The Arc Westchester, the County’s largest agency supporting individuals with developmental disabilities, including those on the autism spectrum, and their families, hosted its 71st Annual Membership Meeting virtually on September 15. More than 90-chapter members, invited guests, self-advocates, staff and board members participated.
The Annual Meeting formally acknowledged changes to the organization’s bylaws, formally elected a new board president, and nominated several current board members to new positions. These individuals include: Daphne Daddino; Robert Diana; Robert Picone; Abby Reuben; Rosa Rodriguez; Jeffrey Wood. Immediate-Past Board President Joseph Cassarini and current board member Sarah Phelan have been named to 3-year terms on the nominating committee. In addition, two current board members became officers of the board. Mark Glucksman was named treasurer and Danusia Pawska was named secretary. The meeting also officially marked the beginning of the term of incoming board president, Kyle Cahill.
As part of the agenda, Nancy Patota, executive director of The Arc Westchester Foundation, and Ruedi Laager, president of the Foundation’s board of directors, presented on the state of the Foundation in 2019 and fundraising initiatives during COVID-19. The Arc Westchester Foundation raised critical funds to support the chapter and its efforts during the pandemic.
Each year at the Annual Meeting, The Arc Westchester presents an award to an individual who has shown outstanding advocacy leadership skills on behalf of its mission. This year, The Arc Westchester was proud to present Robert Rigano with the 2020 Richard P. Swierat Advocate of the Year Award. Robert lives in one of the organization’s homes and has been an active participant in advocacy meetings. He joined the Human Rights Committee where he plays an important role in making sure every person’s rights are promoted and respected.
This year, much of the discussion was focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and how The Arc Westchester was able to continue to support individuals with developmental disabilities throughout the crisis. They also presented a special video that paid tribute to those lost during this difficult time. You can view the video here: https://youtu.be/TqfmNVNzTrM
“Our core values have never been more important as they are now, as we are experiencing one of the most difficult periods in our 71-year history,” said Tibi Guzmán, Executive Director/CEO of The Arc Westchester. “In the beginning of this crisis we were presented with many challenges that tested our ability to sustain our values of ensuring Safety, Health, Relationships, Independence, and Happiness. We were able to preserve these values by incorporating them into all aspects of our planning process and actions taken to combat COVID.”
For more information, view The Arc Westchester’s 2019 Annual Report + COVID-19 Update here: