In the News....
July August 2019

Vanderheyden Community Services individuals had a great time celebrating "Under the Stars" - this year's theme of the annual summer bash at the Brunswick Elks Lodge #2556.   
Thank you to the community who supported several fundraisers such as Trivia Night in Glens Falls, Paint & Sip, a can and bottle drive and Goat Yoga! 
Thank you to all our Team Members who came up with wonderful ideas, volunteered and participated in the events to make the summer dance a success! 
  Vanderheyden's happy individuals at the summer dance!  
Shadasya S. said she truly believes in what Vanderheyden Team Members tell individuals - you can be whatever you want to be, you just have to put your mind to it.
"That's what I love my cottage staff for, because they push us towards that," she said. "They tell us that we can be anything that we want to be. We can do whatever we want to do. And, that we do have the power to change the world."
Shadasya definitely incorporates that into her daily life, by doing everything with enthusiasm and passion.
Dancing, acting, singing, the Drama Club, and the Dance Team. All her favorite activities are done with spirit!
"I just like doing a lot of things that keep me active, and not in a bad place or not just sitting around. I don't like sitting," Shadasya said.
The Manhattan native is an 11th grader at Vanderheyden's Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center, and has been part of campus life for just over a year.  
Shadasya said right now, her life is not in order and it does not have a story line to it, but Vanderheyden is there for support.
"It's helping me realize what I did to put myself here, and it's helping me realize what I need to do to get myself out of here," she said.
Asking her clinician questions about her future goal of being reunited with her family permanently is also a top priority.
"How can I behave differently to get out of here? What else can I do to fix this? What else can I do to make sure that I have no issues on my home visits to make sure that I can go home the next weekend," Shadasya said. "There's just stuff that I pay attention to, to get home."
Admiration is what Shadasya has for the Team Members in her cottage.
"I would like to shout out all of them for actually standing behind me, believing in me and not telling me that I need to do better," she said. "Telling me that I can do better and that this is not me, and that I need to act like myself and stop being other people."
Shadasya also trusts and has praise for the teachers at the school.
"You can honestly have a conversation with a lot of staff there without them bringing it to another kid, without it being brought around the school," she said. "And, I honestly appreciate that."
Jennifer Fiori, English teacher at the school, shared her thoughts on Shadasya, and how hard she worked on an essay earlier this year for the Profile in Courage Essay Contest sponsored by the John F. Kennedy Museum in Boston.
"Shadasya is a very hard working student.

When approached about entering an intensive essay writing contest for the JFK Museum, Shadasya immediately leapt to the challenge.

She surveyed each of her staff on what person of political courage they thought would be the best to write about, then gathered extensive reading material to build her essay.

Shadasya worked very hard on the five-page essay with in-text citations. 

There were times she became so worried about the pressure, there were 2,514 other entrants in this competition, that she started to waver in her determination, but she pushed on!

Shadasya completed a well-organized and well thought out essay.
Due to her hard work and excellent work, Shadasya was invited by President and CEO Karen Carpenter Palumbo and Vanderheyden Board members to present her report at one of their meetings. Shadasya read her essay with confidence and fielded questions about her work and experiences at Vanderheyden with grace and a big smile.

We are so proud of Shadasya for this accomplishment!"
Being part of the contest and going to Boston turned out to be a positive experience for her.
"Unfortunately I did not win, but fortunately I had the experience of putting in that essay and writing something that I felt was really, really strong," she said. "And, I put my best work at that, so, I feel strong."
After high school graduation, Shadasya hopes to go to John Jay College in New York City for law or criminal justice.
Several former residents of Vanderheyden have made an impact on society, including one in particular who was instrumental in creating an annual celebration of achievements of African Americans.
"Dorothy Brown helped create Black History Month," Shadasya said. "Well maybe I would be the first Black Female President."
There is one thing she will take away from her experience at Vanderheyden.
"I can help whoever I want to help, and I can be whoever I want to be, but that all starts with me," she said.
Thank you, Shadasya, for brightening up our lives at Vanderheyden, and thank you for wanting to change the world! We know you will be successful!


In honor of a Vanderheyden Team Member's 16-year-old niece who is battling leukemia, our students and Team Members at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center took on a very special challenge.  The challenge was to fill the shelves of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of the Capital Region in Albany.
The Ronald McDonald Home is "a home away from home" for families of seriously ill children. 
Various snack and drink items were collected and distributed in August, which went directly to the families who are staying at the home.   Vanderheyden volunteers also did a great job of planting flowers and sprucing up the grounds of the South Lake Avenue home.  

