Saratoga Bridges is very proud of its hard working, conscientious staff! We celebrate them annually during Direct Support Professionals week and at our Employee Recognition event to praise their achievements and exemplary service. Both opportunities allow management staff to distribute ice cream and numerous wonderful raffle prizes. The Employee Recognition Day features a BBQ and a presentation of awards that include certificates and monetary awards including:
2017 Employees of the Year:
Cynthia Ricciuti, Dietician – Residential Program
Edward Cormie, Information System Technician – IT Department
Frank Turo, Support Work Employment Specialist – Alpha Career Options
Jill Norton, Licensed Practical Nurse – Wilton Day Program
Linda Fay, Executive Secretary — Administration
Louise Thomas Churchill, Educational Advocate – Family Support Services
Raymond O’Sullivan, Direct Support Professional II – Residential Program
Renee Brown, Behavior Specialist – Wilton Day Program
Robert Williams, Bus Driver — Transportation
Sally Fitzgerald, Day Services Direct Support Professional II – ACE Day Program
Samantha Welch, Direct Support Professional – Residential Program
Rookie of the Year — Jennifer Rose, Day Services Direct Support Professional – Clifton P[ark Day Program
Volunteer of the Year — Lydia King, Day Programs
Years of Service
Julie Olefson Marks
Safe Driving Awards
Edward Beam 30 Years
Bob Harrington 23 Years
Tina Licata 17 years
Jon Ladd 15 Years
James Tyrrell 12 Years
Margaret Ball 10 Years
Phil Ellsworth 9 Years
Melissa Rafferty 6 Years
Robert Bellamy 6 Years
David Weaver 5 Years
John Moore 5 Years
Michael Marino 5 Years
Kelly Howe 4 Years
Lori Kinisky 3 years
Jackie Smith 2 years
Jennifer Dunn 2 years
Woody Turenne 2 years
Aubrey Kinsey 1 year
Patty Boyle 1 year
Steve Smith 1 year
Wayne Allied 1 year
We are extremely proud of Midge Mikkelson, Direct Support Professional 2 and Robert Maggiolino, Direct Support Professional, from our Wilton Day Program as they were honored by the New State Association Day Service Providers with awards for the Central East Region. They are chosen as DSPs who provide strong and consistent leadership and exemplify these qualities — initiative, passion, compassion, commitment, self-management, teamwork, intelligence, integrity, role model, professional, creative and innovative.
From left to right – Lauren Milavec, Central East Regional Director, Schoharie ARC, Midge Mikkelson , Kathy Rafferty, Aging Coordinator from OPWDD, Robert Maggiolino and Caitlin Prior, Central West Regional Director, The ARC of Oswego County
The vision of the New York State Association of Day Service Providers is to help provider members develop quality community-based vocational, volunteer, educational and social activities that maximizes each participants personal growth and enriches their life experience. This is achieved through inter-agency collaboration, advocacy, training and innovation.
Supervisor Program Graduate
Lena Benvenuto — Art Coordinator/Program Coordinator – 2013
Janel Nickol — Program Coordinator 2 – 2013
Debbie Aiken — Senior Certified Occupational Therapy Assistant – 2014
Catherine Spaneas — Bus Driver – 2017
David Caswell — Custodial Supervisor – 2017
Jacqueline Wright — Assistant Director Day Services – 2017
Jennifer Dunn — Director of Transportation – 2017
Winifred Pino — Art Coordinator – 2017
Saratoga Bridges is most fortunate to be able to award scholarships to our dedicated staff members. They provide a wonderful mechanism to enhance their educational opportunities.
The 2017 J. Michael Fitzgibbons Scholarship to Kim Collier, a Day Services Direct Support Professional 2 at our Mt. Ledge Day Program. She will apply the $500 towards her Bachelor of Science degree in Community and Human Services. Kim has been working diligently to finish the program at Empire State College. Established in his memory by his family, friends and business associates, Michael Fitzgibbons was the Treasurer of the Board of Directors for many years.
The 2017 Mary Frawley Scholarship to Brittany Hernandez, a Direct Support Professional at our Grooms Road home. She applied the $500 towards the tuition at SUNY Adirondack to earn her Associates degree in Nursing. Established in her memory by her family, Mary Frawley was the well-loved Director of Day Services for our Wilton and Clifton Park sites.
