2017 Annual Meeting

Art Show, Noted Author, and Book Signing

The Arc of Dutchess, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit, will hold its Annual Meeting on Thursday, April 27th at 6:00pm  at the Cuneen Hacketts building in Poughkeepsie. A featured exhibit by artists supported by The Arc of Dutchess as well as refreshments will precede the evening’s program with guest, Joyce Scott, author of Entwined – Sisters in the Silent World of Artist Judith Scott. Ms. Scott will talk about her twin sister’s journey through a thirty year institutionalization and her own journey to rescue her. Her sister’s artistic creativity emerged resulting in the world renowned sculptural pieces found in permanent museum collections today. Part memoir, part biography, Entwined is a poignant and astonishing story about the art of embracing life.

Everyone is welcome and admission is free.

2017 Celebration of Stars Awards

2017 Celebration of Stars Awards


September 27th 2018 at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel!

Every year The Arc of Dutchess Board of Directors and Foundation Board take time to acknowledge and honor those who volunteer their time, talent and treasures to not only our organization but the community where we live and work. We recognize these remarkable members of our community annually at our “Celebration of Stars” awards ceremony to be held this year on September 28, 2017 at the Poughkeepsie Grand. For more information or to attend, please contact Evelyn Flavin (845) 635-8084 x 21100.


2016 Celebration of Stars Award Recipients: Back Row L to R: Jessica Challan-Spera, Kayla Shaffer, Vincent Miller, Pamela Edington, Michelle Dancey, Maureen Kangas. Front Row L to R: Ashely Russell, Carolyn Naughton, Christopher Zikoyanis.


Lucille Delfino – Frank Pessia Award

Cammie Jones – Peggy Martinko Award

Grace Smith House – Employee of the year

Andre West – Kenny Dixon Spirit Award

Odyssey  Church – Katz Award

Susanne O’Neil – Mimi Stambrook Award

Tina Montefusco – Sara Studler “Smile” Award

Mayor Robert Rolinson – Bessie Payne Award

Brian Chaires – Rising Star Award

…a young professional who demonstrates boundless energy, optimism and generosity (Sarah Studler)

Sarah Studler was an Arc of Dutchess employee who left our world much too soon. In the span of her 25 years she enriched all who knew her with her generosity of spirit. For us at The Arc of Dutchess, Sarah represented the very best of the new generation moving into our workforce. She brought a wonderful energy and spirit to our work place. She was confident, funny, always smiling, and ready to embrace the world. She cared deeply for her family, her friends, coworkers and her community; she had a way of making everyone and anyone feel special and valuable. Within her all too short tenure at The Arc of Dutchess she developed relationships in every department and at every level. To honor Sarah’s memory and her contribution to our collective community, this award celebrates an individual who demonstrates in word and action, those wonderful qualities we cherish and remember in Sarah … spirited, motivating, inspiring, limitless, and exceptional as a colleague, employee, community member, and person.

…a trailblazer (Peggy Martinko)

During a time when many women had not yet found their voice, Peggy Martinko stood out as a ‘renaissance woman’. She and her friend, Kay Seeberger created a cohort comprised of educators, family members, other community activists dedicated to ensuring a rich, productive future for individuals with developmental disabilities after their school experience ended. Concerned that the only services available at time did not adequately support those with more serious challenges, Peggy and this band of advocates took their message to County and State representatives and the Dutchess County community to ensure these individuals were not forgotten. This took courage, leadership, and perseverance. Peggy had it all; she was “a force to be reckoned with”. At the same time, Peggy raised her family, maintained an extensive circle of friends, and was active in many other community groups. She is described by her children as “gifted in making others happy.” Those who worked and socialized with Peggy tell us stories of a humorous and fun-loving person with a talent for playing the kazoo and making people smile. the Arc of Dutchess is forever in her debt.

…a community business partner (Employer of the Year)

Awarded to a business in the Dutchess County region that offers authentic and substantive employment opportunities to individuals with developmental disabilities, thereby providing opportunity for enhanced self-esteem and personal growth for the person as a valued member of the workforce.

… an individual with disabilities who demonstrates a “no excuse, can do” attitude who perseveres through life’s challenges with grace, dignity and strength (Kenny Dixon)

Kenny was an empowered spirit who persevered through mounting medical challenges with strength, dignity and determination. He inspired all of those who crossed his path with his wit, his heart and his “can do” attitude. Kenny made a concerted effort each day to lift the spirits of those around him and leave life’s complaints untold. He represented “live each day” by dwelling on today’s opportunities. Kenny just wanted to keep it moving whether it was making someone laugh, playing hoops or getting through his dialysis treatment. This award celebrates an individual who defies what others may have determined as their destiny, perseveres through life’s challenges, focuses on the good in the world and doesn’t let “life” get in the way of their dreams.

