Saturday, December 8, 2012

ROC the Day for The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming on 12/12/12

ROC the Day is an epic 24-hour online event that is an opportunity for you to support not-for-profit organizations like The Arc doing great work in the nine-county Greater Rochester area.

To ROC the Day for The Arc, vist us on the ROC the Day Web site between 12:00 a.m. and 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, December 12:

Need a reminder? Visit right now so you won't forget to ROC the Day!

Friday, December 7, 2012

Santa Spreads Holiday Cheer at Hilltop

Christmas came early today at The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming's Hilltop Industries program in Livingston County. 

Santa Claus visited Hilltop, which provides jobs for people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, and delivered gifts to every worker. 

Assisting Santa were members of the Morrow family, a group of "elves" who have been distributing gifts at Hilltop every Christmas for well over a decade.  One of the sisters, Cheryl Morrow, has worked at Hilltop for almost 30 years. 

This year, Cheryl and about 20 family members personally purchased and wrapped more than 480 presents. 

Santa delivered each gift with a smile and a hearty, "Ho, Ho, Ho," spreading good cheer to Cheryl's peers, many of whom spend all year anticipating this special holiday tradition.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

December 18 Blood Drive in Memory of Partick Wilcox

The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming and the American Red Cross will hold a blood drive in memory of Patrick Wilcox from noon until 5pm Tuesday, December 18th at The Arc's Lehman Building (KidStart), 5871 Groveland Station Road in Groveland.

"Patrick was a true inspiration who never allowed his disability to interfere with his dreams," says The Arc's Jevon Cassidy, who was Patrick's Service Coordinator. "Although Patrick relied on caregivers to assist him with everyday living due to his accident in high school that left him facing life as a quadriplegic, he was admirably motivated. He never allowed any setbacks to get in his way, although there were certainly many."

Patrick was a full-time student at SUNY Brockport striving to get his Master's Degree in History, with a goal of becoming a professor at this very same college. Patrick initially received his Associate’s Degree at Genesee Community College, where he graduated Cum Laude with a GPA of 3.98. In pursuit of this dream, Patrick traveled to Knoxville University in Tennessee and Niagara University as a guest speaker on the Vietnam War.

Patrick took part in a variety of community activities. He was a committed member of the Grange, Knights of Columbus, a founding member of the Education Club at Genesee Community College, and a lecturer at masses at his Catholic church. Patrick was an avid collector of frog-related memorabilia, which filled his bedroom. To Patrick, FROG stood for "Fully Rely On God," which was his personal philosophy.

Patrick passed away fighting his everyday battle, but continued to give back to the community, even in his passing. He donated his body for others who might benefit.

Those inspired by Partick's life may arrange an appointment to give blood by calling Arc Administrative Assistant Mary Tuso at 585-658-2828 or visiting Walk-ins are also welcome.

Hilltop's Pedraza, Sen. Gallivan Mark International Disabilities Day

In a ceremony attended by representatives from human services agencies and health providers throughout Wyoming County, State Senator Patrick Gallivan proclaimed Monday, December 3rd as New York's first "International Day of Persons with Disabilities."

Wyoming County Board of Supervisor Chairman
Doug Berwanger, Arc Board Treasurer Lyle Lehman,
Barney Pedraza, Arc Executive Director
Chris Peterson, and State Senator Patrick Gallivan
Accepting a signed copy of the proclamation on behalf of The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming was Hilltop Industries' Barney Pedraza, who is best known to Mount Morris shoppers as the always-helpful jack-of-all-trades at the program's Finders Keepers thrift shop.

What customers might not know is that Barney's can-do attitude extends to the world of athletics, where it has taken him to great heights on the ski slopes. In February, Barney will represent the United States during the Special Olympics World Games in South Korea, where he'll participate in various slalom events.

Sen. Gallivan congratulated Barney after sharing inspiring anecdotes about people in his own life who have faced physical or intellectual challenges with bravery, including his closest childhood friend and sister-in-law. He noted that New York's recognition of an International Day of Persons with Disabilities is part of a larger shift of community inclusion for those with varied abilities.

"We've come a long, long way," Sen. Gallivan said.

Representatives from all attending agencies

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NYSARC Grant Provides Diverse Recreational Opportunities

From a prom-style semiformal to an 8-week dance program, Halloween costume party, and a production of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," members of The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming's Enrichment and Recreation programs spent the season exploring new avenues of fun with financial help from NYSARC Trust Services.

NYSARC Trust Services is part of The Arc's state organization.  In 2012, its Trustees authorized a state-wide distribution of $250,000 in restricted grants for the exclusive purpose of funding new Chapter recreational opportunities.  The Livingston-Wyoming Chapter's share was $5,000.

"Treasure the Night"
"The grant from NYSARC Trust Services has helped to fund a whole slate of opportunities for consumers," says Cathy Sullivan, The Arc's Day, Community and Intake Services Coordinator.  "Many of the folks didn't have the opportunity to do things like these when they were in high school.  Now, they've been able to take part in dances, plays, and other activities with their friends and peers."

