Combining Creativity, Collaboration & Community Support
Front Cover: “Sunrise Mosaic” Joyce Mosher Joyce is a participant in Living Resources’ Brain Injury Program. She created this mosaic in a class offered by Living Resources’ Arts Program.
300 Washington Avenue Extension Albany, NY 12203-7303 (518) 218-0000
For 40 years, Living Resources has been a trusted and widely recognized disability service organization. Since 1974, we have been providing world class services to individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and to senior citizens facing impairments associated with aging.
We hope you enjoy meeting the people who share their experiences in this book. They are among the 1,200 individuals the dedicated Living Resources staff work with each and every day throughout a 10-county region. With the help of Living Resources, some now earn a paycheck in their home communities; some are college students with physical and intellectual disabilities, now engaged in campus life and enjoying the thrill of learning in the college classroom; some are recent active military with brain injuries, learning how to reimagine and create new lives post-injury. Accomplishments all achieved by partnering individuals, family members, staff, and community collaborators to assist and encourage people of all ages and abilities.
“It’s a great experience, living on my own!”
RESIDENTIAL SERVICES Transitions Program
~Denise At her own apartment
The Transitions Program, a part of Living Resources’ Residential Services, assists College Experience Program (CEP) graduates to smoothly transition to independent living.
Participants in the Transitions Program reside in supportive apartments in Albany, where they apply the skills that they learned in the CEP to live independently or with a friend. CEP staff continues to provide support to residents in the form of money management, nutrition and meal planning, use of public transportation, and household maintenance. Program participants also receive employment coaching and support; Denise, a 2011 graduate of the CEP who has been living in an apartment for two years, has worked at Teresian House Center for the Elderly as a dietary aide since March of 2013. Thanks to Denise’s excellent job performance, her employer recently gave her new responsibilities, changing her title to “dietary aide and neighborhood assistant.” “Before the Transitions Program, I used to ask myself, ‘where will I be in 10 or 15 years?’,” said Denise. “I never thought I’d have the opportunity to have my own apartment… I feel so fortunate and blessed!” For more information about Residential Services, contact Jennifer Richard at (518) 218-0000, ext. 5537 or jrichard@LivingResources.org Andrea Taichnar at (518) 218-0000, ext. 4334 or ataichnar@LivingResources.org
“I'm really happy with the interpreters through Living Resources.”
~Mary, Deaf Services client
Living Resources’ Deaf Services provides professional American Sign Language (ASL) interpretation for all Deaf, hearing-impaired, and hearing clients anywhere that communication between Deaf and hearing clients is necessary.
For individuals who are Deaf or hearing-impaired, communication with hearing people can often present challenges. Similarly, professionals such as doctors, lawyers and other business people may run into difficulties when interacting with Deaf clients and customers. Living Resources’ Deaf Services offers an array of interpreting services for individuals and for businesses and agencies in 11 counties. After recent orthopedic surgery, Mary, who is Deaf, turned to Deaf Services for assistance. “I always rely on these services for visits to the doctor, hospital and rehabilitation appointments...anything that helps me to understand... it helps me to better communicate in a quicker amount of time, and makes my life easier." For more information about Deaf Services, contact Andrea MacGloin at (518) 218-0000, ext. 5395 or amacgloin@LivingResources.org
“This is the best job that I’ve ever had!”
~Ray, Employee at Walmart Pick & Pack
Since 1985, Employment Services has been helping people with disabilities explore their skills and interests, find employment and provide ongoing job coaching.
Employment Services helps to match potential employees with local employers in need of good, reliable workers. Staff assist program participants in the development of “soft skills” that are essential in the workplace, such as good communication and interpersonal skills, teamwork, and professionalism. Ray works at Walmart in the “Pick and Pack” department, pulling items to be shipped to customers who have placed orders online. His job has enabled him to achieve major goals, such as living in an apartment and gaining greater financial independence. Above and beyond the material gains from his job, Ray is very proud of being successfully employed, and of the compliments and respect that he receives from his supervisor and co-workers. When he was asked about his job recently, Ray grinned and said, “This is the best job that I’ve ever had!”
For more information about Employment Services, contact Anne Valliere at (518) 218-0000, ext. 5308 or vallia@LivingResources.org
“Since the moment I came to Living Resources, my life has been better.”
BRAIN INJURY PROGRAM
~Master Sgt. Michael Kelton, Sustained brain injury from an IED in Iraq.
Living Resources’ Brain Injury Program is designed to give participants the means to regain control of their lives through therapy, life skills training, and peer support.
Veterans Services Whether sustained through illness, accident or war, brain injuries can happen to anyone, and change a person’s life forever. Master Sergeant Michael Kelton, an Army Ranger, was injured in Iraq in 2006 when an IED exploded. The effects of the injury threw his life - and the lives of his loved ones - into turmoil. Like so many veterans returning from conflicts in the Middle East, he found himself struggling to adjust to life not only as a civilian, but as a person with a brain injury. Through collaborative efforts with Neuropsychologic Rehabilitation Services (NPRS) and Living Resources Home Care, the Brain Injury Program helps people establish meaningful and fulfilling post-injury life roles and relationships. “Since the moment I came to Living Resources’ Brain Injury Program, my life has been better, not just for me, but for my fiancée and my family,” said Kelton. “They’ve made my life easier and consistently advocated for me.”
