ONEIDA — Last week, The Arc of Madison Cortland received a visit from newly elected state Sen. Rachel May, D-53. The tour provided May a glimpse of what the nonprofit agency does each day to support people with developmental disabilities in Madison and Cortland counties, the agency said.
After a greeting from both staff and individuals at the Winoa Hall Day Habilitation Center, May toured Alternatives Industry, an integrated business that offers employment to people with and without disabilities.
Following a bus ride to one of the Arc of Madison Cortland’s residences, May spoke with resident Forest Furlong about his love for music and his woodworking shed in the backyard where he builds birdhouses in his spare time. She also spoke with staff members about the importance of each individual’s unique needs and how The Arc of Madison Cortland puts people first, the agency added.
The visit concluded with a brief discussion with the Madison County Motivators self-advocacy group. The Motivators voiced their concerns about the bFair2DirectCare campaign and their direct support professional’s ability to earn a living wage in New York State.
“The tour we took was eye-opening and memorable. The Arc of Madison Cortland is an invaluable resource for people with disabilities, whether they have very high needs or whether they can work or live independently, and it is a lifeline for their families,” May said. “I was moved by the total, personal engagement of the Board of Directors and the staff in getting to know each person in their care and strategizing how best to serve them. And it was a pleasure to meet with the Madison County Motivators, who are powerful advocates for their own interests and others with disabilities,” May added.
“We are honored and pleased that the senator took so much time to learn about our chapter and meet with families and people to hear their concerns in a changing environment for people and families with developmental disabilities. The senator was engaging and expressed true support for the mission we live by day in and day out,” said Jack Campbell, executive director of the Arc of Madison Cortland.