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October 5, 2017

NYSID Helps Humane Society Provide Shelter from the Storm

Category: General — NYSID @ 4:31 pm

NYSID contributes funds to numerous member agency and other non-profit events through its community outreach program, especially in times of need for people and pets alike.

NYSID staff donated items and funds throughout September to support the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society (MHHS), a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Menands (Albany County) that has been providing shelter for lost, abused and unwanted animals since 1887.

In recent months, MHHS has cared for numerous cats and dogs moved from shelters in Texas and Florida to make room for animals directly impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

By freeing up precious kennel space closest to the hardest-hit areas, MHHS aids in the ongoing process of reuniting people with their pets.

NYSID staff collected numerous items, including: paper towels, shoe boxes, binders, dog/cat food, dog treats, dog/cat toys, dog balls, towels, blankets, bleach, laundry detergent, fabric softener sheets, scoops, bags, cat litter, gerbil/hamster/rabbit treats, and two dog beds.

NYSID also generously donated funds on behalf of the organization to MHHS.

NYSID staff donated items and funds to support the Mohawk Hudson Humane Society, which has cared for numerous cats and dogs impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Melissa Lieberman and Noreen Cronin, NYSID senior contract administration specialists, recently delivered the items and funds donated by NYSID staff to MHHS.

“I volunteer at MHHS, so I know how much the animals benefit from NYSID’s donations,” Lieberman said. “MHHS thanked us very much for NYSID’s generosity.”

Properly sheltering and caring for animals requires a large range of equipment and supplies. Many of these pets will require ongoing care and treatment before they are available for adoption.

To carry out its work for the animals, MHHS receives no ongoing funding from federal, state or local governments or any other animal welfare organization, instead relying on donations to support its vital services for the animals. Donated items enable MHHS to direct its financial resources to services and programs.

MHHS is the Capital Region’s oldest and largest animal protection organization, receiving an average of more than 6,000 animals per year.

Thanks to all NYSID staff who generously donated to MHHS!

Senator Ortt, Assemblywoman Gunther Hailed as Legislative Preferred Source Champions

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:34 pm

NYS Senator Robert Ortt (R,C,I-North Tonawanda) and Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D,I,WF-Forestburgh) have long been known for their advocacy on behalf of individuals with disabilities in their communities.

NYS Senator Robert Ortt accepts his 2017 Legislative Preferred Source Champion Award from Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO, and Kevin Crosley, NYSID board of directors vice chair

During its Annual Meeting on September 26 at The Saratoga Hilton, NYSID presented these legislators with its Legislative Preferred Source Champion Award as co-recipients.

Senator Ortt is Chair of the Senate Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities Committee and a member of the Senate Veterans, Homeland Security and Military Affairs Committee. Assemblywoman Gunther is Chair of the Assembly Committee on Mental Health and the Subcommittee on Women’s Health.

Senator Ortt has advocated on behalf of facility-based employment in his district, reaching out to the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities and submitting letters to the editor to support work center job choices.

Assemblywoman Gunther was the lead sponsor of Assembly bill 6832, which reaffirmed the legislative intent of the Preferred Source Law and provided for needed updates to the law. Ortt co-sponsored the companion bill in the Senate.

NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther accepts her 2017 Legislative Preferred Source Champion Award from Ron Romano and Kevin Crosley

Together, these legislators have sponsored legislation creating the mental illness anti-stigma license plate. In recent years, New York has taken steps in this direction, including implementing policies calling for mental health education in schools.

Both Senator Ortt and Assemblywoman Gunther also have actively supported NYSID’s CREATE initiative.

NYSID, its member agencies and corporate partners honor these champion legislators for their true commitment and ongoing support of job opportunities for New Yorkers with disabilities, particularly as we encourage their fellow legislators to “MAKE THE CHANGE” to clarify Preferred Source Law, so NYSID can continue its core purpose of “Purchasing That Powers Employment” across New York State.

October 3, 2017

Crystal Heath Exudes Class in Accepting Classroom to Career Award

Category: General — NYSID @ 1:22 pm

During its Annual Meeting on September 26 at The Saratoga Hilton, NYSID presented its first-ever Classroom to Career Award to Crystal Heath of The Arc of Ulster-Greene/Pilot Industries.

Crystal Heath (second from right), The Arc of Ulster-Greene, receives NYSID's first-ever Classroom to Career Award

Crystal personifies the successful collaboration between an educational system and a NYSID member agency leading to employment and independence.

