In the News....
February 2019

"When I found out about this story, I had a wow moment.  Vanderheyden in Troy is just beginning to uncover the amazing story behind Dr. Dorothy Brown - an orphan who they said accomplished the impossible." - Dan Bazile, Spectrum News Albany

Dr. Dorothy Brown accomplished many great feats, and, we are so proud that her story began right here at Vanderheyden as an infant at the Troy Orphan Asylum.   
On January 7, 1914, Dr. Brown was born to Emma and Junius Brown in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  She entered our Baby House on Spring Avenue, now called Vanderheyden's Bessey House, on July 14, 1914.  She left the Troy Orphan Asylum on July 31, 1926, but came back to our agency after she ran away from her mother five times.   
Dr. Brown was the first African-American woman to make strides in both the medical and legislative fields.   
As the first African-American woman elected to the Tennessee General Assembly in the 1960s, Dr. Brown sponsored legislation to create Negro History Week in the Volunteer State, which led to the establishment of the national Black History Month.  

Dr. Brown was the first female African-American surgeon in the Southeastern United States, and was the first single female in Tennessee to legally adopt a child.
She was also the third woman to become a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, and was the first African-American woman to be elected.   
The Women's Residence at Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee was named after her, and honorary degrees from Russell Sage College and Bennett College in Greensboro, North Carolina were bestowed upon her.
Dr. Brown received many awards, including the Horatio Alger Award and the Carnegie Foundation's humanitarian award. 
Thank you Dr. Brown for being an inspiration to our individuals, and for your outstanding contributions to history and society! 
Team Members and individuals at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center took part in the very spirited Student Council Spirit Week!
The week kicked-off with a celebration of heritage on Culture Day, followed by "the scarier the better" Scary Zombie Day.   
Nerd Day where the "inner nerd" in all was channeled, and Twin Day where outfits and styles were coordinated, were also popular days! 
Royal Spirit Day ended the week, where Team Members and individuals rocked out in Vanderheyden royal blue.   
Here's some highlights of our spirited Vanderheyden community members!   

Great job, Vanderheyden students and Team Members!!
Thank you to the Student Council for making this a fun week for all! 


Tajani B. is not only smart, very social and sensitive, but uses her personality traits in a positive way to help other individuals in Vanderheyden's Residential Treatment Center (RTC) program.
The Manhattan native is learning necessary life-skills at Vanderheyden, for when she leaves our campus in June. Tajani will join a day service when she goes home.  
In 2016, Tajani graduated from the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center. She has been enrolled in career classes since then.
"The classes help me focus," Tajani said. "They help me get more information on things I did not know."
The introduction of new activities is what Tajani loved at Vanderheyden.  
The Cheer and Dance Teams, bowling, tubing, and ice and roller skating are a few things she loved the most in the four years she has been here.  
Going to Six Flags in Lake George, Cumberland Farms, and Stewart's Shops "for their hot chocolate and their ice cream," are her favorite Capital Region places.
There are a few things Tajani will miss when she leaves.
"The Dance Team and the school, and going to Cottage Night with my peers and staff," she said.
Tajani said her two coaches Kelly Pena and Marichalen Capellan are her role models, and they give her good advice.  
"They make sure I go to class," she said. "They talk to me about my grades."
Kelly Pena, a Certified Teaching Assistant at the school's gym said Tajani is making the Vanderheyden community proud of her.  
"Tajani has truly done her best this year to focus more on her growth, rather than being involved in negative behaviors," Pena said. "I've seen so much growth in Tajani over the years that proves she has the potential to succeed in life. Keep up the good work!"
Marichalen Capellan is her dance coach.....
Besides experiencing new activities, Tajani said Vanderheyden helped her in different ways.
"Anything they help you with," she said. "Your daily routine, and don't act up in the streets."
Vanderheyden also helped her with her daily routine, she said.
"They helped me to go to school every day and follow the rules," Tajani said. "Because, I was a handful when I was home."
Tajani is also known for helping other individuals in the program if they ask her for help.
"Say it's a new person we get, and they don't know anything about the program," she said. "I'll be like this is where you do this, and then put this there."  
She also has advice for those entering our program.
"Good luck here, do good here," Tajani said. "Follow the rules, and don't do anything bad that would make you stay longer."
Her goal after leaving Vanderheyden is to one day become a day care worker.  
Smart, very social and sensitive. Traits that will help Tajani reach her goal successfully.
Thank you, Tajani, for being a part of the Vanderheyden family.
Lily Seney is the perfect example of a Vanderheyden Team Member who enthusiastically gives back to the agency.  
Seney is a Senior Administrator On Duty (AOD) and began her career at Vanderheyden as a recreation therapist at one of our group homes over 11 years ago.
The Rensselaer native graduated from Bishop Maginn High School in Albany and Elmira College with a degree in Psychology. During those years, she worked at the Boys and Girls Club in Rensselaer in their after school and summer programs from the time she was 13 until the age of 21.
During college, Seney said she originally went to school to become a teacher, but after one semester of student teaching, she knew that was not the way to go. After talking with her advisor about children who need a little more support, she decided to pursue a job here.
After working with young children at our Best Road group home, now known as Van Leuvan, Seney worked in Direct Care at our Wynantskill campus. She was promoted to a House Manager of a specialized unit for girls, and helped build the program.  
As an AOD, Seney's primary responsibilities involve the oversight of other AODs, along with campus scheduling, enforcing policy procedures, maintaining government regulations and the liaison for emergency services.
Seney said she loves being a part of the Vanderheyden family.
"I love the potential," she said. "It's potential for the kids. It's potential for staff."
She also found that she made lasting impacts on our individuals.  
Seney ran into a former individual who told her she saved his life when he was 16-years-old.
"He told me 'without you, I would have been homeless' and this and that, 'but, you saved my life,'" she said.
A former individual even named his child "Lily" in her honor.
"I didn't know it, and then he put a picture on Facebook, and her name was Lily," Seney said.
She said she enjoys watching the individuals grow.
"Especially the kids who really struggle," she said. "It's watching them turn out to be people at the end."
Vanderheyden also allows her growth and career development and the opportunity to do what she's good at, Seney said.
"I'm good at dynamic problem solving," she said. "I like that the job is different every day. You never walk into the same thing twice."
Giving back to Vanderheyden is a big part of her life.
While here, Seney has taken on many projects, including our very successful "Under the Sea Splash Bash" dance for our individuals.
As a fundraiser for this year's dance, she is organizing and coordinating the First Annual Vanderheyden Basketball Tournament on April 13th at La Salle Institute on Williams Road in Troy.  
Seney said her hobbies outside of Vanderheyden center around her daughter's activities.
"I'm a cheer Mom, and a Girl Scout Mom," she said.           
Thank you, Lily, for all you do for our Vanderheyden community! 
Vanderheyden's 6th Annual Blood Drive with the American Red Cross was a great success!
Thank you to our Health Services Department, Team Members, volunteers and the Capital Region community!
The donations received helped patients at Albany Medical Center, St. Peter's Hospital, SUNY Upstate University Hospital, Corning Hospital and Samaritan Medical Center.


