Oswego Newsletter – September 2013 – Text-Only

Preserving Independence

By: Sabine Ingerson

We are excited to announce a new ARISE program funded by the Richard S. Shineman Foundation: HOME (Housing Options made through E-modifications). This new program allows us to further fulfill our mission of creating independence and access for all. Through the program, we will be able to cover the cost of minor interior home modifications that become necessary due to mobility issues.

Currently ARISE, with the help of volunteers, provides ramps for people who cannot afford them. On many occasions we have found that the ramp makes it possible for people to get to the front door but doorways within the house might not be wide enough or bathrooms do not have accessible features like grab bars to decrease the chance of falling. This new grant will allow us to further support individuals who want to stay at their home, preserving their independence and connections to families and neighbors.

We are very grateful for the support of the Shineman Foundation. Their grant will help us to expand the scope of our services and help more people stay at home or be able to return home from rehabilitation.

Jim Karasek, Manager of Independent Living Services, will be glad to talk with anyone seeking support as well as contractors who are interested in working with us. Jim can be reached at 342-4088 x206.

The Hab Dept. Welcomes Anna Krzykowski as our Administrative Assistant!

Anna has worked for ARISE for four years as a Community Integration Specialist and Field Evaluator. We are excited to welcome Anna in this new additional role as our Habilitation Department Administrative Assistant. Anna is a proud grandma and mother to her son, MJ. Anna enjoys cooking and has owned her own business for 14 years. Anna also has experience teaching in private school settings. She has worked with individuals with disabilities for 15 years. We are happy to have Anna as part of our team in the office. Please help us welcome Anna!

Fulton Community Garden

Consumers and staff have been tending a plot in the Fulton Community Garden. They have watered, weeded, and are now able to pick the vegetables. The consumers may take the ripe vegetables home or donate them to the fresh food give-away at Catholic Charities. We are working together with Helen Hoefer at CC and their AmeriCorps volunteer, Eve. This has been such a great experience!

Farm Camp News

Once again, a group of teens and siblings had the opportunity to attend the Summer Day Camp this year at ARISE at the Farm in Chittenango. Funded by a grant from Family Support Services, this program allowed seventeen students ages eight to sixteen to attend camp. A bus met them in Oswego, with stops in Fulton and Central Square, to transport the campers and two staff, Brigette Walker and one of the MSCs, to the Farm. At camp, the group participated in lots of activities including horseback riding, biking, fishing, flying on the high ropes course, playing on the playground, visiting the many farm animals, crafts, story time, climbing on a real fire truck, and much more. The siblings also had time without their brother or sister for some discussion with Kharyn Lott-Tobin, one of the clinicians. After each busy day, the participants were always tired when they got off the bus to return home.

Congratulations to all of the Oswego County artists featured in UNIQUE 2013!

  • Donna August for “Soft Petals”
  • Carolyn A. Bevins for “The Outsider”
  • Vivian Golding for “Still Life, Sprig of Flowers”
  • Derek Grindle for “Cloud”
  • Joseph Lisi for “Joseph the Cowboy”
  • Jean K. Syrell for “A Square Blossoms”
  • Josh Webster for “RUINS”

Honorable Mention

  • Guadalupe Leyva Bran for “Dulce Nina (Sweet Girl)”
  • Mike Dayger for “Untitled”
  • Kayla Fike for “Naruto’s Training Time”
  • Steven Ingerson for “February Dawn”
  • Jeremy Kelley for “Cartoons in Frames”
  • Benjamin Kellogg for “What Being a Writer Means to Me”
  • Chloe Newman for “Spring Up”
  • Curtis Pollard for “Hot Rod”
  • Steven J. Richer Jr. for “Card Captor Sakura Super Form”
  • Tasha Wood for “Blue Day”
  • Kathleen Roland for “Women’s Jingle Dress Dance”
  • Erica Sorar for “Abraham the Horse I Know and Love”
  • Melissa Sorar for “My Life at the Farm”
  • Kateri Senke for “Zoey”
  • Jamie Trouskie for “Eastern Bluebirds at Nestbox”

Youth Social Skills and Parent Trainings

Starting on September 18th, we will offer six youth social skills and parent trainings. There will be a different topic each week. The sessions will run from 6 to 8 PM each night and dinner will be provided. You must sign up for these trainings and you can come to all of them or as many as you are able to. Please contact Vicki Affinati at 342-4088 x225 or vaffinati@ariseinc.org to sign up, or, you can ask your MSC. While the parents are attending the training in one room, the youth will be in another room for fun social skill group activities.

