Think Differntly Dash 2018

Think Differently Dash 2018

Michael Rao And Evan Oster
The Kelly Family

The Arc of Dutchess once again participated  in The Think Differently Dash! and everyone had a good time. It was a big turnout! After the dash everybody stayed for the city of Poughkeepsie’s First Friday, There was music and vendors and a karate demo. Michael Rao and Evan Oster both ran the fastest dash ever! Congratulations Boys! And to everyone as well. We Know how to Think Differently.

Sara foster & Kristin (A.K.A The Sassy Chef)

Rec And Teen Club At Renegades Game

Our Rec and teen club Members, with Renegades mascot Rascal and Santa Claus

Rec and teen club had fun on Sunday July 22nd at the the Renegades to celebrate Christmas in July. It’s part of that game. Our member Michael Rao used A Hashtag #ATTHEDUTCH to get the picture of the rec and teen club on the Video screen At Dutchess Stadium.

Community and Membership Forum-An Enjoyable Evening for All

Community and Membership Forum-An Enjoyable Evening for All

The Arc of Dutchess held its annual meeting at its Community and Membership Forum on Thursday, June 7, 2018. The Third floor of the Poughkeepsie Underwear Factory was filled to capacity with standing room only.

Board President, Sharon Russitano and Board Secretary, Gary Collins conducted the election of new board members, officers and its Nominating Committee.

At the close of the short business meeting the membership was treated to a viewing of the film “The Sassy Chef” followed by a Panel Question and Answer discussion. The Panel included two of the actors, two parents, one crew member, one staff person and the director of the movie.

Refreshments were provided by the Arc of Dutchess Outreach Committee.

Panel Discussion Participants
One of the stars talking to a friend
Refreshments were served
Board President, Sharon Russitano, Center, Addresses the group.


Special Olympics Summer Games coming to Dutchess County

Special Olympics Summer Games coming to Dutchess County

Special Olympics New York athletes, staff and local dignitaries during Tuesday’s press conference at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie on June 5, 2018. The Special Olympics Summer Games are going to be held in Dutchess County for 2019 and 2020.

A Press Conference was held to announce that Dutchess County will host the organization’s Summer Games June 14-15 in 2019, and again in June 2020.

It will mark the Special Olympics’ return to the region, after the Hudson Valley hosted the Winter Games in 2016 and 2017.

The area at that time drew positive reviews from Special Olympics for its support of the athletes, with more than 3,000 volunteers, according to organizers. County representatives, meanwhile, said local businesses saw a boost from the those who entered the area to attend.

Vassar College and Dutchess Community College are scheduled to host the events. Athletes will come to Poughkeepsie on Friday of the weekend for the opening ceremony, followed by a full day of competition and the closing ceremonies on Saturday.

The Press Conference Was Attended by The Arc Of Dutchess’ Associate Executive, Marie Fitzmaurice, Linda G. Campbell, Director of Marketing and Employment and several Arc of Dutchess athletes.

Members of the planning committees during Tuesday’s Special Olympics press conference at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie on June 5, 2018. The Special Olympics Summer Games are going to be held in Dutchess County for 2019 and 2020.
County Executive Marcus Molinaro welcomes the Summer Special Olympics to Poughkeepsie.


2018 Celebration of Stars Award Nominations

2018 Celebration of Stars Award Nominations

image001Do you know a change-maker in Dutchess County that deserves recognition?

Nominate an individual or organization for one of the awards presented at our annual Celebration of Stars Event – an evening that celebrates innovation, talent, and vision among those working to make Dutchess County a better place for all. As an agency leading the charge in creating opportunities for disabled individuals, we are excited to celebrate together with you and honor in the successes that inspire us to #thinkDIFFERENTLY about our work community where we live, work and play.

Take a minute to fill out the nomination form below and help us honor you, your friends, your colleagues, and/or your employer. Award categories are listed on the web page for reference. All nominations must be received by July 1, 2018.

Save the Date: Celebration of Stars Awards

Thursday, September 27
Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel
Registration coming soon.


2017 Celebration of Stars Honorees

Nomination Form

Step 1 of 3

  • Nominator’s Information

Celebration of Stars Awards Key

Click on each award title to see a description of the 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.

…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.

… 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 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 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.

…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.

…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.

Coffee for a Cause

Coffee for a Cause

On April 28th The Ugly Mug Café hosted Coffee for a Cause to benefit The Arc of Dutchess. Half of all tea and coffee sales were donated to our agency. Proprietor Ori Brachfeld and his staff also donated all of their tips. We appreciate this generosity very much and thank everyone who stopped by and participated.

A fun contest between coffee or tea drinkers resulted with coffee as the favorite drink.

Please visit the Ugly Mug at 39 Market Street in Poughkeepsie for delicious coffee and say “Thank You” for supporting people with disabilities.

Rec and Teen Club at Track and Field Competition at West Point

The 2018 track team and the cadets!

Rec and Teen Club at Track and Field Competition at West Point

Anastastia Slocum from Pessia was there too with the ARC hurricanes!
Colin Lawrence saluting and Jacob walsh with hand on heart!

On Saturday May 5th, the Rec and Teen Club participated in the Special Olympics Track and Field competition at West Point.  They did a great job and had a lot of fun!


Rec and Teen Club at the Time Trials

Rec and Teen Club at the Time Trials

On Saturday April 21st the Rec and Teen Club participated in the track and field time trials in Peekskill New York in preparation for the track and field competition at West Point on May 5th. The Team did a great job. Michael Rao won the 400 meter race and dedicated this to the ones who died in in a terrible school shooting in Parkland.


Arc Of Dutchess Polar Bears Took the Plunge

Arc Of Dutchess Polar Bears Took the Plunge

On February 24th 2018 brave “Polar Bears” from The Arc of Dutchess took the plunge to raise funds for Special Olympics. Thirteen dedicated employees created a team for the “Freezin’ For a Reason” Polar Plunge held in Fishkill. We are so proud of our team for supporting this great organization. Together they raised $2,065! Thank You to Jessica Kruk, Quinton Bailey, Kevin Croushore, Jodie Dorfman, Brian Gelb, Caroline Gilnack, Jamie Griffin, Katelynn Josefiak, Kiera Oloughlin, Courtney Sahler, Carter Williams, and Odain Irving.