May 2020 Newsletter
Leadership Message
Dear Friends,

April did its part to bring its share of showers, as well as some challenges and opportunities to us here at ACHIEVE.

Since the onset of the Coronavirus reaching New York State in early March, our teams have worked diligently and proactively with the New York State Department of Health and Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), as well as The Arc New York, to ensure that we are implementing best practices and adhering to all policies and procedures to ensure the health and safety of the individuals entrusted in our care. We are equally as committed to ensuring the well-being of our workforce, for whom we are most grateful during this unprecedented time.

In April, ACHIEVE opened an Emergency Respite Program at the request of NYS OPWDD. This valuable community resource is available to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in over 10 counties, should they need it. Several very brave and selfless Direct Support Professionals and members of ACHIEVE’s Nursing Team have stepped forward to work in this new program, and I couldn’t be more proud of their accomplishments!

It cannot be emphasized enough how much I admire the heart, determination, and willingness to serve that is being shown by employees across our great organization, some offering to shelter-in-place for as long as two weeks to combat this virus. These are really challenging times, but we’ve ensured our staff are well-equipped, trained and prepared, and we have full confidence in their ability to fight this fight, and I am so inspired by my dedicated and incredible colleagues.

We are #ACHIEVEProud and we are #ACHIEVEStrong, and we look forward to the time when we can once again come together and celebrate as a community.

Thank you and stay healthy and safe.
Amy Howard
Chief Executive Officer
Emergency Respite Program
We are excited to announce the opening of on-site emergency respite services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities diagnosed with, or recovering from, acute COVID-19 symptoms, or requiring care while a family member is in recovery.
In partnership with the New York State Office for People with Developmental Disabilities, ACHIEVE is proud to assist the community in these difficult times and offer temporary emergency respite services across ten counties for individuals who are leaving the hospital after a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis and treatment, individuals who have been diagnosed as COVID-19 positive and are being diverted from hospitals because their symptoms don’t require hospitalization, or individuals seeking respite while a family member in their home is recovering from COVID-19.
Located at ACHIEVE’s Cutler Pond Road Day Habilitation located in Binghamton, the 30 bed emergency respite services will be staffed 24 hours by highly trained registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and direct support professionals. All referrals will be made to the local NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities Regional Office, who will conduct pre-screening and make placement determinations, with an intended length of stay of two weeks or less.
ACHIEVE Opens COVID Recovery Site

ACHIEVE located on Cutler Pond Road in the Town of Dickinson announced the opening of on-site emergency respite services. It will be available for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities diagnosed with or recovering from...

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ACHIEVE to offer additional COVID-19 related care

BINGHAMTON, NY - A center that cares for those with disabilities is offering COVID-19 related care. ACHIEVE is now providing COVID emergency respite services for those with developmental or intellectual disabilities. The care is targeted towards...

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Thank you Direct Support Professionals
Although we can't be near one another right now, we wanted to take a moment to thank and show some love to our remarkable Direct Support Professionals!
ACHIEVE Foundation Board of Directors
April saw the election of a new slate of officers to our Foundation Board of Directors, as well as the end-of-term for our longtime Chairman and supporter, Jeff Lake, Regional President NBT Bank, having served since 2014. 

Thank you, Jeff, for your years of leadership and guidance serving as Chairman! We know you won’t be far and will continue to be a friend to ACHIEVE!

Congratulations to Anne Catalano, Investment Services Manager Tioga State Bank, on being elected Chairman to the Foundation Board of Directors, as well as Michael Fosbury and Ryan Mead on their re-elections to their second terms serving the Board!

2020 Slate of Officers

Chairman: Anne Catalano, Investment Services Manager, Tioga State Bank
Vice Chairman: Michael Fosbury, President and Chief Executive Office, Columbian Financial Group
Secretary: Ryan Mead, Partner, Hinman, Howard & Kattell Attorneys
Treasurer: Ed Parsons, Relationship Manager, M&T Bank
Board Member: Beverly Docteur, Retired
Board Member: Dave Clements, Senior Director of Finance, Lourdes/Ascension
Board Member: Jim Weed, Marketing Services Manager, Tioga Downs

Jeff Lake, retiring Chairman
Anne Catalano, incoming Chairman
The ACHIEVE Foundation seeks to support ACHIEVE’s mission to improve the lives of individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Foundation ensures the sustainability of the agency and fosters the growth of the services that we provide. Each opportunity that is created offers a choice for the families and the 2,200 individuals that we serve across all of our programs every day.