The Arc is a private, not-for-profit agency with various programs to benefit people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.  According to Ms. Sullivan, the NYSARC grant-funded recreational activities were open to a wide variety of consumers, including those who reside in Arc-operated homes and those who live independently in the community.
The Arc Dance Troupe

The events kicked off with "Treasure the Night," a semiformal dance held Saturday, June 16 at the Moose Lodge in Dansville, NY.  More than 110 consumers attended the dance at no cost.  Each attendee received a corsage or boutonniere, and a framed photo from the event.  Other highlights included catered food and music provided by a local disc jockey.

For consumers interested in the musical arts, The Arc's Enrichment Program offered an 8-week dance program that culminated in a performance at the Mount Morris Dam Visitors Center on Wednesday, August 22.  The Arc troupe performed interpretations of songs by Michael Jackson, Brooks and Dunn, Van McCoy, and Lady Gaga.
Spooky Halloween Fun

On Saturday, October 27, about 160 consumers headed back to the Dansville Moose Lodge for Arc Recreation's "spooktacular" Halloween costume bash.  Grant funding helped with costs associated with renting the hall, providing food, and paying the DJ.

Capping off the use of grant funding in dramatic fashion were two Saturday, November 17 performances of "A Christmas Carol" that played to standing-room-only crowds at Theatre 101 in Mount Morris, NY.  The cast featured more than 20 Arc consumers in large and small roles. 

"A Christmas Carol"
"The play was something special — and not just for the consumers, but also for all of the parents and other family members in the audience," Ms. Sullivan says.  "For many in attendance, it was their first opportunity to see their son or daughter on the stage.  It was very meaningful."

About NYSARC Trust Services
The Trustees of the NYSARC Trusts provided The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming a $5,000 grant to provide new recreational opportunities for Chapter consumers.  The Chapter used this grant to hold a dance, Halloween party, 8-week dance program, and performance of "A Christmas Carol."  The NYSARC Trusts administer supplemental needs trusts that enable disabled persons to remain in their home and community and retain their Medicaid eligible services.  The Trustees utilize remainder funds to benefit other persons with disabilities including unfunded Chapter guardianship as provided by statute.  During the last year the Trustees have granted over $900,000 to support Chapter Guardianship and $250,000 in recreational grants for the benefit of Chapter consumers.  Information on how you may benefit from a NYSARC Trust is available by calling 518-439-8323 or 1-800-735-8924 or at

Monday, November 19, 2012

Arc Breakfast with Santa is December 15

Saint Nick will pull double duty on Saturday, December 15th at The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming's "Breakfast With Santa," to be held at Geneseo United Methodist Church, 4520 Genesee Street (Route 63) in Geneseo.

The festive family event includes two sessions: children 12 and younger can dine with Santa at 8:30 am, while older kids and adults with disabilities can visit with old Kris Kringle at 10:30 am.

Both sessions will include food and drink, crafts, face-painting, caroling, and individual visits with Santa Claus.

Breakfast with Santa is free and open to the public.  Children must be accompanied by a parent or other adult guardian.  Families are encouraged to donate a non-perishable food item to benefit local families in need through The Arc's holiday food drive.

Reserve your spot by contacting Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Public Relations Coordinator Tina Sick at (585) 658-2828 or by Friday, December 7th.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Henchen Positioned For Triple Crown

SUNY Geneseo alumni and Geneseo native Bobby Henchen captured the Friday Knight 5K on the SUNY Geneseo campus last weekend.  Having also won the Oak Tree 5K earlier this month, Bobby is positioned to be the first ever triple crown winner of the Geneseo Trio, in its fourth year.  Presented by GioVanna’s Pizza and Pasta, the Geneseo Trio will wrap up Saturday morning with the running of the Ramon Rocha 5K starting at 10am at the Saint Mary’s Church in Geneseo.

The Geneseo Trio winner is determined by the male and female with the lowest combined time from all three events: Oak Tree, Friday Knight, and Ramon Rocha 5Ks.  In the male division, Bobby is the undisputed leader with two first place finishes and a combined time of 31:31, over three minutes faster than second place male Connor Lucas.  In the female division Jennifer Apple is currently in the lead by 5 minutes and 12 seconds.  Sixty six individuals are eligible to complete the Trio by finishing the Ramon Rocha this weekend.  Every Trio finisher will receive an engraved glass.

Correy Solano won the female division of the Friday Knight 5K with a time of 21:06.37.  Correy did not participate in the Oak Tree Race and is ineligible for the Geneseo Trio.  The race had 218 finishers and benefits the SUNY Geneseo Cross Country and Track and Field teams.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ramon Rocha 5K to Benefit The Arc of L-W is Sept. 29

The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming will hold its annual Ramon Rocha Run/Walk on Saturday, September 29th at St. Mary's Church, 4 Avon Road in Geneseo.  Registration and packet pick-up is scheduled for 9:00am, and the race will begin at 10:00am.

The Ramon Rocha Run/Walk is a 5K (3.1 mile) race through the scenic Village of Geneseo, with prizes awarded to overall winners, and by age group.

Participants can register at the event, or in advance by visiting or calling (585) 658-2828 ext. 133.  The cost is $20 per individual participant, or $15 per person for teams of four or more people.  The first 250 registrants will receive commemorative long-sleeved t-shirts.

All money raised will benefit The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming, a private, not-for profit agency committed to enhancing the lives of individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities in our local communities.  The event is named in memory of Ramon Rocha, a SUNY Geneseo professor and board member at The Arc.

