Thursday, July 22, 2010

Education and Advocacy for the Deaf and Blind

Sinergia will be offering a new program in association with the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative (NYSDBC), an organization that is funded by the US Department of Education’s Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and is housed at Queens College in Flushing, NY.  The NYSDBC’s goal is to improve services for children and youth from the ages of 0-21, who are deaf and blind. They provide technical assistance that includes needs assessment, negotiation of goals, and decision-making about services in a collaborative environment.

The NYSDBC is interested in our Metropolitan Parent Center (MPC) hosting a series of Parent Leadership Training sessions to English and Spanish speaking parents of children who are deaf-blind and who live in the metropolitan area.  The intent of the series is to train parents to be effective advocates for their children by providing them with useful and valuable leadership tools and skills. The NYSDBC has conducted highly successful trainings in Rochester, NY and will offer trainings in Westchester, NY and on Long Island. Sinergia will be providing the space and the MPC will be in charge of the trainings, which will focus on education advocacy and information about resources available from the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities, Medicaid/Medicare, SSI, Legislation, etc.

There will be two trainings offered: one to English speaking families in January 2011, and another one for Spanish speaking families next year at a time yet to be determined. Training sessions will take place over a three week-end period. For more information please contact Godfrey Rivera at 212-643-2840.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Sinergia's Day Habilitation Volunteer Recognition and Art Show

On June 22nd, 2010, the Sinergia Day Habilitation program participants took part in two events. The first was an acknowledgement of the volunteer work that many of the participants engage in on behalf of Sinergia. These activities include delivering meals to seniors for the “Meals on Wheels” program and assisting staff at Senior Centers and at local hospitals. Each volunteer was honored for his or her work by receiving a framed certificate of appreciation and a gift certificate from Target stores. Many of the volunteers have been engaged in their respective activities for years and really enjoy the sense of “giving back” that they get from participating in this effort.
The second part of the event centered around the kick-off of the Day Habilitation Art Show & Sale. The Dr. Nivia Zavala Conference Center was filled with artwork, jewelry and photos created by the participants of the Day Habilitation and UpLiving programs, who had been working with staff members for a number weeks preparing works that expressed their artistic feelings and creativity. The event also included the viewing of a video that had been created by the participants, along with Recreational Therapist Carmen Meija-Boil and the assistance of the Manhattan Neighborhood Network. The video was a celebration of the city of New York that featured the participants visiting and enjoying many local attractions. The artwork was open for viewing and for purchase to interested parties for the remainder of the week.

Top left: Day Habilitation participant Kenneth F. receives his certificate of appreciation for his volunteer work with “Meals on Wheels”.

Bottom right: UpLiving Program participant Lillian R. poses with the mosaic wall hanging that she created.

Below: Computer art by Frank Ferrieras (prints available for sale; contact Erin at Sinergia at 212-643-2840 for info).

Monday, July 5, 2010

New Book by the President of Sinergia's Board

The Double Life of a Snowbird
by Sally L. Romero Ph.D

Dr. Sally L. Romero, who up until her untimely death last week was President of the Board of Directors of Sinergia, Inc., left behind a wonderful gift in the shape of a new book of personal memoirs, aptly named “The Double Life of a Snowbird.”  In it, as a "Nuyorican," she described the full life she led in Puerto Rico during the winter months as a commuting retiree and in New York for the remaining months of the year.

Her short stories and poems are prefaced by the poignant descriptions written by both her parents prior to their deaths about their own memories of an impoverished childhood on the island and subsequent migration to New York as young adults, an experience shared by many other Puerto Ricans who left seeking a better life for themselves and their families in the mainland.

For a copy of the book please contact Sinergia at 212-643-2840.

Sally Lebron Romero, CSW, PhD, is a native New Yorker of Puerto Rican parentage who is sometimes referred to as a "Nuyorican," since she was not born on the island. She has worked in New York City and in Puerto Rico as a social worker in medical settings and in private agencies that provided mental health and social services to children and their families. She also worked for the Board of Education as a school social worker and supervisor of other social workers in the South Bronx and elsewhere before her retirement in 1991. During her tenure with the Board of Education, Sally earned her PhD in Educational Administration and Supervision in 1989 at Fordham University.

Since then she spent five years advising graduate students at the New York University School of Social Work until 1995. Currently she does occasional consulting regarding educational and social welfare issues on a volunteer basis and serves as President of the Board of Directors of Sinergia, Inc., a non-profit agency for developmentally disabled and mentally challenged children.

Sally has always been interested in writing ever since her fourth grade teacher told her she wrote well. Now she feels she has something to write about. Being in a writer’s workshop over the past 9 years has enabled her to stretch herself and try her hand at poetry as well.  She enjoys the best of two worlds by spending several months of the year in Puerto Rico and the rest of the time in New York City or in Philadelphia visiting her daughter Norma, and her two grandsons, Marcus and Justin.