In the News....
April 2018

Vanderheyden's Drama Club took to the stage to perform the Shakespeare comedy classic "Twelfth Night."  For the first time ever, the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center was transformed into a 17th century setting with fifteen exciting scenes.    

Jen Fiori and Sarah Tulchinskiy were Co-Directors of the Drama Club, who started rehearsals in September.  

"It started out as four students, and it grew to nineteen," Fiori said.

"The kids were so enthusiastic," she said. "They studied their lines and had extra rehearsals."

Fiori said she asked the students what play they wanted to perform for next year.

Shakespeare, of course, was the answer! 

        ALI WHO BRIGHTENS OUR DAY          

Ali T. has been a part of the Vanderheyden community for the past seven years. In his time with us, he has made outstanding progress and brightened our lives as well.

The Albany native is a part of our Woodlawn Group Home in East Greenbush, where the Team Members have nothing but praise for him.

"He's an unbelievable success story," Vince Kirby, Program Coordinator of Vanderheyden's Community Services said.

"For the first time in his life, he has opportunity," Kirby said. "He can make choices about where he wants to go, what he wants to do, and how he lives his life."

Thea McCain is House Manager at Woodlawn. She said Ali can do a lot of independent things, and is really good at doing them.

"He went to visit his family in Florida on a bus all by himself," McCain said. "He rides the bus locally, and is granted time alone," McCain said.

He's also ready to go on a cruise with his family in December.

McCain said Ali brings laughter to Woodlawn.

"We can always count on him to make us laugh," she said. "He always has funny things to say. He has a great sense of humor."

Ali also has a part time job five days a week at Capital Day Services in Albany, where he performs office and outdoor work, and volunteers in the Capital Region community as needed.

As the Team Members praise Ali, Ali has praise for them.

"Thea is the best," Ali said. "She is nice to me and nice to everybody."

"They also drive me for my community time," he said.

His community time can include going to concerts and to the YMCA, where Ali can swim, walk and lift weights.

Sports are a big part of Ali's life. He loves watching NFL football (a converted Philadelphia Eagles fan a couple of years ago) the New York Yankees, and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Ali is also great at bowling.

"He's really, really good," McCain said. "He can be in the Olympics. He's that good."

Music is also Ali's love, and he has a collection of over 400 CDs of Rhythm and Blues, Rap and Rock and Roll. Cardi B is his favorite artist. He already has his tickets to see Kendrick Lamar at SPAC in June.

Thank you, Ali, for bringing joy and laughter into our lives. Keep the smiles coming!
The New York State Archives in Albany holds many of our historic documents from Vanderheyden's 185-year history as the Troy Orphan Asylum and the Fairview Home.


Our Philo Group Home individuals and Team Members put together a time capsule, which was placed in the attic of our Glens Falls location.

Stacy Davis, our House Manager, purchased a fish and tackle box for the items, which included pictures of the past events at Philo, former Team Members, and our individuals with their information written on the back.

The decision to put the time capsule in the attic of the house was made in hopes that in 100 years from now, someone will find our treasures, and learn that this house was once a home full of great young men from Vanderheyden!

Vanderheyden individuals at our main campus in Wynantskill and Philo Group Home in Glens Falls participated in Earth Day 2018.

Our individuals on campus took part in an earth-awareness scavenger hunt, while our young men at Philo planted a tree.

Vanderheyden celebrated National Administrative Professional Day with flowers and a luncheon.  

President and CEO Karen Carpenter Palumbo, VP's and Directors joined our Team Members to thank them for all they do! 

Vanderheyden's Day Hab individuals had a great time welcoming the baby animals at Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont.


Hetti Demers has been with Vanderheyden since September 2017, but already has remarkable success with those she services.

Demers is a Family Service Worker who assists our individuals and families to achieve specific goals, by providing respite, residential habilitation services, skill building, and in-home and/or parent assistance services. She works with both children and adults.

"Hetti is an inspiration to everyone," Colleen Mahar, a Special Education teacher at Vanderheyden said. "She is able to motivate people to bring out their best. Hetti is an amazing light that brightens the world."

