In the News....
March 2017 

Our Spring Fundraiser was a tremendous success on Wednesday, March 22nd at Shaker Ridge Country Club, where 2Shea Catering provided a s umptuous five course dinner with superb wine pairings.
Thank you to our guests, sponsors, and volunteers...
...and, to our Individuals, and members of Vanderheyden's Chorus and Basketball Team!

We are very grateful for the generosity of so many donors!
Their donations made it possible for our Individuals to receive class rings for their upcoming graduation, and a field trip to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Funds were also raised for therapeutic items such as a rocking chair and weighted vests
for our Individuals with Autism. 

Hope to see you at our Oktoberfest Fundraiser on Wednesday, October 18th!




Who can make his guitar "talk" like a classic rock star? Who can lay down a guitar riff masterpiece as the rock legends did in the 1970's?

Our very own Tony, that's who!

Tony is part of our Community Habilition program, funded by the New York State Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD).  For almost two years, he has lived in his own apartment in Albany, where he receives services a couple of times a week from Vanderheyden.

Tony, 26, is in his first semester at Hudson Valley Community College.

"I didn't know for a long time what I wanted to do," Tony said.

A trip to a new business in Latham to service his wheelchair, led him to a new career path in wheelchair sales. Tony said the way the salesperson at Monroe Wheelchair took measurements and worked with him, inspired him to want to help others with their technical needs.

"I understand the features on models of wheelchairs, and what may work for a person," Tony said. "Every person's physical needs are different."

Tony was also interested in other careers, but he wasn't sure if he had a strong enough passion for them. Now he said, he's on his way.

At HVCC, Tony has started off by taking a health class as part of a 24 credit program to obtain a GED. Staff members at the college's Center for Access and Assistive Technology are there to lend him a helping hand if he needs.

Since he has a visual issue, Tony relies on auditory methods to help him study. He makes use of headphones, audio books, and a tape recorder.

Tony has been a strict vegan for the past ten years, which has helped him conquer his health issues.

Recently, he gave his peers first-hand knowledge on the vegetarian lifestyle when the topic was discussed in class.

"They gave me a puzzled look," Tony said, as he talked about eating beans, peanut butter, and nuts, and using vitamin supplements. "You can live without eating meat," he told them.

Tony also holds down a part time job at the Center for Disability Services in Albany, where he helps ready the many documents they send out for state agencies. He also met Laurie there, his girlfriend of five years.

Vanderheyden has been providing services to Tony for the last four years, and helped him with his own apartment.

"I love it. It's my own space," Tony said. "I like to have my Mom have her own space now."

The program helped him set up his apartment, so it is handicap accessible to fit his needs.
He said CDTA and their Star bus "makes life much easier" for him, since they stop in front of his building.

Classic Rock and a guitar collection is a big part of Tony's recreational activity.

Tony's Mom Leisha gave him the idea to take up the guitar, after watching him play "Guitar Hero."

"If your fingers can push buttons like that, you can play a guitar," she said.

Tony's favorite tunes to play lead guitar on are "Bridge of Sighs" and "Long Misty Days," by 1970's great Robin Trower. He saw him perform recently at The Egg in Albany, and wished that he could have met him.

Tony usually learns a song by ear, and plays lead on his favorite tunes by Classic Rockers such as Cream, Deep Purple, Ronnie James Dio, and Black Sabbath.

He also creates his own original music.

With Tony's interest and dedication to music, maybe Robin Trower will be learning a tune from him some day.




Thank you to KPMG in Albany for volunteering at Vanderheyden!

We greatly appreciate your time and energy to accomplishment the tasks of painting a room in our school, and helping us organize the donated formal wear for our Royal Gala coming up in May for all our individuals.

Debbie McDonald has seen a lot of change in the 30+ years she has worked at Vanderheyden, and she said the change is good.