The 2017 Mary Lawless Scholarship was awarded to Sarah Seelow, a Production Supervisor at our Corinth Pallet and Production Facility. She applied the $500 towards the tuition at SUNY Adirondack to earn an Associates degree. Established in her memory by her family, Mary Lawless attended our Clifton Park Day Program.
The 2017 Donna Wright Scholarship Donna Wright Scholarship to Meagan Nair, an Assistant Residence Manager 2 at our Finley Road home. She will apply the $500 towards her tuition at SUNY Adirondack. Meagan has been working diligently to finish her Associates degree in Nursing. Established in her memory by her family, Donna Wright lived at our Ruggles Road home.
Saratoga Bridges Leadership Institute began in 2009 to strengthen our workforce, build internal leadership capacity, foster long-range individual growth, ensure stability and develop a group of highly knowledgeable staff. Candidates apply and are chosen as individuals who have shown a potential for advancement in administrative and executive functions. Selected staff members meet monthly to receive training on the fundamentals of leadership and determine the manner in which to experience the agency mission and each department’s activities. Their training focuses on topics that include supervisory strategies, communications, human behavior, self-analysis, presentation skills and others. Mentors guide the candidates until he or she is ready to successfully demonstrate their knowledge base to a graduation panel of executives and peers.
Lydia King, Day Habilitation Coordinator at the Wilton Day Program, was the second graduate. Her project was the “Best Buddies” program, which she initiated at the Oliver Winch Middle School in South Glens Falls last year. “Best Buddies” links a student who has a developmental disability (the buddy) with a regular education student (peer buddy) to participate in a variety of activities. The vision is to maximize social opportunities for middle school students in mainstream and special education classes to promote positive relationships, improve self-esteem and self-confidence and develop stronger communication skills for both students. Peer buddies gain an awareness of their buddy’s challenges, have an opportunity to see behind labels and a chance to make a difference in someone’s else’s life.
Stacey Webster (right) and Laura Galchin (left)are the third and fourth graduates of the Saratoga Bridges Leadership Institute. Stacey is a Program Coordinator at the Wilton Day Habilitation Program and Laura is a Program Coordinator at the Clifton Park Day Habilitation Program. Stacey presented a staff training course for new employees on Person Centered Planning and Positive Approaches that utilize a planning and behavior management process for adults with developmental disabilities. Laura’s project details the development of a training course as well that focuses on Individual Support Plans. She also created a digital goals bank for her fellow staff members so they can access and improve the quality of life for adults with developmental disabilities.
Lena Benvenuto, Quality Assurance Specialist, has demonstrated a potential for advancement in administrative and agency-wide functions and activities as she received two agency promotions during her participation in this training.
Lena developed a 5 minute video to promote employment opportunities for adults with disabilities. She filmed people working at the Saratoga Holiday Inn, Saratoga Farmer’s Market, Ballston Spa Central School District and the NYS Education Department. Our Employment Specialists assist employees and employers at these business partners’ sites. The video showcases the benefits of hiring employees with disabilities, explains the program to parents and guardians and is a tool to assist in training new employees. Lena edited more than 1.5 hours of filming to develop the final product which is available on YouTube by searching Saratoga Bridges. She completed her training presentation of her project to a graduation panel and the Board of Directors.
As graduates, these five employees can become mentors for co-workers in the Leadership Institute program, serve on future graduate panels and use their training for agency-wide task forces and committees.
The College of Direct Support Professionals
We have numerous recent graduates of The College of Direct Support. Sponsored by the New York State Association of Community and Residential Agencies (NYSACRA), The College of Direct Support provides a validated and specialized curricula to enhance and develop a skilled Direct Support workforce throughout the United States.
