winston, Executive Director of Lexington and the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts. “We are grateful to CQL for this honor and recognition.”

The mission of the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts is to provide a creative educational resource for people of all ages and abilities while celebrating the arts through classes, entertainment, exhibitions, and special events. Additionally, they are committed to offering accessible art programs for adults and children with developmental and physical differences.

Northville Library Art Show to Feature Lexington and Transitions Artists

Artists from Lexington’s Creative Expressions program and the Transitions program will be featured in a Sacandaga Valley Arts Network (SVAN) art show at the Northville Library Gallery, located at 341 S. Third Street, Northville. The show will run from October 31 to December 28, 2017. The public is welcome to attend a Meet the Artists reception on Tuesday, November 14, from 6-8 p.m.

The show features collaborative splatter paintings based on the work of Jackson Pollock, a 20th century American painter who helped pioneer the abstract expressionism movement of spontaneous, emotional, abstracted art. The Transitions students were inspired to research and study the movement and Pollock’s technique after a docent-led tour of the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute in Utica, where they saw original pieces by Pollock and many of his peers.

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The artists who collaborated on the Creative Expressions piece include Bobby Carr, Richard Freeman, Dennis Hoyer, Caroline Pendlebury, Adrienne Phillips, Thelma Senecal, Taylor Skinner, Debbie Woodruff and Mikyle Woodward. The artists who collaborated on the Transitions piece include Zen Anderson, Lacy Brower, Maria Bucholtz, Greg Clicquennoi, Josh Corbett, Olivia Esposito, Joe Magliocca, Eric Noonan, Noah Pappas, Maggie Roarke, Marybeth Sefcovic, Bethany Sweet and Kristen Troy. 

The Northville Library Gallery is open to the public Monday, Friday and Saturday 9 a.m. to noon; Tuesday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Wednesday and Thursday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The gallery is free of admission. Visitwww.svanarts.org or call the gallery at (518) 863-6922 for more information about this show.

Lexington’s Creative Expressions program is committed to creating inspired living through the arts. The program promotes independence and choice through outcome-based programs and involvement in the community. Goals focus on social activity, creativity, talent, choice, exercise, self-worth, skill-building, and health and wellness awareness. Creative Expressions artists have participated in many local exhibitions, won several prestigious awards and sold more than 100 pieces of art. For more information about Creative Expressions, call Lexington at (518) 773-7931 or visit www.lexingtoncenter.org

Transitions is an apprenticeship program that supports young adults with learning differences ages 18-27 as they attend college, get their first jobs and live independently for the first time. Its innovative curriculum covers social skills, health and wellness, independent life, self-management, and self-advocacy and leadership. The program also offers career success and exploration classes, coordinates internships in local businesses and provides job coaching and mentorship opportunities. For more information about this unique program, visit www.transitionsusa.org or call (518) 775-5384.

People with disabilities find meaningful employment in the local area

October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and at Lexington’s Employment Resources, we are happy to recognize the individuals we support to find meaningful and lasting employment in our community. Most importantly, we are very grateful to the businesses that provide jobs and opportunities to people with disabilities.

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The history of National Disability Employment Awareness Month traces back to 1945 and we are so proud to celebrate the abilities of the workers we support at Lexington.

Having a disability does not mean that someone does not want to or is not capable of working; it is just the opposite. They want to earn a living, they want to be productive and they want to be part of the team. A few of the local employees made the following statements about their jobs: “I like my job because it is very rewarding to me. My job has given me a place to be part of, to grow and succeed as an individual,” and, “If I didn’t have this job, I would be nowhere. This job is my life, my friendships and my enjoyment.”

At Lexington’s Employment Resources, we have a dedicated team of job developers, employment specialists who assist individuals to find both full- and part-time employment. Our applicants are experienced, pre-screened, educated and motivated to establish lasting careers. Our staff of trained professionals is available to assist employers to match the individual with the job. The employment specialists then assist the individual with learning tasks, helping him/her blend into the workforce, become successful in the job and become a valuable member of their team.

