SANYS Conference 2018

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Self-Advocacy Association of New York State (SANYS) hosts the annual statewide conference to allow self- advocating people with disabilities to come together to learn, network, and become motivated with new ideas. In September, 2018 Opengate was pleased to have several individuals represented in Albany including: Thomas Daniels, Lisa Allen, Arthur Hill, Wendy Heller, Kelly Seymour, Richard and Hillarie.

“The SANYS Conference gave me the opportunity to learn new ideas through classes and the best for me was how to deal with stress.” -Wendy Heller

After registration, there were several activities available including a Yoga class, meditation, live music, and LGBTQ networking meet and greet event which is open to everyone. Attendees had the opportunity to have questions answered and share personal stories during a special forum with the OPWDD Commissioner.

Self-determination, job opportunities, housing and transportation are a few of the topics addressed during planned workshops allowing attendees to learn about some of the most current solutions to the issues they face.

Some of the fun and rewarding events during the conference were a Focus Group, “Share Your Talent,” devoted to showcasing attendees’ flair as artists or performers, and a Friday night dance party. The theme for this year’s dance was “Sharing Our Diversity – The Many Cultures of America – Show Your Pride.” Attendees were encouraged to dress up in something that represents their culture, diversity, or pride.

In addition to workshops and planned activities, each year there is an Award Ceremony honoring deserving nominees from across the state. Besides the Statewide Conference, each Region of SANYS holds many events; monthly self-advocacy meetings, legislative forums, conferences, fundraisers and picnics.

Dr. Amy Ruppmann meets with a group of Opengate residents on a monthly basis. We also have a resident committee meeting which provides valuable feedback to our management team and administration.

“People with developmental disabilities speaking up for ourselves and others.” -SANYS

To stay apprised of the activities taking place at Opengate we invite you to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn, as well as subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog.

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Direct Support Professional (DSP) Staffing Shortage Continues

According to the BFair2DirectCare recent advocacy report of 2017 data, the turnover and vacancy rate for DSPs is at a crisis level and continues to rise due to funding for a living wage increase.

Agencies like Opengate are hit especially hard and can not compete with big box stores and fast food restaurants to attract and retain valued DSPs. All of our support professionals play a critical part in the success of our individuals, and for our organization.

Turnover is costly for any employer, and especially those who have direct, daily interaction with a vulnerable population. Many of our clients rely on a steady relationship with their DSPs. To adapt to changing personnel is often frightening and frustrating.

We continue to urge you to contact your legislators as well as support the actions of all advocates for Direct Support Professionals and their ability to earn a living wage.

For further details and information, please read the complete report below:

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Opengate’s Golden Jubilee – 50 Years of Progress


Fifty years ago people with intellectual and developmental disabilities had few options for opportunity and progress, and often were housed in institutions or schools with deplorable conditions. Involved parents intervened in 1969 and began writing Opengate’s 50-year history. They took a stand, not only for the rights of their own children, but for all individuals with disabilities who deserve to be a valuable part of their communities.

The tenacity and spirit of the founding parents will forever permeate Opengate. – Brian Hulten, CEO

Opengate is honoring our first 50 years throughout 2019 and would like everyone to join us by sharing in the telling of our story. Parents, individuals we have served, staff members, and donors are all welcome to submit their memories, pictures, interviews, video, and/or written stories highlighting their experiences at Opengate.

  • Please send your ideas and details to our Communications and Social Media Manager, Delilah Jones of ImaginePublicity.
  • (Email: delilah@imaginepublicity.com) Delilah will be working on articles to spotlight the 50 year history of Opengate for each month.
  • Please write OPENGATE 50 YEARS in the subject line.

With the programs and services we have developed over 50 years, we are now able to see practical and productive improvements on a daily basis. For all of us at Opengate, this is a sign of our success.

It’s good to revisit and reflect on the past to measure where we are and where we are directed for the future. The last 50 years have seen monumental changes in the lives of individuals with disabilities, and with subsequent improvement in societal attitudes, we are likely to move into an era of even more possibilities and community inclusion.

For the next 50 years Opengate promises further change, along with additional obstacles, including pending operational funding cuts, but we are encouraged that we can count on our families to again forge through transformation by providing assistance and financial contributions. It’s only with your support that we can ensure a brighter future for all we serve.

To stay apprised of the activities taking place at Opengate we invite you to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn, as well as subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog.

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Employee of the Month, October 2018

Employee of the Month (5)

Congratulations to Nadine Jones for being selected Employee of the Month!

Currently a Direct Support Professional working at the Bernstein IRA, Nadine Jones has been employed with Opengate approximately 4 years.

Nadine’s fellow employees report that she’s very professional and shows great pride in her work going above and beyond for the individuals she serves.

Recently, one of the individuals was found choking and Nadine immediately intervened and performed the Heimlich Maneuver. Her quick response was the appropriate intervention and she ensured the safety of the choking individual.

Nadine Jones has proven she has the ability to effectively intercede in an emergency situation and provide safety and comfort to all involved.

Congratulations to Nadine Jones from the staff of Opengate for being nominated and elected Employee of the Month by your fellow employees.


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To stay apprised of the activities taking place at Opengate we invite you to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn, as well as subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog.

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Employee of the Month, September 2018

Employee of the Month (4)

Congratulations to Richard Johnson for being selected   Employee of the Month!

Changing career path from the banking industry, Richard Johnson began his new career as a Direct Support Professional with Opengate in January, 2016.

Many of his co-workers indicate their pleasure working alongside of him during his time at Opengate.

Richard has earned two promotions and has served as a Lead Counselor. Currently, he is serving as an Assistant Manager. He has assisted Human Resources at various Job Fairs.

It is evident that Richard is quite enthusiastic about his new career with Opengate. He’s a dedicated employee who always puts people first.

Congratulations to Richard Johnson from the staff of Opengate for being nominated and elected Employee of the Month by your fellow employees.

Other nominees include:  Jodie McGuirk for her positive work ethic and Zuleika Liriano for her positive demeanor during challenging times.


OG logo 2018

To stay apprised of the activities taking place at Opengate we invite you to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn, as well as subscribe to our Newsletter and Blog.

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