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Sharing the Journey Fall 2015

Meeting Life’s Challenges


HONORING THE ARTISTIC TALENTS OF VETERANS The Veterans Services Project made its official debut on Thursday, June 25th, with the opening reception for Art Takes Courage: Honoring the Artistic Talents of Veterans, featuring works from participants in Living Resources’ women veterans art group, and Soldier On, a veteransservices program based in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. The event, co-chaired by Rhea P. Clark of the Clark Family and the Review Foundation and Robert W. Lazar of Living Resources Foundation Board, was attended by nearly 200 guests, who experienced the work of 26 veteran artists on display in the Miller Sanders Gallery. Limited-edition prints of select pieces of artwork were available for sale, with artists on hand to sign their pieces and talk to guests. The evening paid tribute not only to the artists and their work, but also featured participation by military personnel and veterans. “We really wanted this event to be something special, to truly thank the veterans and show our commitment to serve them,” said Michael Cognetti, Director of the VSP and Brain Injury Services. Amy Amoroso, Veterans Business Advisor at the Veterans Business Outreach Center (VBOC) served as emcee for the event, which included the posting of the colors (flag ceremony), performed by the 109th Airlift Wing Base Honor Guard, the National Anthem, sung by veteran Frederick Ingleton, and the Pledge of Allegiance, led by


Returning to civilian life after military service presents veterans with new opportunities – and new challenges, sometimes complicated by conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), brain injuries and depression. These challenges led to the creation of the Veterans Services Project (VSP) at Living Resources. Drawing on over 40 years of experience serving individuals throughout the Capital/Saratoga region, the VSP is an agency-wide initiative which expands our broad range of community-based supports and specialized services to men

Event co-chairs Rhea Clark (far left) and Robert Lazar (far right) stand with artists Cynthia Vanbergen and Penny Lee Deere of the VSP Women Artists Group. Event emcee Amy Amoroso (right) introduces VA Director Linda Weiss. In her speech, Weiss stated, “The Albany Stratton VA Medical Center appreciates the collaboration of its community partners in the support of the Veterans of this region.”

Army vet Dennis Spielman and members of VFW Post 8692. The evening also featured an invocation by Rev. Charlene Robbins, a Gold Star Mother who serves as Chaplain of the Tri-City Council of Vietnam Veterans.

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and women who have served in the armed forces, regardless of whether they have recently retired, or if their years of service are long behind them. Although the program officially launched in the summer of 2015, Living Resources has been serving vets for years - in 2014 alone, more than 120 former military personnel were served. The VSP’s comprehensive services include Brain Injury Services, professional home health, employment services, outreach, assessment, advocacy, and community involvement, as well as the Arts Program. In 2014, an expressive arts program for female vets was started, held weekly at the Stratton Veterans Administration Medical Center (VA) in Albany. The program proved to be such a success that it was renewed and more classes are in the works.

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A MESSAGE FROM THE CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER MEETING LIFE’S CHALLENGES These three words are used on Living Resources’ website and publications – they’re even included in our logo. It’s a simple phrase, but it was carefully selected to reflect not only the depth and breadth of the services we provide, but also the wide variety of challenges faced by the people we serve.

Living Resources. These residences are part of the nationwide trend toward creating independent living situations for individuals with developmental disabilities, and with their universal accessibility and green design, they continue our commitment to incorporating technology into our residences.

