Inclusion Desk

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

A new transitional home for people with disabilities is officially under construction in Pittsford.

The home will be the second transitional facility that CP Rochester has set up in the Finger Lakes region. The organization’s president and CEO, Mary Walsh Boatfield, said it’s part of a bigger push to give people choices in where and how they live.

“There is a huge need for this. I think individuals and their families want options,” Boatfield said.


A new employment readiness service is available at the Arc of Monroe.

ArcWorks is an integrated manufacturing business run by that organization, and will now be offered as a job readiness option for people with developmental or intellectual disabilities.

Kathy Moylan, Vice President of Transition at The Arc of Monroe says The Arc runs similar programs at the Marriott, strong hospital and the City of Rochester. She says these programs teach important job skills as well as social skills.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The Arc of Monroe’s various day service programs recently celebrated Thanksgiving together with a potluck-style meal where each group cooked a dish for all to enjoy.

Those who work for The Arc, which supports people with intellectual or development disabilities, said it’s important to get everyone together outside of their separate programs. The group gatherings happen once a month, but the “Friendsgiving” event offered participants a chance to talk about what they’re thankful for.

WXXI’s Caitlin Whyte stopped by and brought back this audio postcard:

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

Artists Unlimited has been bringing together actors with and without disabilities for plays for 18 years, and WXXI’s Caitlin Whyte has been following the cast and crew of this year’s show, “The Little Mermaid.” For the last of her three stories from WXXI’s Inclusion Desk, she talked to one of the lead stars and his family about how the program affects them.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

As Artists Unlimited, a local theater group that integrates people with and without disabilities, gets ready for its latest production of the Little Mermaid, WXXI's Caitlin Whyte stopped by another rehearsal for a unique part of the play — the fly scenes. She has been following the group as they prepare for their 18th production.

When I walk into fly rehearsal, just a week before the show debuts, the crew is discussing how to rig Ariel up for her big reveal, turning from mermaid to woman, while in the air.

It takes a second, but they figure out the scene. The fly crew is a team of dads, most with kids in the play, pulling ropes and securing harnesses to make the underwater scenes more intricate and lifelike.

Center for Disability Rights

Rochester's Center for Disability Rights has started sorting through what the organization’s systems advocate Ericka Jones called a "bumpy" Election Day.

Jones spent the day tracking problems that people with disabilities encountered at polling sites. She said complaints around specially designed voting machines called “ballot-marking devices” came up often.

New York City Board of Elections

As candidates and political parties try to get out the vote on Election Day, another group is working to make sure that once people get to their polling place, they have the tools they need to cast a ballot.

Ericka Jones tracks complaints about polling places that aren’t equipped to help people with disabilities, and tries to find solutions. Jones is the systems advocate at Rochester’s Center for Disability Rights, and she called Election Day “one of the most stressful days” of her year.

Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

A new institute at St. John Fisher College will focus on nursing that supports individuals with developmental disabilities.

Paychex founder and philanthropist Tom Golisano and the Golisano Foundation donated $5.8 million to the school to create the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing. Tom Golisano donated $5 million and the foundation donated $800,000.

It is the first of its kind in the country, and will focus on training health care providers to support this population.

Inclusive theater program gives everyone the stage

Oct 28, 2018
Caitlin Whyte / WXXI News

The parking lot off Hinchey Road is unassuming at dusk. I pull in and wonder if I’m in the right place. I do that thing where you follow other cars and just hope they’re going to the same location. When I drive past a glass door, pouring light into the dark parking lot, I assume this has to be the place.

Beth Adams/WXXI News

In celebration of National Disability Employment Awareness Month, a local nonprofit is recognizing a long-time employee.

Young Kim is 37 years old. She's been working at Unistel Industries on Blossom Road in Rochester since 2002.

Unistel is a nonprofit that provides job training and placement for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Young and her colleagues work on assembly lines at the company, which is the country's number one supplier of spices for the U.S. military.