Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Cheryl Englert Named NYSARC Volunteer of the Year

Cheryl Englert accepts the NYSARC Volunteer of the Year Award, with Marcy VanZandt and Chris Peterson

Cheryl Englert, a 35-year member of The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Board of Directors, has received the prestigious Volunteer of the Year award from NYSARC, Inc., America's largest organization supporting people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities (IDD). 

Cheryl Englert
"When you think of Cheryl Englert, you think The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming," says Arc Board President Marcy VanZandt, of Castile.  "I first met Sherry at a parent meeting in 1998 while looking for occupational and residential opportunities for my daughter, Casey.  We struck up a friendship then, and she has been a mentor to me ever since."

Mrs. Englert's son, Matt, has been enrolled at The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming since early childhood, when he was among the first children in the agency's fledgling children's services program known today as KidStart.  Today, Matt is 38 years old, lives in an Arc-operated home in Dansville, and participates in day programs at The Arc.

A Teacher of Special Education at Genesee Valley Educational Partnership, Mrs. Englert has held every officer position on The Arc Board during her volunteer career.  At the state level, she has served on the NYSARC Board of Governors since 1985.

"Being the parent of a son with a developmental disability has provided me with motivation to not only help people with IDD, but to also assist numerous families over the years to guide them to system supports," says Mrs. Englert, who lives in Wayland with her husband, Fred.

Mrs. Englert's track record speaks for itself, according to her peers on The Arc Board of Directors.

“Cheryl Englert epitomizes the word ‘volunteer’,” says Board Vice President Linda Unger, of Geneseo.  “She devotes every waking moment that she is not spending as a special education teacher to chairing committees, and providing leadership and advocacy for the individuals and staff of The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming.  She provides a constant and positive presence at nearly all Arc events as not only a volunteer but as a cheerleader, encouraging everyone to enjoy the moment and always do their best.   Sherry, or ‘Matt's Mom‘ as she is well known by everyone, has truly devoted and dedicated her life to making a better life for her son Matt and all the people served by The Arc.”

Cheryl Englert and family
"I have known Sherry for many years in her various roles as a special educator, parent of a son with developmental disabilities, and committee and Board member,” adds fellow Arc Board member and parent Diane Armbruster, of Geneseo.  “She is dedicated, persistent, and untiring in her efforts toward a better life for individuals with disabilities.  Sherry is really everywhere throughout our agency, and I can't imagine there could be many to rival how much of her life in time and effort she has devoted to The Arc."

In addition to serving on The Arc Board of Directors, Mrs. Englert is secretary of the separate Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Foundation Board.  The Foundation is the hands-on fundraising arm of The Arc, generating money through events such as the annual Friends “Fore” Life golf tournament, Ramon Rocha 5K Run/Walk, and Harvest Fest, and distributing it to support services that maintain and enhance the quality of life for individuals with disabilities and their families.

“I have had the good fortune to serve on many boards in my lifetime.  Without exception, Sherry has been a role model for me in my actions and performances in these other organizations.  She epitomizes volunteerism in every sense,” says Arc Foundation Board President Tim McCallum, of Perry.

The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming is a parent-founded 501(c)(3) not-for-profit agency that enhances the lives of more than 800 individuals with IDD annually, who rely on Arc residential, vocational, KidStart, transportation, and community programs.  As America's largest organization of its kind, NYSARC, Inc. supports more than 60,000 individuals with IDD through 54 chapters across New York State.

Mrs. Englert received her award at the 65th annual NYSARC convention, held October 17th in Albany.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Arc Enrichment Players Follow the Yellow Brick Road
Front (L-R): Theatre staff Caitlin Barry, Julie Covey, Casey VanZandt, Patty Thorne, Hannah Brown, Justine Deluca, Mark Hathaway, Billy Driscoll, Maurice Maynard, theatre staff Cathie Barry. Middle (L-R):  Theatre staff Rick Barry, Joe Wright, Arc staff Gloria Soto, Mary Budrewicz, Kim Deiter, Matt Klein, John Woods.  Back (L-R):  Gary Hayes, Bethany Koslicki, Robert Maplesden, Lisa Irwin, Miranda Snyder.  Not pictured:  Heather Bump, Charles Parker.

