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Friday, March 13, 2015 at 5:42 pm

Photo: Genesee ARC's 'Pay it Forward' quilt project

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC

Press release:

Combine artistic talent, enthusiastic individuals and the desire to help others and the results can be amazing. Genesee ARC’s Friends for the Future self-advocacy group took the lead in a “Pay it Forward” quilt project. The concept of pay it forward is when someone does a good deed, instead of paying it back, the recipient “pays it forward” by doing a good deed for someone else. 

Genesee ARC Intake/QI Specialist Kim Owens came up with the idea of making quilts for those in need. When she presented it to Friends for the Future, they loved it!  Kim’s mother Mabel Buchina, of Yorkshire, agreed it was a phenomenal project and offered to help by donating quilt squares and sewing the finished pieces together.

The quilt squares were used as part of a presentation at the Finger Lakes Collaborative Self-Advocacy Conference this past fall in Geneva, Kim explained.

“The advocates presented on what 'Pay it Forward' means and enlisted the help of conference attendees to design the quilt squares with meaningful and inspirational messages or images,” she added.

One-of-a-kind creations include rainbows and flowers and words of comfort like “You are Loved” and “Stay Strong.” A shining sun, footballs and the Buffalo Bills logo also adorn the squares. The six finished quilts will be donated to local organizations helping people who are struggling with illnesses such as cancer. 

During the March observance of Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month, Genesee ARC is celebrating the accomplishments of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and working to increase the public's awareness and understanding.

Thursday, March 5, 2015 at 9:45 am

5th Annual Art Show and Sprout Film Festival

March is Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month. Genesee ARC and The Arc of Orleans are hosting the 5th Annual Art Show and Sprout Film Festival. Please join us at The BEST Center at GCC and meet the artists and view the works of art created by individuals with developmental disabilities. Following the Art Show there will be the film screens from Sprout Films, directed by and staring individuals with disabilities.  Admission is free.

Saturday, February 7, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Photos: Genesee ARC rides at Sno Packers in Oakfield

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC, Genesee Sno Packers, Oakfield

Collin Wickings gets a helmet adjusted before taking a snowmobile ride in Oakfield this morning.

Genesee Sno Packers hosted their annual ride for clients of Genesee ARC, an event that had to be cancelled last year because there wasn't enough snow on the ground. This year, plenty of snow.

Colleen Fisher getting ready for her ride.

Friday, January 2, 2015 at 9:18 am

Brothers donate 20 bikes to Genesee ARC clients

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC

Press release:

Thanks to two Rochester area donors, 20 children with disabilities served by Genesee ARC recently received new bicycles! 

The Park Avenue Bicycle Shop made the delivery to Genesee ARC’s Community Relations office in mid-December, giving staff just enough time to match bikes to recipients and deliver them in time for Christmas.

Howard and Michael Ouriel are the generous brothers behind the donation and said, “We just wanted to do something for the kids.”

ARC Director of Development Shelley Falitico, who helped deliver some of the bicycles, said all of the families are appreciative of the Ouriels’ generosity.

“We are so honored that Howard and Michael thought of Genesee ARC for this special holiday act of kindness,” Falitico said.

The Ouriel brothers’ support of Genesee ARC is unique in that they reside outside of Genesee County and do not have a family member served by the local nonprofit organization. 

“That’s what makes this so extraordinary,” Falitico said. “It’s a story we are so happy to share.”   

Thursday, November 13, 2014 at 1:34 pm

ARC holds Chili & Chowder Fest this Saturday

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Genesee ARC

Press release:

More than 140 baskets are featured at the fourth Annual Genesee ARC Chili & Chowder Fest and Basket Raffle on Saturday (Nov. 15) at the Genesee ARC Community Center. 

The event begins at 10 a.m. and winners will be drawn starting at 1:30 p.m. Community members who already have Saturday plans, can get in on the fun because for a second year in a row the Center at 38 Woodrow Road will be open from 4:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.  Friday for ticket-only sales. 

