In the News....
September 2019

Vanderheyden was named Nonprofit of the Year as part of the Albany Business Review's 2019 Achievers Awards.
Since 1983, the Achievers program is one of the most prestigious events on the Albany Business Review's calendar, and in the Capital Region business community.
From the Albany Business Review:
"CEO Karen Carpenter Palumbo was recruited in 2012 to turn around the organization, then at risk of closure because of financial difficulties. Vanderheyden is now in its 185th year, and has increased its Regents passing percentage to 47% from 17% in 2016-17."   
"As our agency celebrates 185 years, we are honored and pleased to have been named the Nonprofit of the Year.  The recognition of the services we provide in the capital region is truly appreciated by our Executive Team, Board of Directors and all our Team Members," Vanderheyden President and CEO Karen Carpenter Palumbo said.
Vanderheyden will receive the award on Thursday, November 7th at Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady.
Sarah P. is taking one step at a time, and each step is a monumental one.
The Prescott, Arizona native moved to New York state and lived in foster care for ten years. She is now part of Vanderheyden's CS-IRA Independent Residential Apartment program for the past five years where she has her own apartment with her beautiful cat Coquito.
Cory Toth is a program manager with the CS-IRA program. He said when Sarah first joined Vanderheyden, she was very withdrawn, would avoid eye contact, didn't laugh, and when she would talk to staff, there was very little joy in it.  
Out with the old Sarah, and in with the new!
"I feel like I'm a changed person because of Cory," Sarah said. "I want to shake his hand for it. And, I told him before of all the managers that we've had, he's by far the best one. And, I hope he sticks around."
Sarah said Cory is the only person who has actually managed and succeeded in helping her to socialize again.
"Other people have tried," Sarah said. "I feel like I'm a different person because of him."
Toth said he attributes the change to getting her out in the community and finding things that she actually enjoyed doing along with other ideas.
"To allow her to move at her own pace, and not feel forced into anything, and to make it clear that it's her decision, not mine to do these things," he said.
He said it made him realize that we're not that dissimilar in a lot of ways.
"And, I don't mean just her, but everyone," Toth said. "People in general, we all have fear, anxieties, things like that."  
Toth said he gave her some real examples of anxiety that others including himself face, instead of being like a mentor or in a professional way.  
"But being more on a one-on-one level with her and realizing we're on the same page. We're all experiencing the same things in life," he said. "I explained to her that to feel anxiety, fear of the unknown is completely normal."
A major accomplishment for Sarah is volunteering with the cats at the Hudson Mohawk Humane Society a couple days a week. 
"I love cats," Sarah said. "I almost quit before I even started, but Cory wouldn't let me. And, I'm glad he wouldn't let me because I would have missed out."  
Sarah said she loves the job, and the volunteering experience is the perfect fit for her.  
"Cory was just encouraging and very supportive," she said. "He said when it comes to volunteering, to just give it a try. Try it for a month or two and if I still didn't like it, then I could just get out of it."
Toth said Sarah made a bunch of new friends at the humane society, and the experience there is a very positive thing. "And, it's all about cats, and she loves cats."
"She committed herself, which she agreed to do, and discovered something great with volunteering, which fortunately it did work out great," he said.
Having Toth's guidance has led her to do more things that she said she normally wouldn't do.
"I'm going on outings again, and I never did group outings before until now," she said. "We went apple picking though I didn't actually pick any ap ples. I went for the ride, but that's a start."
Other interests of Sarah include a new hobby of diamond art painting, and taking Coquito out for a walk.  
"Coquito is such a sweet girl," she said. "She's got me wrapped around her paw, that's for sure!"
And, she said Toth's influence on her is why she agreed to do an interview for the newsletter, even though he had no idea she was doing the interview. Sarah wanted to surprise him.
"I'm actually shocked that I was willing to do this, because normally I don't go for this," she said.
In the future, Sarah said she would like to continue to work at the humane society, and also visit her birthplace, Arizona.  
"As for the other stuff, I haven't really thought about it yet," she said. "I'm sure I'll figure it out, but that's unfortunately I'm not going to be able to figure it out overnight."
Thank you, Sarah, for being a part of Vanderheyden, and we wish you the best of luck reaching more and more milestones!  We know you will!
FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL 2019-2020!   
Vanderheyden President and CEO Karen Carpenter Palumbo and Team Members continued their annual tradition of greeting Team Members and bus drivers on the first day of school outside the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center.  Heidi and Oliver were cheering everyone on as Vanderheyden official mascots! 
Each arrival received a goodie bag filled with nutritious snacks, decorated by our individuals!  



Classes began on Wednesday, September 4, 2019 at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center at Vanderheyden's Wynantskill campus.  
Good luck to our students and Team Members in the 2019-2020 school year!