They’re off to see the Wizard, thanks in part to a generous grant from NYSARC, The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming’s state organization.

Financing for The Arc Enrichment Program’s upcoming musical journey to the Emerald City is being provided by NYSARC Trust Services.

Earlier this year, the NYSARC Trust Services Board approved a remainder fund grant of $10,000 per NYSARC chapter to provide recreational opportunities for people they support. According to Coordinator of Day, Community & Intake Services Cathy Sullivan, the money was enough for a round-trip “over the rainbow” -- and then some!

Approximately $2,000 of the grant will be used to offset the costs associated with producing two performances of “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz,” scheduled for 2:00pm and 5:00pm Saturday, November 15th at Theatre 101, located at 101 Main Street in Mount Morris. The remaining $8,000 was used to help fund a six dances, a Halloween bash attended by 175 people and the recent Hilltop picnic.

But while NYSARC Trust Services paved a financial yellow brick road for their trip to Oz, the journey has also required courage, brains, and an awful lot of heart by all involved -- from the on-stage movers, shakers, and munchkins to behind-the-scenes talent.

“The best part of doing a show with The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming every fall is the joy they bring to us,” says Cathie Barry, co-owner of Theatre 101. “They are the most willing, most caring, forgiving, loving people on Earth, and the most fun! This is our favorite annual event; we look forward to it every year.”

Cathie and her husband, Rick, have produced three previous shows featuring Arc talent, including a production of Truman Capote’s “The Thanksgiving Visitor,” Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol,” and an original production called “America US.” For their involvement, the couple was recently honored with a 2014 Arc Foundation Hero Award.

Their close familiarity with the core group of men and women in The Arc Enrichment Program made “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” an easy pick as this year’s production.

“We looked around the class last fall and saw characters from The Wizard of Oz,” Cathie says. “We knew they would love working on it and presenting it to family and friends.”

Justine Deluca as Dorothy
… and her little dog, too!
Primary cast members include Justine Deluca as Dorothy, Mark Hathaway as the Tin Man, Billy Driscoll as the Scarecrow, Maurice Maynard as the Not-So-Cowardly Lion, Robert Maplesden as the Wizard, Patty Thorne as the Wicked Witch, and Hannah Brown as Glinda the Good Witch.

“I’m looking forward to the show,” says Hannah, who is a veteran of past Enrichment Group performances. “(Cathie and Rick) make it fun for people at all skill levels, and we get to try new things with each performance. I felt a little bit of stage fright when I had a lead role in ‘The Thanksgiving visitor,’ but I’m pretty relaxed this time.”

To join Hannah and the rest of the Enrichment crew for their trip to Oz, tap your ruby slippers together three times and call PR Director Jeff Thomas at 585-658-2828 ext. 128 for ticketing information.

About NYSARC Trust Services Funding
Last year The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming received a similar grant from NYSARC Trust Services to offset the costs of Valentine's, St. Patrick's Day, Halloween, and Semi-formal dances, as well as a Bowling Banquet for individuals with disabilities throughout its service area.  On average, 110 people were in attendance at each event.

In addition, remainder fund grants totally $1,660,500 were awarded to support NYSARC guardianship programs statewide.  A total of $2,207,880 in remainder grants were awarded in 2014 to support recreation and guardianship statewide.  NYSARC Trust Services administers supplemental needs trusts that enable people with disabilities to remain in their home and community while retaining Medicaid services and other government benefits.   Information is available on how NYSARC Trust Services may benefit you:  their website , phone 1-518-439-8323, toll free phone 1-800-735-8924 or e-mail 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

A Parent's Appeal: Speak Up For Our Families @ 10/6 Meeting

Hello families, friends, and professionals:

Karen Duboy and family
I would like to thank everyone who was able to make our second family advocacy group meeting held last week, and invite all of you to our next meeting at 7:00pm Monday, November 17 at Hilltop, 3 East State Street in Mount Morris.

