• Make a Donation

  • Become a Member

  • Paul Fardink has been honored for his decades-long support of U.S. Army Aviation.

    Paul, TRC’s Work Center Contractor, received the Honorable Order of St. Michael gold award from the Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA).  The honor recognizes individuals who have contributed significantly to the promotion of Army Aviation while demonstrating the highest standards of integrity and moral character, displaying an outstanding degree of professional competence, and serving the U.S. Army Aviation or civilian aviation community with distinction.

    Paul is a retired Army lieutenant colonel who flew helicopters and airplanes while on active duty.  In civilian life, he has continued to support the Army Aviation community by giving presentations and serving as a spokesperson at national events.

    Paul received his gold award from Major General William Crosby, President of the AAAA’s Executive Board, during a ceremony at The Resource Center’s Jamestown manufacturing plant.  Gen. Crosby also took time to tour Allied Industries, which is the business name of TRC’s manufacturing operations.

    “The visit by Gen. Crosby was truly inspiring for our staff at Allied.  I have had several tell me they were close to tears because of his passion and gratitude for what we do here,” reported Paul, adding that the general told workers, “You are saving lives!”

    Pictured from right are Paul Fardink; his wife, Cheryl; Major General William Crosby; and Denise Jones.

    This marks the second time Paul has been honored by the AAAA.  In 2014, he received the Honorable Order of St. Michael silver award at a ceremony in Tennessee.  The event was held near Fort Campbell, home of the Army’s 101st Airborne Division, the world’s largest helicopter-borne division.

    “While on active duty, I had written their Air Assault School Handbook,” Paul said.  “It was a real honor to get the award in front of all of those special soldiers.”

    Officials of The Resource Center are grateful to Paul for his efforts on behalf of the organization.

    “We feel blessed to have Paul continue his impressive career at The Resource Center,” said Denise Jones, Executive Director.  “His commitment to excellence and his previous military experience have allowed our organization to excel as we manufacture products that support our troops.”

    Denise expressed appreciation to Paul for choosing to receive his award locally, thereby providing an opportunity for TRC workers to meet with Gen. Crosby.

    “This was a personal award that Paul shared with The Resource Center,” she said.  “He could have received this award anywhere, but he chose to have it here so the major general could expand his understanding of our organization.  During his visit, the general was able to quickly connect the products we make and how they save the lives of men and women serving abroad, which translates into great pride for our manufacturing employees.”

    We congratulate Paul on his latest recognition, and we thank him for his continued service to our nation.

    The Resource Center has been manufacturing items for the U.S. military since 1977.  Some of the products made or assembled by TRC workers literally have saved lives.  For example, when the second Gulf War began in 2003, every U.S. Marine carried with them a first-aid kit assembled by workers at The Resource Center.  Those kits saved the lives of Marines injured during the conflict.

    Harold Roberts, right, TRC Production Superintendent, describes to Major General William Crosby one of the products The Resource Center manufactures for the military.

    Combined, they have put in more than 2,355 years of service at The Resource Center.  And TRC recently honored those 139 people at the agency’s annual Employee Service Recognition Luncheon, held at the Chautauqua Harbor Hotel in Celoron.

    The event paid tribute to employees who, during 2020 or 2021, completed a milestone year of service with The Resource Center.  Also recognized at the luncheon were the recipients of TRC’s two main staff awards for 2021.

    Forty-year employee Jane Young, left, is congratulated by Rhonda Howard, director of human resources.

    The longest-serving employees recognized this year were Resa Rosen-Murray and Jane Young, who each reached 40 years with TRC in 2020.  (There now are 11 people who have achieved that milestone.)  Jane and Resa each received a painting created by people in The Resource Center’s art program.

    Forty-year employee Resa Rosen-Murray, right, receives her gift from Rhonda Howard, director of human resources.

