photo of masthead for mock newspaper The Arc of Dutchess Record

Let Me Tell You a Story.

It all started in 1971.

Let me tell you a story about an individual here at The Arc of Dutchess.

in a time before the unique abilities of children with disabilities were valued. Before they were seen as having worth to the fabric of our community. Before there were programs to support their employment, career, and academic goals. Before there were supports readily available to individuals and families, once their child had “aged out” of public school special education programs. It all started in a time before.

This is a story about what happens when real people identify injustice and do something about it. Real people like Catherine “Kay” Seeberger, who saw the failure in the system and sought, along with other special education teachers and advocates like Mimi Stambrook, Bessie Payne, and Peggy Martinko, to make a difference. These women, along with Frank Pessia – a loving father of three adopted girls with disabilities who raised them by himself after his wife’s tragic death, were ordinary people who chose extraordinary action. In doing so, they laid the foundation for an agency that has, over the course of nearly 50 years, supported thousands of your neighbors and friends. From The Little Red Schoolhouse – a vocational program that supported a mere 15 individuals – grew The Arc of Dutchess, one of the largest providers of supports in Dutchess County.

photo of mock newspaper cover titled The Arc of Dutchess Record
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In those almost fifty years, our agency has not lived a charmed life. We have suffered from historically low rates, lower than our colleagues in the area. Even now, as we weather the storm created by COVID-19, we brace for the impending funding cuts that will shake our foundation once again.

But, that same determination that drove our founders to stand up and take action drives our every step forward. As we looked at an increasingly uncertain future, our leadership and Board of Directors had a daunting choice to make, and they did so with resolution. We reached out a hand to our colleagues across the river – an agency whose story fits right alongside ours. With the same grace and grit as Kay, Mimi, and our other founders – we embraced a unification with The Arc Sullivan-Orange.

Have we come full circle? Have we lived up to the mighty example set by our founders? Have we created something they can be proud of?

Let us show you the answer. Join us as we become something greater than any of our founders could’ve imagined. Join us as we show the Hudson Valley what it means to start from nothing and to build something great. Your donations help us rise from the ashes of COVID-19 and into a new day.

We are so grateful for you – our Dutchess County family. This story is your story too. We can’t wait to continue to write it with you.

Upon request, you may obtain a copy of the latest financial report filed by The Arc of Dutchess at our administrative offices located at 84 Patrick Lane Ste. 130, Poughkeepsie, NY 12603 or from the Attorney General’s Charities Bureau’s Website – To receive more information, contact the Attorney General at (212) 416-8686.

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