In the News....
November December 2018

Thank you to all who made Vanderheyden's 2nd Annual Holiday Tree Decorating Day a great one at our Wynantskill campus!  
As a thank you to the Capital Region community, the donors to Vanderheyden's Holiday Program 2018 were invited to join us to share in the day's festivities.
After the hot chocolate was served and the finishing touches were completed on the tree, the festivities continued with Santa at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center at a Holiday Open House. 

As part of the Annual Troy Victorian Stroll, Vanderheyden included a special tribute to our 185th Anniversary.   
Many former residents stopped by the Atrium building, and paged through the many binders filled with photos of the Troy Orphan Asylum and the Fairview Home.  Lots of smiles as a couple of former residents found themselves in the photos! 
Vanderheyden's school Chorus and Royals Dance Team entertained the huge crowd gathered at the Atrium's holiday tree, while Santa posed for a few photos at our Vanderheyden display. 


Vanderheyden was named one of ten non profits in the Capital Region to receive a check for $10,000 from Mohawk Honda in Glenville!
Thank you, Mohawk Honda, for your ongoing support and generous donation from your Giving Tuesday initiative.  Congratulations on 100 years in business!! 
Vanderheyden's Mikey B. is a fount of knowledge about the sports world.
Mikey, a resident of our Van Leuvan Group Home, was a fierce competitor and excelled in many sports, including football.
As a wide receiver and safety on Troy High School's Varsity team, Mikey was named Player of the Week in 2007 for his outstanding efforts on the football field by Capital News 9, now Spectrum News.
Photo Credit:  Troy Record
Recently, Mikey was featured on a mural for Special Olympics at Crossgates Mall, where he was reaching up for a rebound during a basketball game.
His favorite event while at Vanderheyden was going in the Club House at a New York Giants game last season. "That was fun," he said.
Mikey has been with Vanderheyden for many years, and lived in our Group Homes in Troy while going to Troy High School.
He said he admires Vanderheyden's Team Members.
"They treat everyone equally. They are always fair," Mikey said. "If one person gets one thing, they make sure everybody gets the same thing."
There is one Team Member Mikey looks up to.
"Dave Galindez (Direct Support Professional III, DSP-III) helps me with a lot of things," he said. "Life skills, setting up my phone, my goals and with money management."
"He helps me deal with the frustrations in the world," Mikey said.
A good personality, one who likes to tell jokes, to laugh and to have fun, is how his peers describe Mikey.
"He's very, very persistent," Jay-Meesha Hicks, a Direct Support Professional at Van Leuvan said. "For some people that's a bad thing, but for Mikey, it's a good thing. He gets what he wants done."
Mikey has a couple of long-term goals he is working on.
First, he would like to improve his reading skills so he can get his driver's license. His other goal is to eventually become a part of Vanderheyden's Independent Living Apartment program.
He already accomplished a couple of short-term goals such as learning how to swim and how to ice skate. This summer, Mikey will learn to ride a horse, and is very excited about it. Our award-winning Family Service Worker (FSW) Hetti Demers introduces him to a variety of new activities.
Playing sports is definitely on the top of Mikey's list. Besides football, he played catcher in baseball, and as a point guard for Troy's Devil Dogs, which games were played at RPI.  
He also enjoys going to Lebanon Valley Speedway to watch Pro Stock, and loves to hang in the pit area with the race car drivers.
Back at Van Leuvan, Mikey likes to cook, a skill he learned at Vanderheyden. Chicken wings and fried chicken are his favorites to prepare.
Mikey has great advice for individuals entering one of our Group Homes for the first time.
"Take care of your house, talk to staff, and use your coping skills and your safety plan," he said.
Thank you, Mikey, for tackling challenges and succeeding! 
Thank you Capital Region community for supplying our annual "Wish Room" for over 500 individuals and their families!  What a great effort, as our room was filled with all kinds of awesome items for all we serve!   
Each individual at our Wynantskill campus and in our Community Services programs chose a gift for themselves and one for a friend or a family member. 
The parishioners at St. Jude the Apostle Church in Wynantskill have donated faithfully each and every year to our annual Wish Room program for the holiday season.  Their participation, along with the parish's Altar and Rosary Society, truly helped make our program the success it is!
This holiday season, our Chorus members gave back to their community, and went caroling at St. Jude's Senior Apartments.  
Thank you, St. Jude community, for helping make the holiday season brighter for our individuals! 
Lots of holiday joy was found in many of Vanderheyden's locations in Rensselaer County!