Demers said she loves her job, and wants to share her vast array of talents with our individuals one-on-one.

"I like that I get a response right away from the individual," she said. "The individuals have goals. It's not an easy job, but I love it. The most difficult individuals work wonderful with me."

"She truly reads our individuals to know the best way to interact at the start of each service," Tami Miller, a Vanderheyden MSC said. "She's genuine, caring, a great advocate, who wants the best for each individual. Happiness is key!"

Demers, who lives in Rensselaer County, moved to the U.S. nine years ago from The Hague, Netherlands.

"I like the Capital Region. It's so Dutch oriented," she said. "All the farms, cities and towns. All Dutch. I recognize all the names and all the history."

Living in The Hague, Demers said she lived near the Peace Palace, which is the Queen's work palace, and near the Royal Stables.

"I would hang out on my balcony and see a world leader in a horse and carriage," she said. "It was an exciting time to live downtown."

Demers said she comes from a big family, who is strong in spirit with a down-to-earth mentality. Even though World War II had a big impact on her family, her parents brought her up with kindness.

"It's all that makes you who you are today," she said.

When she was 21-years-old, Demers visited Florida and met her future husband Scott, who was also visiting from Troy.

"It was love at first sight," she said.

Demers went back to the Netherlands and attended college for finance, since her family comes from a financial background, but opted for psychology instead.

"I did one-on-one work with children with learning disabilities in elementary and high school," she said.

Demers also had a cultural job as a language teacher, where she taught the Dutch, English, French and German languages.

Twenty-four years later, she left her career, family and friends in the Netherlands, and arrived in the U.S. with only two bags, to reunite with the love of her life.

"Love brought me here, and I don't regret it," Demers said. "Actually, it's the best decision I ever made."

Demers loves the support she gets at Vanderheyden, and said the people do great work.

"I fell in love with the agency quickly, because of the way they work," she said. "They've been here 185 years. You can't survive 185 years if they don't do things right."

She said the job is perfect for her, since she is a people person. The individuals respond well to her personality, which she described as calm and friendly, and kind of energetic at the same time.

"I have a very creative mind, and the individuals love that," Demers said. "You have to read people with the job, and I have."

"Hetti is all in," Deb Demers, Director of Community Services said. "We just can't say enough good things about her."

Traveling the world was always a big part of Demers' life. Some of the countries she traveled to include Denmark, Germany, Italy, Venezuela, France, Israel, Lebanon, Egypt, the Scandinavian countries, and the African desert.

She even took a car and a tent to North Cape in Norway, which is one of the most northern places in the world one can go in the world.

In the future, she would like to see more of the U.S. and Canada. Places like Colorado, the Mississippi River, the Mid-West, the Grand Canyon and Death Valley, California pique her interest.

Demers also loves sports. Hiking, weightlifting, running, swimming and bicycling are all part of her workout routine with her husband and their 8-year-old daughter. She also played water polo and ice skated in the Netherlands.

Her family also consists of soccer players, a cousin who competed in the Olympics in skiing, and her 23-year-old son, who was a professional European baseball player.

She is also a certified personal trainer and a nutritionist, which earned her the title of life coach.

"I have it all," Demers said. "The psychological aspect, nutrition, sports, accountants, so I am organized."

Demers also makes her own clothes, loves to knit, cook and bake, especially pies.

Thank you, Hetti, for sharing your amazing talents with all of us at Vanderheyden!
Thank you to the Russell Sage College students from the Creative Arts program for helping with activities for our individuals at our Wynantskill campus! 
Even though it was a rainy day, our individuals had a great time on a tour of the USS Slater in the Hudson River in Albany.


Lots of happy faces after our individuals at our Wynantskill campus and Van Leuvan Group Home were the recipients of awesome Easter Baskets!
The Easter Bunny brought more than just candy for some of our individuals!  

Thank you to our Team Members and donors from our community 
who made the day a great one!

Vanderheyden was in the house for the inaugural Albany Empire game at the Times Union Center!  We are so appreciative to our donor, who sent 30 of our individuals and Team Members to the game!
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.  


2018 - Vanderheyden's 185th Anniversary!  Celebrations throughout the year!   
  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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