In the News....
March 2020


Since Vanderheyden is an essential 24/7 business serving more than 500 youth, families and adults in New York state, we always appreciate severely-needed donations during the COVID-19 crisis.

Vanderheyden's Team Members are working tirelessly to keep our community healthy and safe.

The easiest way to make a monetary donation is by using this link.

Thank you SO MUCH for your donation, and also for your past donations!

A new charitable giving incentive during the COVID-19 crisis: 

Temporary Universal Charitable Deduction. Taxpayers who do not itemize their deductions can take a one-time deduction of up to $300 for gifts made to charitable organizations. The provision is intended only for the year 2020.  Consult your Tax Advisor for more details.



Fiona F. is from Brooklyn, New York and was born in Moscow, Russia.  Fiona is in the 10th grade at Vanderheyden's Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center, and has been at our campus for the past ten months. 

  What do you like doing here at Vanderheyden?

 " Spending time with peers and staff. I like staff more than peers sometimes."

  What hobbies or sports do you like to do and play?

 " Swimming, soccer, basketball, drawing, reading and taking long walks by the pond."

  What do you want everyone to know about you?

 " That I am a hard working person."

  Does anyone get special credit here with helping you?

 " Hanna B., Viv J. and Stephanie P." (Team Members at our main campus.)

  Do you have any advice for new individuals in the program?

 " Follow the rules and stay out of the drama."

  Bonus Question:  Any thoughts about the Coronavirus situation?

 " When is it gonna be over? I miss going home."

Fiona's mother is a nurse in a New York City hospital. 

"She has been working very hard to make sure that people get the care they need," Fiona said. "She works 12 hour shifts and saves lives." 

"I am happy she's a nurse and I love her very much,"  she said.


Celebrated each March, National Professional Social Work Month is an opportunity for social workers across the country to turn the spotlight on the profession and highlight the important contributions they make to society.
To show how grateful we are to Vanderheyden's social workers, a luncheon was held in their honor.
Thank you for all your dedication in helping people to help themselves.

10 Questions with Vanderheyden Board President James  Stone ....
James Stone is Vanderheyden's President of the Board of Directors. Stone is from Syracuse, New York and attended Syracuse University (BA and MSW.) He's now a resident of Loudonville and has three sons and eight grandchildren.
What is your role at Vanderheyden?  How long have you been on the Board?

"I've been a m ember of the Board of Directors since 2012 and Chair since 2017."

What did you do before Vanderheyden? 

"My f irst career was in Juvenile Justice. I was employed by Onondaga County as a Child Care Worker, and later as Deputy Director of Detention Care at Hillbrook Detention Center. Then, for New York State Division for Youth (now the New York State Office of Children and Families) as a group home director, and as Superintendent of the Industry Training School."

"My second career was in Behavioral Health. I was employed as a Chief of Service at Willard Psychiatric Center and Rochester P.C. I was also the County Mental Health Director for Livingston and Monroe counties and New York State Commissioner of Mental Health from 1995-2003."

Why did you choose to be on the Board of Directors at Vanderheyden?  What appealed to you?

" I was recruited to be a member of the Board by the President and CEO Karen Carpenter Palumbo. We knew each other from when I was Chair of the New York State Association of County Mental Health Directors. She was Assistant Secretary to the Governor and served as our liaison with the Governor. Later, when I became Office of Mental Health Commissioner, she served as Director for Children and Family Services. So, she was familiar with my career interest in youth with disadvantages and suggested that I become a member of the Board. I was elected to the Board in 2012 and became Chair in 2017."

What do you bring to your position as Board Chair? 

" I am very interested in the services provided by the agency and I am eager to be helpful and supportive of such a vital service. I bring my perspective from being in the field for many years in a variety of experiences."

What do you like about being Board Chair?

" It is a pleasure to be part of a dynamic team. I especially like the way Board members and staff relate to each other in a professional, friendly way. The members of the Board come from different backgrounds and interests, which creates a variety of perspectives. Members are open, very involved and not shy."