It is so exciting to hear from people with the same passion when it comes to making sure our individuals with special needs are living happy, productive, and loving lives.  We must stand tall, stick together, and speak strong to continue the programs our loved ones want and need, and not let others who do not have any clue tell us they know what is best.

Please try to attend the Community Dialogue Video Conference being held 3:00-6:00pm Monday, October 6 at the DDSO office, 129 Main Street in Leicester. This will give you a chance to tell OPWDD your thoughts on the current issue of shutting down the workshop at The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming. I personally feel this is only the beginning of huge changes in other programs.  This shutdown will have a ripple effect to future programs.  So now is the time for all of us to tell Albany our thoughts. 

Please come, even if you have to arrive late or leave early.  Don't be afraid or intimidated by this process; it is just a community meeting, where concerned family members like you and I can freely express our views to the NYS agency.  I attended the one last fall and will be at this one.  This is your forum to contribute to the cause!

If you want any other information, please feel free to call me at 786-5806 (home), email me at, or call Jeff Thomas at 658-2828 or Kellie Kennedy at 658-3311.

Karen Duboy
Parent / Family Advocacy Group Chairperson

Harvest Fest Fundraiser to Serve Up Food, Family Fun October 15th

Tickets are on sale now for "Harvest Fest: A Celebration of Food from Field to Table," 5:30-7:30pm Wednesday, October 15 at the American Legion Hall in Warsaw Village Park. Admission is $10 per person, or $25 for a family of four, and includes food tasting, local products, children's activities, raffles, and more. 

Now in its third year, Harvest Fest will spotlight a wide variety of delicious food tasting items prepared by local chefs, utilizing fresh produce and ingredients from local growers. All proceeds will benefit The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming and the Wyoming County Business Education Council (BEC).  The Arc provides services to developmentally disabled individuals and their families in Livingston and Wyoming Counties. The BEC assists local youth in becoming productive workers, lifelong learners, and better prepared for career choices.

"(Harvest Fest) is a way to celebrate our local growers, our great local chefs and restaurants, and create a social opportunity to get reconnected with members of the Wyoming County community in a farm-market, family atmosphere," says BEC Executive Director Linda Leblond, one of the event coordinators.

Vendors are constantly being added.  Among those already booked are The Abbey of the Genesee, The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming Wellness Committee, Arts Council for Wyoming County, Burlingham Books, Byrnclifff Resort & Conference Center, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Wyoming County, Deer Run Winery, Fidelis Care, Golden Oaks Foods, Gordon & Karen Almeter, Kramell's Meat Market and Barbeque, Once Again Nut Butter, Pioneer FFA, Sage Family Maple, Sick's Acres Farm, Wegmans, and the Wyoming County Dairy Princess.

"Something that differentiates us from other events is our focus on a family atmosphere," says Jeff Thomas, Public Relations Director for The Arc.  "The Harvest Fest experience goes far beyond food tasting.  For example, Burlingham Books will oversee a children's area, with a focus on fun literacy-based activities.  Fidelis Care is also offering arts and crafts.  Most importantly, we keep the tickets very affordable.  We are proud that families who attend our event get a lot for their dollar."

To reserve tickets, visit, or call 658-2828 x133 (The Arc) or 237-3010 (BEC).  Tickets are also available at M&T Bank’s Perry, Silver Springs, and Nunda locations.

Harvest Fest is made possible in part by a generous contribution from M&T Bank. Additional financial support is being provided by Farm Credit East and Genesee Valley Federal Credit Union.