Event Chair Shelley Falitico said this was wildly popular last year.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for people to stop by after work and take a chance on some great baskets donated by ARC Staff, families and local businesses.” 

There is no separate admission charge. Ticket chances for regular baskets are $10 for 25 chances or $25 for 75 chances. Specialty baskets, valued at $50 or more, cost $10 for 15 chances. This year’s grand prize is a spectacular cleaning package, valued at $475, featuring a vacuum cleaner and a wheeled trash tote filled with of every type of cleaning supply imaginable. 

Tickets for the grand prize are $2 each; 3 for $5 or 8 chances for $10.

During the event on Saturday, there will be a variety of chili (red, white and vegetarian), Manhattan clam chowder and chicken noodle soup for sale along with grilled cheese sandwiches. A bake sale is also featured.

Friday, July 25, 2014 at 2:18 pm

Photos: Children in summer program tour ARC recycling center

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Genesee ARC, Lambert Park

Kids participating in the city's summer program at Lambert Park toured the recycling center at Genesee ARC this morning.

Monday, July 21, 2014 at 6:29 pm

Photos: 38th annual ARC tournament at Stafford Country Club

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC, golf, sports, Stafford Country Club

The Genesee ARC today held its 38th annual golf tournament at Stafford Country Club, which also included tournaments in bocce ball and tennis.

Above, Steve Pies watches a put just barely slide by the cup during his tournament round.

Ken Barrett hitting a tee shot.

Ray Shirtz playing tennis.

Krysia Mager, Lisa Dechau, Bob Bennett and Marth Bailey, the champion bocce ball team.

Representatives from Alpina yogurt at the bocce ball tournament. Alpina was a silver-tier sponsor this year.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Cargill workers do volunteer clean up on ARC buses

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, business, Cargill, Genesee ARC

Press release:

On June 25th,  Cargill observed their annual Green Day by sending 19 of the local employees to volunteer at the Genesee ARC Transportation Department.  The volunteers washed 18 buses and vans inside and out that are used by the Transportation Department in transporting children and adults with disabilities.  The community enrichment activity was part of the company’s Green Day event that is celebrated across Cargill’s 46 plants throughout the United States.

In a statement from Plant Manager, Joe Washburn, Cargill Animal Nutrition observes Green Day annually as an opportunity to celebrate their success of the past year, and to reflect on the ideals within the Green Book, a handbook held by all employees that lists the ideals by which Cargill will operate its business, and goals that are set out for all employees.  One of these goals is Community Enrichment. According to Washburn, “Everyone improves the communities in which they live and work for a better tomorrow.”  Cargill’s 46 Animal Nutrition Plants throughout the US are working to donate time to their local communities not just on Green Day, but throughout the year.  On a national level 1500 Cargill employees logged nearly 1400 hours of volunteer service. The company has donated $337,000 in community funds and $10,00 locally.

Cargill’s Batavia plant is located on Wortendyke Road.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014 at 1:35 pm

Genesee ARC honors supporters at annual banquet

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC

Press release:

Genesee ARC honored supporters, volunteers, community members, individuals served and staff during its 48th Annual Meeting & Awards Ceremony Friday night at the Clarion Hotel. Assemblyman Steve Hawley was the 2014 master of ceremonies.

During opening remarks, ARC Executive Director Donna Saskowski shared that the field of developmental disabilities is in a state of transformation.

“Choice is not as primary as it once was," Saskowski said. "We continue to be the focus of the Governor who believes that New York State is spending too much money on Medicaid, the primary funding source for the people we support."

The executive director challenged everyone at the banquet to go out and this story to someone who doesn’t know about Genesee ARC.

“We need to advocate, talk to our government representatives, and help educate our community about those we support and their real impact and value to our community,” she said. “If each one of us talked to just one more person about the skills of our workers and their dedication to their employers I think new community based jobs would quickly develop, there would be more volunteer opportunities and ARC would develop an even larger base of supporters."