In addition to the run, the event will feature live music by 78 RPM Big Band and food from GioVanna's Pizza & Pasta.  Additional sponsors include Relph Benefit Advisors, Once Again Nut Butter, KeyBank, Alden Pharmacy, MVP Health Care, Genesee Valley Federal Credit Union, the Rocha Family, and Fit Club 24/7 of Geneseo.  The race will be electronically timed by Yellow Jacket Racing, and it is the final event in the "Geneseo Trio" partnership of road races, following the Oak Tree 5K/Half Marathon and Friday Knight 5K.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Arc Kids' Campaign Hits $750,000

The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming has entered the final stage of its "Opening Doors to Children's Bright Futures" capital campaign, with a goal to close a $50,000 gap by the end of 2012.  Since embarking on the campaign more than a year ago, the agency has raised $750,000 toward an $800,000 goal to help pay for the Lehman School, home to its KidStart children's services program.

L-R: Arc Executive Director Chris Peterson, Board President
Cheryl Englert, Founding Mother Mary Derby, and KidStart
Director Chris Lynch, unveiling donor recognition stars
KidStart serves about 350 local children each year through special services, day care, and Head Start programs.  The Lehman Building is a 33,000 square-foot school at 5871 Groveland Station Road in Groveland.  The $4.25 million school opened in January 2011 after KidStart was displaced from its longtime home on the SUNY Geneseo campus due to planned construction by the college.

The Opening Doors campaign has received donations from 280 individuals, small businesses, corporations, foundations, and community groups, including Livingston County Head Start ($250,000), the Golisano Foundation ($50,000), Wegmans Food Markets ($25,000), and the Lewis J and Clelia M Serventi Family Foundation ($25,000).  The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Foundation, the agency's own fundraising arm, contributed $100,000 raised through community events including an annual golf tournament and 5K run.

On Wednesday, August 22, 70 people convened for a donor recognition reception at the Lehman Building.  A mosaic of stars recognizing several of the campaign's key donors was unveiled by KidStart Director Chris Lynch and Arc founding member Mary Derby in the building's lobby.

The Arc is a private, not-for-profit agency founded in 1961 to provide birth-to-death services for individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.  The Opening Doors campaign is the first capital campaign in the agency's history.  The campaign is chaired by Five Star Bank CEO Peter G. Humphrey.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

An Act of Service: Arc Recreation Participants Reunite Soldier with Family

Three local men with disabilities began their Memorial Day weekend by reuniting a US Army soldier with his North Hornell mom.

Andy Hint, Nick Kelly, and Chris Clark were Pvt. First Class Shawn Hughes' personal welcoming committee when he arrived at Buffalo Niagara International Airport on Friday afternoon, May 25th.  PFC Hughes, who is stationed at Fort Benning in Georgia, was returning to the area to see mom Paula Dieter before a tour of duty that will take him to Kuwait and Afghanistan.

When Andy, Nick, and Chris heard that transportation from Buffalo would not be immediately available for PFC Hughes, the trio intervened with the help of The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Recreation Department.

"Especially with it being Memorial Day, we felt it was wrong to leave a soldier at the airport," says Arc Recreation's Gary Buchanan, who secured an Arc van and escorted the trio on their patriotic journey.  " PFC Hughes is only home for so many days.  We felt that he should be able to spend as much time as possible with his family."

Gary is one of two full-time Recreation Department employees at The Arc, a private not-for-profit agency that serves community members with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, such as Down Syndrome and Autism.  About 100 people take part in Arc Recreation, where typical activities include baseball games, hockey, dances, and bowling.

According to Andy, the group's Memorial Day weekend trip on behalf of PFC Hughes stands out as a Recreation outing like no other.  He considers it a special act of service.

"Because of my disability, I can't serve in the military, so I find other ways to be patriotic," says Andy, who lives in Nunda with his mother.  "Just drive by my house and you'll see all of the flags that I put out myself.  Honoring servicemen makes me proud."

Chris and Nick have strong family connections to the military.  Chris' father served in Vietnam and earned a Purple Heart.  Nick's dad was an Army Sergeant in World War II, and his sister is a Marine.

"I feel that helping out PFC Hughes is important," Chris explains.  "It's a good deed for a soldier when he had no one else to do it for him."

PFC Hughes' mom couldn't agree more.

"Because of the guys from Arc Recreation, I was able to spend a little bit more time with my son," Paula says.  "As any mother of a serviceman will tell you, there is nothing more precious than that."
Paula Dieter, reunited with her son, PFC Shawn Hughes

L-R: Andy Hint, Mark Clark & Nick Kelly hold welcome home signs created by the Open Roads Day Habilitation program of The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Leadership Livingston Visits Arc's Center Street Home

Representatives of the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Livingston program visited The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming's IRA (Individualized Residential Alternative) at 62 Center Street in Geneseo on Saturday, May 19th to help residents and staff prepare gardens and plant annuals.

According to Chamber Executive Director Cynthia Oswald, the group had an especially strong bond with Carlene and Mary, who live at the house.

"We had great help from Carlene, and Mary was supervisor," Cynthia says. "A highlight was working on Mary's garden, which is in memory of her mother. The leaders have decided this will be an annual partnership! Thanks for the opportunity."