    Recognized for 35 years of service were Terry Brandow, Susan K. Brown, Lori Carlson, Debra Densmore, Rick Gray, Laurie Heeder, Debra Hinsdale, Neil Magnuson, James Tingue, Michael Tingue, and Donna Trusso.

    Honored for 30 years of service were Daniel Farnham, Carla Hall, Brenda Jabczynski, Denise Jones, Patricia Mead, Robert Schifano, Robert Warner, Barbara Wheeler, and Douglas Wiggers.

    Completing 25 years of service were Lance Bensink, Stephen Bulich, Kelly Gagliano, Tamara James, Robin Kestler, Patrick Smallman, Suzette Smith, Mary Straight, and Jacqueline Wiggers.

    Honored for 20 years of service were Coty Anderson, Rhonda Bauer, Kimberly Baxter, Aaron Brown, Tonia Brown, Brian Burch, Melissa Cardone, Rita Ferraloro, Jennifer Herron, Amber Iuculano, Terri Johnson, Tracey Kotch-Johnson, Lori Miller, Rischell Pratt, Jody Roman, Tammy Russell, Daniel Schroder, Brandi Somerton, Paul Sweat, Robert Thompson, Evelyn Torres, Tanya Wargo, and Gregory Williams.

    Those recognized for 15 years of service were Rhonda Boardman, Lisa Bongiorno, Jodi Eckman, Marcos Figueroa, Susan Gutierrez, Joyce Harris, Jennifer Hinson, Jennifer Holdridge, Rashonda Leeper, Stephanie Levoie-Beatty, Amber Marino, Ladena Marks-Nalbone, Patricia Martines, Kelly Moon, Paula Morello, Donald Myers Jr., James Richard Nary, Margaret Paolini, Philip Sanborn, Susan Short, and Nichole Washer.

    Completing 10 years of service were Jacqueline Blackwood, Tammi Blodien, Alda Brown, Debra Dalziel, Thomas Dawson, Joseph DePasquale, Kristopher Drozdziel, Todd Frangione, Becky Frederes, Christina Gaworecki-Dorrell, Audrey Griewisch, Brian Hanna, Trisha Hopkins, Kaitlin Kell, Ashley Luka, Thaddeus Lund, Dana Manno, Michael McCoy, Nancy McGuire, Selina Phillips, Charles Reardon, Marie Rickerson, Sandra Salzler, Amber Siragusa, Jeanne Slade, Matthew Strom, Laurie Strong, Amanda Trout, Russ Valone, John Vogan, Ashley Winship, Nicole Witruke, and Susan Yocum.

    Employees who reached five years of service were Jeffrey Arters, Brianna Ashdown, Breaunna Babyak, Cassandra Becker, Raymond Bigney, Barbara Billings, Kevin Blackwell, Linda Bowman, Kalee Bryant, Tracy Burdic, Jeffrey Burt, Samantha Campbell, Pamela Clark, Jordan Coan, Tina Cochran, Abby Counts, Lonnie Crawford, Irene Culpepper, Jerri Dawson, Lauren Dean, Louise DeCosta-Bacher, Kathleen Ferry, Carol Ford, Ronald Walter Gabalski, Elisa Galuppo, Lindsey Greene, Leanne Hancock, Kimberly Haskins, Cheyenne Houghwot, Alyssa Huntington, Paul Hurley, Derek Ingersoll, Garret Johnson, Jamie King, Roxanne Lanphere, Robert Larkins, Jessica LaSpada, Ryan Lehman, Denise Luce, Samantha Macri, Christina Miller, Steven Monroe, Diana Mosher, Lynne Newman, Brandon Olds, Tracy Peterson, Richard Porter, Crystal Przybelinski, Lindsey Robbins, Mary Rodriguez, Jessica Rosa, Thomas Rounds, Michael Sandquist, Rocio Santiago, Tanya Schmidt, Marie Smith, Andrea Sweet, Samantha Swiderski, Carley Taylor, Stephan Taylor, Betsy Thayer, Renae Thayer, Cheyenne Walters, Angel Weaver, Cynthia Weise, Gregory Will, and Kevin Woloszyn.