The growth of the Foundation is determined by planned gifts from our community and family members. These gifts are the cornerstone of our Foundation and allow us to continue to offer a wide range of programs and services. When someone chooses to give to the ACHIEVE Foundation, they are providing the individuals that we serve with choices and independence.

Every year, more donors are discovering the benefits of supporting ACHIEVE through their estate plans. These planned gifts support the individuals and services of our organization and can include bequests, IRA charitable donations, stocks and securities, and real estate.

To learn more about giving to the ACHIEVE Foundation, click here or contact Preston Evans, Vice President Development & Donor Relations, at

Amazon Wish List
Over the last few weeks, we've received an incredible outpouring of support, and are so grateful to be a part of a community that cares!

As the weeks have gone on, many have reached out asking how they can help. The individuals in our residences have been sheltered in place for everyone's safety, creating different clubs and groups to pass the time, and put together an Amazon Wish List. If you're interested in helping them out, please check it out!

We appreciate the consideration and continued support! 
During these chaotic and uncertain times, we often forget how hard the Essential Workers are working, and how much the general public needs them. Jenny is one of those Essential Workers. Jenny has worked at the Ithaca Walmart for almost 7 years in the Apparel Department. Jenny’s duties usually involve her answering the phone, helping set-up displays, and assisting customers, but Jenny has also had to adjust to an abundance of changes caused by the COVID-19 outbreak. Jenny has been working extra hard to keep the customers and associates that she works with safe.

