The March Family Connections calendar is here! We hope you can join us for one or more of these exciting events!
Andrew was one of only 12 students who received the prestigious international award. The presentation took place this morning at CEC’s annual Special Education Convention & Expo in Tampa.
Andrew, who is affected by Autism, attends Lexington’s renowned Transitions program and is studying communications at Fulton-Montgomery Community College. He enrolled in Transitions after graduating from Gloversville High School in 2015. Andrew says Transitions is helping him learn a variety of skills to prepare for independent living, including organizational skills, managing money, cooking and social skills.
His success in the program earned him the “Yes I Can” award.
“So many things are different now. I have more friends than I ever had in high school,” Andrew said. “I have improved my social life and can talk to people with confidence, use the bus, and go to professors for help if I need it. Autism doesn’t define who I am or who I will be. I have so much more to look forward to in my life and I am only 20. I can’t wait to see what is next for me.”
CEC is a professional association of educators dedicated to advancing the educational success of children and youth with exceptionalities. The “Yes I Can” program recognizes the accomplishments of students with exceptionalities in six categories: academics, arts, school and community activities, self-advocacy, technology, and transition. Andrew’s award is in the transition category.
Andrew has had an enriching experience since arriving at Transitions in 2015. In July of 2016, he joined Lexington’s immensely popular band Flame as a vocalist after he was overheard singing in the hallway at Transitions. The group is made up of people with disabilities and has played on world stages, last traveling to Carpi, Italy, in May 2017 to perform at the 19th International Festival of Different Abilities.
“We are so proud of him, as we are with all of our students. Everything changed when Andrew enrolled in Transitions,” said Lexington Executive Director Shaloni Winston. “After just a few weeks in this post-secondary program for young adults with learning differences, Andrew embraced the curriculum and gained a wealth of new skills. Through self-advocacy and leadership classes, he learned how to speak up for himself, advocate for his needs, set long-term goals and identify the steps he needs to take to accomplish those goals. He is a true success story. We can’t wait to welcome him home.”
The band Flame will celebrate the release of their new album, “Christmas Classics,” on Thursday, December 7, with a CD Release Party. The party will take place 6-7:30 p.m. at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts, 2736 State Highway 30, Gloversville. There is no cost for admission.
At the party, Flame will perform songs from their new album. Attendees will be the first to have the chance to purchase “Christmas Classics” at a one-time special price of $10. There will also be snacks, raffles, autograph opportunities and more.
Flame recorded “Christmas Classics” in April at SUNY Schenectady County Community College’s (SCCC) School of Music’s Vianna-Brignola Recording Studio. Hailey Lozier, at the time a Music Audio Technology major at SCCC and intern with the band, acted as lead engineer under the direction of Sten Isachsen, assistant professor in the SCCC School of Music. The album’s six-song track listing includes classics such as “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” “Run, Run Rudolph,” “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” “Santa Baby” and “Where Are You Christmas” as well as the original song “Wide Awake.”
This is Flame’s sixth album and second Christmas album. “Christmas Classics” and the rest of Flame’s discography are available for purchase at the Nigra Arts Center’s gift shop and online at www.flametheband.com. It is also available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon and CD Baby and for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon and Napster.
Flame is a ten-piece band comprised entirely of musicians who happen to have disabilities. They formed in 2003 at a talent show put on by Lexington, a chapter of The Arc New York. Flame has a repertoire of more than 100 classic rock, pop, country and blues songs from the past 50 years as well as some original tracks. In the past 14 years, they have produced six albums and a single. They tour the northeastern United States in a custom bus and play more than 70 shows per year. Some of the biggest venues they have played include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the House of Blues in Cleveland, New York City’s Apollo Theater, Harvard Law School, the Greek Ministry of Education building in Athens, Greece, the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho, and the 19th International Festival of Different Abilities in Carpi, Italy. Flame has received press from Good Morning America, People magazine, Metroland magazine and the Daily Mainichi News in Tokyo, Japan.
