Fairport resident Jody Thomas has become the 2013 chairperson for the New York State Third Age Committee – a panel of experts across the state who focus on issues facing senior citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Thomas is a registered nurse and Ontario ARC’s aging services and wellness manager.
“Jody’s strong commitment to serving senior citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities makes her asset to this committee,” says Lora Winghart, Ontario ARC’s associate executive director of program services.
The bulk of Thomas’ responsibilities will focus on the committee’s upcoming 22nd annual Third Age Providers conference on May 9 and 10 at the Holiday Inn in Saratoga Springs. This year’s theme is, “Empowering Caregivers: Sharing Approaches for Facing Dementia.” The keynote speaker is Dr. Kathie Bishop, former director of program in aging at University of Rochester Medical Center’s Strong Center for Developmental Disabilities.
Thomas started 18 years ago as a nurse in Ontario ARC’s residential program. She became the aging coordinator in 2006 to help manage the newly-forming Aging Services, which has experienced tremendous growth as its older population continues to increase. In 2008, Thomas was awarded the Paul Vanas Memorial Service Award for her positive impact of the lives of senior citizen with intellectual and developmental disabilities living in New York State.
The Third Age Committee was founded in 1991 and provides a link for senior citizens, their families and caregivers, health care providers and professionals through educational opportunities and partnerships with agencies across the state.
|Scene from last year's Open Our Bottle Night.|
Raise a glass – and funds for Ontario ARC.
The agency’s Open Our Bottle Night will return to the New York Wine & Culinary Center on Saturday, March 23 from 6 to 10 p.m. The fundraising event’s honorary chairs are Jerry Archibald, Lauren Dixon and Tom Fountain.
The festive evening will feature the sounds of renowned jazz artist John Nugent and friends, international wine and food tasting and interactive cooking demonstrations. In addition, Open Our Bottle Night will have a live auction with terrific packages, including:
- 10-day stay in a beachfront condo in Punta Esmeralda located on the Mexican Rivera
- 4-day, 3-night trip to scenic Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada
- Private dinner for 12 at the New York Wine & Culinary Center
- And, much more!
Proceeds will benefit the agency’s programs and services that support nearly 900 individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. Tickets to Open Our Bottle Night are $125 each and can be purchased online. To learn how you can support this unique fundraiser, contact Donna Auria via e-mail or (585) 919-2191.
|Retired Canandaigua teacher Karen Ford puts the finishing touches on a package during the last and busiest week of Ontario ARC's Holiday Gift Wrapping Booth.|
Holiday spirit and cheer was in no shortage this year!
Ontario ARC raised more than $34,000 at its annual Holiday Gift Wrapping Booths located at center court and Macy’s in Eastview Mall. The agency had help from more than 600 volunteers who wrapped nearly 5,000 gifts.
“Our sponsors and the hundreds of volunteers that turn out to give their time make both of our booths a huge success every year,” says Donna Auria, Ontario ARC’s director of community relations. “We are grateful for their support along with the customers who get their gifts wrapped.”
All of the proceeds go towards the agency’s Pet Connections, an innovative, multi-faceted program connecting pets and people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Ontario County. Some of the program’s highlights include people receiving animal assisted therapy – also known as “pet therapy” – and learning how to administer this creative form of therapy.
|from left: Tom Glynn, president of NY Bird Dog Series; Brenda Estey, senior associate executive director of Ontairo ARC; Jack Heim, from the NJ Gun Dog Championships.|
It may be cold outside, but Ontario ARC is already getting ready for some summer fun.
The Autism Center at Ontario ARC has received a $10,000 donation from the New York Bird Dog Series / New Jersey Gun Dog Championships. The funds will provide camperships for children with autism and other developmental disabilities to attend 4-H Camp Bristol Hills’ summer camp.
“Thanks to the New York Bird Dog Series / New Jersey Gun Dog Championships, children with autism will once again get to join their friends at camp,” says Noreen Quinn from The Autism Center at Ontario ARC. “We appreciate their generosity and already have received inquiries about the camperships.”
In 2010, The Autism Center partnered with the camp to give children with special needs the opportunity to connect with their peers while building upon their communication and social skills during weekdays in July. The agency also provides in-depth training to camp staff so they are equipped to help support campers with autism and other disabilities.
Ontario ARC was recently the recipient of a $5,700 grant from the Waldron Rise Foundation, a family foundation located in Victor that supports vital programs and services in the Rochester area.
“Ontario ARC thanks the Waldron Rise Foundation for their generosity and for helping us as we strive to make a difference in the lives of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities,” said Michele Wistner, Ontario ARC’s director of development.
The funds will be used towards the Pet Connections program to help provide training and assistance to individuals with disabilities who are considering careers in pet and animal care. The program offers a glimpse into these careers by providing instruction in dog grooming and making animal-related products such as dog treats, animal beds, leashes, and ID tags.