For more information about the Brain Injury Program, contact Michael Cognetti at (518) 218-0000, ext. 5340 or mcognetti@LivingResources.org
“I am so thankful for the nurses and therapists at Living Resources!”
CERTIFIED HOME HEALTH AGENCY
~Dot, CHHA client, with her nurse Melva
Living Resources’ Certified Home Health Agency (CHHA) provides professional nursing, physical therapy, registered dietitians, occupational therapy, speech language pathology, medical social workers, and home health aide services to people in 10 counties.
For individuals who are challenged by acute illness, recent surgery or disabling conditions, receiving prompt, skilled and professional services to meet their needs can be difficult to arrange and manage alone. The goal of the Certified Home Health Agency is to help their clients to recover from illness or injury, achieve maximum independence, and to remain safely in their own homes or other living facilities. When Dot severely injured her ankle in a fall, she called on Living Resources’ CHHA to assist her. “They provided home care services to me following my injury. Through their nursing and therapy services, I have made a full recovery, and I feel great!”
For more information about the Certified Home Health Agency, call the Intake Line at (518) 867-8803
"Aim for the stars; if you fail, you'll land on the moon."
DAY COMMUNITY OPPORTUNITIES PROGRAM
~Matt, Student in the DCOP Creative Writing Class
Living Resources’ Day Community Opportunities Program (DCOP) offers daily activities, including volunteer service, life skills and recreation for adults with developmental disabilities at five locations throughout the Capital Region.
Creative Writing Class Every Wednesday morning, several budding authors from each of the DCOP sites head to a classroom at the Pine Grove Methodist Church in Colonie. There, teacher Jesse Saperstein helps students take what’s in their imaginations and put it down on paper. Using his experiences living with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, Jesse reaches out to his students, many of whom have never written before. In one exercise, he asked students to come up with a motto to live their life by. “Aim for the stars; if you fail, you’ll land on the moon,” was the phrase chosen by Matt, who believes in always trying his best. One of Matt’s greatest accomplishments came at the DCOP Awards ceremony in October 2013, when he presented Jesse with an award created by the class, after giving a speech that he wrote himself. Other students have experienced similar growth through the class, which encourages expression, socialization and creativity. It’s been so successful that another session was added to accommodate all of the people who wanted to join, and the DCOP hopes to expand the program in the future. For more information about the Day Community Opportunities Program, contact Frank Prevratil at (518) 218-0000, ext. 2389 or fprevratil@LivingResources.org
“I don't know what we did before Joey had the After School Program.”
AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM
~Elaine, Mother of ASP participant
Living Resources’ After School Program (ASP) provides supervised recreational activities to students ages 5 to 21 at six program sites throughout the Capital Region in the hours between the end of the school day and the time that their parents or guardians get out of work.
For parents of children with disabilities, Living Resources’ After School Program (ASP) offers the peace of mind that comes from knowing that their sons and daughters are being cared for by well-trained and educated staff. Each day is special; the primary focus of the ASP is to develop social and recreational skills by providing the children with opportunities to participate in various activities including field trips, swimming, arts & crafts and therapeutic horseback riding. “I don't know what we did before Joey had the After School Program,” said Elaine, whose son attends the program. “He just loves the people there…It's a wonderful, wonderful program." For more information about the After School Program, contact Kathy Condon at (518) 218-0000, ext. 4426 or kcondon@LivingResources.org
“Lessons in life are like chapters in a book.”
THE ARTS PROGRAM
Participant in “The Darling Dancers” expressive dance group.
Living Resources’ Arts Program was created to offer people with disabilities the opportunity to take art classes with professional instructors, using high-quality materials in a studio setting.
The Darling Dancers Since it began in 1997, the Arts Program has expanded, with classes offered 7 days-a-week in several locations throughout the Capital/Saratoga Region. The program and its artists have been recognized not only locally, but nationally as well. Additionally, the Arts Program’s scope has grown to include film classes, jewelry making, music, and most recently, expressive dance, as a group from the Day Opportunities Program partnered with eba Dance Theatre to form “The Darling Dancers”. “In such a short time, the students have learned how to use their imaginations and express themselves vocally, physically and emotionally,” staff member Michelle Viola-Straight said of the impact of the dance class. Regardless of the medium, the Arts Program continues to find myriad ways to give people with disabilities a clear, strong voice.
For more information about the Arts Program, contact Kristin Carknard at (518) 218-0000, ext. 2377 or kcarknard@LivingResources.org
“I’m very happy and pleased with my home care worker. Thank you!”
HOME CARE SERVICES
~Betty, Home Care client, with her aide Monique.
Living Resources’ Home Care Services provides compassionate and reliable personal care aides and home health aides to assist individuals who prefer to receive supports and services in their own homes or other living facilities.
