In the News....
July 2017 


Vanderheyden was recently re-certified by the national Sanctuary Institute. Our agency is one of 50 non profit organizations in the country to have this prestigious distinction.  

The Sanctuary ModelĀ® represents a theory-based, trauma-informed, evidence-supported, whole-culture approach, that helps to build a safe environment where emotional and psychological healing can occur.
The Sanctuary Mission is to teach individuals and organizations the necessary skills for creating and sustaining nonviolent lives and nonviolent systems, and to keep believing in the unexplored possibilities of peace and well-being for all of humanity.

"Every day at Vanderheyden, we work to change lives to save lives for over 500 individuals and families," says Karen Carpenter Palumbo, President and CEO of Vanderheyden.  "We are thrilled to be re-certified by the Sanctuary Institute, with our expertise in providing trauma informed care for those we serve."

Maura Psoinos, Vice-President of Community Services, is also very excited about receiving the honor for another three years.

"The Re-certification Team left the agency, and said it is a place that they would want to work at," Psoinos says. 

Psoinos says it's a good indication of the hard work everyone does on a daily basis.

"I think it helps transform us as an organization," she says.  "To continue with trauma-informed care with not only our individuals, but also our organization."  
 The seven Sanctuary commitments:
  • Commitment to Nonviolence: building and modeling safety skills
  • Commitment to Emotional Intelligence: teaching and modeling affect management skills
  • Commitment to Inquiry and Social Learning: building and modeling cognitive skills
  • Commitment to Shared Governance: creating and modeling civic skills of self-control, self-discipline, and administration of healthy authority
  • Commitment to Open Communication: overcoming barriers to healthy communication, reduce acting-out, enhance self-protective and self-correcting skills, teach healthy boundaries
  • Commitment to Social Responsibility: rebuilding social connection skills, establish healthy attachment relationships
  • Commitment to Growth and Change: restoring hope, meaning, purpose
 Here's a look at our Sanctuary Garden on campus:


July was a mix of field trips, school activities, and summer pool fun for the individuals.   
Here are a couple of photos which were taken by an individual, who is part of the summer fun photography class at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center.   


Nicole aspires to become a professional chef, and is working on her goal with the help of caring Team Members at Vanderheyden. 
The Hudson Valley native, who has been a resident at the campus the past year, is involved in culinary experiences on a daily basis.

"Nicole has a passion and enthusiasm for cooking and baking," Vivica Jennings, her House Manager says. "She can frequently be found helping staff and peers in the kitchen during meal preparation."

Jennings says Nicole, "who always has a smile and a quick joke for anyone," recently used her culinary skills to create a special treat.

"Nicole made chocolate chip cookies, and shared them with staff and her peers," Jennings says. "She gave them personal, little bags to enjoy!"

For the summer, Nicole is receiving her first, professional experience in the kitchen, by serving and preparing lunches in the cafeteria on campus.

Nicole says she is learning how to work in the kitchen, and "loves to prepare and serve the food the best."

Price Chopper in Latham offers three-hour cooking classes, where Nicole recently learned how to make ribs, corn salad, and butter cake.

"It was fun," Nicole says of the "team effort" experience.

Next month, she will be participating in the store's Italian cuisine class.

After graduation, Nicole hopes to enroll in the Culinary Institute of America (CIA) at Hyde Park.

At Vanderheyden, Nicole says she receives help when she needs it from Team Members in her Cottage.

"They help me out a lot," she says. "They talk with you, and make you a better person."

Nicole also says Vanderheyden is helping her live her dream, by giving her an opportunity to be in cooking classes.

Cooking and baking take up a good deal of hobby time for Nicole.

Her favorites are making chocolate chip cookies, and chocolate cake from scratch in her Cottage, where she has the nickname of "Chef Bertha."

Nicole loves to make chicken alfredo with her specialty white sauce, also from scratch.

Playing basketball and kickball are also her favorite activities.

While having fun and achieving her goal of learning culinary skills for a lifetime, Nicole has advice for other individuals at Vanderheyden.

"You should never give up," she says.

As part of the Vanderheyden employee "giveback," our Human Resources Department sponsored a few of our Individuals to attend Park Playhouse's "Ragtime" at the Lakehouse in Albany's Washington Park. 


Many of our individuals are improving their photography skills this summer
by taking classes offered at our Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center.


The photos were taken on the Sanctuary Trail at our Wynantskill Campus.


   What a great job our "budding" photographers are doing!



Some individuals are keeping busy this summer by working at our Vanderheyden campus
in Wynantskill, or, out and about in the Capital Region community.



Elise Fredette enjoyed her first time around at Vanderheyden so much, that she decided to join our team again.

Since May, Fredette took on the title of Recreation Coordinator, who plans activities on and off campus for our individuals.

The Cohoes native was previously a School Safety Team Member at our Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center, who left briefly to become an Activities Supervisor at a nursing home in Scotia.

When Fredette, who has a Bachelor's of Science degree from SUNY Cortland in Recreation Therapy, heard about the job opening at Vanderheyden, she jumped at the chance.

"I have a passion for the kids," she says. "I built a relationship with them when I was here before."

"I grew up in a stable, fairly normal home," Fredette says. "So I want to be able to give the kids the opportunities that I had growing up."

There are many other reasons why Fredette chose to come back, including the sense of community she feels at the Vanderheyden organization.

"We're our own kind of bubble here," she says. "I like that everyone is willing to step up when you need it."

Fredette also likes the "what do I need to do, how can I help kind of thing" she finds among her peers at Vanderheyden.

In her role as Recreation Coordinator, Fredette says her goal is to help the individuals "to find something they love to do, and a skill they could carry with them."

"I want them to learn something that they thought they could never do before," Fredette says.
"I think when they learn something, it's a good self-esteem and confidence boost they can carry over into other areas."

What Fredette likes most about her position is seeing the individuals "experience things."

An example of her favorite experience, is when an individual catches their first fish at the pond on our Wynantskill campus.

"You get to see them so excited and proud...and, a little nervous," she says.

Fredette plans a variety of activities for the individuals.

"What don't I do. That's probably easier to answer," she says.

Fredette says another goal is "to get the individuals to try things, and get them out and integrated in the community."

Some of the recent activities included trips to the Saratoga County Fair, Zoom Flume, camping and Zumba outings.

In her spare time, Fredette loves playing sports such as softball, kickball, soccer, basketball, kayaking, and hiking.

She's a huge fan of the Kansas City Chiefs, and a die-hard college basketball fan, citing the Duke Blue Devils as her favorite.

Fredette's hobbies include baking cupcakes, and spending time with family, friends, and "Charlie and Max," her two doggies.

Thank you, Elise, for making a difference in the lives of the individuals we serve!


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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Non-Violence * Emotional Intelligence * Social Learning * Open Communication * Social Responsibility * Shared Governance * Growth & Change