    In addition to the service awards, The Resource Center also celebrated the recipients of its two major staff honors.  Virginia Vath received the Joseph Trusso Jr. Employee of the Year Award, while Ashley Luka received the Norma Smith Award for excellence in providing direct support to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    Virginia, who retired in 2022 but continues to work part time, was recognized for the positive impact she has had as TRC’s assistant executive director for quality assurance, quality improvement and compliance. During her 18 years at The Resource Center, she refined policies and procedures to ensure TRC remains in compliance with federal and state standards.  She also oversaw the reporting and investigation of incidents and any resulting systemic changes.  And she coordinated TRC’s response to the pandemic.

    The Employee of the Year Award is named in honor of the late Joe Trusso, a former Chautauqua County legislator who served on The Resource Center’s board of directors for 38 years.

    Virginia Vath holds her Employee of the Year trophy flanked by Executive Director Denise Jones, right, and Donna Trusso, Manager of The Resource Center’s STARS Wellness Program. Trusso is the daughter-in-law of Joe Trusso, a longtime member of TRC’s board of directors for whom the Employee of the Year Award is named.

    Ashley received the Norma J. Smith Award for the way she performs her job as a direct support professional at one of TRC’s homes.  Ashley, who has worked for The Resource Center for 11 years, has positive relationships with the people she supports.  She is knowledgeable about policies and people’s individual plans.  Her work ethic, relationship-building skills and role modeling are described as traits that everyone should strive to emulate.

    The award was created in memory of Norma Smith, who worked as a direct support professional at The Resource Center from 1983 to 1991.

    The Resource Center is pleased to announce the hiring of Jacqueline C. Phelps as Assistant Executive Director for Quality Assurance, Quality Improvement and Compliance.

    In her new job, Jacqueline is responsible for seeing that The Resource Center provides high-quality services and supports that operate in compliance with state and federal policies.  She and her team work to ensure TRC’s programs and services have a strategic direction that promotes continuous improvement; compile and analyze agency-wide data to identify challenges and growth opportunities; and oversee the organization’s incident management process.

    Jacqueline has long been familiar with The Resource Center and its primary mission of supporting people with disabilities and their families, and she jumped at the chance to move into the assistant executive director’s position.

    “In my previous role, I visited The Resource Center several times each year to celebrate staff and the people TRC supports, learn about legislation that would benefit individuals with disabilities, and be a resource to the agency,” Jacqueline said.  “Every time I visited, I learned more about the positive culture of the organization, longevity of employees, how the mission was celebrated and followed, and how community-driven TRC is.  I knew I wanted to be a part of TRC one day; I even joked about it at events, and I’m thrilled the opportunity arose.”

    As an organization with more than 1,000 employees that supports hundreds of people with disabilities, in addition to providing health care services to thousands of area residents, The Resource Center is a complex agency that operates under the regulations of numerous state and federal bodies.  Jacqueline hopes to help guide TRC’s operations to ensure the agency provides the best possible supports to its range of customers.  In addition, she wants to position TRC for growth and success.

    “As the assistant executive director of QAQI and compliance, it is most important to me we provide high-quality care and services to each person we support at TRC, and that we always continue to improve,” she said.  “My goal is to work with our team to best serve people we employ and those we support so we retain good staff and help those we support to thrive.  By analyzing data and identifying the root cause of our successes and challenges, we will continue to find creative solutions to enhance and elevate the organization.  I also hope to be a part of the team that works on strategic planning so we grow with the times, ensuring we are serving our community to our greatest potential.”

    TRC officials feel fortunate to have Jacqueline on staff.

