In the News....
August 2018


Vanderheyden's first ever Community Services Summer Bash was a resounding success!  
On Friday, August 24th, the Brunswick Elks Lodge #2556 was transformed into a fun summer theme with dancing, music, props, decorations and the best summer food! 
"With the help of our Day Hab individuals, our decorations looked amazing!" Becki Gould, Family Service Worker Supervisor and Decorations Committee Member said.  "Team Member and individuals came together to have a wonderful time singing, dancing and laughing."
Thank you to all our Team Members and the community for making this happen!   
A big thank you to those who helped and participated in our many fundraisers such as a car wash at Advance Auto Parts on Pawling Avenue in Troy, and our ever-popular Paint and Sip events at the homes of Team Members and at Footsy Magoos in Troy!  

Join us and our Honorary Chair E. Stewart Jones for Vanderheyden's 185th Anniversary Legacy Exhibit and Cocktail Reception on Thursday, October 25th from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Rensselaer County Historical Society at 57 2nd Street in Troy.


Enjoy hors d-oeuvres, beverages, exhibit tours and more!

For tickets:

Shakira T is one of Vanderheyden's most enthusiastic individuals and one of the biggest sports fans in our agency.  Her beautiful smile tells it all!
The Albany native, who also goes by the nickname of "Shaq," said she loves watching football the best. She has high hopes for the New York Giants and their newest star Saquon Barkley.
"I think the Giants are going all the way this year," Shakira said. "Oh yeah, oh yeah!"
Shakira also loves to play sports. Bowling is one of her favorites.
"I'll get trophies and medals from the Special Olympics," she said. "I also have some trophies from Miracle League softball, baseball and basketball."  
Basketball (the Miami Heat), baseball, hockey and soccer are also some of her favorites to watch, she said.
Shakira has lived at Vanderheyden for the last 17 years in one of our Community Services Individualized Residential Alternative (IRAs) group homes in Rensselaer County.  
During her time here, Shakira was named a Queen of our Royal Gala, and has made many friends. Patricia and Ali from other Vanderheyden IRAs are her best friends.
Acting in the community is another one of her fun activities. A local church will be the next venue.
"I'm also getting ready for a play," Shakira said. "I'll be the tree in the Wizard of Oz. The trees that go after Dorothy."  
Other favorite activities include singing and dancing, and going on day trips to museums and parks with her program at Western Avenue Day Hab in Albany, a service of the Center for Disability Services. 
Shakira also has high praise for Team Members at her group home. She said they take her out to eat at her favorite restaurants and take her shopping.
Our Team Members also have high praise for Shakira. 
"Shakira is sensitive, loving and kind," Maura Psoinos, Vice-President of Community Services said. "She loves to be in any acting or dancing opportunity that she can be in!  She can do anything, and is loved by all.  She also has a great smile, loves to dance, and cares for all!"   
Thank you, Shakira, for your spirit, your lovely smile and your enthusiasm in everything that you do!

Bring the family! Pony rides and a whole lot more!
Come join us at Vanderheyden's 10th Annual Fall Festival!


Thank you to BST & Co. CPAs, LLP in Albany for helping us get our Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center ready for another school year!

The BST volunteers did a fantastic job cleaning up our classrooms, lockers and cafeteria!

BST & Co. is located at 26 Computer Drive West.



As part of our Sanctuary commitment, Team Members and individuals got together for our annual car wash event at our Wynantskill campus.  A BBQ was followed by our famous and always-popular Ice Cream Window!   
A special thank you to all who participated and planned the event!
Our individuals at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center had a blast creating beautiful masterpieces over the summer months.     

Vanderheyden individuals and Team Members enjoyed the last days of summer on adventures at awesome places such as the Bronx Zoo, the Tri-City Valley Cats games, and Grafton Lakes State Park.   

Here's some of Vanderheyden's 185th Anniversary History Facts that we have been sharing with our Team Members each week:

Our Bessey Group Home was once called the Baby House, and was built and equipped for the care of infants, and the training of nurses. In 1914, nine nurses were the first graduates to be awarded a diploma of "Children's Nurse."

In 1833, breakfast at the TOA consisted of chocolate or milk boiled and poured over bread broken fine or made into milk porridge. In the summer months, the children ate bread and milk, or rice or mush and milk. The breakfast was served at 7:00 a.m. April through November, and at 8:00 a.m. during the winter months.

Charles T. Meneely gifted two bells to the Troy Orphan Asylum's Spring Avenue home in 1893. On August 17th, 1893, the children moved to their new home on Spring Avenue from their Eighth Street quarters, and were greeted by the sound of a large bell ringing in the bell tower of the main building.

The children of the Troy Orphan Asylum were the first to march across the Troy-Menands Bridge in a parade at the bridge's informal Dedication Ceremony on July 12, 1933. The children arrived in several busses from Spring Avenue, that was led by a Troy Police Department motorcycle detail.

The estimated cost to build the buildings at the Troy Orphan Asylum's Spring Avenue location was $140,000 in 1892. TOA already had $62,000 saved for the project, added more cash after selling their Eighth Avenue location, and hoped to raise another $50,000 so the agency would not carry a debt.

Troy Mayor Francis N. Mann was responsible for the creation of the Mayor's Fund in 1848, when he donated his annual $200 salary to the Troy Orphan Asylum. The gift was "to be invested and the income subject to current use." Troy Mayors Stephen W. Dana and Joseph Warren also donated salaries.
In 1835, an act to incorporate the Troy Orphan Asylum was passed by the New York State Legislature. In 1859, the NYS Legislature also passed an act to allow TOA to take by gift, device or bequests, real and personal estates in larger amounts, for the relief, support and education of the children.