While we’re on the subject of technology, I’m excited to tell you about the inaugural For over forty years, we’ve been meeting Assistive Living Technology (ALT.1) challenges as a leading provider of services conference, which was presented in Fredrick W. Erlich to people with developmental and conjunction with the Center for Chief Executive Officer intellectual disabilities, brain injuries, and Advancement and Understanding of Social individuals facing impairments associated with Enterprises (CAUSE) at the UAlbany School aging, illness or injury. And, as of June 2015, of Business. If you’re not familiar with the term, Assistive we are proud to announce that Living Resources has further Technology refers to technology that helps senior citizens and expanded its scope with the introduction of the Veterans individuals with disabilities live more independently. Services Project (VSP). Last, but definitely not least, we’re proud to introduce you to One of the crucial elements of success for the VSP – and for all Rob, a graduate of our College Experience Program (CEP) at of Living Resources’ programs and services – is our extensive The College of Saint Rose, who is now working his dream job network of community partnerships which play a role in in the body shop at Orange Motors in Albany, thanks to the each of the stories in this newsletter. CEP’s innovative internship program. In this issue’s feature article, you’ll read about how partnerships with organizations such as the Albany Stratton VA, Soldier On and the Veterans Miracle Center enable the VSP to offer a broader range of services, and reach out to a wider population of veterans in need. You’ll also find out about the Lion Heart Residences. This 75-unit apartment complex in Cohoes, NY, built by Regan Development, features 15 units set aside for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) served by

Whether it’s reaching out to the brave men and women who served our country, providing supportive housing or employment, or connecting people to life-enhancing technologies, community partnerships strengthen Living Resources ability to help those we serve to meet the challenges in their lives every day.

Co-organizers of the inaugural Assistive Living Technologies (ALT.1) conference, Prof. Paul Miesing, Founding Director of the Center for Advancement & Understanding of Social Enterprises (CAUSE) at the UAlbany School of Business, and Living Resources CEO, Fred Erlich.


LIVING RESOURCES “The Art Takes Courage eve nt held at Living Resource s’ Miller Sanders Gallery was an am azing opportunity for Soldi er On’s veteran community to exp erience an art opening at its finest. It was a celebration of the har d work and talent of both seasoned artists as well as newly em erging creativity. The owner shi p and pride in one’s work was a new feeling for many of the Soldier On participants on the night of the reception. They exp eri enced the energy, positivity, and the sense of a broad cultural com munity that they are excited to be a part of and to contribute to.” Nathan Hanford – vetera ns art instructor Case Manager/Artist in Re sidence at Soldier On Soldier On veterans art instructor Nathan Hanford (l) with VSP Director Mike Cognetti (r) at the Art Takes Courage reception.

Art Takes Courage Continued from cover

Robert Lazar, himself a former Marine, introduced guest speaker Gunnery Sergeant Albert Roman, Jr. (U.S. Marines, retired), who spoke of his experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan and their long-term effects. The evening included remarks by Living Resources CEO, Fred Erlich, Albany Stratton VA Director, Linda W. Weiss, and John F. Downing, CEO of Soldier On, all of whom spoke about the importance of collaboration in providing care and services for veterans.

Each of the participating artists received a certificate of recognition for their work, presented to them by the event speakers and by Roxanne DelFavero, art instructor for the Stratton VA Women Veterans art group and Nathan Hanford, who teaches art at Soldier On. Though the event was designed to thank veterans for their service and to honor their creative talents, we found that the gratitude was a two-way street: throughout the evening, artists and their families repeatedly expressed their thanks for the recognition. We look forward to the growth of the VSP and making Art Takes Courage an annual event.

Meet These Artists Sharon L. Price and Kevin Binkley were among the four artists to have prints of their work sold at the Art Takes Courage reception.

Artist Kevin Binkley, whose print “Alone” was sold at the reception, wrote a letter to Living Resources CEO, Fred Erlich, after the event:

“People ask me the significance of the tiger*, and I tell them, it’s a self-portrait … We’re both wounded survivors.” said Price. “The Arts Program gives me a different lens to look at life through. It gives me something to look forward to, while at the same time, keeping me grounded.”

“I want to graciously thank you and LR for hosting the gallery and support (sic) myself and other veterans. I have been painting just about three years and it has been a large part of my therapy. One day I just picked it up and started. I have shared this talent with friends around the country, but have always kept myself from showing (the) public. This was a big kicker to help me continue to grow in what I love to do.”

— Sharon L. Price (US Air Force, retired), VSP’s women veterans art group at Albany Stratton VA Medical Center * Price’s painting, “Wounded Survivor” is a close-up portrait of a tiger’s face with a gash below one eye.