    “Jacqueline brings a breadth of knowledge and experience to our organization,” said Denise Jones, Executive Director.  “I’m impressed with the dedication and commitment she has demonstrated.  With our three distinct business lines – supports for people with disabilities, health care services for the entire community and manufacturing support for area industry and the federal government – The Resource Center is not a simple organization to comprehend.  Jacqueline has quickly immersed herself in our culture and gained an in-depth understanding of our agency’s strengths.  She has offered insightful suggestions on how to improve some aspects of our operations to position us for success moving forward while ensuring quality assurance and continuous improvement.”

    Jacqueline grew up in Bemus Point and graduated from Maple Grove High School.  She earned a bachelor of arts degree in political science and criminal justice from Canisius College before obtaining her law degree from Western Michigan University Thomas M. Cooley Law School.  She was admitted to the New York State Bar in 2012.

    “I wanted to be an attorney from the time I was a little girl, and when I got to law school I realized there were so many career choices I could explore with my degree,” Jacqueline said.  “I did not know where it would lead me, but I knew it would give me the tools I needed to be successful and make an impact in my community.”

    She is involved in several community organizations, serving as the social media chair for the Greater Jamestown AM Rotary; board member and program development co-chair of the Chautauqua Leadership Network; co-vice chair of the Jamestown Center City Development Corporation; and treasurer of the Gebbie Foundation.

    Jacqueline and her husband, Craig, live in the Town of Ellicott.  She lists among her passions spending time with family and friends; enjoying live music and singing; traveling; exercise; exploring our community; volunteering; completing new house projects; and the Buffalo Bills.

    The Resource Center has again been named one of the healthiest employers in the United States.

    For the seventh straight year, The Resource Center was included on the list of the “Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America” by Springbuk, a health analytics company that has conducted the annual Healthiest Employers competition since 2009.  This year The Resource Center is ranked No. 25, a significant improvement from the previous two years, in which TRC placed 55.

    The Healthiest Workplaces in America program honors people-first organizations that prioritize the well-being of their employees.  These Healthiest 100 companies were recognized because of their commitment to workplace wellness and their exceptional health and benefits offerings.  They were chosen out of the national pool of applicants from all regions, size categories and industries.  Award applicants were evaluated across six categories: vision, culture/engagement, learning, expertise, metrics, and technology.

    The Resource Center was eligible for the Healthiest 100 Workplaces competition because TRC came in first place in the Western New York employer wellness competition.

    The key to The Resource Center’s inclusion as one of the country’s healthiest workplaces is its STARS employee wellness program.  STARS assesses each person along five life dimensions: basic needs, physical health, mental wellness, family/social relationships, and employment issues.  STARS participants meet with a certified health coach to develop and monitor a personalized wellness plan.  STARS members receive discounts on their health care costs and wellness activities, and they can earn incentive points they may redeem for prizes.  Participation in the STARS program is voluntary.  Many of the wellness activities are open to all TRC employees, not just those who are enrolled in STARS.

    We congratulate our STARS team – Manager Donna Trusso and Wellness Coaches Heather Courtney and Jon DeSantis – for their continued excellent operation of the program.

    Smiling proudly after learning TRC placed 25th in the national competition are, from left, STARS wellness team members Jon DeSantis, Donna Trusso and Heather Courtney.

    The Resource Center recently honored several employees who have done an outstanding job of supporting people with developmental disabilities.

    During Direct Support Professional Recognition Week, The Resource Center held its annual “Everyday Hero Celebration.”  The event recognizes the efforts of direct support professionals who have been nominated by co-workers or supervisors for the jobs they have done supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities in TRC’s homes, day programs and the community.  This year, seven people were honored as Everyday Heroes: Ashley Brown, Desaray Brown, Dennis Gligora, Cheryl Rosenow, Jessica Say­ers, Jeanne Slade, and Autumn Walters.

    Here are profiles of the 2022 Everyday Heroes:

    Ashley Brown is the manager for two TRC homes who has worked for TRC since 2012.  “She makes sure that her homes are not just surviving but thriving.  She is not just a team player but the glue that keeps the team together,” said the co-worker who nominated Brown.