Our 2014 graduates:
Melissa Benish, Day Habilitation Assistant – Ballston Spa Day Program Without Walls
Lena Benvenuto, Quality Assurance Specialist
Charity Clement, Residential Manager 2 – Lemont Avenue
Laurie Culverhouse, Day Habilitation Instructor – Wilton Day Program
Yolanda Gill, Direct Support Professional 2 – Locust Grove Road
Ashley Haskell, Day Habilitation Assistant – Wilton Day Program
Tonya McQueen, Community Support Team Leader – Residential
Janel Nickol, Day Habilitation Coordinator – Ballston Spa Day Program Without Walls
Amanda Petteys, Program Coordinator 2 – Wilton Day Program
Charles Shaffer, Direct Support Professional – Southbury Road
Allison Volk, Day Habilitation Instructor 2 – Wilton Day Program
Brandy Waite, Day Habilitation Assistant – McGregor Day Program
Our 2015 Graduates:
Tabitha Bellanger, Direct Support Professional 2 – Washington Street
Debbie Barrett, Employment Specialist – Alpha
Lindsey Brasser, Stacey Webster, Program Coordinator 2 – Finley Road
Stacy Briscoe, Day Habilitation Instructor — Wilton Day Program
Marjorie Brown, Direct Support Professional 2 – Washington Street
Sally Chung, Day Habilitation Instructor — Mountain Ledge Day Program
Angelina Ciccarelli, Habilitation Coordinator – Ruggles Road
Kimberly Collier, Day Habilitation Instructor — Mountain Ledge Day Program
Amber Epting, Direct Support Professional 2 – Moe Road
Cathi Goehrig, Marjorie Brown, Direct Support Professional 2 – Birchwood Drive
Becky Jerome, Assistant Residence Manager 2 – Locust Grove Road
Margaret Klein, Day Habilitation Instructor – Alpha Community Opportunities
Jeff Maben, Employment Specialist – Alpha
Erin O’Neal, Assistant Residence Manager — Graves Road
Jennifer Rivers, Program Coordinator 2- Wilton Day Program
Jodi Rivett, Day Habilitation Assistant – Saratoga Springs Day Program
Anna Szkopiec, Assistant Residence Manager – Lemont Avenue
Shelly Thornton, Assistant Residence Manager – Ruggles Road
Stacey Webster, Program Coordinator – Wilton Day Program
Caroline Welles, Program Coordinator – Alpha
Tara Wilson, Day Habilitation Assistant – McGregor Day Program
Class of 2016
Christopher Deloriea, Direct Support Professional 2 – Juniper Place
Ashley Hill, Direct Support Professional – Malta Avenue
Robert Keane, Direct Support Professional 2 – Ruggles Road
Michael Passarelli, Program Coordinator 2 — Mountain Ledge Day Program
Tiffany Ray, Day Habilitation Assistant – Wilton Day Program
Class of 2017
Britney Hernandez, Direct Support Professional – Grooms Road
Cassandra Shafer, Residential Manager 2 – Finley Road
Christine Burr, Direct Support Professional – FSS
Kristen Mattice, Direct Support Professional – Pleasant Street
Louise Thomas-Churchill, Educational Advocate and Secretary/Receptionist -Admin
Marissa Cornell, Direct Support Professional 2 – Malta Day Program
Mary Mattison, Direct Support Professional 2 – Wilton Day Program
Nicole Szaraburak, Program Coordinator – Alpha Day Program
Ray Sullivan, Direct Support Professional 2 – Wilton Day Program
Rochelle Bormann, Direct Support Professional – Ballston Spa Day Program
Sara Scott, Direct Support Professional – Clifton Park Day Program
Sinead McCart, Direct Support Professional 2 – Middle Grove
Taylor Patterso, Assistant Residence Manager – Malta Avenue
Every graduate receives a Certificate of Completion from The College of Direct Support and will have their names listed on a permanent plaque located in the foyer of our Administration Building.
Direct Support Professional Week
For the past 10 years, Saratoga Bridges has designated Direct Support Professional (DSP) week each September. We acknowledge our dedicated workers who are often unrecognized. Along with the New York State Office of Persons with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD), we celebrate staff who provide support to the people we serve every day, 365 days a year. This workforce is responsible for the health, safety and emotional well-being of individuals they work with by encouraging them to live more meaningful, dignified and productive lives. They promote inclusion and independence within the community.
Our celebratory week includes distributing movie passes, Stewart’s Shops certificates and ice cream to recognize our outstanding employees. Also, we had staff featured on television, radio and newspaper articles.