Left Artist Sharon L. Price stands with her artwork, Wounded Survivor.

— Kevin Binkley (US Army, retired) Soldier On art group

Right Living Resources CEO, Fred Erlich stands beside artist Kevin Binkley in front of Binkley’s two paintings.



Congrats, Grads!

Congratulations are in order! Four of the eight students who graduated from the College Experience Program (CEP) Class of 2015 in May, left to right: Christine, Sara, Abby, Rachel.

College Experience Program Graduate: From Intern to Employee

students have had similar success in transitioning from intern to employee, and those who did not find employment at their internship sites came out of the experience with marketable job skills and increased confidence.

The College Experience Program (CEP) at The College of Saint Rose is an innovative two-year certificate program run in “I take pride in my job cleaning the cars, and I’m very grateful collaboration with Living Resources. The CEP offers young adults to have a good job,” Rob said, adding that a lot of people his with intellectual disabilities the opportunity to pursue careerage don’t have jobs at all. readiness and independent-living skills in a collegiate setting. Reflecting on his success, Rob had this to say: “The most During their second year, all CEP students participate in the important things are to make sure that you always show up on internship program, where they learn specific job skills, time, and that you have a great attitude.” explore potential career paths and prepare for competitive To learn more about the College Experience Program and student employment. internships, please visit For Rob Corso (Class of 2014), his lifelong passion for cars led him to a paid internship at the body shop of Orange Motors in Albany. “I’ve always loved cars,” said Rob. “In my high school BOCES program, I worked in the body shop and it was great … I was happy to do my internship at Orange Motors. I really like it there.” And Orange Motors liked Rob. In fact, they liked him so much that when his internship ended, they worked with Rob’s job coach, Bill Lynch, to hire him as a part-time employee, detailing cars and keeping the shop clean. “We’re really grateful to Orange Motors Vice President, Carl Keegan for opening the doors to Rob, “said Lynch. (Former CEP students continue to receive ongoing career and residential support services after graduation as part of the Transitions program.) Speaking of the qualities that make Rob such a good employee, Lynch said, “Rob has motivation and focus. He’s a real success story.” He went on to say that a number of CEP


Rob pauses for a photo at his workplace, Orange Motors body shop in Albany.

LIVING RESOURCES Veterans Services Project Continued

“The VA has been a great partner,” said Michael Cognetti, Director of the VSP and Brain Injury Services. “They’ve been very supportive of the art group, and we currently have six clients who do volunteer work there.”

“Many vets don’t trust the system,” Horace said of his outreach work with homeless and disenfranchised former military personnel. “Sometimes it takes a vet to really understand another.”

In the coming year, the VSP’s plans include obtaining a van to expand outreach services to homeless and at-risk veterans and offering employment services at partner sites such as the Other partnerships include the Veterans Miracle Center, the Veterans Miracle Center or the YMCA’s new veterans’ housing Veterans Business Outreach Center, the YMCA, and Soldier complex in Schenectady. Input from the veterans we serve, and ongoing collaboration with community partners will On. By collaborating with these organizations, the VSP has enable the Veterans Services Project to continue to grow, and been able to make connections with veterans in need of services, and to provide veterans and their families a broader to better serve those who served our country. range of services, programs and resources. To learn more about the Veterans Services Project, “We’re very person-centered,” said Veterans Services Specialist, Harold Horace, “One of the first things we do when someone enters the program is ask, ‘what do you need?’” Horace recounts a case where a vet had been living in substandard housing without a water heater or a stove, cooking his meals on a hotplate. “The VSP was able to get him the water heater, and a stove … We’ve also paid vet’s phone bills. It’s so important to make sure that these individuals aren’t isolated, that they stay connected.” Himself a veteran and survivor of a brain injury, Horace started out by receiving services from Living Resources and acting as a liaison between the agency and the VA. As the VSP was being created, he was hired to work with vets in the program and to continue making connections with those in need of services. (Read Harold’s story in the Winter 2013 issue of Sharing the Journey.)

please visit or email Art Takes Courage guest speaker GySgt Albert Roman, Jr. (U.S. Marines, retired), urged vets to take care of their fellow vets. “Every veteran has their struggles and wounds – I live with PTSD … you have to use your life experiences – good and bad – to make the world a better place.”

