News at RCIL
      Issue 3                                                                August 2017
27 Years of ADA
This year, RCIL chose to celebrate the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act in style!  Hanna Park was the center of attention on July 26th as attendees enjoyed live music, cotton candy, magic shows, face painting, vendor tents, free books from the Literacy Coalition of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, and much, much more.

The signing of the ADA marked a significant step forward for people with disabilities in this country.  The legislation promises equal opportunity, non-discrimination, and a "level playing field" for all Americans.  It has been described as the most significant social, cultural, or legislative influence on the lives of individuals with disabilities in the past 25 years.

For more pictures of the event and all of the community partners who shared the day with RCIL, see our Facebook page! RCIL Facebook link

Another Successful Year for MVABC
The Mohawk Valley Asset Building Coalition held its annual volunteer recognition event in May. Since 2004, volunteer tax preparers have participated in rigorous training programs to learn how to complete tax returns for individuals with low annual household incomes.  For the 2016 tax season, 53 volunteers filed 1,524 federal returns and 1,600 state returns and provided 2,653 hours of service - a record accomplishment for the program.  

Anyone interested in volunteering for the 2017 tax year should contact Alisa Cruger at or call 315-272-1888.
Funding to support those transitioning out of nursing homes
RCIL received a grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation to support individuals with paralyzing conditions who wish to transition out of nursing homes to community-based settings.  This funding will fill the gaps for people who have needs not met through their insurance coverage or other sources of support.  We anticipate this grant will assist at least 20 people to make the move to independence.  For more information, contact Maxine Nasby at or call 315-797-4642 ext. 2523.

The Olmstead Housing Subsidy Program provides rental subsidies, security deposits, and home establishment purchases to those transitioning out of nursing homes to community-based settings.  For more information about this program, contact Cliff Franklin at 315-797-4642 ext. 2936 or email

Open Doors is another program at RCIL that provides support to individuals who wish to transition out of institutional settings.  In addition to referrals for needed services and information about community-based living, Maxine Nasby can connect participants to Peer Outreach Specialists, volunteers who have made the transition and can help others.  Contact Maxine Nasby at or call 315-797-4642 ext. 2523.

Lunch with the Multicultural Committee! 
The RCIL Multicultural Committee hosted a lunch for staff with foods representing a wide variety of cultures.  This is part of an ongoing effort to explore the cultural heritages represented by RCIL employees.  Staff members from every area of the agency brought foods native to all parts of the globe to share with their coworkers.  Utica is very fortunate to have a diverse community with restaurants and shops that provide opportunities for everyone to enjoy foods and items that characterize many different cultures.
New Van for ADS
Thanks to a very generous grant from the Community Foundation of Herkimer and Oneida Counties, Inc. and the Faxton Street Home Fund, the Adult Day Services Program at RCIL was able to purchase a brand new van.  The vehicle will be used to transport participants to and from the program as well as for small groups to go shopping, to see a movie, to visit the zoo, or to go any place else they would like to go.

The Adult Day Services Program offers participants a safe environment in which to socialize and enjoy individualized care planning, door-to-door transportation, nutritious snacks and lunch, personal care, a variety of activities, access to salon services, social interaction, field trips, and  connections to the broad range of services available through community resources. 
Many Hearts, One Purpose . . . Dining for a Cause
RCIL started a new tradition on June 7th when it held its first evening dinner fundraising event, Many Hearts, One Purpose . . . Dining for a Cause.  Master chefs from across the Mohawk Valley prepared special tasting plates of their signature dishes to present to more than 120 attendees who bid on auction items to support the participants of the RCIL Adult Day Services Program.  

An evening of fine cuisine featured tasty treats from Tim Hardiman from Tailor and the Cook, Mike Latreille, from Michael’s Fine Food & Spirits, Mike Mirabelli from Ocean Blue, Albert Zeina from Zeina’s, Jason ­Allen-Leonard from BITE Bakery, and Linda Irwin from Irwin’s Fine Foods.  Guest MC, Dana Jerrard, conducted a live auction with exclusive custom-created auction items and kept everyone entertained with his lively banter.