A 2014 graduate of The Arc of Ulster-Greene’s School-to-Work program, Crystal eagerly applied for an office aide position at the agency. At first, she was very timid and unsure of herself. Now, a few years later, she has developed into a confident young woman and a vital part of the Ellenville Center team.

“When I first walked in [to The Arc of Ulster-Greene/Pilot Industries], it wasn’t new. It felt like that I was in the right place to work,” she said.

Crystal excels at being an office aide and the Ellenville Center has come to depend on her. She often covers for the office manager and is called upon by the regional director for her skills.

“I feel strong and a lot happier now,” she said. “I like my job because I can move out and pay rent. Moving out of my parents’ house at first I was nervous for leaving my parents. But now thinking about it, it’s a lot better on me.”

This year, Crystal expanded her responsibilities at the Ellenville Center by working on the NYSID Preferred Source contract for drug test kits. She also represented The Arc of Ulster-Greene at the Preferred Source Expo at New York GovBuy in May.

Thanks to everyone who attended our Annual Meeting, as we encouraged legislators to “MAKE THE CHANGE” and reaffirmed our core purpose of “Purchasing That Powers Employment.” Special thanks to John Craig from WNYT NewsChannel 13 for emceeing our signature event.

October 2, 2017

“Inclusion Drives Innovation” During NDEAM in October

Category: General — NYSID @ 4:33 pm

Every October, National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) celebrates individuals with disabilities and their contributions and achievements to the American workforce.

Reflecting the important role that different perspectives play in workforce success, this year’s NDEAM theme is “Inclusion Drives Innovation.”

“Americans of all abilities must have access to good, safe jobs,” said Alexander Acosta, U.S. Labor Secretary. “Smart employers know that including different perspectives in problem-solving situations leads to better solutions. Hiring employees with diverse abilities strengthens their business, increases competition, and drives innovation.”

During NYSID’s Annual Meeting on September 26 at The Saratoga Hilton, a crowd of more than 250 attendees celebrated inclusion, innovation and employment excellence statewide on Preferred Source contracts.

We encouraged legislators to “MAKE THE CHANGE” and reaffirmed our core purpose of “Purchasing That Powers Employment,” while fulfilling our mission of “Advancing employment and other opportunities for individuals with disabilities.”

Among our numerous Annual Meeting honorees, John Humphrey, a custodian with The Arc of Onondaga in Syracuse, and Richard Warner, a production/assembly worker with Allegany Arc in Wellsville, were recognized as 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipients.

NYSID presented its 2017 Legislative Preferred Source Champion Award to co-recipients NYS Senator Robert Ortt and NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther. They have actively supported NYSID’s CREATE (Cultivating Resources for Employment with Assistive TEchnology) initiative.

Schenectady ARC and Spectrum Designs Foundation were named 2017 Member Agency of the Year Award co-recipients.

The ARC’s Pine Ridge Industries offers Preferred Source employment in document destruction, mailing and plant maintenance. Pine Ridge Industries also has assembled and packaged a number of Preferred Source products over the years, including recent state approval to produce the new Jamboxx breath-controlled musical instrument.

Spectrum is an integrated workforce with more than 30 individuals living on the autism spectrum who work in screen printing and embroidery.

View our 2017 Annual Meeting video playlist.

“NYSID secures meaningful employment for all New Yorkers with disabilities who look to Preferred Source opportunities to choose an employment direction,” said Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO. “Our award recipients speak to the dedication and commitment displayed by these individuals through meaningful work, especially as we celebrate the numerous ways ‘Inclusion Drives Innovation’ during National Disability Employment Awareness Month.”

September 27, 2017

“MAKE THE CHANGE” Serves as Powerful Call to Action During Annual Meeting That Celebrates Preferred Source Employment

Category: General — NYSID @ 2:11 pm

During NYSID’s Annual Meeting on September 26 at The Saratoga Hilton, a crowd of more than 250 attendees proudly wearing campaign-style buttons encouraged legislators to “Make the Change” to Preferred Source legislation — a true display of solidarity among NYSID members, corporate partners and supporters.

Richard Warner, Allegany Arc, and John Humphrey, The Arc of Onondaga/Monarch Industries, each received NYSID's 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award

View our 2017 Annual Meeting video playlist.

This change seeks to clarify Preferred Source Law for ease of administration and increased employment for people with disabilities, so NYSID can continue its core purpose of “Purchasing That Powers Employment” across New York State. NYSID also unveiled “Purchasing That Powers Employment” as its new tagline.