A self-starter, always putting her best foot forward and an impeccable work ethic are all qualities that describe Vanderheyden's Sukina Anderson.
Anderson is a Direct Support Professional V (DSP-V) at our Bessey group home.
She was only one of four throughout the state who won the prestigious 2019 Code of Conduct award from the New York State Justice Center in September.  
The Brooklyn native has been a part of Vanderheyden for over 14 years, where she started working at our Wynantskill campus in Cottage 3, known as "Polly's (Mason) Cottage."
Anderson's duties at the Bessey group home include ordering food, shopping, preparing menus, and making all appointments for the individuals. And, there is a whole lot more to her job.
"Teaching life skills, and getting them to start their laundry and hygiene, and making sure they wash their hands," she said. "Just the regular daily things."
Many of the individuals under her care years ago still keep in touch with her. She said our individuals are what has kept her at Vanderheyden for so long.
"Teaching the individuals and then moving on, and seeing how they are progressing," Anderson said. "Seeing where they are now, it warms my heart."
What works for Anderson is the consistency she provides for her individuals as to why many of them hold her dear to their hearts.
"I make sure I show up every time, the same time, so they get used to that," she said. "Some people need that. I tell them all the time if you need it, I will make sure they go have it."
Director of Community Services Deb Demers nominated Anderson for the Code of Conduct award. She said she placed the nomination because of Sukina's work ethic.
"She's very dependable. If Sukina is asked to do something, Sukina does it, and not only that, she's a self-starter," Demers said. "It's very helpful to us when programs like ours have an employee like that. It just keeps everything moving."
Demers said she had a deep sense of pride when Anderson received the award.
"I was happy for her. I felt as though she deserved recognition for how hard she worked in our field," she said. "We aren't able to give the kind of money or the financial compensation that we'd like to."  
Demers said Anderson is very much appreciated and that she is making a difference in the children's lives by creating a home for them and making sure their needs are met.
"Not only does she have an impact on the children, she has an impact on the staff, her peer group," she said. "That's positive for the leadership, so they can walk away having confidence knowing it's going to get taken care of because she's there."
When Anderson, the mother of three children and a recent grandmother to a beautiful baby boy, isn't at Bessey, she said she loves to do crossword puzzles and to read just about anything in her free time.  
Anderson said she has advice to those applying for a job at Vanderheyden.
"The individuals really need our help," she said. "If that's not what you plan on doing, teaching them, then that's not something you should plan on doing."  
"I just feel like any individual is capable of anything. They just have to be taught. We just have to teach them," Anderson said.
Thank you, Sukina for making a positive impact at not only our Vanderheyden community, but with our individuals that have left our program long ago. Congratulations on winning your distinguished award!
The Justice Center's Advisory Council also presented its Code of Conduct Award to four recipients.  This award honors staff who embody the ethical standards outlined in the Code of Conduct for Custodians of People with Special Needs. Employees who assist people with special needs are required to sign the Code, which ensures that people "live self-directed meaningful lives in their communities, free from abuse and neglect, and protected from harm."
This year's winners include:
Sukina Anderson, Vanderheyden Hall, (Wynantskill) - She leaves no stone unturned.  That's how colleagues describe Sukina Anderson's dedication to the individuals in her care.  She is described as a true advocate for individuals receiving services and they know she is the go-to in their program.  Ms. Anderson emphasizes consistency which has proven to be helpful for the young people receiving services at the facility where she works.  Colleagues say she not only fights for what the youth in her program need, she teaches them how to advocate for themselves, which is an invaluable lesson.  
Vanderheyden held its 2019 Employee Recognition Awards Ceremony and Dinner on Friday, September 20, 2019 at the Hilton Garden Inn in Troy.   
Several honors were awarded to our Team Members which included the 2019 Royal Star of the Year, Sanctuary, Vanderheyden Give Back, Administration and Support Employee of the Year, Dr. Bessey Clinical, Richard A. Desrochers Education, Community Services Outreach Program, Polly Mason Direct Support Professional, and the Dion Petteys Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by his wife Barbara Petteys.  
From President and CEO Karen Carpenter Palumbo:
Thank you for your dedication and commitment to Vanderheyden and the individuals we serve.   The impact you make every day is to be commended. The year has been extra special because we have been able to celebrate 185 years of changing lives to save lives. It is because of Team Members like yourself that we can continue to carry out our mission: To Empower youth, adults and families to build brighter futures.
Together we have learned so much about our rich history. We have had the opportunity to celebrate in many different ways. Most recently Vanderheyden was named by the Albany Business Review as the Nonprofit of the Year. The Achievers awards have become one of the most prestigious events in the business community. It is because of our entire Team that we have been recognized in the work we do each day. We are thrilled and honored to receive this award.
Vanderheyden is a wonderful organization. As we continue to focus on our individuals and our programs, I proudly thank each of you for your dedication and support to those we serve each and every day.
"Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much." - Helen Keller
Thank you to all our Team Members!!  We appreciate you! 