Proceeds from the dinner tickets and the silent and live auctions directly benefit elderly individuals in Herkimer and Oneida Counties who would not otherwise be able to afford to attend the RCIL Adult Day Services Program. This valuable program provides participants with personal care, social activities, door-to-door transportation, field trips, an outdoor garden, nutritious snacks, breakfast, and a hot lunch. 

Click on the link below to see a video of the event narrated by RCIL's own Chief Operating Officer, Holly Saupp, in which she explains the importance of the funds raised against the backdrop of the event as it was happening.  

It was a great evening and everyone is looking forward to next year's event!

Event Video
Power to Push
Another great story about the people we work with every day . . . this one comes from Sarah Rivera, Self Direction Coordinator who works with the Evans family.

Shaun Evans is an ultra-marathon runner from Upstate NY. His athlete rider son, Shamus, was born with cerebral palsy which limits the use of his legs. As a result, he uses a wheelchair as his primary means of mobility.
In 2013, with the help of Ainsley's Angels of America, Shamus was able to obtain a running chariot that enabled him to participate in running events and races with his dad, Shaun. In August 2013, the duo completed the Sweltering 6-Hour Ultra Marathon with Shaun supplying the POWER to PUSH, and Team Captain Shamus pulling him along. With Shamus's spirit fueling Shaun's legs, they completed 45 miles in the allotted time and finished in 1st place.


Over the course of sixty days during the summer of 2015, Shamus and Shaun ran 3,200 miles across the USA from Seattle to New York City on Behalf of Ainsley’s Angels of America.  They were supported by their family and pit crew, mother Nichole, and younger brother, Simon.  Along the way the Evans family presented more than 30 running chairs to children so that they too may have the opportunity to roll with the wind.  That mission was dubbed Ainsley’s Angels - Power to Push.
During the summer of 2017, Ainsley’s Angels will be at it again, with Team Evans rolling down the Mississippi River during the month of July.  Although the distance is shorter (~1700 miles from Moorhead, MN to Lake Charles, LA), the mission remains the same - to provide the gift of mobility to children and families along the route by donating racing chariots, promoting inclusion, and inspiring others to dream BIG.

Click on this link to see the Evans family talk about their experiences     Power to Push video

Human Resources
The RCIL Human Resources Department provides a wide array of support services to all employees and the individuals we serve. RCIL is an equal opportunity employer and prides itself on its recruitment and selection procedures.  The Human Resources Department is instrumental in advertising for open positions, the collection and processing of application packets, and responding to applicant inquiries.  It serves as a resource center for more than 3,500 employees on a wide variety of employment-related questions. Our goal is to attract qualified applicants who become satisfied employees and promote and value the agency mission and core values to the fullest extent.

Amy Dewan is the Director of Human Resources and oversees all activities of the department. Jessica Merrell supervises recruitment, credentialing, and regulatory concerns and manages employee relations including performance management.  Gale Bergman, Diane Nasso, and Marissa Mario handle all employee benefits including insurances, retirement plans, and claims for workers compensation, disability, and unemployment.  Marlene Muniz supervises and supports the Liaisons to RCIL's largest programs, CDPAP and Self Direction: Amy Warren, Taryn Olney, Darlene Tracy, Victoria Scibilia, Diane Treen, Jenika Small, and Lori Forbes Nate Discavage, the new RCIL Recruiter, is the first person new employees see when they complete their onboarding paperwork and can be found at job fairs all around the region.   Human Resource Information Systems are maintained by Donna Manzer, who gathers data and generates reports necessary for audits and regular reporting requirements.   Credentialing, which includes ensuring that employees have the necessary training and documentation for their positions, is overseen by Erin Cook and Halle Giacobbe Lisa Gillette, Administrative Assistant to the Director, keeps everything flowing throughout the department.  Takeisha Thompson, File Clerk, handles all HR file maintenance and assists with audits, and Rebecca Salsman, HR Assistant, handles onboarding and support for in-house staff and programs.