In that spirit, NYSID recognized NYS Senator Robert Ortt (R,C,I-North Tonawanda) and NYS Assemblywoman Aileen Gunther (D,I,WF-Forestburgh) for their willingness to advocate for individuals with disabilities in their community by presenting each of them with the 2017 Legislative Preferred Source Champion Award.

Senator Ortt has advocated on behalf of facility-based employment in his district, reaching out to the NYS Office for People With Developmental Disabilities and submitting letters to the editor to support work center job choices. Assemblywoman Gunther was the lead sponsor of Assembly bill 6832, which reaffirmed the legislative intent of the Preferred Source Law and provided for needed updates to the law. Ortt co-sponsored the companion bill in the Senate.

Both Senator Ortt and Assemblywoman Gunther also have actively supported NYSID’s CREATE (Cultivating Resources for Employment with Assistive TEchnology) initiative.

John Humphrey, a custodian with The Arc of Onondaga in Syracuse, and Richard Warner, a production/assembly worker with Allegany Arc in Wellsville, were honored as 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipients.

The William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award is NYSID’s most prestigious people-centered award. NYSID’s annual Joslin Awards Program celebrates exceptional job performance and personal growth by New Yorkers with disabilities working on NYSID Preferred Source contracts.

In its 14th year, NYSID’s Joslin Awards Program has recognized more than 700 Outstanding Performers, and awarded 17 of those individuals with the final William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award.

Humphrey is a veteran with disabilities who has overcome schizophrenia and homelessness to become the custodian at the Westcott Day Habilitation Center, a state-operated site. Due to his disability, he does not drive a car, so a bicycle is his sole means of transportation to and from work, four to six miles each way. He has missed just one day of work in four years –- no small feat, considering how treacherous Syracuse winters can be.

“Don’t let your disability be a barrier, but only an obstacle to overcome,” Humphrey told the Annual Meeting crowd. “You never know what you can accomplish until you try. It is better to try and fail, then it is not to try at all.”

Born with an intellectual disability in challenging circumstances, Warner works as an assembler at the PWI Witkowski Integrated work place. He also has worked in custodial services on New York State Department of Transportation contracts and as an assembler of New York State DNA Databank collection kits and other products. His journey from welfare to employment and the quality of life he aspired to obtain validates the mission of the NYSID Preferred Source Program.

Upon accepting his award, Warner said, “This is the happiest day of my life.”

NYSID also presented the following awards during its Annual Meeting:

Classroom to Career Award (new in 2017): Crystal Heath, The Arc of Ulster-Greene

The award recognizes an individual with disabilities who personifies the successful collaboration between an educational system and a NYSID member agency leading to employment and independence.

Member Agency of the Year (co-recipients): Schenectady Arc and Spectrum Designs Foundation

State Government Customer of the Year: New York State Department of Transportation

Local Customer of the Year: Rockland County

Special thanks to John Craig from WNYT NewsChannel 13 for emceeing our signature event.

Visit NYSID on FacebookTwitterLinkedInInstagramYouTube and Google+ in the coming days and weeks for award videos, speeches and more.

Thanks to everyone who attended NYSID’s Annual Meeting, as we encouraged legislators to “Make the Change” and reaffirmed our core purpose of “Purchasing That Powers Employment.”

September 20, 2017

Meet Capital Region/Hudson Valley’s Joslin Outstanding Performers

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:38 pm

Twenty-one Capital Region/Hudson Valley residents with disabilities are among 58 statewide Joslin Outstanding Performers recognized through NYSID’s annual people-centered awards program.

The Joslin Outstanding Performers for 2017 from the Capital Region/Hudson Valley are:

Brian Aldrich, The Arc of Rensselaer County (Troy), production/assembly

Sandy Becker, Liberty ARC, the Montgomery County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc. (Amsterdam), production/assembly

Adam Decker, Rehabilitation Support Services (Albany), custodial

Jamie Ferguson, Image Data, Inc. (Albany), document preparation

Wendy Germond, eBizDocs (Menands), document preparation

Mark Gibson, Gateway Community Industries, Inc. (Kingston), custodial

Tyquill Grady, Northeast Career Planning/The Norton Center, Inc. (Menands), custodial

