In the News....
August 2017 


Vanderheyden was named one of three winners of the 2nd Annual Cap Com Cares Tour!  Cap Com Federal Credit Union also bestowed this honor upon our agency last year.

As part of their giveback to the Capital Region community, several Vanderheyden Student Council members recently visited residents at the Van Rensselaer Manor Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Facility in North Greenbush.
Before the visit, the students and staff at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center at Vanderheyden's Wynantskill campus collected several bags full of new and gently-used stuffed animals, to be used as prizes for an afternoon of Bingo.
Around 100 stuffed animals were collected, which can now be found proudly displayed in the resident's rooms. The stuffed animals are also a source of comfort for the residents.
During the Bingo session, our Student Council members "called the numbers" and were paired with residents with visual impairments, who needed a little help to play their favorite game.
Stephanie Pelletier, a Certified Teacher Assistant at Vanderheyden and the Student Council Advisor who came up with the giveback idea, says the individuals did not want to leave that day. She said the individuals also enthusiastically expressed interest in coming back.
Another afternoon of Bingo is scheduled for next month.  

August was a month of learning and fun at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center at our Wynantskill campus.  As part of the learning experience, our individuals took part in many science experiments.


Lucas' life is always full of adventure, as he is on a continuous quest to explore and learn new things.  
In other words, he loves a challenge.  
The Saratoga County native, who is a resident of Vanderheyden's Rubin Group Home, held three, part time jobs this summer just for the experience of learning something new.
Lucas is also a student at Troy High School.  
There, he has been working with a job coach, who helped him gain employment in different fields. His job coach suggested a position as a bus boy at the newly opened Tara's Kitchen in Troy.
"I said yes, why not," Lucas says. "It's something new that I had no experience with before. It's the first kitchen job that I ever had."
Besides his current position, Lucas also performs all other restaurant duties, including cooking.
The restaurant's management is so pleased with his work ethics, that they have offered him a full time job when he graduates.
Lucas also loves to cook for the individuals and Team Members at Rubin, and says he has learned many valuable life skills, thanks to Vanderheyden.
"I feel I accomplished a lot since I've been here," he says. "More life skills, and how to manage money. I didn't know how to cook before, and I'm doing really well with it."  
Lucas' chicken dish is his favorite to make, and credits his Team Members with taking the time to show him the right way to cut and prepare it.
Landscaping is another one of Lucas' favorite things to do.
This summer, Lucas worked at the Dyken Pond Environmental Center and at Berkshire Bird Paradise, both in Rensselaer County.
At Dyken Pond, he says he was considered a "secondary boss," who showed the ninth graders, new in the program, what to do.
Lucas has a brilliant mechanical mind, and has tackled many difficult projects. "I just know how to do them," he says.
Growing up, Lucas learned the logging and auto mechanic trades from his family. He was taught not only how to do oil changes on vehicles, but body, engine and transmission work, too.
"I find out what is wrong with a car, and I fix it," he says. "I know how to do it on my own."
"Show me what the buttons on equipment are used for," Lucas says. "I'll know, and you won't have to show me anymore."
As a 10-year-old child, Lucas fixed his neighbor's broken, riding lawn mower that was headed to the junkyard. He not only took the engine apart, but rebuilt the engine, which he then says worked perfectly fine.  
Lucas says his neighbor was amazed.  
"I drove it to the guy's house," Lucas says. "He said 'You really got it working.'"  
After high school, Lucas would like to work for New York State Department of Transportation doing road construction. He would also like to start his own landscaping business on the side.
His hobbies include daily exercise, and doing landscape work at Rubin. Lucas can also be found riding his mountain bike, which is his preferred mode of transportation. His favorite sports are football and baseball, and he roots for the New York Mets and the San Francisco 49'ers.  
Lucas has kind words for the Team Members at Vanderheyden.
"They are here to help us," he says. "If the kids didn't have that, who knows where they would be."

Improvements and enhancements are in the works for our Sanctuary Trail at our Wynantskill campus.  Trail markers, signage, a mulch pathway, and exercise stations will be some of the additions coming soon.   
Thank you to the participants of the 2017 CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge and the Hudson Mohawk Road Runners Clubs Racing for their generous donation!  Vanderheyden was named one of the 2017 Charities of Choice recipients for the race.  