The Employment Resources team has partnered with businesses in our region that make every effort to employ and support people with different abilities. We are grateful and appreciate their willingness to help fulfill the goals and dreams of these men and women. The following are businesses that employ and provide opportunities to men and women supported by Lexington’s Employment Resources: Amsterdam Mohawks, ACCES-VR, Brennan Human Society, Burger King, Catholic Charities, Carousel Kids Daycare, Century Linen and Uniform, Chartwells Dining @ FMCC, EVMI Chocolates, Encore Kids, FLAME, Fulton Center for Rehab and Healthcare, Fulton Montgomery County Regional Chamber of Commerce, Fulton County Tax Map, Gloversville School District, Gloversville Transit Department, Hannaford, Harrison Document Services, Harvey’s Home and Garden, HFM BOCES, Home Helpers and Direct Link of Amsterdam, Italian Bistro, Johnstown Police Department, Johnstown Public Library, JAVAC, Kasson and Keller, Keymark Corp, Kingsboro Catering, The Leader-Herald, Lexington, Liberty, Lowes, McDonald's – Johnstown, Mohawk Harvest Co-op, Mohawk Sign, Nathan Littauer Hospital, New Process Cleaners, NYSID Warehouse, Price Chopper – Amsterdam, Gloversville, Johnstown, The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts, Pizza Hut of Gloversville, Putman Enterprises, Railside Cafe, Ruby & Quiri, Salvation Army, St. Johnsville Rehab & Nursing Home, Schine Building, Shirley J. Luck Senior Citizen Center, SW Spa, Sunset Bay Resort, The Eccentric Club, Tops Supermarket, Universal Warehouse, Visiting Nurses, Walgreens, Walmart DC, Wade Tree Service, Walgreens of Gloversville, Wal-Mart of Gloversville, Wells Nursing Home, Wendy’s, WENT 1340, WGNA 107.7, YMCA Daycare and Fulton County YMCA.

Employment Resources is committed to helping people lead successful lives. Any business interested in partnering with Employment Resources to explore a viable, pre-screened and motivated applicant pool, please contact us. Employment Resources is located at 465 North Perry Street in Johnstown, New York. Kathy Simone, the director of Employment Resources, can be reached at (518)736-4266 or simonek@lexcenter.org.

WALLY HART, Lexington’s Division Director of Business and Community Development,
and KATHY SIMONE, Lexington’s Director of Employment Opportunities

The Lexington Foundation's NIGHT OUT is coming to the Nigra Arts Center!

The Lexington Foundation’s NIGHT OUT will take place at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts on Friday, September 22. The event begins at 6 p.m. The arts center is located at 2736 State Highway 30, Gloversville.

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The NIGHT OUT will feature food and craft beer from Lanzi’s on the Lake, musical performances by Pat Decker and Flame, raffles and auctions, magician Shaun Robison, dancing and much more. Proceeds will benefit the Nigra Arts Center and Transitions.

The Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts is upstate New York's premier community arts center, providing classes in music, dance, art, yoga, cooking and more. The center houses exceptional art venues, hosts family fun events, and provides educational opportunities for people of all ages, abilities and artistic skills. Additionally, the Nigra Arts Center is a popular venue for private and corporate events.

Transitions is making a difference in the lives of young people and families by providing the training and skills needed for students to live independently and follow their college and career dreams. This outstanding college and career Apprenticeship program is uniquely designed for young adults with autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, nonverbal learning disabilities and other learning differences.

Individual tickets for the NIGHT OUT are $100. Tables for 10 and sponsorships are also available. For more information, visit pncreativeartscenter.org or call (518) 661-9932.

Transitions and Fulton - Montgomery Community College introduce Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies

Transitions and the State University of New York at Fulton-Montgomery Community College (FMCC) are excited to announce a partnership to offer a Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies. The new certificate program combines credit-bearing courses at FMCC with a non-credit curriculum at Transitions to help students develop executive functioning skills, learn how to be successful at work and in life, build independent living skills and strengthen self-management, advocacy and leadership skills.

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“We are grateful to the partnership and support that the State University of New York at Fulton-Montgomery Community College has provided in developing and offering this new Certificate in Career and Life Studies,” said Jennifer Feagles, LMSW, Director of Transitions. “This will provide a certificate to the young adults who are ready to pursue their independence and career goals after high school.”

The Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies will assist students such as Marybeth, an active, social and career-minded 22-year-old who was very different before she joined the program. Back then, she was quiet, cripplingly shy and lacking direction or job prospects.

“I didn’t have many friends,” Marybeth said. “I was shy. My mom would have to find ways to get me out of the house.”

When she joined Transitions, Marybeth gained access to internship opportunities in a variety of businesses as well as classes that helped her improve her social, organizational, time management, executive functioning and independent living skills. With the help of those classes, career success courses at FMCC and her current internship at Harvey’s Home, Garden and Pet Center, Marybeth is well on her way to achieving her goal of obtaining a job in her dream field of working with animals.

Transitions, a post-secondary program that helps young adults with autism and other learning differences achieve success after high school, helped Marybeth overcome all her personal obstacles and more. And now, through this partnership with FMCC, Transitions can do even more to prepare her for success in life beyond the program.

“This partnership with FMCC will provide life-changing opportunities for our students,” said Shaloni Winston, founder of Transitions and Executive Director of Lexington - Fulton County Chapter, NYSARC, Inc. “Pursuing a Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies will give them not only a quality education that truly prepares them to live and work independently, but also the invaluable experience of being part of college campus life with peers in a similar stage in life, with all the same goals and challenges. Everyone deserves a career they love and a life they control themselves. This certificate program will help realize that dream for many young adults.”