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Days of Their LIVES: Disabilities are No Obstacle for These SUNY Geneseo Grads

When college seniors Hannah Brown, Justine DeLuca, Kaleb King, and Tom Ruf walk across the Wadsworth Auditorium stage as part of the Ella Cline Shear School of Education Convocation on Friday, May 11th, they will look back on their college years as the time of their LIVES.

"We're excited because we've been working for this for the past four years, but we're nervous because we are leaving behind part of ourselves," explains Kaleb, who will earn a place in SUNY Geneseo history as a member of the first graduating class of the LIVES Program.

Tom, Justine, Hannah and Kaleb
LIVES, which stands for Learning Independence, Vocational, and Educational Skills, allows a close-knit group of students with disabilities to experience the academic and social aspects of university life while preparing for careers that fit their interests and skill sets.

Since entering the LIVES Program as freshmen, Hannah, Justine, Kaleb, and Tom have blossomed under the guidance of LIVES Teacher Danielle Everts and Life Skills Assistant Sue Sullivan, discovering and working toward career goals—and finding out that their aspirations aren't so different from their non-disabled counterparts.  Kaleb is pursuing a career as a graphic designer, Hannah will work at a school, Justine will enter the world of retail, and Tom aspires to work in a restaurant.

The LIVES Program is made up of students who are diagnosed with developmental or intellectual disabilities, such as Down Syndrome or Autism.  Upon acceptance into the program, each student participates in an individualized diagnostic assessment. Based on these assessments, and information from students regarding their individual goals and needs, a plan of study is developed.  At the end of a successful four-year term, students are awarded a Certificate of Completion at commencement.

LIVES students are routinely found auditing traditional classes, participating in tests and homework assignments, and partaking in placements that are similar to internships.  According to Justine, they live pretty typical college lives, with experiences that mirror those of their non-disabled peers.

"I was a very shy person when I first started college," she explains.  "I would have trouble talking to even one person. Now I've learned that it's okay to share how I feel.  Music really helped me to get out of my shell."

Justine's breakthrough came when she audited a dance/yoga class, where she felt comfortable expressing her creativity.  Soon, she was actively participating in all types of group presentations with her LIVES peers.  Justine's increased confidence led to a placement in the SUNY Geneseo mailroom, where she found her groove sorting and delivering mail throughout campus.

Upon graduation, Justine will put those skills to work as a clerk at Finders Keepers, a Mount Morris thrift store operated by The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit agency that provides services for individuals with disabilities.

Hannah will also find employment at a branch of The Arc, as a helper at KidStart, the agency's children's services program.  She will work there part-time after graduation while pursuing her GED and earning First Aid certifications.  At the end of the 15-month GED program, she hopes to secure a full-time job as a KidStart aide.

The LIVES Program enabled Hannah to gain experience in her chosen field through placements in the School of Education and a practicum at Geneseo Central School.  Hannah cites Geneseo Professor Annmarie Urso's Classroom Management class as an inspiration for her career pursuits.

"This is an upper division undergraduate class on how to manage a classroom," Dr. Urso explains.  "Hannah participated eagerly, was a good cooperative partner on in-class activities, and added to our class. Having a GED will open up several opportunities for her."

At 55 years old, Tom is among SUNY Geneseo's oldest graduating students.  While he aspires to work in the field of food service, the LIVES experience itself was the culmination of a lifelong dream.

"Tom's goal since I started working with him was always to go back to school," says Kathy Grant, who supervises an Arc-operated group home in Avon where Tom lives.  "Even though Tom is a non-traditional student in terms of age, he has been a committed participant these past four years.  Tom rarely misses a day of school, and he looks forward to going each and every day. I believe that being on the campus keeps his mind and body sharp."

At graduation, Tom will receive the Ella Cline Shear Hero Award, the highest award given out by SUNY Geneseo's School of Education.

Kaleb entered the LIVES Program with an aptitude for art, which he was able to refine by mastering Adobe Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, and other computer design tools.  Since joining the LIVES Program, he has illustrated political cartoons for SUNY Geneseo's student newspaper, The Lamron; his art has been displayed at the College Union Gallery; and he designed the logo that represents the LIVES Program.  His immediate post-college design ambitions include freelance work for Rochester-based Rhino's Pizzeria.

"My advice to the future LIVES students is to be true to yourself, never question the things that matter to you, and always be flexible when it comes to change," Kaleb says.

The LIVES Program strives to admit 8-10 new students each year.  The program is funded through a collaborative partnership with the college, The Arc, Genesee Valley Educational Partnership (GVEP),  and Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Services Office.  It was conceived by SUNY Geneseo Assistant Dean for Disability Services Tabitha Buggie-Hunt and Professor Elizabeth Hall, who are optimistic for the future of the program and its quartet of 2012 graduates.

"While the program is still a work in progress as I suppose all programs are, I am very pleased with the strides our students have made in the areas of academics, socialization and independence," Dr. Buggie-Hunt says.  "I am, however, most gratified and surprised by the way each student has really blossomed in his or her ability to self-advocate and make career decisions.  All of our graduates will be pursuing work that suits their interests and abilities, and we could not ask for anything better than that."