Dates and topics for the adults:

  • September 18—Paul Meier will talk about autism. Paul is an Autism Consultant and owns his own business, CNY Autism Consulting in Liverpool. As an adult, Paul was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
  • September 25—Understanding the IEP presented by SUPAC (the Syracuse University Parent Advocacy Center). The IEP is the cornerstone of the special education process. This training will walk you through the NYS standard IEP form and help you understand the various components of the IEP and how it impacts the child’s education program, who writes the IEP, and what individualized means. This training will also provide you with tips and tools to participate in the IEP development process to help promote positive education outcomes.
  • October 2—Getting Organized: Preparing for Your Child’s CSE Meeting presented by SUPAC (the Syracuse University Parent Advocacy Center). This training covers tips on how to prepare for a child’s Committee on Special Education (CSE) meeting. It discusses the purpose of the CSE meeting, the roles and responsibilities of CSE members, what kinds of questions to ask at a CSE meeting, and how to collaborate with CSE team members.  Every parent will walk away with a notebook filled with resources that will help them navigate the special education process.
  • October 9— Graduation Options and Transition for Students With Disabilities presented by SUPAC (the Syracuse University Parent Advocacy Center).  There are new graduating options for children with disabilities and this training will provide families with important information to help them become an active participant in the transition planning process. Participants will learn the top five predictors of success for youth exiting high school, understand the current graduation options in New York, understand basic requirements for quality transition planning, and understand the importance of Career Development Occupational Studies integration.
  • October 16—  SAF (Services to Aid Families) will present onTalking with your Children about Relationships and Safety. This will cover healthy and unhealthy relationships as well as sex and sexuality.
  • October 23—What do I do if I Disagree? The Dispute Resolution Process presented by SUPAC (the Syracuse University Parent Advocacy Center). There are procedural safeguards that have been established to protect parents and students with disabilities. This training provides an overview of important information contained in these safeguards, especially: communication steps for resolving disagreements, basic rights and legal terms, filing a state complaint, due process procedures, mediation process, and impartial hearing and resolution sessions.

Project Bloom

This is the second year we are participating in Project Bloom. Our consumers and their staff have been weeding and watering the plot on the garden near our office in the Legion Park. A special thank you goes to Melissa Sorar and Estelle Haggerty who have made sure that the garden looks fabulous.

Medicaid Transportation Reservations

Starting September 1 you will no longer be able to call OCO to make a reservation for a trip to the doctor. Medical Answering Service (MAS) will be taking your reservations for Medicaid transportation at 1-855-733-9395. You may still request to have OCO serve as the transportation provider but OCO will no longer approve the trips. This is a big change for us.  All riders requesting services by taxi or by a vehicle where the driver assists the passenger will need to fill out the “Verification of Medicaid Transportation Abilities” form (which also needs to be signed by a physician). Transportation to appointments outside the county will require an additional form. All forms are available on the website www.medanswering.com.

Our staff at ARISE are here to assist you with this change. Please contact us for assistance.

Introducing our ARISE Broker in Oswego County

ARISE is widening the scope of services for consumers with intellectual disabilities.

If you want more control over your services, the self-directed option offered by OPWDD may be the right program for you.
This program is also referred to as Consolidated Supports and Services (CSS). With the help of a broker, CSS empowers people with developmental disabilities and their families by giving them the opportunity to design and manage services based on their needs and goals.