2015 ASP Picnic The After School Program (ASP) held its annual picnic at Colonie’s Cook Park in June to mark the end of the school year. Left: Employee Elizabeth Villalobos shares a moment with program participants Sean and Kenzie. Right: Austin shows off his bagpipe-playing skills.


LIVING RESOURCES – Friends and Family 2015 Golf Winners Living Resources 6th Annual Golf Tournament, held on June 12th, 2015 at the Mohawk Golf Club in Niskayuna, raised nearly $40,000 for Living Resources programs and services. Congratulations to the winning team from Janney Montgomery Scott financial services firm. L-R: Frank Trosset, Bill Flynn, Team Captain Paul Murray, and Jim Maney. Special thanks to returning tournament sponsor, Marshall & Sterling Insurance, for making the tournament possible!

LR Workforce Team Challenge 2015 Over 30 Living Resources employees took part in the 2015 CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge, a fundraising 5k race in Albany, NY. This year’s race proceeds were split between the Brave Will Foundation, the Commission on Economic Opportunity, and the Food Pantries of the Capital District.


LIVING RESOURCES – Friends and Family

Each week, a group of people from the Day Services sites in Albany, Saratoga, Schenectady and Rensselaer counties meet at Lion Brand Yarns in Colonie for a knitting circle. Participants learn how to knit or improve their skills, and make beautiful creations, while enjoying the company of friends.

The Day Community Opportunities Program (DCOP) singers perform at the Spring 2015 DCOP awards ceremony at the Village of Colonie Family Recreation Center.

Joe shows off his rainbow sculpture at the reception for the 17th Annual Living Resources Arts Program Artists Showcase at the Albany Visitors Center on July 25th.

Art instructor Onna Adams (center) works with students Todd and Pasquale, while Arts Program Coordinator Meaghan Hickey looks on, at the Carriage House Arts Studio in Albany. (Photo credit: Angelo Dounoucos)


LIVING RESOURCES ASSISTIVE LIVING TECHNOLOGY (ALT.1) CONFERENCE Monday, June 1, 2015 UAlbany School of Business On Monday, June 1, 2015, entrepreneurs and innovators came together to connect with a dynamic team of business, healthcare and tech leaders at the inaugural Assistive Living Technology (ALT.1) Conference, held at the UAlbany School of Business. A collaborative effort of Living Resources and The State University of New York at Albany Center for Advancement & Understanding of Social Enterprises (CAUSE), the full day conference focused on the need and potential for new products, technologies and services to enable senior citizens and persons with disabilities to live more independently. Attendees were introduced to and inspired by the information, resources, and networks to support the development of products and services for this market. Thanks to our livestream sponsor, New York State Industries for the Disabled (NYSID) and the production team at Our Ability, who made the entire conference available to people everywhere via online simulcast. Our thanks also go out to exhibit sponsor SEFCU, and to session sponsors Rose & Kiernan, M&T Bank, and the Capital District Business Review for their support.

Keynote speaker John Robinson, owner of Our Ability, addresses the audience at the inaugural ALT.1 Conference

Save the Date Join us for the Silver Anniversary of our signature gala! Sunday, November 15, 2015 Albany Marriott For more information, please contact Joan Meyer or Bonnie Unser at (518) 218-0000



Lion Heart Residences:

Affordable Independence for Individuals with Disabilities

The Lion Heart Residences in Cohoes, opening in the fall of 2015. For adults with disabilities, it can be a challenge to find housing where they can live independently in a safe, affordable and accessible environment. This fall, their options will expand with the opening of the newly-constructed Lion Heart Residences in Cohoes, NY. Built by Regan Development Corporation, the Lion Heart Residences will have 75 units, 15 of which are set aside for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) supported by Living Resources.

building standards, and the units supported by Living Resources will have a variety of accessibility features. For wheelchair users, kitchen countertops and cabinets are lowered to enable access, and bathrooms feature roll-in showers with grab bars and seats. Additionally, for individuals with visual or auditory deficits, some units have accommodations including horn or strobe devices for intercoms, doorbells and smoke/carbon dioxide detectors. To learn more about the Lion Heart Residences, call (518) 233-0300.

