This is your Agency Update for 9-28-18


Our inaugural AI360° Ability & Inclusion Summit will bring together corporations, non-profits, universities and others to bridge the employment gap for people with disabilities. The Summit on Nov 1-2 also will feature a ‘Shark Tank’ pitch project. Applications welcome until Friday, Oct. 5.
HeartShare Human Services announces the inaugural AI360° Ability and Inclusion Summit to support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities find meaningful employment in competitive roles that are commensurate with their experience. The two-day event on November 1-2 will include keynote speakers, panel discussions and spotlights on successful models of inclusion. The event will culminate with a hot jobs forum featuring dozens of leading companies targeting the neurodiverse community to expand their talent pipeline.

We are thrilled to have Board Members Christine Strehle and Mark Healy as a part of our Marathon team.
Strehle is not only an active Board Member and businesswoman overseeing both Buckley’s and Kennedy’s Restaurants, but also an active community volunteer and mom of 6. “By running the Marathon, I hope to set a good example for my children. It’s about taking a goal that appears unreachable and being determined to achieve it,” Christine said.

So far, Mark has run 5 New York City Marathons, 2 Boston Marathons, and 3 Marathons in Providence, Road Island. Just when he thought the post-9/11 Marathon was the experience of a lifetime, Mark happened to be running in the Boston Marathon in 2013 when a bomb went off. He was about 2 blocks away when the second bomb went off and had no idea what was happening.

Our very own Christina Gilly placed 5th in the Seattle Special Olympics. Meet Christina.
Christina G. placed fifth in the Special Olympics Games in Seattle, Washington this year. Christina, an avid athlete, won her medal as a volleyball player. “I got a lot of good serves in,” said Christina with a smile. In the integrated games, Christina’s team placed second. “We almost made it to Dubai,” she said. Christina said she’ll keep going, so she’s ready for the next competition in two years. “I love sports,” Christina shared. “It helps me forget about the past.” Christina said that when she was in high school, coaches didn’t give her a chance to play. Now, with three award winning ribbons from the 2018 Summer Games under her belt, Christina continues to focus on her future.

We unveiled a rock garden at Cuomo First Step Pre-School in dedication of long-time director Dianne Cattrano, who retired this year.
“I can’t believe how many people were involved in this. It is absolutely beautiful! I am still blown away by this project you all did for me!” said Dianne about the Rock Garden. “We can never thank Dianne enough for the incredible difference she has made in the lives of thousands of children and families over the past 30 years, but we can let her know that her legacy and HeartShare’s gratitude will live on in Dianne Cattrano Rock Garden,” said Linda Tempel, Executive Director of Developmental Disabilities Services at HeartShare.

We released a podcast featuring Cara Ryan, who described how college students on the spectrum can be supported to excel academically and become a part of the community.
Cara Ryan is a Ph.D. student in cultural anthropology at New York University. At NYU’s Moses Center for students with disabilities, she worked to provide equal educational opportunities for students with disabilities. Along with her colleagues, she developed the NYU Connections ASD program, an optional year-long program offering one-on-one and group support for NYU students on the autism spectrum.


We opened our Steps to Home Program, two shelters in the Bronx helping women and their children transition to permanent housing and access the resources they need.
HeartShare Saint Vincent’s Services (HSVS) has developed a new program to support families in New York City. The Steps to Home Program aims to provide families with a safe, therapeutic, and caring place to live while they prepare to successfully transition to permanent housing. The Steps to Home Program is located at two homeless shelters in the Bronx. The shelters were previously operated by a for-profit landlord with oversight from the NYC Department of Homeless Services (DHS). The Baychester site can house 35 women who may have one or two children. The Eden site can house 27 women who may have one or two children.