Dillon Greeno, Second Chance Opportunities, Inc. (Albany), floor care

Russell Hall, Coarc (Mellenville), molding

Jeanne Hansen, The Arc Otsego (Oneonta), packaging/briefs

Bethany Haroldson, Schoharie County ARC, packaging assembly

Crystal Heath, The Arc of Ulster-Greene/Pilot Industries (Kingston), drug test kit assembly

Mark Letourneau, Center for Disability Services (Albany), mailing

Martin Mannello, Green Facility Solution (Albany), custodial

Laura Mastroianni, Warren Washington & Albany ARC (Queensbury), custodial

Derrick McGuinness, Lexington, Fulton County Chapter NYSARC, Inc. (Gloversville), production/assembly

Justine O’Dell, Arc Herkimer/Herkimer Industries (Herkimer), packaging

Dana Pickett, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany (Albany), data entry

Tabitha Sanders, Janitronics (Albany), custodial

Joshua Silva, Focused Technologies (Menands), IT maintenance

Shawn Thayer, Mountain Lake Industries (Mineville), woodworking production

Schenectady Arc has been selected as a co-recipient of the Member Agency of the Year award.

Crystal Heath, who works in drug test kit assembly with The Arc of Ulster-Greene in Kingston has been selected the Classroom to Career Award recipient. This new award recognizes an individual with disabilities who personifies the successful collaboration between an educational system and a NYSID member agency leading to employment and independence.

John Humphrey, a custodian with The Arc of Onondaga in Syracuse, and Richard Warner, a production/assembly worker with Allegany Arc in Wellsville, have been named 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipients.

The 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipients will be honored during NYSID’s Annual Meeting on Tuesday, September 26 at 5 p.m. at The Saratoga Hilton.

NYSID’s annual Joslin Awards Program celebrates exceptional job performance and personal growth by New Yorkers with disabilities working on NYSID Preferred Source contracts.

In its 14th year, NYSID has recognized more than 700 Outstanding Performers, and awarded 17 of those individuals with the final William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award. All Outstanding Performers receive a certificate of achievement and cash award, and are featured in an annual yearbook.

We look forward to seeing you on September 26. Register here, or watch videos of previous Joslin Award recipients.

September 18, 2017

John Humphrey Perseveres and Displays Outstanding Performance

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:33 pm

John Humphrey, a custodian with The Arc of Onondaga/Monarch Industries in Syracuse, has been named a 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipient by NYSID.

John Humphrey, a custodian with The Arc of Onondaga/Monarch Industries in Syracuse, is NYSID's 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipient

A veteran with disabilities, Humphrey has overcome schizophrenia and homelessness to become the custodian at the Westcott Day Habilitation Center, a state-operated site. He has missed just one day of work in four years.

Due to his disability, he does not drive a car, so a bicycle is his sole means of transportation to and from work, four to six miles each way.

Humphrey is goal-oriented and says it is important to keep challenging yourself. With the hope of owning his own energy-efficient home, and a belief that “something better than what you have now” is attainable, he continues to set higher goals for himself.

NYSID’s annual Joslin Awards Program celebrates exceptional job performance and personal growth by New Yorkers with disabilities working on NYSID Preferred Source contracts.

In its 14th year, NYSID has recognized more than 700 Outstanding Performers, and awarded 17 of those individuals with the final William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award. All Outstanding Performers receive a certificate of achievement and cash award, and are featured in an annual yearbook.

Eleven Central New Yorkers with disabilities are among 58 statewide Joslin Outstanding Performers recognized in 2017.

In addition to Humphrey, the Joslin Outstanding Performers from Central New York are:

Roger Benjamin, JM Murray, (Cortland), custodial

Spencer Fort, Arc of Seneca Cayuga (Waterloo), lawn maintenance

James Keeler, Association for Vision Rehabilitation and Employment, Inc./A.V.R.E. (Binghamton), manufacturing

Christopher Morgan, Human Technologies (Utica), custodial

Amy Morrison, St. Lawrence NYSARC/Seaway Industries (Canton), digital imaging

Lidija Nadarevic, ACHIEVE/Country Valley Industries (Binghamton), document preparation

Gerald Robbins, The Arc of Madison Cortland (Oneida), food packaging

Francis Scovel, Jefferson Rehabilitation Center (Watertown), production

Gary Soule, The Arc of Chemung/Southern Tier Industries (Elmira), grounds maintenance

Jeremy Storey, The Arc, Oneida-Lewis Chapter/Progress Industries (Utica), packaging

Richard Warner, a production/assembly worker with Allegany Arc in Wellsville, is the 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipient.