    Desaray Brown is the assistant manager at a TRC home.  “Desaray is a dynamic individual who works hard and sacrifices for those she supports,” a co-worker said.  “Pays attention to documentation, follows programs and enhances the lives of the people she works with, all while performing the duties of the DSP.  We look for people who are super stars – Desaray is one of them.”  Brown has worked at TRC for five years.

    Dennis Gligora is a community coach who helps people lead the lives they want.  “He works well with everyone he has ever supported, and they only have positive comments about him.  Putting people’s goals and interests first is a priority of Denny,” said Gligora’s supervisor.  “Denny is an all-around superstar staff who does everything with a smile.”  For people on his caseload who live independently, Gligora supports them with budgeting, shopping, attending medical appointments, and getting together with friends.  He has worked for TRC since 2017.

    Cheryl Rosenow is a direct support professional at the home TRC operates in Westfield.  “She goes above and beyond to help out the residents and make sure they are happy.  She is always taking them out on outings and playing games with them,” said the co-worker who nominated Rosenow.  “She is always in a good mood when she is at work.”  Rosenow has worked for TRC since 2004.

    Jessica Sayers is a job coach who supports people with disabilities who are employed at area businesses.  Sayers “is not only a great advocate and support for those in our programs but also has great communication skills and ensures that not only the business is happy with the person and our supports she offers them, but that communication with the rest of the team is present and also a priority,” said the employment program’s administrator.  “Jessica’s notes are always timely and detailed for those she supports. She is willing to work a flexible schedule, even if it means making last-minute changes to support someone who needs her help on their job.”  Sayers has worked at TRC for four years.

    Jeanne Slade is a DSP in one of the activity rooms at TRC’s day program on Jones & Gifford Avenue in Jamestown.  Slade supports people in the program with gardening activities across the street at the Riverwalk Community Labyrinth, and she is one of the primary staff involved in supporting people with disabilities to participate in TRC’s Voices of Hope vocal choir and Joyfull Noise handbell choir.  “She is a good person and cares deeply for the people she supports,” said the co-worker who nominated Slade.  “She is a very loving, caring person.”  Slade has worked at TRC for 12 years.

    Autumn Walters is a direct support professional at TRC’s day programs and homes.  “She is a hard worker and cares about the people we serve,” said the person who nominated Walters.  “She will do anything to make our people we serve feel good about themselves.”  Walters has worked at TRC for 20 years.

    Click here to watch a video from the Everyday Hero Celebration and interviews with this year’s honorees.

    Pictured from left are Desaray Brown, Jessica Sayers, Jeanne Slade, Dennis Gligora, Autumn Walters, and Ashley Brown.

    Seventeen other TRC employees who were nominated for an Everyday Hero award received honorable mention: Rhonda Board­man, Melissa Cardone, Kaylee Frederick, Christina Gaworecki-Dorrell, Cheyenne Green, Carol Hanson, Cheyenne Houghwot, Robin Kestler, Roxanne Lanphere, Cloe Lister, Michelle Lutgen, Lisa Rios, Elizabeth Rosario, Dan Schroder, Brianna Skinner, Robert Thompson, and Cathy Wilson.

    Other activities that took place at various TRC locations during Direct Support Professional Recognition Week included free meals for staff and prize drawings.

    The Resource Center will hold its first Family Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, October 12, starting at 5:00 p.m.

    All family members of people supported by The Resource Center are encouraged to attend the meeting, which will take place via Zoom.  The meeting is targeted to families of those who live in TRC’s Intermediate Care Facilities and Individualized Residential Alternatives.

    Families will have an opportunity to hear updates about things going on at The Resource Center and have a dialog with members of TRC’s leadership team, including:

    In order to facilitate discussion, families are asked to submit in advance any questions or topics they would like to learn more about.  Click here to register for the meeting, and please provide your Email address so we can send a Zoom link for you to access the meeting:

    Please contact Marcia Restivo at 716-661-1069 or marcia.restivo@resourcecenter.org if you have questions.