Direct Support Professionals (DSPs) Week was held in September.  As part of the yearly event, Vanderheyden recognized and thanked all the DSPs for the work they do in providing life-changing care to youth, individuals and families all year round.
As part of the special recognition, several gift basket raffles were held. Congratulations to all Vanderheyden's DSP's!   


For the second year in a row, Vanderheyden's Performing Arts Club performed at the sold out "Living History: Oakwood by Lantern Light" tour at Oakwood Cemetery in Troy on Saturday, September 28, 2019!
Our performers were directed by our English teacher Jennifer Fiori and Teacher's Aide Sarah Tulchinskiy played the role of the Troy Orphan Asylum's legendary Matron and Superintendent for 36 years, Miss Sophia Eastman.
Members of our Performing Arts Club joined Miss Eastman as our Victorian children.
Since 1870, Miss Eastman is buried at our beautiful Obelisk near the Victorian fountain and the Earl Chapel.    
Thank you Oakwood Cemetery for once again inviting us to be a part of your most popular tour of the year! And, thank you Vanderheyden performers for making this happen!  


Vanderheyden was at the Capital Region Job Fair at Crossgates Mall in September, sponsored by The Daily Gazette.

So nice to meet all who stopped by!  
Visit our website at to see our open positions.
Thank you to the Town of North Greenbush Police Department for training Vanderheyden's Executive Team on "Emergency Police Response to Active Critical Incidents in the Workplace."

Vanderheyden's Family Engagement comes as a unified email that families with students in our Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center can access to ask questions, share information and request resources from the school committee.  


Vanderheyden is excited to be participating in the 2019 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: and look for shelf tags in the store.

Here's some of Vanderheyden's 185th Anniversary History Facts that we have been sharing
with our Team Members each week:
Some of the doctors in Troy that provided services for free to the Troy Orphan Asylum (TOA) in 1856 included Drs. Blatchford, Brinsmade, and Thorn. In 1840, Dr. Richards attended the children day and night for free, while the J.V. Fassett & Co. provided free medicine.  In the 20th century, Dr. Charles Bessey provided his services for free. 
In the 1850s, the children at the TOA did not go to school on Saturday mornings, but did go in the afternoon.
In the 1850s, visitors to the TOA were only allowed to call Monday afternoons from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The children moved to their new Eighth Street home on April 26st, 1864, after living two years in a temporary home at the Blatchford Mansion in Lansingburgh. The fire of May 10, 1862 destroyed the TOA's Grand Division Street home.
In 1865, Drs. Blatchford, Brinsmade and Freiot provided services for free to the children of the TOA.
In 1865, an additional brick building was built at the TOAs Eighth Street location due to the increased number of orphans in the Troy community due to the Civil War. The building measured 45x30, and cost $2,750 to build.
In the summer of 1887, the children at the TOA went on many trips. They included the Irvin Brothers' show, and Sunnyside Island. Mrs. Barclay Jermain affiliated with the Fairview Home, treated the children to a trip to the country for a week, where they were treated with cream and cake.
In 1887, a charity ball to benefit TOA was given by the Tillinghast, Gay and Orr families, which brought in $430.64.
The Permanent Fund came from people who had passed away in the community, and had bequeathed their estate to the TOA. In 1879, the estate of Calvin Hayner gave the TOA $10,000. In 1887, the estate of Mrs. Betsy Amelia Hart bequeathed $10,000.
In 1864, Mrs. Betsy A. Hart also gave $10,000 towards the building of the Eighth Street location, after the fire of 1862 destroyed the Grand Division Street building. The citizens of Troy contributed a matching amount. New York State gave $5,000, too. A marble tablet with the information on the Hart donation was found inside the main living room of the Eighth Street facility.
For the year ending 1883, the TOA spent $130 for the salaries of employees.
In 1883, the TOA children visited Pleasure Island, and were given free rides on the Troy and Lansingburgh Railroad by the railroad company. 


The Black and White Gala.   
Join us for the biggest dazzling event in downtown Albany  
 New Year's Eve, December 31, 2019!   
Sixty State Place, 60 State Street, Albany, New York 12207
Special rate on rooms at the Fairfield Inn and Suites, 74 State Street, Albany  
Book your room by November 30th.  
Thank you to our wonderful sponsors!
To become a Sponsor, please contact Cathy Yudzevich at (518) 874-4901  
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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