Friday, April 27, 2012

Arc Team is Well Suited for Spelling Competition

What's the latest buzz?

The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Executive Director Chris Peterson, Transportation Director John Prospero, and HR Employment Specialist Katie Tobin, collectively known as "The Arc-Hives," took home the award for "Most Flair" at the Catholic Charities of Livingston County Spelling Bee held Thursday evening, April 26th, at Geneseo Central School.

The team earned a front-row seat on the sidelines after they were stung in the second round by the word "chameleon."  But while their spelling skills bumbled for the elusive color-changing lizard, their unique fashion distinguished them as the Queen (and King) Bees of style.

Katie, John, and Chris earned the flair award for their matching team shirts and unique beehive hairdos by Arc Administrative Assistant/Stylist Mary Tuso.  And these weren't your grandmother's beehives -- they contained actual plastic bumble bees!

The spelling competition featured 22 teams.  It was won by "The New Orthographers," who represented the Department of Social Services, when the second-place "Avon Angels" failed to spell "bowdlerize," a verb meaning "to remove matter thought to be objectionable."

Arc-Hives Team Captain John Prospero vowed to return next year to bowdlerize the competition.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Arc Day Hab Puts Safety First

Deputy Phyllis Applin, of the Livingston County Sheriff's Office, presented a Community Safety Training to about two dozen participants of The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming's Day Habilitation program on Wednesday, April 25, in Mount Morris. 

Deputy Applin covered the areas of bicycle, pedestrian, and online safety.  During an intensive one-hour session, she offered advice on how to stay within the law and avoid potential dangers, and answered questions from participants. 

At the end of the program, each participant was presented with a certificate of completion signed by Deputy Applin, and a reflective safety vest that she recommended should be worn when walking, biking, or participating in other outdoor activities.  The vests were purchased with a grant from The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Foundation, the agency's fundraising arm.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Arc Scholarship Winners Embrace Individuality, Inclusion

Graduating high school seniors Rachelle Copeland and Steven Wyrosdick might not seem to have a lot in common.  They attend separate schools, play different sports, and participate in different extracurricular activities.

What they share is an outlook that embraces those differences, and a desire to apply their individual gifts to careers that support individuals with disabilities.  To help pay for their education, each was recently awarded a $2,000 scholarship by The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Foundation, the fundraising arm of The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming.

The Arc is a 501(c)(3) private not-for-profit agency dedicated to helping individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities live independently within their communities.  For Ms. Copeland, it's a cause that is close to her heart.

"My great uncle Kenny, who had Down syndrome, lived in my house from the time I was a baby until he passed away in 2010," says Ms. Copeland, of Gainesville.  "He is the biggest reason why I am going into teaching for special needs children."

Ms. Copeland is currently ranked 14th in her class at Letchworth High School, with a cumulative grade point average above 87 percent.  Her community and extracurricular activities include Wyoming County Sheriff Explorers, track, drama club, and Model U.N.  She will study special education at Houghton College beginning this fall. 

"Rachelle always treated her great uncle with the utmost respect and concern," says Kim Bockhahn, Ms. Copeland's aunt.  "Rachel was also involved in my daughter's life, who was also a special needs individual.  She would get her uncle and my daughter to play games, play catch, involve them in whatever the family was doing, and never push them away."

Ms. Copeland considers herself fortunate to have a diverse family, and recalls taking a stand on their behalf at an early age.

"A few so-called friends would not come to my house or be around me when I was with some members of my family," Ms. Copeland admits.  "One day, I finally asked why, and they said that my family consisted of 'different kinds of people.'  I simply responded that they are no different than you or me.  We are all people.  This is the motto I live by, and I love it a little more every day."

Mr. Wyrosdick, who lives in Mount Morris and attends Mount Morris Central School, has a similar point of view, which he demonstrates by example.

"Steven decided early on last year that he did not like that a new student, who has a disability, sat alone with his one-on-one aide at a lunch table.  Steven asked the student if he could join him, his aide eventually moved to a different table, and the two students have had an incredibly close relationship that has continued through this school year," says Cindy Wolfer, a Counselor at Mount Morris.  "Steven approached that lunch table on his own last year, and hasn't looked back since."

What began as a lunchtime acquaintance has blossomed into a full-fledged friendship, Mr. Wyrosdick says.

"For my last basketball game, he made me a good luck card Mr. Wyrosdick says.  "I have it in my room,  It is such an amazing feeling to know people can make a difference if they care."

Mr. Wyrosdick is ranked 8th in his class, and his cumulative grade point average is 90 percent.  He is a member of the jazz band, and a triple-threat athlete in soccer, basketball, and baseball. He plans to study occupational therapy at Keuka College, and possibly pursue a career as an OT specialist or a music therapist for people with special needs.

"Last year, a few of us in band took our instruments down to the special education rooms and taught the kids about music and each instrument," Mr. Wyrosdick says.  "I had a great time that day!  Most of the kids had never had the opportunity to play with an instrument, and loved every minute we were there.  It is a great feeling of accomplishment to see a child so interested in what I was doing."

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Service Fraternity Offers Words of Support

"Rapport" is a term that describes a relationship that is in sync or on the same wavelength. In the game of Scrabble, it's a word that is worth 11 points, plus and extra 50 for using all seven tiles — and it's awfully tough to spell without the letters APO!

