Updated with photos at 4:48 p.m.
When Diane Cornell and Danielle Chase first made plans to travel to Albany all the way from Jamestown, their mission was to plead with lawmakers to restore funds cut in the proposed budget of the Office of People with Developmental Disabilities. The executive budget proposal cut $120 million from the program, which would also trigger a $120 million reduction in federal aid for these private, non-profit agencies that offer medical and clinical services; help developmentally disabled individuals find employment and live independently; and provide support to families caring for disabled loved ones at home.
Thanks to advocacy from NYSUT members across the state, lawmakers in both the state Assembly and Senate restored the funding in their “one-house” budget bills. But the work is not done until the final budget is approved. You can still support the efforts by going to NYSUT’s Member Action Center to support funding for people with disabilities.
Cornell and Chase work at The Resource Center, Inc. which provides a wide variety of services in western New York , including support for older individuals with Alzheimers and memory loss issues.
Here’s Diane working with some of her students a few years ago.
“If these cuts would go through, it would severely impact the services for the people and families we serve,” Cornell said this morning on her way to meet with Sen. Cathy Young of Olean.
Cornell is acting president for The Resource Center United Employees Association. The more than 600 members of the local can be found helping clients from the newest born to the elderly. They work in small groups or individually on employment issues or therapies and customized care programs. Chase, secretary for the local union, works specifically on life skills to help adults — some born with disabilities and others who suffered traumatic injuries — participate in the community.
We’ll update with their stories about how their day goes but, in the meantime, you can support their efforts by going to the MAC and faxing the governor and your lawmakers. Reinforce the message that the proposed cuts must be restored.