Thank you to all our Team Members for making Valentine's Day 2019 a great time for our individuals!   
Vanderheyden's Food Services Team Members made the Friday before the Super Bowl an awesome football-themed day!  Besides football items all around, Super Bowl snacks and food were on the menu.   
No matter what team you were rooting for, everyone was a winner at lunch at Vanderheyden's Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center! 
Stay tuned to our social media sites to find out about upcoming celebrations for our 185th year!

Vanderheyden is commemorating 185 years of providing services to thousands of youth, individuals and families.   
Vanderheyden is searching for Alumni and descendants with ties to the agency's long history, to relate their memories and inspirational stories of healing and growth.  We are also looking for pictures, or any related items from Vanderheyden, the Troy Orphan Asylum and the Fairview Home for Friendless Children.  Please reach out and leave a message at (518) 874-4964 or email us at:
We are also inviting 185 individuals to become members of the "1833 Society" with a donation of $1,833, to honor the year our organization was formed.
Our hope is that you will join in as someone that makes a future impact in the Vanderheyden legacy to change lives to save lives.  
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller .
For more information contact Cathy Yudzevich at , or call (518) 874-4901.  

 Here's some of Vanderheyden's 185th Anniversary History Facts that we have been sharing with our Team Members each week:
In 1891, the Ladies' Auxiliary School Committee of the Troy Orphan Asylum found the school to be in satisfactory condition. In the department of vocal musical instruction, the standing of the class is 95.75 out of a possible 100, which is reputed to be higher than most, if not all, of the city and public schools in the area.
Even though it wasn't their home yet, in 1891, the children of the TOA picnicked on the Spring Avenue farmland grounds, which included a row on the lake, and all the apples the children could eat and carry away in their pockets.
In 1898, the TOA opened a room for smaller children, where six little ones were cared for.
In the TOA nursery in 1898, the 26 children sang "America" and the "Star Spangled Banner" daily.
In the 1900 TOA sewing room, the sewing department made 775 garments for the girls, 898 for the boys, and 681 miscellaneous articles.
In 1900, the farming done at the TOA was "an experiment but turned out to be most surprising and gratifying as to the amount of vegetables raised."
A sewing class was held in the summer of 1900 at the TOA for 24 of the older girls, who were taught plain sewing and button-holing. 174 pieces were completed, and 400 button holes were made.
Gifts of nuts, candies and oranges were once again given on a visit by the Sir Knights of Apollo Commandery in 1900.
The grassy "point" at the corner of Pawling and Spring Avenues is land owned by Vanderheyden Hall.
A fire in 1981 destroyed Vanderheyden Hall's Spring Avenue complex. Only the Bessey house remains, which was named after Dr. Bessey who provided free services. A tutor home to the right of Bessey is our former Adminstration building.


Vanderheyden is excited to be participating in the 2019 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: look for shelf tags in the store.


The Black and White Gala, join us for the biggest dazzling event in downtown Albany  
coming New Year's Eve, December 31, 2018!   
Sixty State Place, 60 State Street, Albany, New York 12207 
  More details to come.... Keep following us on Facebook!

                                             As always, thank you for your support!


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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