In recent months, The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming has developed a valuable rapport with students in the SUNY Geneseo chapter of Alpha Phi Omega (APO), a national, co-ed service fraternity founded on the principles of developing leadership, promoting friendship and providing service.   On Tuesday, April 17th, the brothers will hold a campus-wide Scrabble tournament, with all proceeds benefiting The Arc.  They've also helped to update our membership database, and will be promoting the Ramon Rocha 5K Run/Walk on campus.

APO's primary focus is to provide volunteer service within four areas: service to the community, service to the campus, service to the fraternity, and service to the nation as participating citizens. The Alpha Beta Xi chapter at SUNY Geneseo was established in 1986.  In the last year alone, Alpha Beta Xi brothers completed over 3,000 service hours!

Many thanks to APO for building a relationship with The Arc that spells another 61-point word: S-U-C-C-E-S-S!

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Butterfly Effect

When budding artist Jaymie Wolford-Eberle heard about a recent disability awareness-themed logo contest, she welcomed the opportunity to spread her wings and fly.

Jaymie's illustration of a butterfly earned fifth place in the contest for the 24th Annual Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day, to be held May 24th at the Niagara Falls Conference Center.  To recognize her accomplishment, Jaymie's work will be displayed during the event, and she will be publicly honored alongside fellow finalists and contest winner Carrie Haas.

Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day, which is open to the public, is expected to bring together 2,000 people, including individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, human service agency representatives, and local officials, to explore current issues in the field.

Jaymie, who is 20 years old, lives with eight other individuals at the Sanford IRA, an Arc of Livingston-Wyoming operated residence in Perry, NY.  Short for Individualized Residential Alternative, an IRA offers residents with disabilities the opportunity to live independently within the community with support from a 24-hour direct care staff.

It's no surprise that Jaymie's logo features a butterfly.  The 20-year-old has great enthusiasm for animals, including butterflies, hamsters, frogs, and — of course — the Sanford IRA house cat, Fluffy.

"When our staff received the contest information, we immediately thought of Jaymie as she loves to draw," says Sanford IRA Site Supervisor Dawn Ratigan. "We went over the contest information with her and told her to draw something she loves. She brought in the picture of the butterfly, and others of a ladybug and a lion head.  She asked us what our favorite one was. We loved the butterfly!"

Jaymie also enjoys swimming, bicycling, ice skating, singing hip hop, and playing the recorder.  She currently attends The Arc's Uptown Day Habilitation program, to help develop skills needed for future employment — which may include pursuing a job at a pet store.

Some of Jaymie's artwork:
To see more of Jaymie's art, visit Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day, Thursday, May 24th at the Niagara Falls Conference Center, 101 Old Falls Street in Niagara Falls. Details are available at

Thursday, March 22, 2012

March Proclaimed Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in Livingston, Wyoming Counties

All eyes were on Pete Yendell Thursday, March 8th at Hilltop Industries' production facility in Mount Morris, as the Lima Town Supervisor delivered an official proclamation that marks March 2012 as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month in Livingston County.
L-R: Hilltop Industries Sales and Marketing Manager Rebecca Crocker, Hilltop Industries Director Kellie Kennedy, Arc Executive Director Chris Peterson, Lima Town Supervisor Pete Yendell, and the 2012 class of Leadership Livingston.
It was the first of two such presentations within the two-county service area of The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming, a 501(c)(3) private, not-for-profit agency dedicated to individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.

"The Livingston County Board of Supervisors ... urges the citizens of Livingston County to give full support to efforts towards enabling people with developmental disabilities to live full and productive lives of inclusion in our communities," Mr. Yendell said, to a roar of applause throughout the workshop floor.

Hilltop Industries is the vocational rehabilitation branch of The Arc.  The Hilltop program meets the needs of about 350 people annually through day habilitation and work programs, including community employment and workshops.  Workers at the Mount Morris facility carry out a variety of jobs, including packaging, assembly, and operation of a full service print shop.

Joining Hilltop participants for the reading of the proclamation were direct-support staff from The Arc and members of the Livingston County Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Livingston program, who toured the workshop as part of their monthly session.

At its Tuesday, March 13th meeting, the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors accepted a similar proclamation by unanimous vote.  Commenting on the recognition, Wyoming County Mental Health Director Stephen Snell stressed "genuine and heartfelt" appreciation for the seven million Americans living with disabilities, their families, and organizations such as The Arc in their focus on community inclusion.

Representing The Arc at the Wyoming County Board of Supervisors were Board Members Linda Leblond and Eric Parker, Executive Director Chris Peterson, Transportation Director John Prospero, Public Relations Director Jeff Thomas, and Public Relations Coordinator Bonnie McGoldrick.

Communities nationwide recognize March as Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month to draw attention to the needs and potential of people with developmental disabilities.  The observance has been recognized nationally since 1987, when then-President Ronald Reagan called for the American people to build understanding and encouragement, and to provide new opportunities for people who have developmental disabilities.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Arc Recreation on Deck for Red Wings-Chiefs Game

Spring has sprung, and that means baseball season is right around the corner.