Share a story or unique experience from Vanderheyden.

" I like the opportunity to relate to the residents when we come in contact such as at graduation, dinners, other events. They are friendly and open and seem to enjoy the contact with 'adults.'"

Share a story or unique experience from your life.

" I became Deputy Director of Hillbrook in 1962. The school Principal suggested that we take a tour of the statewide facilities to which our youth were transferred. We did, and Vanderheyden was one of them. I recall being impressed, but not the details. (Hey! - that was 58 years ago. What were you doing then?!)"

"When I was at Industry, I remember talking with one of the residents. I asked how he felt about being 'locked up' while others his age had more 'freedom.' He replied, 'Well, everybody has to be someplace.' His casual attitude (wisdom) about being in an institution shocked me and I haven't forgotten it."

What can you say to someone thinking about joining our Vanderheyden Team?  Why is it important for them to join us?

" It is important to be in professional setting where there is mutual respect as well as an appreciation of the multiple roles and relationships among the staff. And when it's all focused toward bringing out the best in the youngsters, it makes for a dynamic program. Vanderheyden has that."

What accomplishments/hobbies/likes, etc. do you want to share?

"I have given up most of my hobbies/likes in my senior years. No more downhill skiing, for example. I still enjoy my vintage cars. I have done a lot of traveling in recent years (Uganda, Australia, New Zealand) as well as visiting my sons and their families scattered around the country."        

Danielle Knapp is a Clinician at Vanderheyden's Residential Treatment Center (RTC) in Wynantskill.  Knapp grew up in Colonie, New York, and graduated from Russell Sage College in Troy with a Bachelor's degree in Creative Arts Therapy.  She also received her Master's degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Northcentral University in San Diego.

10 Questions with Danielle Knapp...

What is your role at Vanderheyden?

"I am a therapist working on campus with Cottages 2, 3 and 4. I provide crisis, individual, and group counseling for the individuals. I also do family counseling when needed." 

What did you do before Vanderheyden?

"I worked for a while at the Center for Disability Services as a Rehab Therapist Coordinator organizing and facilitating OT and PT aquatic programs.  I also worked for the New York State Education Department for several years in the Social Work and Mental Health Professionals board office.  I would approve experience for Social workers and other mental health professionals to become licensed."

Why did you choose Vanderheyden?  What appealed to you?

"I started here because I needed to get hands on experience for my graduate internship."

"Vanderheyden was the only organization that was willing to give me a chance. Since I was attending an online program and there are not a lot of Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT) in this area, many local places were skeptical of my skill level. I saw that Vanderheyden employed a MFT, Kristin, and I thought I would ask. Luckily, Kristin agreed to supervise me and I had a wonderful internship."      

What do you bring to your job?

"My training has taught me to look at issues from a systemic lens.  I try to consider all of the possible things that could influence a specific behavior.  Most issues are not the responsibility of only one person, and our actions do not occur in a bubble." 

"I also try to be genuine and consistent with the individuals. They've gone through so much in their lives already and it is important for them to see that the adults in their life here are honest and reliable."

What do you like about your job at Vanderheyden?
"I love the individuals I work with.  I think one of the most rewarding things to see, as a therapist, is when someone you've been working with is able to self-regulate and make safe choices.  I love seeing family members connect on a level that they couldn't before."

"I also happen to work with a group of awesome clinicians who support and build each other up.  I know that if I need to express frustrations or brainstorm therapeutic approaches, they are willing to help." 

Share a story or unique experience from here.

"One of the individuals recently moved to a different program.  After everyone had a chance to share at her goodbye circle (which made most of us tear up), she asked to share something. She read a poem that she wrote that basically summed up her growth as an individual during her time on campus.  It is incredibly rewarding for me to hear someone verbalize their progress in such a powerful way."  