    We’re proud to highlight the recent accomplishments of some of our staff:

    Executive Director Denise Jones has again been included among the most powerful businesswomen in Western New York.  Denise is ranked No. 32 on this year’s Business First Buffalo’s annual “Power 200 Women” listing.  This marks the eighth straight year Denise has been included on the list.  Last year she was ranked No. 34.  Earlier this year, Denise also was ranked No. 67 on Business First’s “Power 250“ list of the most influential business leaders in the eight-county WNY region.


    Staff Development Specialist Don Traynor co-wrote an article for the August issue of Frontline Initiative: The Diverse Voices of Direct Support Professionals.  The article is titled “Staying True to Yourself in Your Work.”  Don drew on some personal work experiences to convey concepts of “Cultural Reflection” (recognizing one’s own biases and not letting them interfere in work relationships) and “Cultural Connections” (assisting people to find social, learning and recreational opportunities valued in their culture).

    “When providing supports to people in situations where some of the person’s beliefs, values and attitudes may not align with my own,” Don wrote, “it’s important to have the ability to recognize the purpose of your presence in the life of someone you support.  My professional role is to provide support as a conduit to help someone else execute their life on their terms.  I’m not being asked to change my belief system to do this.”

    To read the entire article, click here and scroll through the article headings on the left.


    Doug Anderson, who is a member of the Recruitment team that interviews applicants for Direct Support Professional positions, holds a certificate naming him TRC’s Volunteer of the Year by the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County.  Doug serves on our Board of Directors and Human Rights Committee.  He also is a member of a Continuous Quality Improvement Workgroup focused on strengthening our workforce.  In addition, Doug advocates to New York State leaders to provide more funding for organizations that support people with disabilities.


    Shanon Burdick was named the Employee of the Month at our manufacturing facility in Dunkirk, after being nominated by his peers. Shanon’s co-workers admire him and like the fact he smiles and says “Good morning” to everyone. He is pictured here receiving his award from Sandy Korzeniewski, left, Production Coordinator, and Harold Roberts, right, Production Superintendent.


    Haydee Diaz recently was named the Employee of the Month at our Allied Industries manufacturing facility in Jamestown, after being nominated by her peers. She has worked her way to become a leader among her co-workers.


    Matt Olson recently was named the Employee of the Month at our Allied Industries manufacturing facility in Jamestown. “Matt is a dedicated worker and puts 100 percent into anything that is asked of him,” said a supervisor, adding that Matt “has proven that if you put your mind to it, anything is achievable.”


    Jennifer Shelman recently was named the Employee of the Month at our Allied Industries manufacturing facility in Dunkirk. A co-worker said, “Jennifer can handle any task that we give her with grace, and she will do her best that she can.” She is pictured here with Harold Roberts, Production Superintendent.


    Arthur Silleman recently was named the Employee of the Month at our Allied Industries manufacturing facility in Dunkirk. He is well-liked by his co-workers and says “Good morning” to everyone. Arthur’s a hard worker and moves from job to job throughout the day. He is pictured here with Todd Frangione, Director of Business Operations.

    The Resource Center recently had the opportunity to support Ukraine in its war against Russia, providing first-aid kits for medics working on the front lines.

    Click here to watch a video of the first-aid kits being assembled and prepared for shipping.

    Workers at Allied Industries, TRC’s manufacturing and employment division, assembled and shipped 2,000 individual first-aid kits (IFAKs).
    Allied was selected to produce the IFAKs by Mission Ready Solutions Inc., a Canadian-based provider of comprehensive government contracting solutions. The kits were delivered to a non-profit organization called Support Hospitals in Ukraine, which currently is focused on delivering tactical medicine, field surgery kits and trauma supplies as a result of Russia’s war on Ukraine.