McDonald is our Program Coordinator, and makes sure everything runs smoothly at our Wynantskill campus. Some of the areas she oversees include the scheduling of Team Members, and working with Individuals to coordinate their appointments off campus,  transportation for home visits, and working with their Case Coordinators.

She started off as a Direct Care Worker in a cottage on campus, before she moved into a Supervisor's position.

McDonald, was born in Landstuhl, Germany where her Father was stationed in the US Army. Her family moved to Loudonville when she was a young child, and has made the hamlet in the town of Colonie her home with her husband and daughter ever since.

There are many reasons why McDonald made Vanderheyden a life-long career.

"I believe in the program. I saw a lot of changes in human services," McDonald said. "And, the changes have always been positive changes."

She has high praise for her fellow Team Members in how they interact with our Individuals.

"Everyone here genuinely wants to make positive changes for the kids, so when they leave here, they can take the next step," McDonald said. "We're preparing them to do that."      

McDonald absolutely sees the positive results that the Sanctuary program at Vanderheyden has on the Individuals.

"I really saw how it works during our recent Talent Show," she said. "Every single child was positive about their peers. No one was booing, and I heard all positive comments."

"I cannot believe how supportive these kids are of each other. This is how it (Sanctuary) works right here," McDonald said.

She also gives praise to the work ethics at the Vanderheyden organization. She has seen employees in need after a fire or an illness, received much support from the organization over the years.

"Vanderheyden is very supportive of the people that work here," McDonald said. "We're not just here for the kids. We are also here for the staff. Everyone has different needs, and we support people that work here."

"I see it's just the nature of the agency," she said.

The pinnacle of the year to McDonald, comes once a year.

"My very favorite day is graduation," she said. "There, you see the success. You see, and they see the success. The individuals feel like they accomplished something."

McDonald said she's in tears seeing our Individuals graduate, and holds positive thoughts for each and every student.

"Now you can do something. Vote, get a job, and say yes, I'm a high school graduate," she said. "It's very encouraging for other kids to see this is a real possibility, and they can do it too."

In her spare time, McDonald loves to do activities that she finds very relaxing. Some of them include quilting, knitting, cooking, and baking. Swimming in the summer is also in the mix.

Thank you, Debbie, for your dedication to changing a life to save a life!   



Raymour & Flanigan Supports our Royal Gala! 
Hosting a Fundraiser on Saturday, May 6th

Our spectacular Royal Gala is coming up in May. This year's theme is "Light Up The Night!"

Because of our many donors last year, our Individuals experienced a wonderful and memorable night!

We are again looking for donations of any and all formal wear for our Individuals.

Items needed are: Cinderella-type Prom dresses, plus size Prom dresses, ladies shoes, jewelry, men's suits, bow ties, men's dress shoes, formal shirts, socks, and any accessory to make this night extra special for our Individuals. We are also accepting cash donations for the event.

Donations can also be dropped off at our campus at 614 Cooper Hill Road in Wynantskill at the Pattison Building.  For more information, call Stephanie Pelletier at (518) 283-6500, ext. 713. 


As a fundraiser for our Royal Gala, Vanderheyden will be holding a Bowl-A-Thon on Sunday, April 23rd, at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy.

The event will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m., with registration at 12:30 p.m.

Tickets are $20 per person, and are available at the door, or online at Bowl-A-Thon 
For more information:   Laura at (518) 283-6500 ext 739 or

Vanderheyden has been chosen a 2017 Charity of Choice!

The race is on!
The CDPHP Workforce Team Challenge is happening
on Thursday, May 18th at the Empire State Plaza.
Come join the fun, run and festivities!



S unday, April 23 - Vanderheyden Bowl-A-Thon at Uncle Sam Lanes in Troy.  1:00 p.m. - 3:00 p.m.  Unlimited Games, shoe rental included, music and prizes. Tickets available at the door or online at Bowl-A-Thon

Saturday, May 6 - Raymour & Flanigan Fundraiser at 873 New Loudon Road in Latham to benefit our Royal Gala.  11:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.

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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