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Acts of kindness: ARC participants receive and give support

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Acts of kindness: ARC participants receive and give support

A handshake, a hello, a compliment, a thank you. They’re small things that take hardly any time and
Acts of kindness: ARC participants receive and give support
Clockwise from top left: Ryan Loomis, Steve Murray, Tim Primeau and Bonnie Corpening.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber

A handshake, a hello, a compliment, a thank you.

They’re small things that take hardly any time and no money.

They’re things people in ARC’s Niskayuna-based Life Prep II day program said make them happy.

The program serves adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Those who attend do volunteer work in the community and participate in skill-building programs ranging from cooking to computer classes.

Program participants Bonnie Corpening, Jennifer Sabatini, Ryan Loomis, Steve Murray and Tim Primeau took time out of their schedules recently to share their insights about acts of kindness.

Loomis volunteers for an after-school program and said he likes it when parents thank him for taking care of their kids. He said he likes being appreciated and when people are polite and show respect.

Sabatini has done work with children as well and said she enjoys interacting with them.

“The little ones, they ask me to pick them up and they’ll sit on my lap,” she said.

Corpening said she likes it when people say “Hi,” and compliment her on her outfit.

When Loomis buys lunch at a nearby restaurant, he said it makes him happy when workers there call him by name and know what he likes to order.

“Just before the holidays, we were shopping at Walmart and we didn’t have enough money to pay for all of our groceries and the folks behind us paid some of it, so that was an act of kindness for us,” Murray said, noting that the gesture made him feel surprised and good at the same time.

The group also shared acts of kindness they’ve performed, in addition to their volunteer work.

Corpening said she recently took a friend to see “Elf the Musical.”

Primeau, who likes art, helps others with their drawings.

Murray said he is friendly and often holds the door open for people.

Laurel Skultety, a senior speech and language pathologist for ARC, offered some other simple suggestions for acts of kindness:

-- Give your full attention when a person speaks to you.

-- When speaking to someone who is in a wheelchair, sit down so you can converse at eye level.

-- Be patient.

-- Treat a person with mental or physical challenges the same way you would anyone else. “The biggest thing is, just smile and say, ‘Hi,’ even if you don’t get a response back,” Skultety said.

-- Volunteer — ARC is seeking people willing to share their talents with those they serve. Loomis said he’d love it if a chef would do a demonstration at the day program. Primeau would like an actor or a dancer to visit. Corpening said she’d like someone to come speak about fashion or to sing.

For more information about volunteering, call 372-1160.

Readers respond

-- I have been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. The disease has its “challenges” to say the least. I try to remain independent and participate in activities, when possible.

After reading the articles on mentoring, an idea occurred to me that there might be individuals who could assist/mentor individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. Perhaps there is an individual who has experience taking care of someone with Parkinson’s. A mentor could give support and guidance to a mentee on handling “the challenges.” A mentor could also assist with daily living extras such as going to the library, attend a movie, play, or special event, going to the hairdresser’s, shopping, or a simple telephone call.

My thanks to caregivers, family and friends for their support.

— Local resident with Parkinson’s

Update

After last week’s stories about the Saratoga Mentoring Program and its critical need for male mentors, two men contacted the agency saying they were interested in mentoring, Brenda Jensen, director of the program, said.

Reach Gazette reporter Kelly de la Rocha at 395-3040 or [email protected] and on Twitter @KellydelaRocha.

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