Meet Alicia, one of our “Go Getters,” an internship program offering mentorship, professional trainings and support for personal growth.
Alicia Lewis, college student, camp counselor, and aspiring lawyer, stands on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court in downtown Brooklyn. She wants to help kids in foster care like her, and possibly run for elected office one day. “There aren’t many people in office who look like me,” she said. What keeps Alicia going? “My foster mom passed away in 2012 and she was my mom. She believed in me and helped me get on this academic and professional track. I always think of her and hope to make her proud,” Alicia said. “And HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services is run by women leaders — Dawn Saffayeh, Brooke Rosenthal, Lauren Pettiette — and they’re all amazing. If they can do it, I can do it.”

We are proud of our American Dream Scholars MelanieJethro and Alana. We sent off about 50 American Dream Program Scholars to college this year. See Facebook Album.

Melanie Liang is an American Dream Program Scholar headed to complete her senior year at the University of Buffalo. As an International Relations student, Melanie is concerned with the political landscape and how things got to where they are, especially in Asia. Last year, Melanie traveled abroad in South Korea. In China, Melanie met her mother’s extended family for the first time in 10 years. For many of the relatives, it was a new introduction. But for Melanie’s aunt, they knew each other right away. “My aunt is my mom’s twin. When we saw each other at the airport, we knew. We had tears in our eyes,” Melanie recalled. Melanie’s mother passed away from cervical cancer, which is why Melanie entered care around age 12. Thousands of miles away, Melanie found a feeling of home.

Jethro Dede is a senior at St. Lawrence University. “It went by so quickly. Just yesterday I was entering my freshman year,” Jethro said.The American Dream Program Scholar also resides at the HeartShare St. Vincent’s Services Jamaica Hills Group Home in Queens. From the time of entering foster care when his aunt was barred from coming back into the U.S. to starting senior year, Jethro has come a long way. “I hope to land a marketing job related to sports,” shared Jethro who is a Communications major and also, a star soccer player.

Alana Logan is headed off to SUNY Onondaga in Syracuse, NY with the hopes of becoming a surgeon. “My grandmother who raised me passed away and that’s how I came into care. My grandma had early onset dementia towards the end of her life. I want to do brain research for a cure,” she explained. In high school, Alana was active in her school community, founding the school’s Black Student Union. “We met each Tuesday during lunch and so many people joined. It made me so happy,” she shared. “We talked about the issues that black and brown people face around the world.”

Our creative arts therapy program featured the work of youth in care at an exhibition. See Facebook Album.
“Art allows for these young people to express themselves. Many people worked together too, and had the opportunity to connect with other youth in the program,” shared Linda Votruba. HSVS staff, including caseworkers and other therapists, also participated in the art exhibition. “It’s something we’re very proud of,” said Linda. Robin Chambers, a client of HSVS, has long enjoyed her craft for doll-making. She displayed one of her most recent dolls in the exhibition. “It’s very enjoyable. I was inspired to create this one after I found out that I have Native American ancestors. It’s really interesting to think about the meaning behind some of this art,” said Robin.

Employees enjoyed a celebratory gathering at the HSVS Staff Appreciation. See Facebook Album.


Mon, Oct 1, 2018
Residential Services Dinner Dance
Russo’s on the Bay, 5:30-10 pm

Tues, Oct 2, 2018
Buckley’s Golf Outing
Dyker Heights Golf Course, 7:15 a.m. kickoff

Thurs, Oct 25, 2018
Employee Recognition Dinner
Garguilo’s Restaurant, 6 p.m.

Thurs/Fri, Nov 1-2, 2018
AI360° Ability & Inclusion Summit
32 Old Slip bet. Water St. & FDR

Fri, Nov 1, 2018
THS Open House
1825 Bath Avenue,

Sun, Nov 4, 2018
NYC Marathon

Thurs, Nov 8, 2018
ArtShare for HeartShare Opening Reception
Clover’s Fine Art Gallery, 5-8 p.m.

Thurs, Nov 29, 2018
HSVS Annual Benefit
The Pierre, 6 p.m.

For those reading a hard copy of this Agency Update, all hyperlinked items may be found on the News & Events page of our websites.


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