For individuals challenged by aging, illness or disabilities, it can become difficult to manage living independently while maintaining safety and well-being. Living Resources’ Home Care Services provides individuals with assistance in personal care, meal preparation and light housekeeping, as well as offering socialization and respite services, all of which help to maximize the comfort, independence and activity levels of clients, and the peace of mind of their family members. “Living Resources provided home care services for my husband for over 13 years,” said Maureen. “Everyone was consistently reliable, responsible and friendly. Thanks to their support, my husband’s quality of life was greatly enhanced.” For more information about Home Care Services, call the Intake Line at (518) 867-8803
"I have learned a lot here; they have trained me very well."
COLLEGE EXPERIENCE PROGRAM
~Bill, CEP Senior, talking about his dog grooming internship.
The College Experience Program (CEP), is an innovative two-year, certificate program designed to offer young adults with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to pursue a unique curriculum in a residential college setting.
Student Internships Living Resources, in partnership with The College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY, provides each student with a well-rounded academic and social experience, preparing students to live independently with confidence, work in competitive jobs or continue to pursue higher education. During their second year, students participate in internships where they learn specific job skills, explore potential career paths and prepare for employment. For animal-lover Bill, his internship at Grrreendog Grooming was an ideal fit. "I have learned a lot here,â€? he said, â€œthey have trained me very well." In his time there, Bill has been taught to assist in bathing, grooming and nail clipping. His employer is delighted with his work, and hopes to hire him part-time when the internship ends.
For more information about the College Experience Program, contact Colleen Dergosits at (518) 218-0000, ext. 4625 or cdergosits@LivingResources.org
“Everyone works together on everything...it’s peer mentoring.”
DAY SERVICES S.E.A. Biscuits
Day Services participant Donald and staff Stephanie sell S.E.A. Biscuits at the Schenectady Greenmarket
Participants in both the site-based and community-based Day Services groups from Schenectady, East Greenbush and Albany began a business called S.E.A. Biscuits*, baking, marketing and selling all-natural dog biscuits. *“S.E.A” stands for the first initial of each program location.
S.E.A. Biscuits Dog Biscuits In early 2013, the Day Services Program went to the dogs… or, more precisely, to the dog biscuits. The joint venture is designed to strengthen life skills, build pre-vocational readiness and forge connections between people in the site and community-based groups. “Everybody works together and learns from each other,” said Day Services staff member Fern Pivar. “This is a peer-mentoring project.” The four parts of the business - baking, marketing, design and selling - give participants a wide variety of experiences and skills, such as math, kitchen safety, teamwork, problem solving and community interaction. The business has been a big success. Each Sunday morning, program participants and staff have a table at the Schenectady Greenmarket where they sell two kinds of dog biscuits, packaged in hand-decorated boxes, to human customers and their four-legged friends.
For more information about Day Services and S.E.A. Biscuits, contact Frank Prevratil at (518) 218-0000, ext. 2389 or fprevratil@LivingResources.org
“This house means a lot to me!”*
RESIDENTIAL SERVICES The Smart House
~Nikki, Smart House resident * Typed with her head-pointing communication device.
Living Resources’ Residential Services provides a wide range of living options for people with disabilities throughout the Capital/Saratoga Region and in Westchester County, NY.
Smart House Living Resources began in 1974, with the opening of a residence for people with developmental disabilities. Over the years, Residential Services has grown to 73 residences, ranging from homes for those who need round-the-clock care, to “supportive living” apartments, where residents live independently with minimal assistance. In March of 2014, Living Resources celebrated the opening of its first Smart House, a barrier-free, technologically-integrated home designed to maximize the independence of individuals with multiple disabilities and impairments. The energy-efficient, “green” home features an open floor plan, accessible layout and personalized iPads equipped with software allowing residents to independently operate window shades, room temperature, and television controls. At an event to mark the opening of the Smart House, resident Nikki used her head-contolled device to operate her voice synthesizer to express her gratitude for her new home, saying simply, “This house means a lot to me!” For more information about Residential Services, contact Jennifer Richard at (518) 218-0000, ext. 5537 or jrichard@LivingResources.org Andrea Taichnar at (518) 218-0000, ext. 4334 or ataichnar@LivingResources.org
When individuals and their families choose Living Resources, we make a promise to provide support for a lifetime. Our 700+ employees feel great satisfaction in sharing this journey and making it joyful and affirming.
One example of this success is our longstanding relationship with Marshall & Sterling Insurance. About a decade ago, Living Resources chose Marshall & Sterling to represent some of our insurance needs. This relationship grew into a partnership as staff from Marshall & Sterling became interested in supporting our mission. Now one of our most generous donors, Marshall & Sterling Insurance provides financial support to help meet the ongoing needs of our programs and services. This great friend to Living Resources continues to embrace a leadership role at our annual fundraising events, including Title Sponsor of our 5th Annual Golf Tournament.
Together, we are promoting independence and making a positive difference in peopleâ€™s lives!
300 Washington Avenue Extension Albany, NY 12203 (518) 218-0000