The 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipients will be honored during NYSID’s Annual Meeting on Tuesday, September 26 at 5 p.m. at The Saratoga Hilton. Register here, or watch videos of previous Joslin Award recipients.

We look forward to seeing you on September 26.

September 14, 2017

NYC, Long Island Include 16 Joslin Outstanding Performers

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:32 pm

Sixteen greater New York City and Long Island residents with disabilities are among 58 statewide Joslin Outstanding Performers recognized through NYSID’s annual people-centered awards program.

NYSID’s Joslin Awards celebrate exceptional job performance and personal growth by New Yorkers with disabilities working on NYSID Preferred Source contracts.

The Joslin Outstanding Performers for 2017 from New York City and Long Island are:

Anthony Colletti, Maryhaven Center of Hope (Port Jefferson Station), production/assembly

John Dollard, SullivanArc/Sullivan Industries (Monticello), custodial

Wilson Espinoza, The Corporate Source (New York City), custodial

Joseph Forte, AHRC Nassau (Freeport), custodial

Francisco Guzman, Lifespire, Inc. (Manhattan), assembly/packaging

David Jackson, AHRC New York City (New York City), custodial

Evan Kuhlmey, Spectrum Designs Foundation (Port Washington), screen printing

Jorge Laseria, Jawonio (New City), laundry cart washing

Joan Lawrence, Goodwill Industries of Greater NY & Northern NJ/GoodTemps (Astoria), executive assistant

Richard Muller, Abilities, Inc. (Albertson), document imaging

Rodney Randolph, The Rehabilitation Institute/TRI Business & Career Center (Westbury), porter

Placido Samper, Access: Supports for Living (Middletown), custodial

Christopher San Paolo, American Maintenance (Babylon), custodial/maintenance

Joseph Scott, WellLife Network (Flushing), custodial

D’Asia Tolliver, The Arc of Dutchess (Poughkeepsie), custodial

Michael Williams, Fedcap (New York City), custodial

Among our other award recipients:

NYS Assemblymember Aileen Gunther (D,I,WF-Forestburgh) has been selected as a 2017 Legislative Preferred Source Champion Award co-recipient for her willingness to advocate for individuals with disabilities in her community.

Spectrum Designs Foundation in Nassau County has been named a co-recipient of the Member Agency of the Year award. Rockland County has been named Local Customer of the Year.

John Humphrey, a custodian with The Arc of Onondaga in Syracuse, and Richard Warner, a production/assembly worker with Allegany Arc in Wellsville, have been named 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipients.

The 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipients will be honored during NYSID’s Annual Meeting on Tuesday, September 26 at 5 p.m. at The Saratoga Hilton.

In its 14th year, NYSID has recognized more than 700 Outstanding Performers, and awarded 17 of those individuals with the final William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award. All Outstanding Performers receive a certificate of achievement and cash award, and are featured in an annual yearbook.

We look forward to seeing you on September 26. Register here, or watch videos of previous Joslin Award recipients.

September 12, 2017

Richard Warner Shows Dedication Through Preferred Source Work

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:37 pm

Richard Warner, a production/assembly worker with Allegany Arc in Wellsville, has been named a 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipient by NYSID.

Richard Warner, a production/assembly worker with Allegany Arc in Wellsville, is NYSID's 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipient

Born with an intellectual disability in challenging circumstances, Rich works as an assembler at the PWI Witkowski Integrated work place. He also has worked in custodial services on New York State Department of Transportation contracts and as an assembler of New York State DNA Databank collection kits and other products.

Rich enjoys the satisfaction of a hard day’s work with competitive wages and benefits and has built a strong, resilient identity that allows him to deal with the everyday challenges of life. He proudly shares an apartment with his twin brother and participates in area 5K races for his health. Rich also recently purchased his first car and is working on getting his driver’s license.

His journey from welfare to employment and the quality of life he aspired to obtain validates the mission of the NYSID Preferred Source Program.

NYSID’s annual Joslin Awards Program celebrates exceptional job performance and personal growth by New Yorkers with disabilities working on NYSID Preferred Source contracts.

In its 14th year, NYSID has recognized more than 700 Outstanding Performers, and awarded 17 of those individuals with the final William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award. All Outstanding Performers receive a certificate of achievement and cash award, and are featured in an annual yearbook.

Ten Western New Yorkers with disabilities are among 58 statewide Joslin Outstanding Performers recognized in 2017.