Vanderheyden's Community Services Department held the first ever retreat for our Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) in early August at the Brunswick Elks Lodge #2556.   
The day included Sanctuary training, incident reporting, learning and development, and team building.
Here's a few pictures of our DSPs celebrating the successful completion of games during learning and development. 


Talk about someone who loves what he is doing.
Eric VonFricken has been at Vanderheyden as a Direct Support Professional (DSP-V) in Community Services for 25 years.
VonFricken, an Albany County native who now lives in Wynantskill, said he really enjoys working in the Individualized Residential Alternative group homes (IRAs), and likes to make the individuals' lives a little better.
"Oh, it's a challenge, and I like the teaching aspect of working in the IRAs and helping," VonFricken said. "Whatever you need, I'm here to help."
Before Vanderheyden, bowling was a big part of VonFricken's life.
"I am an accomplished bowler," he said. "I was an alley rat since I was a kid because there was one right in my neighborhood growing up."
An accomplished bowler he is!  So far, VonFricken is up to six perfect 300-games.
One of VonFricken's friends is who introduced him to the idea of working at Vanderheyden.
"I was looking for something different, because bowling just doesn't make any money. Bowling doesn't pay the bills," he said.
He was hired three weeks later for a job at our Bessey group home, and has been working in the IRAs since 1993.  
"Vanderheyden has changed a lot over the years, and I still love it, and I'm glad to be here," he said.  
VonFricken said he enjoys working with his co-workers and the individuals he serves.
Maura Psoinos, Vice-President of Community Services said VonFricken is strong and steady.
"He has been through it all at Vanderheyden, and always has been calm, cool and there for the individuals," Psoinos said. "Eric has been there for the individuals - always!"
Psoinos said VonFricken can work with each and every individual in our program.
"He can go into any program and work there, and is happily received by individuals and staff," she said.
VonFricken said being a DSP, he's pretty much a jack of all trades.
"I can be a doctor, a nurse, a chauffeur, a cook, a janitor, and, there's probably a few more hats that I'm just not even thinking of," he said. "Sometimes, all in the same 10 to 15 minutes."
The teaching part of being a DSP is the part he said he likes best.
"Life skills, budgeting money, cooking and hygiene," is what VonFricken said he enjoys helping the individuals with. "It's very person oriented. It's not industrialized, and not institutionalized, it's individualized."  
VonFricken said he has advice for those who want to come to work at Vanderheyden.
"This was another expression I've used: You have to have extreme patience, a heart of gold, the compassion, sometimes a strong stomach, but they would have to like to help people," he said.
To sum it up in one sentence, VonFricken said he stays at Vanderheyden for a couple of reasons.
"Satisfaction, and a little sense of just knowing I've made people's lives better," he said.
Besides bowling, VonFricken likes to do puzzles and is into pop-culture trivia where he challenges himself at local Trivia Nights. He also likes to watch sports, with the New York Yankees at the top of his list.
Thank you, Eric, for being a part of Vanderheyden, and making a difference! We appreciate you!
Vanderheyden held our last fantastic Paint and Sip fundraiser in August at Footsy Magoos in Troy!  Another great effort by all! 
Thank you for attending all of our popular sessions, and thank you to our hosts and volunteers!    
All donations went to our Community Services Summer Bash Dance in August for our individuals in our many group homes and programs in the Capital Region.


A huge thank you to Mick and Mark at Grethen-Cahrenger Memorials in Lansingburgh for cleaning our 149-year-old marble obelisk at Oakwood Cemetery, and, making it look brand new!
Our obelisk will be featured in the "Living History:  Oakwood by Lantern Light" tour at Oakwood Cemetery on Saturday, October 13th!  Vanderheyden will have costumed interpreters telling a part of our 185-year story! 
The Troy Orphan Asylum's lot was purchased in 1868, and in 1869, the marble obelisk was donated by Charles Sheldon, Jr. of Rutland, Vermont. Mr Sheldon owned the Sheldon Marble Company, and was very generous to those who needed a gravestone.
More than 39 children, and our famous Matron, Miss Sophia Eastman, are buried there.
Mick and Mark's parents also cleaned the obelisk in 1994, when a memorial was held. Thank you to the Cahrenger family!!
Grethen-Cahrenger is located at 114th Street and 8th Avenue in Lansingburgh.

Vanderheyden is excited to be participating in the 2018 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.

And, just a little reminder to stop by Hannaford at 40 Main Avenue in Wynantskill and pick up the reusable Community Bag to benefit Vanderheyden!
We are so excited to be chosen again for the month of October, and very much appreciate all of your support!  
For every Community Bag sold, we get $1.00!
Participating in the Hannaford Helps Reusable Bag Program is a great way to continue to support us. Thank you for your help...and thank you for changing lives to save lives!

October 13 - Annual Fall Festival at our Wynantskill campus.
October 13 - "Living History:  Oakwood by Lantern Light" tour at Oakwood Cemetery 
October 25 - Vanderheyden 185th Anniversary Exhibit & Cocktail Reception at the Rensselaer History Society in Troy from 6 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. 
5:30 p.m. Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony     
  More details to come.... Keep following us on Facebook!

                                             As always, thank you for your support!
Stay tuned to our social media sites to find out about upcoming celebrations for our 185th year!

This year, Vanderheyden will commemorate 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 kick-off our celebration by becoming a member 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.  


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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