Twelve men and women from The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming's Recreation Department will be off to the ballgame on Thursday, July 26th, to watch the Rochester Red Wings take on the Syracuse Chiefs at Frontier Field.

For the eighth year, the ballpark trip is made possible by The Bonadio Group, a group of accounting, business advisory, payroll, and personal
financial services entities.  "I get a lot of satisfaction from having funded this community event over the years," Bonadio Founding Partner Gerald Archibald says.

The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming is a 501(c)(3) private, not-for-profit agency that serves more than 900 adults with intellectual and other
developmental disabilities annually through an array of interconnected programs including Vocational Services, Residential Services, Children's
Services, Transportation, and Service Coordination.

When they're not enjoying peanuts, Cracker Jacks, and America's pastime at their annual baseball outing, participants in The Arc's Adult Recreation program take part in outings such as dance, horseback riding, scrap booking, and local shopping trips.

To learn more about The Arc, to volunteer, or to give to the agency, visit or call Public Relations Director Jeff Thomas at (585)658-2828 ext. 128.

Monday, March 5, 2012

A Special Birthday: "Santa's Helpers" Honored by Arc Foundation

In a tradition that has spanned well over a decade, Cheryl Morrow hand-delivers thousands of holiday gifts one-at-a-time to her friends and peers at The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming's Hilltop Industries workshop, where she works three days a week assembling instruction packets included with Crosman air guns.  In 2011 alone, Cheryl, her mother, siblings, and extended family purchased, wrapped, and distributed Christmas presents to more than 300 developmentally disabled adults who work or receive day habilitation services under the Hilltop umbrella.

The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Foundation gave back to the Morrow family Saturday evening, February 25th, during Cheryl's 50th birthday party at Leisure's Restaurant and Banquet Facility in Lakeville, by presenting them with its Hero Award.  The award is the Foundation's highest honor, recognizing local community members for enriching life for individuals with developmental disabilities.

"If you've ever wondered how Santa Claus must feel during his busiest time of the year, consider spending some time with the Morrows," said Arc Foundation President Tim McCallum.  "Year after year, their growing group of family and friends – let’s call them elves – have brought hundreds of gifts and countless smiles to Hilltop Industries, complete with all of the joy and generosity of the North Pole's most famous resident."

Hilltop Industries is a private, not-for-profit program providing gainful employment and habilitation opportunities to a diverse workforce.  Cheryl, who has Down Syndrome, has been enrolled at Hilltop since 1983.  Her holiday gift-giving tradition began quietly 15 years later, in 1998.  That year, Cheryl, her mother Fran, sister Terry, and Terry’s husband, Jeff Popp, gave about 60 gifts to their extended Hilltop "family."

In a practice that continues to this day, the Morrows personally greeted each person, wished them a Merry Christmas, and presented them with their gift.

“The best part is seeing the smiles on people’s faces, and the way that they come up to you and give you a big hug,” Fran has said.  “It’s something that you just can’t describe.”

“For some people, the Morrow Christmas, as it has become known, is a much anticipated event that they look forward to for months,” Arc Executive Director Chris Peterson added.  “I think it is one of the most gratifying things that occurs in the entire Arc.  It is done quietly, and clearly the Morrows are not seeking recognition.  Instead they just want to brighten the lives of people.”

In recent years, the Morrow's team of elves has grown to more than 20 people who contribute either time, money, or both.  In addition to Fran, Terry, Jeff, and Cheryl, those recognized by the Foundation for their efforts included Patty Morrow; Vicki, Jim , Lindsay and Lauren Jewett; Brenda Morrow; Gary, Chris and Jennifer Morrow; Donna Cottone; Dick Farrell; Jerry McCollumn; Karen Gentile; Jovon, Brian and Nolan Saunders; Joe Maggerine; Morgan Cooley; Donna Morrow; Marty Zuber; and Veronica Pinto.

Cheryl accepted the Hero Award on behalf of her family while celebrating her 50th birthday in grand style, complete with a Mardi Gras theme.  The party, which was organized by Cheryl's seven sisters and brother, drew family members from as far away as New Jersey, New Orleans, and California.  In total, about 220 people attended, including 70 of Cheryl's friends from The Arc.

"Cheryl had such a great time," said her sister Patty, who lives in Avon with Cheryl and their mom.  "She was so excited that she danced all night and only stopped when the party ended at midnight."

As she clung tightly to the crystal Hero Award, Cheryl showed no signs of slowing down in her efforts to spread joy to those around her. According to Hilltop Director Kellie Kennedy, it's that Morrow family enthusiasm that is, quite possibly, the greatest gift of all.

“It is a wonderful tradition that the Morrows have started,” she said.  “Their family really enjoys handing out the presents and the consumers are very excited to receive gifts from the family. It has become a holiday tradition that everyone looks forward to at Hilltop. For some of our people, the Morrow's gifts are the only gifts they receive, and they are very meaningful.”

Monday, February 13, 2012

Wine Card for Your Sweetheart will Benefit The Arc, Too!

Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, so remember your sweetheart with a 2012 Wine Travel Card!  Cards are only $15 each and are available now in the The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Public Relations office at 18 Main Street, Mt. Morris.

This year's card includes all new attractions and destinations. You can wine, dine, shop, play and stay throughout the Finger Lakes and Niagara Region, while enjoying exclusive discounts on all of your purchases!  