The 2014 Spirit of ARC Award was presented to the Rotary Club of Batavia. This award was established nine years ago to recognize an organization, business, family, or individual who exemplifies the mission of ARC. The Rotary Club is always reaching out to Genesee ARC and individuals served, welcoming and including people of all abilities in their community events.

Saskowski, herself a Rotarian, said “This is a dedicated group of local men and women who actually possess a laser focus on community improvement, youth development and social responsibility.“The Rotary Club’s financial contributions have spearheaded major capital improvements at UMMC, the YMCA, GO-ART! and Genesee Community College. At Genesee ARC, the Rotary Club made a significant pledge to the agency’s People Realizing Potential campaign to help fund renovations at the Community Center resulting in a culinary arts training center for people with disabilities. Several Rotarians attended the presentation and the award was accepted by Club President Hollis Upson."

Bergen residents Carl and Candie Pocock were presented with Volunteer of the Year honors. Saskowski said the award is in recognition of the Pococks’ commitment to Genesee ARC and our mission. Candie is involved with the Byron Kiwanis recreation program for children with disabilities and the area summer reading program. She was also a former leader in the County 4-H program. The couple also participates in various committees of the United Methodist Church.

Carl and Candie’s work with Genesee ARC started in 1996 when their daughter Michelle began to receive services from the agency.

“They are tireless advocates for all people with disabilities and help insure that everyone we serve, receive the services they need,” Saskowski said. "Two years ago Candie stepped up to take on the lead role as president of the Genesee ARC Board of Directors and both she and Carl volunteer at Genesee ARC fund raisers.

The Business Partner of the Year award was presented to Applied Business Systems, Inc. Steve Samis, ABS vice president of Production was on hand to accept the honor. Genesee ARC has had a longtime partnership with Applied Business Systems through the ARC Work Center and last year they provided the opportunity to run two temporary work enclaves at their site on Harvester Avenue in Batavia.

According to Scott Jones, director of Vocational Services, ABS believes in the value of the Genesee ARC workforce.

“ABS has shown a commitment to providing employment to people with developmental disabilities by consistently returning to us with new work projects and ideas for future projects,” Jones said “...Thanks to the work opportunities ABS has provided they have helped to benefit the individuals served by our agency by helping them to develop crucial job skills and opportunities to become more independent as contributing members of their community.”

A surprise Lifetime Membership Award was presented to Thelma C. Montreal, of Batavia.  Genesee ARC has always been near and dear to Mrs. Montreal as she is a parent and grandparent of children with developmental disabilities. Thelma is a member and past president of the Genesee ARC Board of Directors, and served several years on the NYSARC Board of Governors. The award is in recognition of her many years of service to Genesee ARC and individuals served by the agency.

Friend of ARC Awards were presented to:

CP Rochester Dental Clinic -- Charles O. Kolthoff, DDS and the Staff of CP Rochester Dental Clinic were presented an award in recognition of their exceptional talents and compassion in providing dental care for individuals with disabilities. 

Anne Marie Starowitz -- A retired teacher, Anne Marie was recognized for the difference she has made in the life of an individual at ARC as a reading tutor. Anne Marie is helping this individual gain more independence.

Howard and Michael Ouriel -- The Ouriel brothers offer quiet, behind-the-scenes support to Genesee ARC. Their many acts of kindness include donating funds to purchase special wish list items, enhancing the lives of individuals served. They also support recreation and sports opportunities for children with disabilities.

The following received Genesee ARC Achievement awards: Gabe Norton, Jacob Klotzbach, Dolores Wanser, James Grudzien, Janette Vick, Mael, Joan Pietyzkowski, Jonathan Hedrick, and Dan Ware.

Genesee Staff Shining Star honorees for 2014 are: Linda Conroy, Medicaid Service coordinator; Darla Jaszko, coordinator of Administrative Services; Richard Majors, residential assistant; James Owens, mechanic; and Michelle Wheatley, Day Hab specialist.