A wonderful party was held in Troy for our SILP and Health Homes programs, where gifts and good cheer were plentiful for our individuals and their families.
Our Van Hoesen Group Home in Schodack had a great time, too!

What a stellar event as our individuals, Team Members and their families joined together for Vanderheyden's 35th Annual Thanksgiving Dinner at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center! 

Thank you to all the volunteers, our donors, and the Iwaneczko Family who made sure that 290 in our Vanderheyden community were served, 23 turkeys were baked to perfection, and all the trimmings were in abundance!
Vanderheyden's Pawling and Van Leuvan Group Homes in Troy and Rensselaer gathered to give thanks with fellow individuals and Team Members over the Thanksgiving season.  

Vanderheyden sure loves New York, and the awesome cuisine from all areas of the Empire State!  
Our Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center celebrated the "I Love New York" theme complete with delicacies from around the state, served by our Team Members in full New York State regalia!
Pastrami for New York City, chicken riggies for Utica, Buffalo chicken wings, chicken spiedies representing Binghamton, salt potatoes from Syracuse, farm fresh corn on the cob, salad and strawberries from Upstate farms, and Black and White cookies were on the menu.

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.  


Runners and walkers took to the street on Route 355 in Wynantskill for Vanderheyden's Annual Turkey Trot before our Thanksgiving break.
Individuals and Team Members from our main campus and Group Homes throughout the Capital Region community braved the frigid temperatures and the snow to make the 2018 edition a great one.
Thank you to all who participated, and a special thank you to SouthPaw from the Tri-City ValleyCats for cheering us on as he made his annual appearance!


Vanderheyden's Community Services group home participated in a fun night of painting snowmen, and sipping grape juice and sparkling cider!  
Individuals from our Huntley and Van Hoesen Group Homes had a wonderful time!
A special thank you to our individuals and Team Members who were a part of this event!
The heart of the Vanderheyden community is in its pride and spirit. Those qualities in all we do, are well-known in the Capital Region community.
Jennifer Fiori, our English teacher at the Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center is a perfect example of a Team Member who emulates Vanderheyden's well-known traits.
Fiori is in her third year of teaching English to students in the 10th and 12th grades.  
Before joining the Vanderheyden Team, the Saratoga County native also taught various subjects at St. Colman's in Latham, and was a substitute teacher in Waterford.
Fiori attributes her love of working with our individuals to her Grandmother in Cohoes, who always talked about the wonderful children at St. Colman's, and decided to join our Team after her mother's suggestion.
"My mother was looking at Vanderheyden, and said that I really think it would be a great fit for you."
Fiori said she checked into our program, and saw what a vibrant community Vanderheyden was.
"I love all the programs and love the spirit," she said. "I've seen so many successes here in the number of students at graduation, or, who went back to their school districts."
Seeing this, Fiori said, was heartwarming.
"It's incredible. We're changing lives," she said. "We are sending kids back on the right track."
Fiori said Vanderheyden teaches our individuals coping skill and strategies in many ways in order to enter their own districts.
"We show them how to use their words instead of their fists, how to verbalize, and how to talk to trusted adults," she said.
Helping our individuals make better life choices and being a positive guide to help them make better choices, is what keeps Fiori here.
"I feel I'm in service. It's not for the money, I feel drawn to it," she said.  