She has been sanitizing everything, maintaining social distancing, helping customers find their essentials, and occasionally working the entrances to monitor how many customers are entering and exiting the building. Jenny is still getting used to wearing a mask while out in public and putting on hand sanitizer, but she does it all to help keep everyone, including herself, stay safe. Jenny also loves the purple mask that was made for her by ACHIEVE, given to her by her ESP, as purple is her favorite color.
Jenny is very happy to be deemed Essential and to continue working every day, because she gets to see her friends at work and all of her customers. All of the changes Jenny has gone through since the outbreak shows how hardworking and determined she is to continue working within her community. Jenny’s journey shows how ACHIEVE strives to bring the best out of the individuals that we serve, and also assist them with continuing to maintain successful and meaningful employment.
During these unprecedented and fluctuating times, we often forget the dedication and the hard work of an Essential Workers preforms. Quan Fort is one of those essential workers. Quan’s position is a vital part of Price Chopper because he is responsible for making sure that the shopping carts are sanitized thoroughly before the public can put their groceries and supplies in while shopping.
Quan enjoys his position as a Cart Attendant at Price Chopper in Binghamton. Quan will be employed by Price Chopper for 4 years and states he likes helping customers load their groceries into their cars, and talking with the elderly customers who are always appreciative of his services. Some of Quan's daily tasks are:
·        He gathers carts consistently, sanitizes and stocks the restrooms every hour
·        Quan is responsible for keeping the parking lot clean
·        He monitors the redemption can area
·        Clean other areas that are assigned to him by his supervisors
Quan's supervisors are very supportive of him and states that Quan is an asset to Price Chopper and will complete any task assigned to him. Quan is a Goal Setter and he is working hard to obtain a position as a Cashier at Price Chopper, but his ultimate goal is to be a Front End Manager. With the supports and guidance from ACHIEVE SEMP Services, Quan can receive this goal and continue to display his gracious attitude for the support and services he receives
This. This right here is why we are  #ACHIEVEProud . Our phenomenal staff at our Broad Street house worked together to make and customize tie dye shirts to shed some light during these uncertain times, and to create something so they could remember how their amazing team came together to provide the absolute best supports to the individuals served. We are all in this together. Thank you, Broad Street, for bringing a smile to all of our faces today.
National Autism Awareness Day
April 2nd was National Autism Awareness Day! Communication and connectivity within our organization is very important to us, and although we cannot all be physically together, we’re all still celebrating this day by wearing blue! In fact, we held four General Management Team video-chat meetings today, and all attendees sported their blue gear together!
Getting Crafty
We've been staying very busy during quarantine, and one of those ways is by getting crafty! We've pulled out our supplies and have jumped into action by completing many crafts. We've painted rocks for our gardens, made bracelets to stay stylish, colored pictures to make our house more colorful, and tie-dyed some shirts!
Community Habilitation
Community Habilitation and Respite providers are braving the quarantine and still going out into the community to give services to some of our individuals who don’t have support systems or just need a little extra help! These amazing staff are changing gears from being out in the community to working in the home to ensure that groceries are still getting purchased for those who need, working to get some exercise or reading in, and just being a friendly face. We are also working on getting telehealth and videoconferencing services going for those individuals that don’t want people in their homes at this time.
Caleb's Corner Grocery Store
During the COVID-19 pandemic, one of our Pathway to Employment and Community Habilitation individuals needed some additional supports. His Pathway provider, Linda, stepped up to the plate and out of her comfort zone to accept the challenge in order to make this less stressful for Caleb and his family. One of the projects that Caleb has really enjoyed is to create an in-home grocery store that he has named “Caleb’s Corner Grocery Store”. Caleb collected empty boxes and cans of grocery items, searched the internet for the prices, made price labels, and stocked his shelves. Caleb then practiced purchasing items with his money, is learning to make change and add up receipts. Another one of Caleb’s goals is to learn his contact information. Caleb helped to make flash cards and came up with a jingle to sing the numbers to practice learning his phone number.
Staying Healthy
It's important to stay healthy, especially now. Our ACHIEVE Registered Dietitian, Elizabeth Petrie, and her daughter Nina wanted to share a way to ACHIEVE a healthy lifestyle by making smoothies! Click on the photo below to watch the "ACHIEVing a Healthy Lifestyle" video!
Professional Chefs
As many of you can relate to, we've all been testing our cooking and baking skills while staying inside. Folks from our houses did a phenomenal job making their own pizzas, dirt pudding, tacos, cookies, and sundaes!
Happy Birthday!
Vinci celebrated his 55th birthday up in Norwich!
Lisa celebrated her 50th birthday down in Broome!
Paul celebrated his 52nd birthday!
Follow us on Facebook!
ACHIEVE is staying VERY active, and the best way to stay up-to-date with all that we're doing is to follow us on Facebook!
You Are Cordially Invited to
ACHIEVE Awards & Virtual Dance Party
June 19th, 7:00pm to 8:30pm
Streaming Live
Presented by
Visions Federal Credit Union and the ACHIEVE Foundation Board of Directors

We are excited to announce our Annual Dinner Dance and Award Ceremony will be going virtual this year! While we are unable to host this event live this year, we had to continue on, because this very special event celebrates the accomplishments of our individuals and recognizes our amazing staff and community partners. So, put on your party clothes or pajamas and join us for inspirational awards & dance celebration! Stay tuned to our Facebook page & your email for more details on how to connect to ACHIEVE Awards & Virtual Dance Party!
April 2020
Melissa Santiago
Day Habilitation Trainer - Norwich
On behalf of the Executive Management Team and the Staff Appreciation Committee, we are honored to award Melissa Santiago, Day Habilitation Trainer, with ACHIEVE's April Employee of the Month!

To read more about Melissa and why she was selected as employee of the month, visit our website by   clicking here!
Congratulations to the following employees for receiving a promotion in March!
  • Erica Niles - Assistant Residential Manager
  • Kellie Pedro - Assistant Residential Manager
  • Tammy Wagner - Assistant Residential Manager
Wind Beneath My Wings
Theresa Melnyk - Program Manager
Please find a beautiful message and video from Theresa Melnyk, Program Manager of our Main St. House. Theresa, we couldn't have said it better ourselves!

