The Campaign for Fair Pay
The #bFair2DirectCare Coalition, including our parent organization, NYSARC, Inc. is conducting a series of inspiring events as part of a year-long workforce funding campaign called "300 Days to Better Pay." The workforce shortage facing NYSARC Chapters in New York State is getting worse and in many communities is now in crisis proportions. According to a 2016 Vacancy and Turnover Survey by the coalition, competition from other employers has increased to the point where coalition agencies responding to the survey now have an average 10 percent vacancy rate and more than a 20 percent turnover rate for Direct Support Professionals. The "300 Days to Better Pay" campaign is a statewide series of events to constantly repeat for legislators and the Governor that direct care not-for-profit agency workers need a fair rate of pay which is commensurate with their vital support responsibilities. The campaign's goal is to have the Governor and the Legislature approve appropriate budget funding for these dedicated professionals when the 2017-18 state budget is finalized April 1, 2017.
Be Ready to Vote
The last day to register to vote for this election is Friday, October 14th!
On Tuesday, November 8th, every seat in the New York State Legislature will be up for election. It is vital that each of us vote and consider the position of candidates on the issues that are important to us. Do the candidates in your community support increasing state budget funding to provide a living wage for Direct Support Professionals and other direct support employees? Will they fight for the funding to be included in the next state budget on April 1, 2017?
To assist you with determining the position of candidates, the #bFair2DirectCare Coalition and NYSARC have sent a questionnaire on increased state funding for our workforce to every candidate for State Legislature. We will post the finds findings on this website when available to help guide you on Election Day, but today, make sure you, your families, and friends are registered to vote on November 8th. You can find your local election information here.
You Can Help
As someone who cares about people with developmental disabilities, you are part of a community of more than 200,000 New Yorkers. If you feel that Direct Support Professionals deserve fair pay, please support the #bFair2DirectCare Coalition.
- You can use this Sample Letter to draft a personalized letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo. Share your own story as a direct support professional, how a direct support professional has had an impact on your family, or voice your opinion on the importance of paying these important workers a living wage.
- You can follow #bFair2DirectCare on social media. Like and share posts to build momentum of this campaign.
- Stay informed about the candidates' positions on this issue and vote on November 8th!
- Candidates' Fair Pay Positions Sought (Odessa File; Letter to the Editor from Arc of Schuyler Board President, Michael E. Stamp) - 9/12/16
The Arc of Schuyler is joining agencies across the country in honoring direct support professionals during National Direct Support Professional Recognition Week beginning September 10, 2017.
The Arc of Schuyler’s 16th annual golf tournament hosted more than 60 golfers at the Watkins Glen Golf Course under sunny skies on August 19, 2016, raising more than $21,000.
The Arc’s annual charity tournament raises necessary funds to assist people with intellectual and development disabilities and their families. By sponsoring, supporting, and golfing in the tournament, individuals and businesses help provide critical services for people in the Schuyler County community.
Congratulations to the tournament’s first place team: Watkins & Nichols, including Bill Spencer, Rocco Scaptura, and John and Josh Robinson. The second place team included Dominick Franzese, Greg Gavich, Tom Gifford, and Gordon Perry, and the third place team was Bryan Christopher, Zac Young, Jeremy Nadeau, and Mike Woodard sponsored by The Bonadio Group.
This was the first year the tournament included a Hole-In-One putting contest, sponsored by Oswego County Mutual Insurance Company. The contest offered one golfer the chance to sink a 50 ft. putt for a $10,000 cash prize. John Robinson of Nichols, NY was the lucky winner of the raffle to take the shot. Robinson was just short of the hole.
Winners of other contests held on the course were: Jeremy Nadeau for men’s longest drive, Jeff Cook for men’s closest-to-the-pin, and Wendy Brooks for women’s closest-to-the-pin.
The Bonadio Group and Relph Benefit Advisors returned as Presenting Sponsors of the event. Birdie Sponsors were Empire Access, Watkins Glen Harbor Hotel, and Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards. These sponsors and more than 100 other businesses, wineries, restaurants, and retail stores generously contributed through sponsorship or product donations.
“Many thanks to all the sponsors, patron supporters, and local businesses who donated items to make this year’s tournament another success – we really can’t do it without their help,” Tournament Chair, Dominick Franzese said. “The Arc’s tournament keeps going strong and continues to be one of the best tournaments in the area supporting a wonderful cause.”