Photo of Anne Frank
A number of Vanderheyden's students at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center studied the World War II-era Holocaust as a history elective this summer.   The class was taught by Stephen Pelletier. 
After learning about the Holocaust, the students decided to take action and raise money for the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect in New York City, as part of the 75th anniversary of the capture of the Frank family at their hiding place in Amsterdam, Netherlands.  A bake sale was held, where almost $400 was raised!
The money will be used to support the Center's work of confronting the dangers of intolerance, racism, discrimination, and to inspire the next generation to build a world based on mutual respect.
"I would like to thank you for such a generous gift," Alan Grossman, Director of Development of the Anne Frank Center said.  "Your cards were also very moving and speak to the compassion and sentiment here."  
Thank you to all who donated and made this event happen.   
Thank you Stephen for teaching our individuals about a part of the past that should never be forgotten in order to never be repeated ever again.
Margaret DiGiulio is truly part of the Vanderheyden experience, in more ways than one.
DiGiulio, who teaches Special Ed English, writing and a Regent's review class at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center, grew up in an orphanage in Binghamton, New York.
The seventh of eight children from Carbondale, Pennsylvania, DiGiulio and her sister were originally sent to live with a grandmother in Susquehanna, Pennsylvania when her mother developed cervical cancer and her coal miner father was sent to a tuberculosis hospital with black lung.  
When her mother passed away, DiGiulio said she remembered that her father and one of her older brothers came to her grandmother's house in the middle of the night. DiGiulio and her sister left the home with only a brown paper bag filled with clothing and were headed to the orphanage where three of her brothers were already living.
DiGiulio said her father wanted his children living together.
"I lived there from the time I was six, seven years old, until I graduated from high school, which was 17-years-old," she said.  
During high school, DiGiulio said she was given an opportunity to be a part of the Upward Bound program at SUNY Binghamton, where she was able to take classes and be a part of the college experience.
"I think that's where my interest in learning really kind of grew," she said.
The day after she graduated from high school, DiGiulio headed to a summer program at Dutchess County Community College in Poughkeepsie.  
From there, the mother of two daughters received her undergraduate degree from Russell Sage College, and two master's degrees - one in English and another in Education from the College of Saint Rose.  
"I started my teaching career, probably in my thirties, and started teaching at a prison," she said.
After teaching six years at both Greene and Coxsackie state prisons, DiGiulio taught at Catholic Central High School in Troy and at Lansingburgh in the summer.  
Eventually, she landed a teaching position in the Albany School District, and ended her career there as an administrator when she retired in 2012.
"I was responsible for overseeing the secondary English program," DiGiulio said. "I would go and mentor teachers, hire teachers, provide curriculum instruction, cross disciplinary classes and helping teachers with that."
Consulting various school districts on how to meet test scores and how to have students achieve success on standardized tests was next on her agenda, until she received a call a few years ago from Frank Dembo, Director of Education at Vanderheyden.
"He suggested that I come here," she said. "So three years ago I said, 'Okay, just for the summer.' I did that, and he said, 'Hey, do you want to stay in the Fall?'" she said.
Her early life growing up in a children's home is probably a reason why DiGiulio said she decided to stay at Vanderheyden.
"I can relate," she said. "Just as I was able to relate to kids and guys that were in prison when I did that. Just like I was able to relate to the kids in Albany city schools that came from poverty because I know that that's really my background."
"And, had I lived with my own parents for the period of time that I grew up in the children's home, I know that I'd be a much different person now and I would never have had the opportunities that I have had," she said. 
DiGiulio said there are many things she likes about working at Vanderheyden. The first obvious reason are the kids, who she said "keep you young."
"They make you laugh," she said. "You could have a really tough day, and a kid comes in and suddenly, whatever your problem is, is not a problem anymore."
Seeing students get excited about learning brings a lot of joy to DiGiulio.
"When I see a kid responding to something and learning something, it makes me very happy because I feel that is how we grow - by learning," she said. "So, if I do that, if I can continue to teach children and help them and support them in their growth, I'll be happy."
When DiGiulio is away from Vanderheyden, several hobbies are on her agenda.
Reading and exercising top her list. Other activities she enjoys are biking, hiking and kayaking.  
"I really like art, and I liked drawing and painting, and would like to pursue that a little bit more," she said. "I thought that I was going to when I retired, but so much for that."
DiGiulio said it is also really important for her to give back to society.
"I try to do that in my daily life, not just teaching but doing things for other people," she said. "That's really important because somebody gave me a leg up, and somebody gave me a leg up in different episodes of my life."
Thank you, Margaret, for giving back to Vanderheyden in a very special way that is dear to your heart. 
Vanderheyden individuals had days of fun and memories this summer as they headed to cheer on the New York Mets at CitiField and the New York Giants at MetLife! 
Thank you to our supporters who donated tickets for our individuals to see the games so they were able to experience their favorite sports teams in person.   