All apartments are energy-efficient, meeting NY State Homes and Community Renewal (HCR)




Living Resources Employees … Paying it Forward n early 2015 Living Resources asked for help from the most caring people we know … our staff.

We asked them to pay forward some of their hard-earned paycheck to make some amazing things possible for the people we serve.

The response was truly inspiring.

43 $6,303

Living Resources employees donated to the Pay It Forward Fund.  ollars were added to the d Pay It Forward Fund this year thanks to the generosity of our staff.

For individuals and families challenged by developmental disabilities and/or brain injuries, the costs associated with recreational and educational outings can be difficult to manage. The family budget may have lost its main wage earner or be overwhelmed by expenses associated with disabilities. The Pay It Forward Fund is there to make up the difference so the individuals we serve don’t go without. This fund covers summer camp fees, music lessons, museum admissions, and so much more. We are deeply grateful for the hard work and dedication of all Living Resources staff, and we are proud of this wonderful

employee-led tradition of caring.

What Will My Legacy Be? Many of us wonder about the mark we will leave on the world. Will our footsteps be visible long after we are gone? Will the world be a better place because of our efforts? Donors who become members of the Living Resources Legacy Society through a planned gift become a significant part of something that will continue helping others long after they are gone. You may choose any of the following opportunities to secure Society membership: • Make a bequest through a will. • Name the Living Resources Foundation as a beneficiary of a retirement account, donor advised fund, life insurance policy or bank account. • Name the Living Resources Foundation as a beneficiary of a charitable remainder or charitable lead trust.


•M  ake a gift of property, such as real estate, collections, art, jewelry, etc. We would be happy to work with you and your advisors to determine what your legacy can be based upon your charitable objectives. If you have already named Living Resources in your will or have otherwise included the Agency in your estate plans, we would like to have the opportunity to thank you for your generosity. Please contact Bonnie Unser at (518) 218-0000 ext. 5328 to inform us of your decision. Thank you! Your generous gifts, no matter the size, demonstrate that you value the work Living Resources does day in and day out; and ensure that the critical programs for which Living Resources is recognized continue into the future to benefit generations to come.

HONORARY AND MEMORIAL GIFTS TO LIVING RESOURCES January 1, 2015 through August 19, 2015 The following donors have chosen to make a tribute gift to Living Resources. Thank you, family members, staff and friends, for your vote of confidence in our services and for honoring our work with your generous contributions. Only with your help can we continue to meet the challenges facing individuals with intellectual/ developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and impairments associated with aging. GIFTS MADE IN HONOR OF:


Trisha Cornwell from Lynne and Michael Long

Gerard Rozell from Linda Rozell-Shannon

Katie Curran from Judy Berger

David Stevens from Richard A. Fuerst, Esq.

Susan Claire Bernhardt from Peter Diedrich & Kathleen Novosel-Diedrich Robert Israel Donald & Bonnie Myers

Kimberly Delsignore from Stephanie A. Balnaitis

Andrea Taichnar from Elizabeth J. Gallagher

Mark Lasch from Richard A. Fuerst, Esq.

Gary Tryon from Mr. & Mrs. Clifford E. Tryon

Living Resources Staff at 40 Michael Drive from Gary Tryon

Sometimes Twice Did you know that hundreds of companies across the country match employee contributions to organizations like ours? Not certain if your employer participates? Simply contact your Human Resources office and ask whether your company matches employee donations. You may be asked to file paperwork with Living Resources or to register online. GE employees, retirees, surviving spouses and directors can have their gifts matched dollar-fordollar. Log in using your SSO ID and password at or call 800-305-0669 for more information.