Fiori said she loves her job at Vanderheyden.
"I am so proud to work here, and I brag about our program all the time," she said.
The spirit and the positive expectations in all that Vanderheyden does, is also appealing to Fiori.
"In life, schools shows consequences to make things happen, but we are pro-active," she said. "We teach students how to handle situations before they happen."  
Last year, Fiori also started the first ever Drama Club. Our individual's first production was William Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night." The individuals loved every minute of their performances, and are excited to perform again, she said.
Fiori was also responsible for directing a very special performance on October 13, 2018 at Oakwood Cemetery in Troy.  
Teacher's Aide Sarah Tulchinskiy and a few of our individuals were part of Oakwood's annual Lantern Tour, which stopped at many cemetery landmarks.  
Included on the tour was a stop at the Troy Orphan Asylum obelisk, where our famous matron and Superintendent, Miss Sophia Eastman and many of our children fro m the 19th and 20th centuries are buried.
In her spare time, Fiori loves to sing, dabble in photography, play volleyball, and work on craft projects such as flower arranging and scrap booking.
She also goes to many sporting events a year with her husband and teenage son, who are active participants and fans.
Hockey, Arena Football, football, baseball, and watching her son play volleyball for Shenendahowa High School are some of the sports on Fiori's list.  
The passion and enthusiasm of the crowd at t he games is what Fiori loves the most. She said she's an active contributor in "The Wave" and cheering on her teams.
"I love the spirit," she said. "And, the spirit of Vanderheyden."
Thank you, Jennifer, for loving what you do, and, with passion!
Vanderheyden's campus individuals continued in the holiday spirit by creating their very own gingerbread houses as part of a recreational activity after school.
Vanderheyden's Royals basketball and Dance teams kicked off another season of thrilling action, as they took on teams from La Salle, the Troy Boys and Girls Club and the Albany Boys and Girls Club!    

Dziękuję, dziękuję, dziękuję!!   
What a fantastic lunch of Polish cuisine!  Pierogi, golumpki and so much more!   
Our most gracious thank you to volunteers from Regeneron and the Insurance Industry Charitable Foundation (IICF) for the many great jobs they performed at our Wynantskill campus before the winter season began!

Vanderheyden is proud to partner with the American Red Cross for our 6th Annual Blood Drive on Tuesday, February 5th at our Richard A. Desrochers Educational Center.

The public is invited to make a blood donation at our agency at 614 Cooper Hill Road in Wynantskill.  Each donor will receive a gift card to Stewart's Shops, and Vanderheyden's famous chocolate chip cookies - the best in Wynantskill!

To sign up, or for more information, contact Brenda at (518) 283-6500, extension 216.

Thank you for giving back to our Capital Region community!

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

In 1914, Thanksgiving Day was enjoyed by a bountiful dinner for the children, who were entertained after the meal with moving pictures at the Plaza Theatre, courtesy of Edwin O. Weinberg, the owner. The employees had their Thanksgiving Day meal together later in the day.


$81.76 was collected in 1914 to provide Christmas gifts for the children.


A new heating and lighting plant was installed in 1911 at the TOA to serve all their Spring Avenue buildings. The cost: $50,000.


In 1911, the State Board of Charities so approved the conduct of the TOA, that they ranked it "Class No. 1."


In 1911, other items sold to the public from the farm on Spring Avenue included hay, rye straw, oats and rye fodder, green fodder, silo, and rye, for a total profit of $5,319.43.


Of all the residents of the TOA in 1911, 131 were aided by the city of Troy, 74 from Rensselaer County, 42 by Court Commission, 28 by relatives, 7 by Schenectady County, 67 by Washington County, 54 by other counties, and one aided by the TOA.


The average age of a child at the TOA in 1911 was 7.


In 1913, the TOA and the Fairview Home played each other in three baseball games. They later united as one in 1956.


In 1913, the TOA grade school on Spring Avenue under the supervision of the city of Troy, had grades from kindergarten to the seventh grade represented. Eighth grade students were sent to public schools.

  In 1895, the TOAs doctor, Dr. M. H. Burton passed away, who always provided free services to the children. Dr. Gordinier took his place.
In the summer of 1895, the Sir Knights of the Apollo Commandery took the children at the TOA to Pleasure Island and to the merry go round at Bicycle Hall.
In 1895, the local Troy newspapers, the Troy Daily Times and the Troy Daily Press mentioned the donors of the TOA each month. The TOA was most grateful for the newspaper coverage, according to their Annual Reports.


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: look for shelf tags in the store.


 February 5, 2019 - 6th Annual Blood Drive  
March 4, 2019 - SILP Open House in Troy 
A dazzling event coming New Year's Eve!  Stay tuned! 
  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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