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How do we turn INvalidation into VALIDATION?

Health and Wellness, Staff Perspectives

Consider the following interaction: You: “I am just SO overwhelmed…there is so much to keep track of, so much to do and I’m just exhausted.” Them: “You think you’ve got it bad? Let me tell you…” Or… “It’s not really that bad, everyone is struggling.” Or… “Same…welcome to my life!” Or… “Well, at least you still have a job.” Life has been hard the past year, and while it has been a situation that really everyone has been experiencing, it doesn’t mean that it’s the same for each person, nor does it mean we can just dismiss someone else’s feelings …

An Interview with Winner Vanessa Fortin

Health and Wellness, Staff Perspectives

This month the Rochester Business Journal announced their Health Care Heroes awards, and for the third consecutive year, a staff member at The Arc of Monroe has been recognized. Vanessa Fortin, RN and RN Coordinator was honored in the Special Needs category. The awards recognize excellence, promote innovation and honor the efforts of organizations and individuals making a significant impact on the quality of health care in the Rochester area. Vanessa and all the winners will be honored during a virtual celebration at noon on Tuesday, May 11. Let’s meet Vanessa: I am humbled to have been nominated for the …

girl standing with black lab therapy dog in room

Pre-vocational College Student Lands Therapy Dog Internship

COVID-19, Health and Wellness, Programs and Services, Stories Of People We Support

Morgan is a freshman in the LifePrep@Naz program. She showed up day one ready to hit the ground running! But with Covid restrictions, the program wasn’t allowed to send the students on internships last semester. However, this semester, Morgan has been chosen to start a 4-year long internship. Morgan will be working with an Occupational Therapy Professor, who has a therapy dog on campus. Morgan is a huge dog lover so this is perfect for her! She will be taking the therapy dog from an office, walk her around campus and allow her to interact with college students on camps. …

Staying Connected During a Time of Isolation

Health and Wellness, Staff Perspectives

This past weekend, my husband and I sat on the couch as we watched a documentary on Netflix. A scene showed a room full of people at a party, all shaking hands and embracing. I turned to him and said, “Remember when we used to be able to shake hands with people?” We both gave a half-hearted laugh, even though neither of us thought it was very funny. While this past year has been extremely difficult, it seems that most of us are feeling the impact of social isolation even more now that the holiday season has arrived. This is …

Nutrition, Diet Technician

Nutrition: making small changes for a big impact

Health and Wellness, Programs and Services

Antonietta Alfano is a Diet Technician working with individuals who live in our residential homes. She coaches both Arc of Monroe staff and residents on healthy eating while working closely with each person she supports on nutritional needs. To assist staff at each house, Antonietta will check receipts as needed to ensure healthy eating and recommends foods to purchase as needed for the individual’s diets as well as the rest of the home. To help people she supports, she provides pictures of the foods that are recommended on their plates and work with them one-on-one to make healthier choices. Antonietta …

Who is supporting you while you support others?

Health and Wellness

Many of us are drawn by the need to support other people. But are we caring for ourselves? Burnout and fatigue leave us exhausted. Coffee and energy drinks leave us with a mid-day slump. So what can we do to help recharge our batteries and fill up our cup? Self Care… can help you get you battle the burnout and fatigue. is about more than a spa day or shopping trip. can be defined as any deliberate action you take to support your mental, physical, and emotional health. includes getting enough sleep and fueling your body with healthy foods. includes …

Why is trauma informed care important?

Health and Wellness

Why is trauma informed care important? Being trauma-informed means understanding how trauma affects a person and knowing how to respond to someone who has experienced it. This includes trauma that affects the people we support, our co-workers and managers, and ourselves. People all experience and cope with trauma and stress differently. When people cope using wishful thinking, or hoping that things will get better without actually making an action plan, they can experience emotional exhaustion, compassion fatigue, burnout, and dissatisfaction in their work. According to research done in 2009 by Devereux, Hastings, Noone, Firth, & Totsika utilizing coping skills that …

Nature’s Pharmacy

Health and Wellness

Health Tips Nature’s Pharmacy Nature provides us with so many wonderful things, but how often do we think about the foods that Nature gives us and what they do for us?  There are actually so many clues that tell us how these foods (especially when eaten in raw form) help different parts of our body! Look at this carrot slice!  It literally looks just like the human eye!  We all know that carrots are great for our eye sight by increasing blood flow to the eye!!!         Your heart has four chambers – the left and right …

Trauma informed care

Health and Wellness

We are a trauma informed agency Until recently trauma informed care did not focus on people with developmental disabilities but that is rapidly changing. The Arc of Monroe is taking a leadership position on this initiative and we are part of a collaborative team across the county. This model of care is very much in alignment with our core values. Did you know? People with Developmental Disabilities are 4X more likely to be exposed to trauma than those without disabilities Studies indicate that up 80% of women with disabilities may have been sexually assaulted at some point in their lives …

Mental Health Awareness

Mental Health: Myths and Misconceptions

Health and Wellness

If you find the below article useful please consider making a donation so we can create more.   A Google search of the term “mental health” yields about 1,120,000,000 results. The most common search terms associated with “mental health” include “awareness month”, “awareness”, “statistics”, “definition”, “quotes”, “facts”, “association”, “disorders”, and “issues”. Simply put, mental health is defined as “a person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being”. While there is clearly an abundance of data both online and in print surrounding mental health, there continue to be misconceptions and misunderstandings about what it all means. This has an …