Local artists Richard Freeman and Francis Dempsey were selected into the Arkell Museum and Canajoharie Library’s 2017 The Art of New York: Annual Juried Art Show. Freeman is exhibiting “Silver Dollars,” a mixed media piece, and Dempsey is exhibiting “Cosmic Pool,” an acrylic and silicone painting.
Both artists have honed their skills through classes at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts and the Creative Expressions program at Lexington, a chapter of The Arc New York, through which they have already participated in many other local exhibitions, won awards and sold their art. The Nigra Arts Center is an organization that hosts art exhibitions, special events, concerts, programming for children and classes in every type of art media. Lexington founded the center in 2015 to help bring the community together and support people to achieve success and fulfillment through the arts.
Each year, artists living in New York State are invited to submit entries to The Art of New York: Annual Juried Art Show hosted by the Arkell Museum and Canajoharie Library. The show is open to artists working in any media. The 2017 show, juried by Ann Larsen, artist, teacher and past president of American Women Artists, will be on exhibit from November 3rd, 2017 through January 3rd, 2018 in the Regional Art Galleries. The Art of New York exhibit features work from artists from across New York. It will be on display through January 3 at the Arkell Museum and the Canajoharie Library at 2 Erie Boulevard, Canajoharie, NY. For more information, visit www.arkellmuseum.org or call (518) 673-2314.
Flame, a ten-piece band comprised entirely of musicians who happen to have disabilities, will join four other community bands to perform at a radiothon to benefit hurricane victims in Puerto Rico on Thursday, November 30. Flame formed in Gloversville in 2003 at a talent show put on by Lexington, a chapter of The Arc New York.
This concert is part of the LIVE-AID: Fulmont for Puerto Rico Taste of the Mohawk Valley and Hurricane Relief Concert at Amsterdam High School, 140 Saratoga Avenue, Amsterdam, NY. Since the community has many direct connections to the areas of Puerto Rico affected by Hurricane Maria, this event is bringing together local businesses, organizations and acts to collect much-needed donations and supplies to assist the relief effort. The evening of food, fun, silent auctions, raffles and live music begins at 5 p.m. with Taste of the Mohawk Valley, a family-friendly event that showcases the food of the region. A variety of vendors will present samples of a wide variety of food favorites.
The Hurricane Relief Concert begins at 7 p.m. In addition to Flame, other artists to take the stage include Skeeter Creek, Bronte Roman, Louie and Lisa Velez, and MedRock. Together, they are all preparing an evening of music filled with heart, soul and everything they can give to help and heal.
Tickets to the event cost $15-$25 and may be purchased at www.liveaid.eventbrite.com.
Flame has a repertoire of more than 100 classic rock, pop, country and blues songs from the past 50 years as well as some original tracks. In the past 14 years, they have produced six albums and a single. They tour the northeastern United States in a custom bus and play more than 70 shows per year. Some of the biggest venues they have played include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the House of Blues in Cleveland, New York City’s Apollo Theater, Harvard Law School, the Greek Ministry of Education building in Athens, Greece, the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho, and the 19th International Festival of Different Abilities in Carpi, Italy. Flame has received press from Good Morning America, People magazine, Metroland magazine and the Daily Mainichi News in Tokyo, Japan.
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, 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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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 email@example.com.
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 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.
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.
Governor Cuomo declares September 10-17 Direct Support Professionals Week in New York State!
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.
“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.
Lexington - Fulton County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc., was proud to join John Robinson, CEO of Our Ability, Inc., on July 5, Day 9 of his fifth annual Journey Along the Erie Canal. Riders from Lexington have participated in a portion of this event every year, and their group has grown each year. This time, 25 riders and support team members from Lexington biked more than 34 miles from Little Falls to Amsterdam. They raised $250 to support the efforts of Our Ability.
The Journey Along the Erie Canal is 12-day bike ride along the Erie Canalway that aims to increase awareness for the benefit of employment for all New Yorkers, promote Our Ability’s New York Business Leadership Network, a coalition among businesses in New York State interested in hiring people with disabilities and supporting businesses owned by people with disabilities, and raise funds toward building employment opportunities and empowering people with disabilities. The 2017 Journey also celebrated the Bicentennial of the Erie Canal.