    The first-aid kits were delivered to ground forces in eastern and southern Ukraine and given to combat medics.

    Here are some of the components of the first-aid kit.

    Allied Industries workers and officials were proud to have the opportunity to assist Ukrainian forces.

    ”I think that it can be very gratifying to work for TRC and, in this case, Allied Industries,” said Paul Fardink, Work Center Contractor. “Allied has long been a supplier of note to our American military and Department of Defense. And, when asked to support humanitarian efforts such as those in Ukraine, we should feel some pride that we at TRC are able to do so.”

    Indeed, this is just the latest example of TRC and Allied Industries providing humanitarian relief. During the Bosnian war in the 1990s and the second Gulf War, Allied produced cargo bags that were used to air-drop relief supplies to residents.

    Other Allied humanitarian initiatives have included providing water-purification tablets to survivors of the 2004 Asian tsunami and donating mosquito netting to Africa.

    While hoping the war between Russia and Ukraine ends soon, Allied officials said they are prepared to produce additional first-aid kits if needed.

    Click here to make a donation to Support Hospitals in Ukraine Foundation.

    A worker prepares to place a label on a box of first-aid kits.

    For the sixth time in the past seven years, The Resource Center has been crowned one of the healthiest employers in Western New York

    The Resource Center was one of four businesses honored with a first-place designation in the “Western New York’s Healthiest Employers” competition.  TRC finished atop the Large division (for companies with 501 to 1,600 employees).  Other categories were Small (200 employees or fewer), Medium (201-500 employees) and Extra Large (more than 1,600 employees).

    The annual competition was sponsored by Buffalo Business First, Independent Health, Wegmans, Best Self Behavioral Health, Springbuk, and Walsh Duffield Companies, Inc.  This marks the third straight year TRC has claimed first place in its division.  TRC also won its category in 2016, 2017 and 2018 and was a finalist in each of the two years it did not win (2019 and 2015).

    TRC officials were thrilled the agency had again won the competition.

    “The STARS team continues to shine bright as they bring yet another award back to TRC,” said Heather C. Brown, Assistant Executive Director of Program Operations, who oversees the STARS Program and TRC’s clinical services.  “We are so proud to be recognized again this year among the healthiest employers in our region.”

    The key to The Resource Center’s success is its STARS employee wellness program.  In place since 2013, the program provides a variety of wellness options for TRC employees.  The fact The Resource Center operates its own wellness program gives TRC a leg up over companies that contract with external vendors to operate their wellness programs.

    TRC also scores highly by virtue of collaborating with other organizations locally and regionally.  These include Chautauqua Health Network, Hope Chautauqua Bright Spots, Live Well Western New York, Population Health Collaborative, Prevention Works, Roswell Park, and Tobacco-Free Chautauqua Cattaraugus Allegany.  In addition, TRC hosts several American Red Cross blood drives each year.

    The STARS wellness program offers a personalized wellness plan based on a person’s self-reported satisfaction level along five life domains.  STARS also features lunch-and-learn education and exercise get-togethers, discounts on health insurance premiums and weight-loss programs, and employees can participate in several group and individual challenges throughout the year.  Through participation in those challenges and other activities, STARS enrollees earn incentive points that can be redeemed for prizes.  Though only employees who participate in TRC’s health plan are eligible to enroll in STARS, The Resource Center allows all employees to undergo health coaching.

    STARS participants annually undergo a biometric blood analysis.  While individual results are confidential and shared only with the employee, the STARS team receives a report summarizing the combined results of everyone who undergoes the testing.  Those data enable the STARS team to assess how well program enrollees are performing as a group, and the results help form the program’s goals for the coming year.

    “This program, available to all TRC employees, truly differentiates us as an employer of choice,” said Brown.  She encourages TRC employees who are not connected to STARS to give the program a try.

