News at RCIL
Issue 7 July 2018
The Power of Connections
Joann was homebound for two years. She was unable to leave her home independently for doctor appointments, shopping, visits with friends and family, or to enjoy the simple liberties others may take for granted. Joann was referred to NY Connects by a St. Luke’s Hospital Care Transition Coordinator.  After an initial telephone conversation, it was clear that Joann required more than a follow up, she needed a home visit to find out exactly what could be done to help her to be more independent. The certified Person-Centered Counselor at NY Connects, Mark Hediger, went to her home to learn more about her situation. Joann had a circle of support that included a Managed Long-Term Care Case Manager and assistance from other community-based organizations; what Joann needed was someone to help her navigate the resources and get her the assistance that fit her circumstances.   

Joann needed a ramp so that she could use her wheelchair to get into and out of her home. She had been unsuccessful finding the necessary financial assistance to purchase a ramp and have it installed. Within two weeks of contacting NY Connects, a volunteer from Cluster 13 was at Joann’s home installing her ramp.  Cluster 13 is a volunteer, faith-based organization out of Camden, NY; Tom Pritchard is Cluster 13’s Director of Housing. Once Tom was briefed regarding Joann’s living situation, he was quick to offer his time and resources to support Joann on her journey to maintain her independence. 

Why does NY Connects work? NY Connects is based on you and your specific situation. Staff work with you to identify problems and connect you to the Long Term Supports and Services resources available in your area, anything from transportation, food, shelter, clothing, counseling, child care, medical, rehabilitation, accessibility, at home care, nursing facilities, and so much more. NY Connects - connects you so you can live the life you’ve imagined.  

To reach the State Directory, call 1-800-342-9871 or visit the website at NY Connects. For more information about the RCIL NY Connects project, call or email Shelly Swanson, Project Coordinator,, 315-797-4642 x1677, Mark Hediger, x2969, or Russell Service x2245.
Here is Joann with Tom Pritchard, Director of Housing for Cluster 13, and Shelly Swanson, Project Manager for NY Connects, and Tom hard at work building Joann's new ramp. Above, Joann is with Tom and Mark Hediger, NY Connects Coordinator at RCIL.
Paint & Sip Events Coming to RCIL
RCIL just received funding from CNY Arts to conduct two Paint & Sip events for seniors and their friends and family. The workshops will be held at the Smith Center for Advocacy at 1607 Genesee Street, home of the Adult Day Services program, and will be open to seniors throughout the community.

The artist working with participants will be Connie Pratt, owner/operator of Art & Vine on Genesee Street in Utica - see her beautiful painting on the right. Connie will teach budding artists how to paint a picture while everyone snacks on cookies made by the Adult Day Services participants. Accessible art materials including specially-made large handle paint brushes will ensure that everyone is able to create a masterpiece!

If you or someone you know would like to join the fun, please contact Nicole Hediger , Manager of Adult Day Services at 315-797-4642 x2553 or by email .
Caregiver Connections
The Health Foundation of Western and Central New York has chosen to provide funding to the RCIL project called Caregiver Connections . This multifaceted effort brings a variety of events, activities, and resources to the area to benefit seniors and their caregivers.

RCIL will continue its very popular Senior Breakfast Club, holiday celebrations, and educational opportunities. Additional activities will include workshops in which participants build resource binders, make art projects, or learn about things like how to use video chat services to visit with family members who are far away.

These events are designed to bring families and friends together with the seniors in their lives. Events will take place in accessible locations where RCIL staff will be available to assist and to provide respite care when needed.

More details to come as plans are developed. For further information, please email or call Nicole Hediger , Manager of Adult Day Services, at NHediger@RCIL .com or 315-797-4642 x 2553.
Emergency Management Planning
RCIL is partnering with FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and local human service providers in the Mohawk Valley to create a Core Advisory Group model to include individuals with disabilities in the emergency management planning process. In a series of meetings held at the RCIL sites in Utica, Herkimer, and Amsterdam, representatives from FEMA, local government, provider organizations, and members of the community came together to discuss the planning process and how the needs of individuals with disabilities can be met during a crisis situation.

Jim Flemming, Disability Integration Specialist for FEMA, shared some challenges that can occur when adequate planning does not take place, and current promising practices for preventing those problems. Collaboration is the most important ingredient: bringing together people who know the difficulties and those who are responsible for the development of county-wide plans.

For more information or to learn about the next steps in this project, please email or call Gene Hughes, Coordinator of Community Relations, at or 315-797-4642 x2933.

Photo courtesy of WUTR.
Give Blood Give Life
Now is the time to help save a life ! The Wellness Committee is hosting a Utica Blood Drive on Wednesday, August, 22 nd

The summer months often present a challenging time for the American Red Cross, so when they asked RCIL to open our doors to host a blood drive, we were happy to help make a difference, but we need your help.

 Please consider being a blood donor!

Schedule your donation appointment by contacting Georgianna Sanges at or calling 315-797-4642 ext. 2987 .  

This Blood Drive is intended for Utica site staff. Herkimer and Amsterdam staff wishing to host blood drives should contact Georgianna Sanges for information and assistance.

Summer is here!
The Physical Activity sub-group of the RCIL Wellness Committee would like to share these links to New York hiking trails, outdoor activities, and beautiful waterfalls.

Many New York State outdoor activities and trails are wheelchair accessible!

Enjoy some of the great activities that NY has to offer!
RCIL’s 2 nd Annual
Many Hearts, One Purpose … Dining for a Cause Event
On June 6 th , The Dorothy Smith Center for Advocacy was full of excitement as more than 100 guests joined together to benefit local Senior Citizens. Attendees at the 2 nd Annual Many Hearts, One Purpose … Dining for a Cause Event enjoyed cuisine provided by some of CNY’s Restaurants: Michael’s Fine Food & Spirits , Shade Bar & Grill at Delta Hotel , Heidelberg Bread & Café , Ancora , Georgio's , and Bite Bakery .

Thanks to the amazing generosity of RCIL’s Friends and Community Supporters, proceeds from the Event will allow even more Senior Citizens to attend the Adult Day Services Program who otherwise would not have the opportunity to do so.

RCIL’s Adult Day Services (ADS) Program provides an environment for people who are aging to socialize, participate in activities, and receive nutritious meals, personal care, and door-to-door transportation while preventing loneliness and isolation.

Special thanks to Committee Members and Volunteers whose hard work and dedication contributed to this Event being a success. We look forward to the 3 rd Annual Many Hearts, One Purpose … Dining for a Cause Event in 2019. 

For more information, please contact Michael Yanney , RCIL Events Coordinator, by email , ,  or by calling 315-797-4642 x 2986.
A sincere
Thank You
to all of our Sponsors!