Our Ability is a business dedicated to building employment opportunities through job platforms, employment webinars, a digital profile system and personal empowerment. Robinson is a 2014 White House Champion of Change and the author of “Get Off Your Knees: A Story of Faith, Courage, and Determination.” For more information, visit www.ourability.com.
Lexington, a not-for-profit organization supporting people with disabilities in Fulton County, has been awarded $28,500 in grants from the Trustee management Board of NYSARC Trust Services to support Lexington’s guardianship and 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 2017, NYSARC Trust Services is proud to fulfill its commitment to enhancing the lives of people with disabilities by awarding a total of $2,793,500 in grants to NYSARC Chapters statewide.
This year, Lexington received $28,500 to provide guardianship services for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who would not otherwise have a legal guardian or advocate. Supported by Chapter staff and community volunteers, the Lexington Guardianship program currently provides guardianship supports and services to five people and is ready to assist three more as a Standby or Alternate Standby guardian.
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 us online www.nysarctrustservices.org.
Lexington is pleased to announce that it has been named one of the Best Companies to Work for in New York State for 2017. It was recognized for this honor at a public awards dinner at the Hilton Albany on Wednesday, April 19. Lexington ranked among the top companies in the category for large employers with 250 or more employees.
It is featured in a special publication profiling all 70 winning businessesfrom across New York State and what makes them unique employers. The agency is honored to be recognized for one of the things that matters most to it: creating a welcoming and nurturing environment in which its valued employees can thrive.
“We are grateful to our employees whose work each day makes a difference in the lives of the men and women we support. They made this award possible and we are proud of each of them and their commitment to Lexington,” said Shaloni Winston, Executive Director of Lexington, Fulton County Chapter, NYSARC, Inc.
Lexington relies on more than 1,700 full-and part-time employees to fulfill its mission of providing the best possible supports to children and adults with disabilities and their families, as well as to contribute to the community through volunteering, fundraising and patronizing local businesses. Lexington serves nearly 1,000 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, mental illness, cerebral palsy, physical disabilities, epilepsy, traumatic brain injuries and more, in Fulton and Albany counties. Though their jobs are not always easy, each Lexington employee is fully dedicated to helping the individuals they support lead fulfilling lives.
Lexington works hard to create a supportive and nurturing environment for everyone who walks in the door. Their Nurturing Environment Program, which promotes quality, ownership, relationships, support and communication, sets a high standard for excellence not only in the care of the individuals they support, but also in employee morale and workplace improvement. Lexington promotes an open door policy, transparency and open lines of communication so each employee knows they are supported professionally and personally.
In an agency of Lexington’s size, it can be difficult to connect with all the employees on a personal level. To help ensure that connection, Lexington offers a wide variety of benefits, opportunities and special events that encourage its employees to build a community around working together and having fun. Lexington is enormously grateful that its employees choose to work for them, so it prioritizes letting them know how much their time and talent is appreciated every day.
It is Lexington’s pleasure to provide such welcoming and supportive atmosphere for the people it supports and its employees, and it is an honor to be considered alongside so many other fantastic businesses across the state. The 2017 Best Companies to Work for in New York State awards is a partnership of the New York State Council of the Society for Human Resource Management, The Business Council of New York, Best Companies Group and BridgeTower Media. For more information on the Best Companies to Work for in New York State program, including the entire list of winning companies, please visit www.BestCompaniesNY.com.
The Best Companies to Work for in New York State awards are celebrating 10 years of recognizing the best employers in the state. This distinctive program evaluates and ranks the best places of employment based on employee satisfaction and engagement, as well as workplace practices and policies.
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.
• 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
• Teens or young adults ages 15-20
2736 State Highway 30
Mayfield, NY 12117
• 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
• Certified “Seeing My Time” instructors Erin Hollenbeck and Heidi West
• Cost is $49 for the three classes
For more information and to register, please contact:
Terry Williams, Transitions Admissions Coordinator
(518) 775-5384 firstname.lastname@example.org
Flame, Lexington’s world-renowned rock band, will be a featured act at the 19th International Festival of Different Abilities in Carpi, Italy. They will perform at the Teatro Comunale, a beautiful mid-19th century neoclassical theater, on May 30. Flame was invited to play after a representative of Cooperativa Sociale Nazareno, an Italian cooperative that supports people with mental and physical differences, saw videos of Flame’s performances on YouTube.