What an amazing time our individuals had at the New York Giants Training Camp!
The fantastic day consisted of getting autographs, pictures, and shaking hands with players, playing video and football games, face painting, and free ice cream and a Superbowl 42 t-shirt!
After that experience, the individuals had more to come! The New York Giants on the field in a practice session!

Our individuals and Team Members participated in a couple Sanctuary commitment events at our Wynantskill campus during August.   
The events included the Emotional Intelligence Potato Bake, with the commitment "We manage our feelings so we don't hurt ourselves or others."  Each potato topping represented an emotion such as "happy bacon," "blissful butter," and "cozy cheese."
As part of the commitment to Social Responsibility, agency vehicles were given a thorough cleaning.  
An ice cream window, plus a BBQ, rounded out the day.  

   Team work at its best!




Vanderheyden Team Members are encouraged to "giveback" to those we serve, and Zhai White gives back in a big way!
The Troy native came to our Wynantskill campus as a resident when she was 13 years old. White says she was in all levels of care both on campus and the Rubin Group Home, until she transitioned out of the Supervised Independent Living Program (SILP) at age 21.
Since July, White is back in the Vanderheyden family, this time as the Life Skills Specialist for SILP.  
White says there are a few reasons why she decided to work here.
"A big part is Vanderheyden, and all the people that helped me," White says. "I wanted to pass that on and help others."
"Vanderheyden was a big part of my life," she says. "It was home. It's familiar. Knowing it as a youth, I felt I could be more helpful as a Team Member."
As a Life Skills Specialist, White assists the individuals in the program with development, and improving their life skills. Cooking, cleaning, and budgeting are some of the skills emphasized until they leave the program at the age of 21.
When White interviewed for her position, she says she felt SILP is one of the most important programs in the agency for the individuals because it's "the last program" before they go out on their own. 
"With their age, it's an important time to give them the skills to be a productive adult," White says. "SILP focuses on growth."
She really wants the individuals to succeed in the program.
"If I can do it, they can do it," White says.
White says there are many things she likes about Vanderheyden both now and then.
"The supportive staff, and that they didn't give up on me," she says. "That's how they supported me."
The Sanctuary Program is also on the top of her list.
"The safety plans are great," White says. "The kids participate more in their safety plan, instead of the Team Members giving them one."
After attending Hudson Valley Community College, and SUNY Albany in her pursuit of a BSW in Social Work, White left the program to join the U.S. Air Force.
White says she left SUNY because she wanted to challenge herself with a career in the military.  
She also used her father, who was in the U.S. Army, as her motivation. Her father died when White was one-year-old. White says she is "carrying on his torch" of service to the military.
Currently, White is a Reservist in the Air Force out of Westover, Massachusetts. If she is called to Active Duty, White says she would provide communications to medical technicians and flight nurses.
She also finished up her Bachelor's degree and is working on her MSW in Social Work at SUNY Albany.
In her spare time, White loves to read, especially comic books. She also credits her time at Vanderheyden for her love of any D.I.Y. project such as crocheting, knitting, woodworking, and building furniture.  
"Vanderheyden nurtures your artistic nature," she says.
White is also an avid volleyball and tennis player, and participates in intramural and recreational leagues.
As the youngest of four girls, she recently connected with a long-lost half-sister.  
White has a couple of goals, which include a career in the military, and working at a non-profit.
"I love the military," White says. "Transitioning back in as Active Duty for a couple of years, then to work for a non-profit, possibly at Vanderheyden."
Thank you for your service, Zhai. It's truly an honor.


What a way to see New York City!  
Having fun on the "Circle Line!" 

Come join us for lots of fun, food, and auction items at our Fall Fundraiser  
on Wednesday, October 18th, at Brown's Brewing Company on River Street in Troy!   
Tickets can be purchased on our website at 
For more information, call (518) 874 - 4901. 


Bring the family to Vanderheyden's 9th Annual Fall Festival
on Saturday, October 14th at our Wynantskill campus.
The free event features food, games, face and pumpkin painting, music, Rhonda's Reptiles, and ponies and a petting zoo!



Saturday, October 14 - Community Fall Festival -Vanderheyden Wynantskill Campus 
Wednesday, October 18 - Annual Oktoberfest Fundraiser at Brown's Brewing Co, Troy

  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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