Toast to The Arc of Monroe

2023 A Toast to The Arc Award Winners

Join us for A Toast to The Arc benefitting The Arc Foundation of Monroe! This year’s 2023 Honorees are truly spectacular with each one of them championing and empowering the people we support in their own unique way. We are truly blown away by the inspirational people we are honoring at this year’s festivities. Read on to learn more about the Class of 2023 honorees and the commitment they've made to creating a more inclusive Rochester community.

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Congrats to Our 2023 Award Winners!

Cornerstone Award: DelMonte Hotel Group

Celebrating those who stand for ingenuity and perseverance and have been integral in sustaining and building The Arc of Monroe for the benefit of the people we support and the programs and services it provides.

DelMonte Hotel Group is the perfect recipient for this award because of the support and possibilities they provide to The Arc as a partner through our Adult Project SEARCH program. The group has been a staunch supporter of the program since its inception, and over the years they have hosted many internships, and have gone on to hire a number of those interns into full time positions. As a valued partner, they continue to expand the types of work experiences they offer, including adding a front desk internship; a host/hostess in Grappa, their Italian eatery; and a housekeeping internship. We are consistently impressed with how the hotel group works with our program to ensure that the interns receive a well-rounded internship with many different experiences and skills. It would be easy to become complacent after so many years of hosting internships, but instead, the hotel staff continues to work with us to create new experiences. It is very clear – their department managers truly care about the well-being of the people we support and are deeply invested in their development and success.

Pillar Award: David Irish

Given to an individual or company who exhibits the core values of excellence and camaraderie and who is steadfast in their support and partnership with The Arc of Monroe.

David Irish is this year’s recipient and a perfect choice. Dave has been a part of The Arc of Monroe since 2009 and has always been an advocate for organizations that support people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. He is a staunch advocate on issues like increasing salaries for direct support professionals, protecting Medicaid, and increasing residential development. Dave doesn’t just pay lip service to issues that are important to our field, he jumps in feet first. Dave was elected to The Arc of Monroe Board of Directors in 2009 and has been a staunch supporter ever since. His expertise was then tapped on the State level as he was asked to lead several The Arc New York ad-hoc committees, along with his role in The Arc NY Executive Committee, and his most recent role as co-chair of The Arc NY Joint Committee on Advocacy. When it came time for this year’s latest New York State budget, Dave was steadfast in communicating the needs and recommendations of The Arc to our local legislators, officials, and lawmakers. Dave’s daughter, Betsy, has been supported by The Arc of Monroe since 2004, so it’s extra special to have Dave add his voice to our advocacy efforts, and Dave was a true partner in this year’s effort. He’s been a sensational leader and one we truly value.

Together We're Better Award: NYS Assemblymember Jen Lunsford

Given to an individual or group of volunteers who epitomize empathy and integrity by generously committing their time and resources to The Arc of Monroe.

When it came time to give this award, we knew it belonged to NYS Assemblymember Jennifer Lunsford. Jen represents the 135th Assembly District and has been called Monroe County home since 2009. She is dedicated to advocating for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, making it her mission to understand the need for increasing salaries for direct support professionals, as well as supporting all people with IDD. She is always quick to answer our calls when we ask her to advocate on our behalf whether it be to reach out to other legislators, take part in a press conference, or give us guidance on disability issues. She and her team have worked with our Arc Alliance self advocacy group, most recently organizing an event to provide more accessibility for people with disabilities who want to participate in their right to vote. She is a true partner and a great friend.

Employer of the Year Award: Brockport Auxiliary Services Corporation

Given to an organization/company for their dedication and unwavering commitment to creating opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to build their skills, achieve goals, gain independence, and self-confidence to move forward in their future endeavors.

Brockport Auxiliary Services Corporation – also known as BASC – is this year’s Employer of the Year award winner. BASC manages dining services, Easy Money, vending, laundry, and the Barnes & Noble College Bookstore at SUNY Brockport. The group has been working with our Job Path program since 1990, employing people in a variety of positions including dish washing, dining room attendant, maintenance, and kitchen support. Supervisors at BASC have welcomed people from our program with open arms. BASC and Job Path work beautifully together to ensure the employees are properly trained to perform the requirements of the jobs. Through it all, the BASC human resources team has remained helpful in providing Job Path staff with the requirements needed to better assist our employees stay up to date with the company requirements. BASC has employed several people from our Job Path program over the years and has five employees currently working there. This is a stellar partnership because BASC and The Arc share core values which helps to provide consistent support to the people employed at the worksite.

Business Partner of the Year Award: Ultrafab Inc.

Given to an organization/company for their dedication and unwavering commitment to creating opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities through their business relationship and interactions with The Arc of Monroe.

This year’s winner – Ultrafab Inc. – welcomed ArcWorks as a manufacturing partner with open arms, is a great communicator and a treasured collaborator. Ultrafab Inc. is a privately held manufacturing firm located in Farmington, with two other locations in South Carolina and Kansas. For over 50 years, Ultrafab Inc. has been the leading supplier of sealing products to the fenestration industry (all types of window and door products). Quality products and quality service are the driving forces behind Ultrafab Inc., and they value the partnership with ArcWorks as part of that quality service. The Ultrafab team loves the community give-back aspect of working with ArcWorks and giving people of all backgrounds and abilities the opportunity to earn a paycheck and feel great about their work. But Ultrafab Inc. doesn’t partner ArcWorks just because it makes them feel good, they truly value the quality work done at the world-class contract manufacturer and rely on our expert business sense and engineering savvy. Ultrafab Inc. and ArcWorks have fostered a tight partnership, and we are honored to be seen as true partners.

Community Partner of the Year Award:
Dancing with The Arc Celebrity Dancers | Mrs. Kasha Davis, Donna Dedee, Jazzy T, Cameron Steer, Todd Youngman

Given to an individual, family, or organization for their dedication and unwavering commitment to supporting the mission of The Arc of Monroe.

When considering who should be the recipient of this year’s award, we knew immediately it should be the celebrity dancers who took part in our inaugural Dancing with The Arc fundraising competition. Mrs. Kasha Davis, Donna Dedee, Jazzy T and Todd Youngman spent hours meeting with their dance partners, learning choreography, and taking part in wardrobe fittings. When the initial event was postponed from June to September due to the Canadian wildfires, the dancers willingly spent even more time preparing for the competition. The dancers also made themselves available for marketing opportunities, as well as media spots to promote the event. When original celebrity dancer Sam Carter found himself with a career change during the postponement months, Community Arts Connection’s own Cameron Steer stepped into the spot and quickly filled Sam’s dancing shoes. Within about a week, Cameron embraced the choreography and shined on the dance floor with his partner, Emily. These 5 superstars took a chance with us for this inaugural event, not fully knowing what they were getting into. But they jumped in, feet first, and found that the bond of friendship that was built led to a greater understanding and respect on both sides. We can’t wait to celebrate them!