    Having won the regional competition, The Resource Center is eligible for consideration in the “Healthiest 100 Employers in America” competition.  Those results will be announced in October.  Last year, TRC was named the 55th healthiest workplace in America, marking the sixth straight year TRC had been recognized in that competition.

    As a result of its strong performances over the years, The Resource Center recently was included among the first 20 businesses nation-wide to be inducted into the Healthiest Employers Hall of Fame.

    Members of the STARS Wellness Team (from left, Health Coach Jon DeSantis, Manager Donna Trusso and Health Coach Heather Courtney) pose with the first-place trophy.

    Suzette Smith recently was honored with a Future of Excellence Award from The Arc New York Executive Directors’ Association for her work at The Resource Center.

    Smith, a Sinclairville resident who is TRC’s Assistant Finance Director, received her award in the category “Excellence in Support Services.”  She was one of five people chosen to receive the inaugural awards as part of an EDA initiative to recognize exceptional performance and leadership by staff members at Arc NY chapters.

    A TRC employee for 27 years, Smith often is relied upon for critical reporting deadlines and will work outside of scheduled hours to accomplish a goal or meet a deadline.  She also has expanded her scope of work by taking on the purchasing department in November 2019 and clinical billing team in March 2022.

    Smith supported TRC in applying for grants to cover lost revenue due to the pandemic.  Thanks in part to her leadership, TRC received more than $1.5 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for Article 28 Clinic lost revenue.

    Smith is regarded as an industry leader beyond TRC.  Within the Financial Management Association of Rehab Agencies, she serves as the president of the Central Region.  Smith organizes monthly FMA meetings and the annual conference.  Whenever regulatory clarity, feedback or insights are gained, she shares that information with FMA members.

    It is common for people in the field to contact Smith with technical questions.  For example, she led data gathering of service providers in the Developmental Disabilities Alliance of Western New York regarding how much the agencies were being paid for the purpose of advocacy needs.  She also traveled to The Arc NY’s Suffolk County Chapter to provide hands-on support, and she continues to assist its billing department remotely.  The Fulton County Chapter contracted for Smith’s assistance in fiscal intermediary services and consolidated fiscal reporting during a period of short staffing at that agency.

    The Resource Center’s leadership praised Smith and her work.

    “She sets a high standard of excellence for herself and her team,” said Denise Jones, Executive Director.  “Her commitment to our field is evident not only in her impressive technical skills, but in her willingness to go above and beyond her job duties to support other organizations in the field through her active involvement in the leadership of the Financial Managers Association.”

    “Suzette has a vast revenue and reimbursement expertise and has allowed our agency to accurately forecast reimbursement rates” from state funders, said Kelly Dimitri, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.

    Jones and Dimitri noted that in addition to her excellence in her regular job duties, Smith volunteers in support of many of TRC’s fund-raising initiatives.

    “Suzette has always kept our mission at the heart of all she does,” Dimitri said.

    Several other TRC employees were nominated for EDA awards and received honorable mention in their categories: Rosanna Hatfield, Clinical Site Supervisor (“Clinical Champion” category); Terri Johnson, Director of Employment and Community-Based Services (“Emerging Leader”); Meg Paolini, Nurse Manager (“Medical/Nursing Excellence”); and Jessica Smith, Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement Administrator (“Program Services Excellence”).

    The Executive Directors’ Association is a partnership among the executive directors and chief executive officers of the chapters of The Arc New York.  The EDA connects executive leaders from across the state to promote excellence and professional leadership in support of The Arc NY mission.  The EDA seeks to assist The Arc NY and its chapters to provide quality supports and services to people with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families.  The Resource Center is The Arc NY’s Chautauqua County Chapter.

    Suzette Smith holds her award while pictured with Denise Jones, The Resource Center’s Executive Director, and Kirk Lewis, who is the Executive Director of The Arc NY’s Schenectady County Chapter and the Executive Directors’ Association President.

    200 Dunham Avenue, Jamestown, NY, 14701