State Employees Living Resources participates in the State Employees Federated Appeal (SEFA). Our SEFA code number 5000202 covers all counties in the Capital Region.

Louis J. Bonan from Albert & Dolores Bonan Sister Virginia Bonan Vincent & Mary Capka Ted Levine from Bonnie Unser Susan Nardolillo from Regis & Gloria Burkhard Anthony & Geraldine Caropreso Joseph Chiaramonte Rosalie Cilwick Joseph Commisso & Mary Warren Patricia Kane Susan Kindlon Robert & Lisa LeBlanc Ruth Leeson Jill Losi, on behalf of Susan’s nieces and nephews Mr. & Mrs. George McCarg Charles & Mary Theresa Mirabile Teal, Becker & Chiaramonte, CPAs, P.C. Lynne VanDenburgh Jim Nowicki from Theresa Nowicki Kevin O’Brien from Kathleen O’Brien Margaret A. Tucker

Martin Pelcher from Albany Referral Group Friends of Algonquin Athletics Kathleen Bagnoli & Hank Henkel Lorraine & Richard Carlson Sally Colbert Lisa Davis Claire & Joseph DeChants Mike & Debbie Gilligan Duke & Joan Harris Stephen & Catherine Hillerman Marlene & Joseph Horne Adela Hughes Catherine Rita Johnson Keeler Motor Car Company Art Long John Long Linda & Frank Malek Russ & Colleen McAllister Joe Millington Michele Millington Debra Milstein NYS Office of General Services Design & Construction NYS Office of the State Comptroller, Office of the Inspector General & Internal Audit Timothy O’Connor Old Daley Custom Catering Rick Panza Thomas Purcell & Shirley Conway Patricia Reihs John & Jane Shannon John & Sandra Shea Judee Synakowski Christine Tokyrman Thomas Unser from Willard & Mary Towne William Welz from Sonia Sguazzin


NONPROFIT ORGANIZATION U.S. Postage PAID Albany, NY Permit No. 950

Meeting Life’s Challenges

300 Washington Avenue Extension Albany, NY 12203-7303


Did You Know?

Bonita Sanchez, President Dr. Philip Fusco, Vice President

Gary Foster, Treasurer Robert Wakeman, Secretary


Board Members

Just log on to Living Resources website at and click on the Facebook or Twitter icons.


James Adams * Patrick Curran John S. Delaney Dr. Susan DeLuke * Sara Erickson Christopher Greagan Neil L. Levine

Eileen A. Lucey James G. McGlynn * Shirley Readdean Gayla Riccardi Rosemary Taylor Kevin Tully * Paul Valente

Officers Maggie Kirwin, Ed.D., President Alta Schallehn, Vice President

Daniel Round, Treasurer Peter J. Cornell, Secretary

Board Members

Sharing the Journey is published two times yearly by the Development Department of Living Resources. Color printing courtesy of Benchemark Printing, Inc. Please write to us at our address if you wish to have your name removed from the list to receive Sharing the Journey.

Raymond A. Bleser Vladia C. Boniewski Steven B. Bouchey* Dr. Jill Braverman-Panza A.J. Dandrea * Darren Donohue Angelo Dounoucos Claire Dounoucos Richard A. Fuerst, Esq.

Robert W. Lazar Stephen J. Obermayer Robert H. Ormerod Michael A. Quaranta Don Reisinger Dorothy S. Stevens April J. Volk* Christopher D. Ward

HONORARY BOARD Bishop Emeritus Howard J. Hubbard Hon. Gerald D. Jennings Hon. Karen B. Johnson

Dale L. Miller, CMC, WGMC, AAC Sandra V. Nardoci Rabbi Scott Shpeen

* Living Resources welcomes our newest board members

Sharing the Journey - Fall 2015  
Sharing the Journey - Fall 2015