Thank you to the volunteers from CAP COM Federal Credit Union for helping us groom Vanderheyden's newest exercise area!
The volunteers also tested and had fun with two of our nature activity games, too!  
Vanderheyden's Dr. Shagufta Asar at the conference in London. 
Shagufta Asar, Psy.D, the psychologist at Vanderheyden's Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center, recently presented her doctoral findings on the perceptions of the parenting role across three countries at an international symposium at Whitelands College, University of Roehampton in London, United Kingdom.
The 14th International Conference on Child and Adolescent Psychopathology was held from July 22nd to the 24th, 2019, where experts from various disciplines discussed state-of-the-art research on various aspects of child and adolescent development. The focus was on understanding trauma and its effects on children and families from a global perspective, Dr. Asar said.
Dr. Asar said the purpose of her study was to open dialogue regarding perceptions of the role of parenting as it occurs within the cultural context in India, the United Kingdom and the United States.
"My favorite part of being in London at this conference was being able to meet mental health practitioners from across the world," Dr. Asar said. "And, being able to understand how varied the perspective is on supporting adolescence, but also how much we have in common on our understanding of how much needs to be done in order to best support them."
Dr. Asar said the organizers of the symposium felt her research was in line with understanding parenting from a different perspective. She said it took her a while to believe that her presentation was actually part of a world-wide platform.
"It was surreal. This was my first time presenting in an international conference," she said. "But, it was a very proud moment for me because I just earned my doctorate, and to have the research that I did valued in such a way was incredible."
"We are extremely proud and appreciative of Shagufta and her international presentation," Karen Carpenter Palumbo, President and CEO of Vanderheyden said. "Our entire team is thrilled that she has brought her expertise and commitment to our students at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center."
Dr. Asar earned her Psy.D from Pace University in December, 2018, where she also received her M.S. Ed. The New York City native has lived in the Capital Region since September, 2017 when she started working at Vanderheyden's educational center as the school's psychologist.    


And, it's done...1-2-3!  
Thank you to Vanderheyden's Pawling Group Home individuals for kicking off our Neighborhood Garden project! Great job, guys! Thank you to the Troy City Council for funding this awesome project!!


Vanderheyden held a couple of annual Sanctuary events at our main campus in Wynantskill, where both our individuals and Team Members participated!  
The Emotional Intelligence Potato Bake was held with the Sanctuary commitment theme of, "We manage our feelings so we don't hurt ourselves or others."
All had their choice of toppings such as Happy Bacon, Withdrawn Chives, Cozy Cheese, Mad Salsa, Envious Broccoli, Worried Sour Cream and Blissful Butter.


The annual Sanctuary Car Wash and BBQ was also held where both individuals and Team Members cleaned vehicles before partaking in an awesome BBQ topped with an ice cream window!

A big thank you to the Sanctuary Team for always making these events a great time for both our individuals and Team Members! 

         NYRA'S CHARITY OF THE DAY!        
Vanderheyden was designated "Charity of the Day" on Sunday, July 28th by the New York Racing Association!  Thanks to all who stopped by our display at the Community Booth at the Saratoga Race Course. 

Besides holding Trivia Night in Glens Falls in June, many other fun and exciting fundraisers benefited the Community Services "Under the Stars" Dance in August.

Fundraising sessions of Goat Yoga at 4J's Farm in Averill Park were new to Vanderheyden this year.  Paint & Sip's were a big hit last year, so we did it again.

Thank you to all who contributed to the success of our fundraisers!

Vanderheyden's individuals truly experienced summer with a few camping trips to Essex and Columbia Counties.  
Our young ladies from the Residential Treatment Center got in touch with nature at the SCORE (STRIDE Center for Outdoor Recreation and Education) campground in Chatham, while our CSIRA individuals headed to Schroon Lake. 
Thank you to all our Team Members who made this happen for our individuals!

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.

Stay tuned to our social media sites to find out about upcoming celebrations for our 185th year!

Vanderheyden is commemorating 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 become members 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.  

Here's some of Vanderheyden's 185th Anniversary History Facts that we have been sharing
with our Team Members each week:

On December 17, 1834, the name of the Troy Association for the Relief of Destitute Children was changed to The Troy Orphan Asylum." (TOA)


Our Bessey Group Home was once called the Baby House, and was built and equipped for the care of infants, and the training of nurses. On May 21, 1914, nine nurses were the first graduates to be awarded a diploma of "Children's Nurse."


In 1833, breakfast at the TOA consisted of chocolate or milk boiled and poured over bread broken fine or made into milk porridge. In the summer months, the children ate bread and milk, or rice or mush and milk. The breakfast was served at 7:00 a.m. April through November, and at 8:00 a.m. during the winter months.


Charles T. Meneely gifted two bells to the TOA's Spring Avenue home in 1893. On August 17th, 1893, the children moved to their new home on Spring Avenue from their Eighth Street quarters, and were greeted by the sound of a large bell ringing in the bell tower of the main building.


The children of the TOA were the first to march across the Troy-Menands Bridge in a parade at the bridge's informal Dedication Ceremony on July 12, 1933. The children arrived in several busses from Spring Avenue, that was led by a Troy Police Department motorcycle detail.


The estimated cost to build the buildings at the TOA's Spring Avenue location was $140,000 in 1892. TOA already had $62,000 saved for the project, added more cash after selling their Eighth Avenue location, and hoped to raise another $50,000 so the agency would not carry a debt.


Troy Mayor Francis N. Mann was responsible for the creation of the Mayor's Fund in 1848, when he donated his annual $200 salary to the TOA. The gift was "to be invested and the income subject to current use." Troy Mayors Stephen W. Dana and Joseph Warren also donated salaries.


In 1835, an act to incorporate the Troy Orphan Asylum was passed by the New York State Legislature.


In 1859, the NYS Legislature also passed an act to allow the TOA to take by gift, device or bequests, real and personal estates in larger amounts, for the relief, support and education of the children.



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  
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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