In addition to Warner, the Joslin Outstanding Performers for 2017 from Western New York are:

Duane Baker, The Arc of Steuben (Bath), custodial

Kim Deming, The Arc of Livingston-Wyoming (Mt. Morris), custodial

Christopher Knapp, Lifetime Assistance, Inc. (Rochester), document destruction

Phillip Murvine, Chautauqua County Chapter NYSARC, Inc./The Resource Center (Jamestown), custodial

Samuel Muse, Cattaraugus County Chapter NYSARC, Inc./The ReHabilitation Center (Olean), custodial

Mark Natalzia, Southeast Works, Inc. (Depew), custodial

Justin Pack, CDS Monarch (Rochester), production/assembly

Christopher Schwartz, Heritage Centers/Allentown Industries (Buffalo), custodial

Tracy Williams, Wayne ARC (Newark), custodial

John Humphrey, a custodian with The Arc of Onondaga in Syracuse, is the 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipient.

NYS Senator Robert Ortt (R,C,I-North Tonawanda) has been named by NYSID as a 2017 Legislative Preferred Source Champion Award co-recipient for his willingness to advocate for individuals with disabilities in his community. New York State Department of Transportation has been named State Government Customer of the Year.

The 2017 William B. Joslin Outstanding Performance Award co-recipients, Senator Ortt and the New York State Department of Transportation will be honored during NYSID’s Annual Meeting on Tuesday, September 26 at 5 p.m. at The Saratoga Hilton.

Register here, or watch videos of previous Joslin Award recipients. We look forward to seeing you on September 26.

August 1, 2017

Everyone’s a Winner at NYSID’s Autism Awareness Night

Category: General — NYSID @ 12:37 pm

NYSID proudly sponsored Autism Awareness Night with NYS Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara and the Amsterdam Mohawks, promoting acceptance of individuals living on the autism spectrum.

NYS Assemblymember Angelo Santabarbara and his son, Michael, who lives on the autism spectrum, threw out the first pitch for NYSID's Autism Awareness Night with the Amsterdam Mohawks

A highlight of the evening was Assemblymember Santabarbara and his son, Michael, who lives on the autism spectrum, throwing out the first pitch, to the roar of an appreciative crowd.

This marks the second time the pair have delivered a perfect strike for NYSID on the baseball diamond; in July 2016, they threw out the first pitch for NYSID’s fifth annual NYSID Night at “The Joe” with the Tri-City Valley Cats at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium.

Folks from NYSID member agencies Liberty ARCLexington – Fulton County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc. and Schenectady Arc, along with the Autism Society of the Greater Capital Region, joined NYSID for the July 26 Autism Awareness Night game between the Mohawks and the Glens Falls Dragons at Shuttleworth Park.

NYSID's Autism Awareness Night promoted acceptance of individuals living on the autism spectrum, with several NYSID member agencies in attendance

Our guests watched the game from their seats in the Veteran’s Deck and Kids Zone down the first baseline in right field, and they participated in on-field activities during the game. Many wore shirts representing their agency in a show of solidarity for the event.

“As the father of a son with autism, I know firsthand the importance of an incredible resource like NYSID,” Assemblymember Santabarbara (D-Rotterdam) said. “For more than 40 years, NYSID has been there for our family, friends and neighbors with disabilities, providing job opportunities and the independence that makes a difference in the lives of so many.

“In the New York State Assembly, I’m proud to champion legislation and support funding that helps find solutions for the more than 128,000 New Yorkers living with developmental disabilities, and I’m proud to support great partners like NYSID that are working toward the same goal. This year, our first Autism Action Night with the Amsterdam Mohawks was a tremendous success, raising awareness and support for local families in our community through the power of sports.”

Lexington – Fulton County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc. was one of several NYSID member agencies that joined us for Autism Awareness Night

With one in every 68 children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, New York State must encourage job opportunities for these individuals to live as future independent adults, according to Ron Romano, NYSID president & CEO.

“We thank Assemblymember Santabarbara for his participation in our inaugural Autism Awareness Night and his commitment to bettering New York and strengthening workforce opportunities for his son, Michael, and others in the autism community,” he said.

Amsterdam defeated Glens Falls, 8-0. As an added bonus, former Amsterdam Mohawk Dan Zlotnick delivered a guitar performance before and after the game. It also was Art Night, Best Sign Night and an Overnight Car Giveaway. Thanks again to everyone for participating in NYSID’s Autism Awareness Night!

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