In the News....
December 2016 

...for a successful Holiday Support Program 2016!

A tremendous thank you to our generous Capital Region community for bringing joy, excitement and smiles this holiday season to the more than 500 individuals and families that we serve!


Families, businesses, organizations and religious groups shopped, wrapped and dropped off hundreds of gifts that were requested by our Vanderheyden individuals.  Thanks to the community, our Wish Room, temporarily headquartered in our Board Room, was also well-stocked.  Here, our individuals had a chance to pick out a gift for themselves and for their family or friends.    

Thank you to the employees of the NYS Department of Health at Wadsworth Center, the NYS Office of Mental Health, Mohawk Honda, the Altar and Rosary Society at St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Community in Wynantskill, the Knitters of Poestenskill Seniors, the Carbone Auto Group, our Board Members, our Vanderheyden Team Members and the community.   


Thank you so much for your wonderful generosity!



Polly Freihofer Mason has been a supporter of Vanderheyden for many years. 

In their customary tradition for the holidays, Polly and the Junior League of Troy, sponsored one of our cottages at our Wynantskill campus, and showered our individuals with beautiful gifts.

Thank you Polly and the Junior League of Troy for your generosity and caring by making the holidays extra special for our individuals! 



Over 600 pounds of non-perishable food items were delivered by our individuals on Thursday, December 22th, as part of Vanderheyden's 3rd Annual Holiday Give Back to Unity House!

The much-needed items for the Unity House Food Pantry in Troy were collected at our Wynantskill campus throughout the month of December.

Thank you to both the Vanderheyden and the Capital Region communities for your help with this worthy holiday endeavor!


Thank you to the New York Insurance Association, Inc. for providing us with new snowshoes to use on our trail that NYIA volunteers helped us clear in October.

A special thank you to Tom White, the President of Community Mutual Insurance Company, a Union Mutual Affiliate, and Bob Pastel, a partner at Pastel & Rosen, LLP, who were instrumental in making both the snowshoes and monetary donations.


Mercedes loves to write Japanese anime, and is given an opportunity to develop his talent here at Vanderheyden.

The Schenectady native has been a member of our community since he was 12 years old, and is part of our newest program called Residential Community Habilitation.  Mercedes, 23, participates in the program 3 days a week, where the focus is on learning life skills, while doing activities such as going to the YMCA to play his favorite sport of basketball, shopping for clothing, and going to the movies and the library.  Family Service Worker Tykeith Fantroy, who is instrumental in guiding Mercedes through the program says "he is a positive person, educated, smart, and is very mature.  He is doing excellent."  

Mercedes also has high praise and respect for a couple of Vanderheyden Team Members, Vice President of Community Services Maura Psoinos and the Director of Community Services Deb Demers, who have been with him from the beginning.  He says Psoinos "gives good advice and ideas with what to do in life and everything," while saying Demers "is a nice person who listens to me.  I respect her with all my heart.  Just a lovely person."

The Christmas holiday was a nice time for Mercedes, as he was reunited with his family in the Central New York area bearing a few gifts.  Before he left on his trip, Mercedes made a stop in our Vanderheyden Wish Room, where the Capital Region community came through with hundreds of gifts for our individuals and their families.  For Christmas, Mercedes is also personally adopted every year by Mark Keegan and his family.

Besides writing scripts for anime, Mercedes would like to write his life story, saying he had a hard life and wants to write about it.  He says his 27-year-old sister has also written her own life story.

With Mercedes and his creativity in gear, we just may be looking at a best seller in the future!



"I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."  -- Maya Angelou

That's how Vanderheyden's Assistant Director of Operations Samone Baptiste describes our Laneka Moore.

Moore is not just a House Manager to teenage girls at one of our cottages, she is also looked upon as a "Mom" figure.

Moore has been at Vanderheyden for five years, starting off as a Direct Care Worker at our main campus in Wynantskill.  The Albany native came to us from the health field, where she worked at a couple of Capital Region hospitals in their Intensive Care Units.  

Meeting new people, wanting to make a difference in their lives, and the challenges that come along with the new girls in the program, are some of the reasons why Moore loves her job.  "The new girls come in rough and tough, but they just need a little love," Moore says.  "If they are having trouble or a bad day, I'm with them.  We pull together and work it out.  They are used to people walking out on them," adds Moore.   

Moore leaves a life-long impact on the individuals in her program, according to Baptiste.  "The young ladies that have left her program, not only feel accomplished, but have a feeling of self-worth that they have never experienced before," says Baptiste.

Building her individuals up to be successful when they leave Vanderheyden, is what Moore hopes to accomplish.  "When they leave, they can call me, and come see me," says Moore.  

The Vanderheyden community also raves about Moore's culinary skills.  "When we are stressed, we use cooking as a form of relief," Moore says.  This has led to the creation of a variety of different delicious dishes such as Buffalo Chicken WonTons, and egg rolls with different stuffings.

When Moore is seen with her Vanderheyden family out and about in the Capital Region community, she says our individuals always identify her as a mother figure by saying "that's my Mom."  Moore replies "I'm not, but, yes I am."

In her spare time, Moore, a mother of one son, loves to read fiction novels, and loves to travel anywhere there is water, a beach and warm weather.  She says her favorite hobby is entertaining her young grandson.

Thank you Laneka, for changing lives to save lives!





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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