“Going to Italy has always been a dream of mine,” said David LaGrange, Flame’s drummer, “so being able to go there and share our music is the most exciting thing that’s ever happened to me.”
Cooperativa Sociale Nazareno organizes and promotes the International Festival of Different Abilities every year to highlight the excellence and uniqueness of people with disabilities. The main purpose of the festival is to express the founding philosophy of Cooperativa Sociale Nazareno, which is that it is always possible to pursue excellence no matter what someone’s physical or mental differences are.
“The point of my job as manager of this project is to show how incredible people with difficulties are, and that their abilities can be a huge resource for everybody,” said Carlotta Sabbatini of Cooperativa Sociale Nazareno.
Cooperativa Sociale Nazareno sees art as both a goal to achieve and a means to attain excellence. Through art, people have the opportunity to reach self-actualization. The festival features dance, music, theater performances, film screenings, art exhibitions, workshops, conventions and more.
This year’s theme is “Impossible but visible.” “We are honored to have Flame representing us at this special event,” said Shaloni Winston, executive director of Lexington. “Everyone at Lexington is so proud of Flame’s talent and the message of inspiration they convey. We thank the people at Cooperativa Sociale Nazareno for their invitation and the opportunity to represent talented, hardworking people with differences at an international level.”
Flame is a ten-piece band comprised entirely of musicians who happen to have disabilities. They formed in Gloversville in 2003. Flame has a repertoire of more than 100 classic rock, pop, country and blues songs from the past 50 years as well as some original tracks. In the past 14 years, they have produced five albums and a single. They tour the northeastern United States in a custom bus and play more than 70 shows per year. Some of the biggest venues they have played include the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the House of Blues in Cleveland, New York City’s Apollo Theater, Harvard Law School, the Greek Ministry of Education building in Athens, Greece, and the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games in Boise, Idaho. Flame has received press from Good Morning America, People magazine, Metroland magazine and the Daily Mainichi News in Tokyo, Japan.
For more information about Flame, please contact Maria Nestle at (518) 661-9932, ext.164, or email@example.com. Lexington, a Chapter of NYSARC, Inc., is a private, not-for-profit agency providing a wide range of services to adults and children who are disabled in Fulton and Albany Counties.
To celebrate National Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Flame, Lexington’s world-renowned rock band, will perform a “Rock for Abilities” concert on March 31, 2017. It will be held at Lexington’s Gloversville facility located at 127 East State Street from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. Tickets cost $5.00 each and are available at Lexington’s Johnstown, Gloversville and Oppenheim locations, the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts, the Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce and Mohawk Harvest Cooperative Market. 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. This concert is part of the Lexington Gives Back initiative and all donated non-perishable food items will benefit local food pantries. Previous concerts have collected hundreds of pounds of non-perishable food items. Hundreds of Lexington employees, program participants and family members have helped make the projects such a success. Lexington participates in fundraising and food collection throughout the year to benefit a variety of community agencies.
The proceeds from the concert will go to fund Flame’s new recording studio at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts, a year-round arts center that provides classes, exhibitions, entertainment and special events to people of all ages and abilities. The arts center serves as Flame’s “home base.” Money from the concert will go toward buying new instruments and equipment and recording new music at the studio. To accompany the concert, Lexington is sponsoring a poster contest about attitudes toward people with disabilities. The contest is open to students at Fulton County elementary, middle and high school students.
Winners will have their work displayed at the Paul Nigra Center for Creative Arts’ Fulton Montgomery Counties Art Show, which runs May 5 to June 5.
For more information about the concert or the poster contest, please contact Maria Nestle, Flame’s manager, at (518) 661-9932, ext. 164 or firstname.lastname@example.org.