To obtain the Certificate of Completion in Career and Life Studies, students will take credit-bearing classes in career exploration and preparation, resume and cover letter preparation, job interviewing and professional self-presentation at FMCC, and non-credit bearing classes in time management, organization, social success, wellness, self-advocacy and independent living skills at Transitions.

A minimum of 250 hours of on-the-job internship experience at community businesses with graduated levels of responsibility will be required for each student. Transitions staff will provide job coaching, liaise with employers and encourage communication skills that will lead to success in future employment. They will also liaise with the college staff to assist the student in receiving academic support and learning skills needed to complete schoolwork and interact success fully with peers and professors. All students will have full access to the college’s library, gym, clubs and other resources.

“FMCC is proud to partner with Transitions to provide this certificate program for their students,” said Dustin Swanger, Ed.D., president of FMCC. “We believe that education enhances everyone’s life, and receiving a validation of that education in the form of an official certificate not only provides a conclusion to any given program, it becomes a symbol of pride for the learner for years to come.”

This program is suited but not limited to students with learning differences, such as autism spectrum disorder, learning differences and ADHD. Students may attain their certificate on a full-time or part-time basis. Student apartment living with a focus on learning independent living skills is also available for full-time students.

In the two years since its creation, Transitions has already made a significant difference in the lives of dozens of young people who have enrolled in camps, events and full-year programs at its Mayfield campus. This certificate program is an opportunity to marry the immersive lessons of Transitions to FMCC’s fully integrated college environment, giving students a life-altering experience that will set them on the path to success throughout the rest of their lives.

To learn more and to apply, please visit www.transitionsusa.org, contact (518) 775-5384 or email admissions@transitionsusa.org.

Transitions Now Offering Let's Get Organized Classes

If you know a young adult who has trouble with organization, getting things done on time, handling papers or homework, and overall doing tasks that require “executive functioning,” we have a solution. Starting April 25th, we are presenting Let’s Get Organized!, a series of classes aimed at improving these skills for youth with learning differences.

What:
• Curriculum “Seeing My Time” by Marydee Sklar- visual tools for executive functioning success
• Classes cover self-assessment, organization, time management, handling papers and using a planner

Who:
• Teens or young adults ages 15-20

Where:
Transitions
2736 State Highway 30
Mayfield, NY 12117

When:
• April 25, May 2, May 9 from 5 pm to 6:30 pm. These three classes cover part of the curriculum, with more classes planned in the future

Taught by:
• Certified “Seeing My Time” instructors Erin Hollenbeck and Heidi West

Cost:
• Cost is $49 for the three classes

For more information and to register, please contact:
Terry Williams, Transitions Admissions Coordinator
(518) 775-5384 admissions@transitionsusa.org

Lexington Receives NYSARC Trust Recreation Grant

The Trustees of the NYSARC, Inc. Trust have approved a remainder fund grant of $12,500 per chapter to provide recreational opportunities for people they support. Last year the Chapter received a similar grant from NYSARC Trust Services to enhance the Encounters Social Club at Lexington. The social club brings together people in recreational venues from all over Lexington and the community to help combat isolation and provide opportunities to meet others with like interests. Approximately 60 people were served by the grant last year.

The funding this year was used by the Encounters group, the Commit club and by a group from the Lexington Family Services. A portion of this year’s funding was used by the Encounters group to continue the social activities that were started last year. Membership mixers were held as well as dinners out, dancing, football and video gaming nights. Each event offered club members a supportive venue to meet new people and experience new activities. Approximately 65 people attended the Encounters events.

The Commit club provides people with opportunities to experience outdoor recreational activities such as hiking, canoeing, snowshoeing, and fishing. The focus is on teamwork and health and wellness activities while promoting positive social interactions in the community and at home. The grant funding was used to purchase items such as snowshoes, fishing gear, and backpacks. Approximately 30 people were served through the Commit program.

Funding was also used for various recreational events for people served by Lexington’s Family Services program. Trips to Disney on Ice, movies, recreational events, the Aquarium and other venues were made possible for people who may never be afforded such an opportunity. Also provided were social skills coaching and training opportunities in a recreational setting for teens and young adults. Approximately 125 people benefited from the grant funding under the guidance of the Lexington Family Services program.

In addition, remainder fund grants totaling $1,466,000 were awarded to support NYSARC guardianship programs statewide. A total of $1,874,000 in remainder grants was awarded in 2016 to support recreation and guardianship statewide. NYSARC Trust Services administers supplemental needs trusts that enable people with disabilities to remain in their home and community while retaining Medicaid services and other government benefits. Information is available on how NYSARC Trust Services may benefit you: our website www.nysarctrustservices.org, phone 1-518-439-8323, toll free phone 1-800-735-8924 or e-mail info@nysarctrustservices.org.