Share a story or unique experience from your life.

"Ever since I was in high school, I dreamed of owning my own coffee shop.  When I was in college, there was a woman who owned a coffee cart in one of the education buildings. I asked her if I could shadow her to learn how to make the different drinks and run the business.  Eventually, I was working next to her, helping with the morning rush between classes.  She decided to open a second cart in the library in the evenings and offered to hire me to run it.  That was successful and the school allowed her to open a coffee shop in the student center. She hired me to work many of the evening hours in the shop." 

"I transferred schools, but I still dreamed of owning my own shop. When my husband and I bought our house, there was an empty storefront down the street and we decided to go for it.  We ran the shop for about a year and a half before we sold the business."

"I discovered that while I loved my shop, it was not my career calling.  But I have no regrets! One of my employees from the shop fell in love with the coffee business and now has a shop of his own that I have been fortunate to support.  I also don't have to go through life wondering 'what if.'"

What can you say to someone thinking about joining our Vanderheyden Team?

"Working with this population can be very challenging, but it can also be very rewarding if you let it."

What accomplishments/hobbies/likes, etc. do you want to share?

"I love to be crafty. I love woodworking and power tools.  I also love spending time with my family." 

Bonus Question:  What are you doing differently during the COVID-19 crisis than before?

"The COVID-19 crisis has caused a lot of anxiety for many people, even me.  I always try to use the coping skills that I teach to the individuals on my caseload, but I find myself needing to use them more, and really focus on being mindful of what I am feeling right here and now."

"I have also found that I need to be more accepting of the fact that I'm not going to always know what to do next.  I have to give myself grace and be more kind to myself.  I hope that by doing this myself, I can show others how to do it as well.  I am hoping that this crisis can help everyone just slow down and focus on what is really important."


Today was pick-up day of various much-needed kitchen items for Vanderheyden's main campus cottages, group homes and programs donated by Discover Saratoga NY.
The employees at Discover Saratoga participated in the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce's Leap of Kindness Day on February 29th.
The most generous donation was made in memory of Chef and Professor Rocco Verrigni.
Pictured carrying in all the wonderful items are Vanderheyden's President and CEO Karen Carpenter Palumbo, Matt Jachym, CFO and Dr. Peter Taormina, Director of Student Services at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center.
Thank you ever so much for your kindness!!


Local author and historian Don Rittner has written a book about the history of Vanderheyden, beginning with the organization's roots as the Troy Orphan Asylum in 1833!
We will be announcing a book signing in downtown Troy in the future.

Nothing like a good indoor nutritional cooking class at Vanderheyden's Day Hab With Walls program.  
Grilled chicken salad with cornbread were the menu items of the day.

Green was definitely the trend around the Vanderheyden community on St. Patrick's Day!

Vanderheyden is committed to moving the focus of care from our residential facilities into homes and the community. The Family Engagement Committee seeks to involve individuals and their families in shaping Vanderheyden's commitment to serve the entire family, not just individuals.
Please contact us at     to ask questions, share information, give feedback, and request resources from our Vanderheyden Team.


Vanderheyden's 185th Anniversary Legacy Book is coming soon! 

A book signing event by author Don Rittner will be held at Clement Frame Shop & Art Gallery in the future at an upcoming Troy Night Out!


Vanderheyden is excited to be participating in the 2020 Hannaford Helps Schools program!  Our participating location is at 40 Main Avenue, Wynantskill.

Help earn money for our school by shopping for participating products. For every 4 qualifying products you buy, our school earns $3! Choose from over 1,500 participating products, ranging from breakfast and lunch items to household supplies.

Get the full list here: and look for shelf tags in the store.


Time to clean out your closets for the season!  We will accept any unwanted clothing item!  Bring them to our campus at 614 Cooper Hill Road in Wynantskill, and look for the "Blue Box" at the entrance to our parking lot.  Thank you so much for your help!                         
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