…a selfless pioneer (Katz Award)

The Katz Award was created by Phyllis Rosenfield, and her late husband Herb, in remembrance of Phyllis’s parents, Jean and Louis Katz. Jean Katz, was very involved in the development of AHRC in New York City, the roots of the NYSARC, Inc. organization, and a cohort of Ann Greenburg, the parent who placed the original advertisement in the NY Times which was the genesis of this movement. For her daughter Barbara, Jean worked to ensure services for all children with developmental disabilities would exist for a lifetime. It is with that in mind that we give this next award. Since 1993, this award has honored individuals who have made volunteering a lifestyle. These folks don’t see their activities as extra tasks in their lives, but rather, as essentials parts of their existence.

…an impassioned parent (Frank Pessia)

In the early 60’s Frank Pessia and his wife adopted 3 little triplet girls. Sadly, Mrs. Pessia passed away when the children were only 3 years of age. About 2 years later in 1967, all three girls were diagnosed with developmental disabilities. One can only imagine this level of loss within such a short period of time, especially given that in 1967, half of the nation’s 25,000 school districts offered no classes for students with special needs. But Frank Pessia became an advocate for service development fueled by the love for his daughters. In 1971 Frank Pessia became the first Chapter President of The Arc of Dutchess. It is his dedication as a parent, and innovative spirit the early years of our organization that we honor in the presentation of this award.

…a noble ally (Mimi Stambrook)

Mimi Stambrook was well known as a volunteer in our community. She worked at the Little Red School House and later with Rehab Programs. She was considered a leader in our field in the Mid Hudson Valley, throughout her career. Since 1989, the Board of Directors of The Arc of Dutchess has presented the Mimi Stambrook Award to a Board Member, staff person, or volunteer, whose work in the field goes far beyond the scope of their job or voluntary position at The Arc of Dutchess.

…a humanitarian legend (Bessie Payne)

Bessie Payne was a remarkable woman. When she died in 1991 at age 96, she left Dutchess County with a much richer and more diverse array of services due to her involvement. She was instrumental and considered a driving force behind the development of many Poughkeepsie civic organizations – in 1913 along with her mother and 10 other women she created the Poughkeepsie Neighborhood Club. She is best remembered by The Arc of Dutchess as the Principal of “The Little Red Schoolhouse” in Poughkeepsie. When you talk about services for the developmentally disabled in Dutchess County – you might say it began right there; with her, and other educators in our community who devoted their lives to the “children” we serve today. It is in her memory, and with her vision of service that we present this award.

… Rising Star

Awarded to an employee of The Arc of Dutchess who demonstrates in word and deed, empowerment of individuals we support, belief in and support of person-directed supports, respect for the people we support, respect for colleagues and co-workers, and respect for the work of the organization

St. Mary’s

photos-374St. Mary’s Church

Happy Holidays!  The Parishioners from St. Mary’s Church in Fishkill have been supporting people from The Arc of Dutchess for over 15 years!  Each year, more than 50 people supported by The Arc of Dutchess are included in the church gift drive.  Nancy Metz is the Coordinator of this and she goes above and beyond to make sure everyone has a personal wrapped gift(s).  Recipients benefitting from the gift drive are from our Supported Work department, Medicaid Service Coordination program and Residential program. 

 The Arc of Dutchess is eternally grateful to Nancy Metz and the many parishioners from St. Mary’s Church in Fishkill for helping make the holidays brighter for those we support!

Speiler Fund: The Community Foundation

Speiler Fund: The Community Foundation

Thank you to the Community Foundation and Jeff Feldman for selecting The Arc of Dutchess as a recipient of the Howard K. Spieler Memorial Fund. This Fund allows The Arc of Dutchess to provide additional assistance to individuals and his/her family during the holiday season. We would not be able to do this without the continuous support and generosity of the Community Foundation. This is our eighth year working with the Community Foundation on this collaboration.

Seeberger winner 2017

Seeberger Winner 2017

The Arc of Dutchess proudly honors Dutchess County Exectutive Marcus Molinaro as the 2017 Recipient of the Catherine Seeberger Citizenship Award. Mr. Molinaro is recognized for his dedication to support citizens in our county with special needs. His “Think Differently” intiative has already created public awareness and stimulated positive changes in our community.
 “This is a call to action, a genuine challenge to determine if we have it within ourselves to see past our differences and treat others the way we would hope to be treated. Too often, many with special needs are over looked and their unique abilities ignored. Instead, we seek to lift each other up and embrace all residents of all abilities.” – Marcus Molinaro
The 2017 Seeberger award was presented to Mr. Molinaro at an “Evening of Discovery” on March 30 where many “unique abilities” and talents were show-cased.