In Oswego we are fortunate to have our staff, Lisa Seguin, who has been trained and approved as a broker. Lisa is also the parent of a child who has been using the self-directed services for many years. Because of this experience, Lisa has a great understanding of not only what the role of a broker is but also what the demands and benefits of the program are to the consumer and their family.

As a broker, Lisa will work with the consumer and their circle of support to develop a unique and individualized plan and budget. The plan will be personalized to allow the individual to access supports needed to live at home or on their own, pursue interesting and meaningful employment or volunteer opportunities, engage in fostering relationships with their families, friends, and community members, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you would like to know more about the program, please contact Lisa at 342-4088 x208.

 Ramps, Ramps, and More Ramps

This year has thrown in a couple of unusual twists to the ramp program. If you recall, the spring season started out with rain (and then more rain) and just for fun, even more rain. Then we went into heat…..a lot of heat. As a result, we have had a very slow start to the ramp season. We have a few weeks left of the building season so we’d like to maximize this time by completing as many ramps as we can.

Our builds are usually on Saturday mornings and take about three hours. After the ramp is built, we all share in that special moment when someone is able to use their ramp for the first time. It can be hard work, sweaty work, heavy work, and wet work (if there is just a little rain). However it some of the most soul satisfying few hours you will put in.

We can put you to work on one or more these projects right away. We can also host corporate sponsor projects. You can sponsor a ramp, provide the staff, and make it a team building event. Even if you just want to do a “team event,” your contribution can just be the labor needed to erect a ramp. If you want to see how people can come together for the good of the community, call us with your information on how many of your staff members or volunteers can be there. We can select a project just for you (corporate builds can be arranged for weekdays also).

Do you have some time on your own or with a friend to help out? We can use you! Here’s the best part….we can always use people that know how to use power tools and have the know-how to construct. And, we can ALWAYS use the person that does NOT know how to build things. There are plenty of projects and entry-level tasks to share.

If you’re interested in sharing your time, call Kris Rabideau at 342-4088 ext. 207. We look forward to sharing a ramp build with you!!

 MSC Blog

My name is Susan Kinney, and I have been an MSC since March. It’s hard to believe, but it’s that time of year again!  Summer is coming to an end and kids will be going back to school before you know it. This can be an exciting and stressful time for both parents and children. Here are some tips to help make the transition easier for everyone.

One thing that parents can do to help with this transition is to re-establish bedtime and mealtime routines. This needs to be started at least one week prior to school starting. You should talk to your children and explain to them why these routines are so important. Establishing these routines will help both you and your children get back into the mindset of school.

Another good tip is to take your children to visit the classroom they will be in for this coming school year. It is important to contact their teacher ahead of time to schedule a time to do this. Being able to see their classroom and meet their teacher ahead of time will help to alleviate their stress about the unknown. It might also be helpful to have a tour of the school to help your children locate important places within the school, like the office, nurse’s office, restrooms, library, and gymnasium.

Thinking ahead and doing as much prep work as possible is also a good idea. Children often stress about what to wear on their first day of school. Taking the time to help them make this decision ahead of time will make things easier the morning of that first day. Packing their backpacks and lunchboxes the night before will also help to make your morning routine less stressful.

Children are creatures of habit, which means that they need consistency. Establishing an after school routine will help your children know what is expected of them once they return home. Designating a specific area to complete their homework is one way to accomplish this.

I hope these tips will help you as you prepare for another year of school. I wish you the best of luck and hope this school year will be a great one!


ACCES-VR (Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation) is an agency in the New York State Education Department that has helped many individuals with disabilities find and keep employment. You may know the agency from it’s previous acronym: VESID.

Over the past year, ACCES-VR has helped over 900 people in Central New York (including 80 in Oswego County) succeed in careers ranging from customer service to information technology. Services to help eligible individuals reach their employment goals may include but are not limited to: job coaching, employment counseling, advocacy, and financial assistance with training, equipment, and work uniforms.

If you or someone you know has a barrier to employment and is interested in applying, please call (315) 428-4180 to register for an information session or to receive an application.