"I couldn’t think of anyway to truly express what all our Direct Support Professional are doing and how much of a hero they are to us. However, today 'Wind Beneath My Wings' came on and I knew immediately that it was the best song I could think of.
So, thank you to ALL the Direct Support Professionals who are taking time out of their lives to care for our individuals. I know that the individuals don’t always say it, however, I know that they truly appreciate us all. Even in their moments of sadness or anger, they love you because they TRUST that you won’t leave them and are there for them.

From the bottom of my heart, from the bottom of the heart of the individuals here at Main Street, THANK YOU!! You truly are the Wind Beneath the Wings of ACHIEVE!"

You may not be able to see us, but we want you to hear us. Thank you to our front line workers who have been the true heroes of our organization. We couldn't be more thankful for the amazing staff we have here at ACHIEVE, and we thank you.
Thank You COVID-19 Community Response Fund
We’re two weeks into the launch of our Emergency Respite Services program, and are so thankful for all the support we’ve received in that time. This project was made possible by a grant from the COVID-19 Community Response Fund, lead by the COVID-19 Community Response Fund Alliance.
Thank you so much  United Way of Broome County Community Foundation for South Central NY , Conrad & Virginia Klee Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Mee Foundation, and Hoyt Foundation, and  Bates Troy, Inc.  and  United Health Services , as well as the partnership with  The Arc New York  for helping us get this program off the ground and support our individuals and the community in this time of crisis!
Thank You for Your Donations!
With the astronomical amount of support we’ve received the past few weeks from our community, we wanted to say THANK YOU!

We serve over 2,200 individuals with disabilities through 500 staff across three counties, and have been working tirelessly to ensure everyone remains safe and healthy during these unprecedented times. We put the call out, and members of our community have come together to show their support for our agency, and we are beyond grateful.
We wanted to take the time to personally show our gratitude to the following people and businesses who have made donations:  Access Unlimited , Annette Guinn,  Annie's Thrift Shop ​, Dacia Freer,  Face masks for Broome county ​ (and their sewers Amy O’Hara, Janette Swindell, Kristen McPeak, Lois Diffendale, Susan Horton, and Tanyelle Newman), Gabriel Broomfield, Julye Bush, Kasey Hlebica, Ketherine Safavizadeh, Kim Srednicki, Kristen McPeck, Stacey Greenberg, SUNY Broome Community College, and Vincent Fox ​. THANK YOU! We’re all in this together and we appreciate the outpouring of support!
Surprise Visit
Our individuals are really missing their families during this time, so one of our amazing families made happy/encouraging signs, and held them outside of one of our ACHIEVE houses! Thank you all for your continued love and support!
Easter Crafts
To prepare for Easter, our individuals stayed busy making Easter crafts to decorate the house with, and of course spent plenty of time decorating Easter eggs!
Some of our favorite crafts this year were Easter wreaths! Some were made out of paper shaped as eggs, and some were made out of plastic eggs themselves! The houses were very well decorated for the holiday.
Easter Day
Easter Day at ACHIEVE was great, especially since it brought some normalcy into our lives. Our folks hunted for Easter eggs, Easter baskets, and most importantly spent some time with their housemates celebrating the holiday together!
Membership Campaign
Your membership and inclusion in the agency helps support the individuals we serve by creating more opportunities for personal growth and achievements. Your membership helps give them a voice! Membership provides our agency more power to advocate legislatively at the state and national levels. As an agency, we continue to face economic challenges, and larger membership numbers gives us a stronger voice.

Stay tuned for the launch of our Membership Campaign in next month's newsletter!
ACHIEVE in the News
Over the past month, you may have seen our organization in the news, where our Emergency Respite Program has been highlighted, but most importantly our amazing workforce has been highlighted. You can catch up on all the news stories below!
ACHIEVE workers go above and beyond to ensure those they ...

BINGHAMTON, NY - A local group home operator has seen its employees drastically change their own lives to ensure the lives of those they care for stay as normal as possible. Workers at ACHIEVE, a provider of services for those with intellectual,...

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ACHIEVE NY on the front lines

(WBNG) -- Direct support professionals (DSPs) at ACHIEVE NY are classified as essential workers during this crisis. ACHIEVE operates 20 individualized residential alternatives that provide housing to hundreds of individuals with intellectual and...

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