Michael Larkin and his many co-workers have been hard at work helping Watkins Glen International prepare for thousands of guests camping at Watkins Glen International when NASCAR returns Wednesday, Aug. 3 for the Cheez-It 355 weekend.
Larkin is one of many employees at Glen Industries who assembled 4,200 camping kits for Watkins Glen International. Each kit contains a trash bag, recycling bag, pamphlets and a weekend schedule rolled and banded into a neat bundle. Glen Industries is the business services and vocational training division of The Arc of Schuyler in Watkins Glen providing job skills development to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“This was a really fun job to do. It feels good that we’re helping the race track and all the NASCAR fans that are coming to town. We’re part of a big event in our community,” Larkin said. The group was proud they completed the project ahead of schedule.
Glen Industries provides assembly, packaging, professional cleaning, as well as other business services. Visit glenindustries.org for more information.
The Watkins-Montour Rotary awarded Holly Baker, Director of Community Relations, with a Paul Harris Fellow at their annual Changeover Dinner on June 27. The Paul Harris Fellow is one of Rotary’s highest honors awarded to those individuals who exemplify service above self beyond our standard high level.
The Arc of Schuyler awarded its Joanne S. Hayes Memorial Scholarship to Watkins Glen High School graduate, Cheyenne Stansfield at the June 25 commencement ceremony.
This $1,000 scholarship honors Joanne Hayes, former board member and president of The Arc of Schuyler’s board of directors who passed away in 1987. The award is given annually to a graduating senior pursuing an education in human services, special education, or a related field for a career providing supports to people with developmental disabilities.
Cheyenne Stansfield, daughter of Matthew Stansfield of Watkins Glen will attend the nursing program at Alfred State College and pursue a career as a nurse practitioner. She is in the top 10% of her graduating class and has demonstrated excellent leadership skills through her participation in athletics, school plays, National Honor Society, Rotary Interact, Student Council, and Yearbook.
Cheyenne has been recognized with multiple awards including: Watkins-Montour Rotary Student of the Month, Top Ten Percent, Interact Volunteer Award, Integrated Algebra Regents Award, and Yearbook Editor Recognition. She has also held various part-time jobs.
The Joanne S. Hayes Memorial Scholarship is made possible through donations to The Arc of Schuyler, a not-for-profit organization providing supports to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. For more information, visit arcofschuyler.org.
The Arc of the US is proud to be the recipient of the Silver Telly Award for our public service announcement, The Arc Across a Lifetime. The PSA captures how The Arc is there with people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families througout the arc of their lifetime - from birth, to school, to young adulthood, through their journey to employment, and even into twilight years. Learn more about the stars of the video here.
The Arc of Schuyler recently launched its annual fund and membership campaign, which supports critical services, meaningful opportunities, and advocacy for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, and their families. (Read the appeal letter.)
The organization implemented a pet therapy program in 2015 through a partnership with volunteer, Elizabeth “Betsy” Hoffmeier of Rock Stream. She and her husband Jay are long-time supporters and volunteers of The Arc and the owners of three purebred Leonberger dogs that each compete in various dog shows. Augie, 4 and Ripley, 2 were recently certified as a therapy dog team through Therapy Dogs International. Still a puppy, Knabe is working toward his therapy dog certification.
Betsy and her dogs are regular guests at The Arc, visiting on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Conner Goodwin, 22, is one of many people who look forward to spending time with these fluffy companions. Though Conner’s disabilities can influence his memory retention, his parents recognize an improvement in his ability to remember on pet therapy days.
“He remembers each of the dog’s names and is excited to talk about them when he gets home,” Conner’s father Lewis Goodwin said. “They’re a tremendous part of his day and he always remembers more of it when he’s interacted with them.”
Others who receive services at The Arc enjoy reading aloud to the dogs or walking them throughout the building. The Arc’s Director of Day Services, Marie Scott adds that the dogs bring comfort and joy to many who have visual impairments, physical challenges, or who experience stress.
“Animals don’t judge or place expectations. That makes people feel good about themselves and it motivates them,” Scott said. “Betsy and her dogs are doing something incredibly significant for people and The Arc is proud to partner with them to make this program possible.”
The Arc provides 24/7 residential supports, service coordination, at-home respite, recreation, guardianship, day services, vocational training and employment supports to more than 200 individual and families in the Schuyler County area.