Longevity awards went to the following individuals: Lucy Brown and Patty Sheedy, 40 years; Bob Adam, Alan Birge, Steve Jenney and Tom Dissette, 35 years; Paul Johnson, David Miner, Tom Montreal and John Wiggins, 30 years; John Brown, Alvin Stewart and Ken Sheehan, 25 years; Phyllis Riley, Mary Welsh, Elizabeth, David, Joseph Duganier, Marjorie Keppler, Hayley Brandes, and Robert Cummings, 20 years.

Staff Longevity award recipients were: Donna Saskowski, 25 Years; Elizabeth Hopkins, James Owens, Reneé Potter, Carolyn Cauthen and Shelley Kropelin, 20 Years; Debra Worthington, Lauraine Cornell, Carolyn Griffin, Darla Jaszko, Scott Lang, Angela Spikes and Marla Snyder, 15 Years; Roxanne Monteleone, June Lawrence, Debra LaDue, Sue Given, and Catherine Pangrazio, 10 Years.

More than 325 guests were in attendance at the banquet ,which also serves as Genesee ARC’s official annual meeting. Board officers for the upcoming year are: Candie Pocock, president; Debrah Fischer, vice president; Jane Scott, treasurer, and Deborah Riggi, secretary.

Thursday, March 27, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Genesee ARC celebrates 'Gives Back Week'

post by Howard B. Owens in Genesee ARC

Press release:

This is “Gives Back Week” at Genesee ARC, an opportunity to highlight ways individuals served by the local nonprofit help make a difference to other community organizations.  Each ARC Chapter shared a success story for the 2014 Statewide Gives Back publication and Genesee ARC chose to feature Marty, a longtime volunteer at the New York State Veterans Home.

Since 1999 Marty has logged nearly 1,400 hours as a Physical Therapy volunteer at the New York State Veterans Home in Batavia. Each Thursday, he and his Mom, Joan, visit the home to honor and give back to the men and women who so proudly served the United States of America. Marty helps by transporting residents to and from their therapy appointments and both he and Joan assist with housekeeping and clerical duties. They are accompanied by their dog Gator who is known and loved by all of the residents. Marty looks forward to the weekly visits and feels good about helping others.

“I like helping out, I have a lot of friends here,” Marty said.

He greets staff and residents by name, sharing a hello and his heart-warming laughter.   Marty is a valued member of the volunteer team, and considers the Veterans Home his "second family." When asked what kind of impact Marty has on the residents, NYS Veterans Home Volunteer Director Connie Caselli said, “The residents look forward to seeing Marty. He’s a real pleasure and so passionate about volunteering.”

In addition to Marty’s volunteer work at the New York State Veterans Home, individuals at Genesee ARC participate in a variety of other community volunteer placements including:  Assisting with table set-up at the Office for the Aging; Meals on Wheels delivery; Salvation Army Toy Drive collection and bell ringing; Cafeteria aide at a local elementary school; Organizing, sorting and washing books in the children’s room at Richmond Memorial Library; Visiting and interacting with the Human Services Class at Genesee Valley Educational Partnership; Helping to fill 100 backpacks weekly for the United Way Backpack (food) program; Making and delivering homemade cat and dog treats for the Genesee County Animal Shelter and cleaning the cat cages, interacting and playing with the Shelter animals; Adaptive bowling and visiting residents at the Genesee County Nursing Home;  Daycare Childcare Aide; Serving and cleaning at Stephen’s Table Soup Kitchen; Making and delivering coloring books for local pediatricians’ waiting rooms; Collecting needed items for Eagle Star Housing; Straightening clothes and organizing racks at the WYCA's My Sister’s Closet; assistance with cleaning at the Elba Fire Department, Northgate Church and the Bergen First Presbyterian Church.

Genesee ARC is always looking for meaningful volunteer placements or projects for individuals, giving them an opportunity to make a difference and “give back” to the community. If you have a volunteer placement or project idea, please send it to Genesee ARC Director of Development Shelley Falitico at [email protected].

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