Imagine saving up to 20% off your wine purchases, receiving FREE wine tastings, saving $20 off your hotel room bill, enjoying a FREE dessert with your entree and more. The savings are endless and they are all yours until the end of 2012.

Check out this list of participating wineries, cheeseries, restaurants, hotels, and attractions!

Interested?  Contact Bonnie McGoldrick at (585)658-2828 ext. 108 or  If paying by check, please make it out to: The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming.  A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Opening Doors Capital Campaign for KidStart.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Two $2,000 Student Scholarships Available through The Arc Foundation

The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Foundation will once again celebrate the commitment of young people toward friends and neighbors with disabilities by awarding scholarships of up to $2,000 each to two graduating high school seniors.

Scholarships will be awarded to one college-bound student each from Livingston and Wyoming Counties. To be eligible, he or she must pursue a career choice leading directly to working with people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, such as: teacher of special education, occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech pathology, art therapy, music therapy, or training in the direct care field.

Deadline for applications is Thursday, March 1st, so interested students should apply now.  Click here for an application, or visit your high school guidance office.

The amount of each scholarship will be a maximum of $2,000, payable in $500 amounts annually.  Students initially attending a 2-year school would be eligible to continue to receive the annual scholarship if they can verify participation in an appropriate program at a 4-year college or university.  Recipients of the scholarship will be responsible for notifying The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming annually of their continuation in an appropriate course of study.

Scholarship recipients will be chosen at the March meeting of The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Foundation, and notified by Monday, March 19th.  Winners will be formally acknowledged during a short ceremony at The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Annual Dinner to be held Friday, June 1st in Warsaw, New York.

Scholarships are made possible by The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Foundation, which is the fundraising arm of The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming. The foundation is a not-for-profit corporation dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for community members with disabilities and their families. It has been granting scholarships since 1994. In addition to awarding student scholarships, the foundation funds such purchases as adaptive equipment and camp scholarships for people with disabilities.

The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming is the two-county region’s largest private, not-for-profit organization that serves people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities. Its programs include Children's, Vocational, Residential, Community and Transportation Services. Founded in 1961, it is a local chapter of the state-wide organization NYSARC. The local agency employs approximately 600 people throughout Livingston and Wyoming Counties.

Monday, January 9, 2012

"Finders Keepers Times" Newsletter

Coupon and specials for Finders Keepers thrift store, January-February 2012.

Angie and Barney, sorting items at Finders Keepers
Happy 2012 from Finders Keepers, your neighborhood thrift store located at 86 Main Street in Mount Morris, NY.  Our New Year's resolution is simple: continue to offer the best prices and service, while providing meaningful work opportunities for individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.  Stop by our spacious showroom this January and February to take advantage of the following specials, and explore other great deals on furniture, clothes, books, electronics, and more.

25 percent off all winter coats and sweaters
When the weather outside is frightful, you'll feel delightful in cozy coats and sweaters from Finders Keepers.  For an added feeling of warmth, we've discounted them all by 25 percent for the rest of the chilly season.  There's is no better time than the present to visit Finders Keepers for super savings on your winter gear—so stop in, and bundle up on great deals! 

Valentine's Day sale February 14th 
Have a heart, don't forget your sweetheart! Finders Keepers has an extensive selection of jewelry, books, stuffed animals, and more. You don't need a big pocketbook, just a whole lotta love—at Finders Keepers, you just might find that "perfect something" for $5 or less!  Special bonus: On Tuesday, February 14th, you'll pick a heart to receive an additional discount of 10%-50% off your total sale, excluding furniture.

Tag! You're it! 
At Finders Keepers, "tag" isn't a children's game; it's your key to grown-up savings every day. Take a look the generous inventory spread across our store.  Now look closer; most items are marked with a colored tags—and those tags can mean big savings for you and your family.  Each month, we choose a new color for our half-off colored tag sale, and every item that's tagged with that color is discounted 50 percent from our already rock-bottom prices.  The discount applies until the item is sold.  When you play tag at Finders Keepers, you're always a winner! 

Star spangled savings 
The savings will be monumental during Finders Keepers' Presidents Day Blowout.  Drop by our store on Monday, February 20th to receive the presidential treatment: half-off all winter clothing, including coats, sweaters, hats, gloves, and scarves. 

Take a look around
Now that you've read about some of our specials, it's time to check out the inventory.  Click the images below for a closer look at what's in store for you at Finders Keepers.

Coupon club 
Be sure to print out a coupon to receive extra savings on top of Finders Keepers already low, low prices.  Redeem this coupon for 25 percent off on item throughout the months of January and February.  Limit one coupon per customer. 


86 Main Street • Mount Morris, NY 14510
Phone: (585) 658-2358 •

Visit our shop in beautiful Mt. Morris, and be sure to check out our newly decorated windows!
Store Hours
Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat: 10 - 5
Thu: 10 - 6
About us
Finders Keepers is operated by The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming, a 501(c)(3) private, not-for-profit agency that serves people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities.  The proceeds from all sales benefit people served by the agency.

To subscribe or unsubscribe to the Finders Keepers Times newsletter, contact Sally Urbonas at   Please spread the word by sharing this newsletter to friends and associates.