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Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County joins the nationwide initiative to bring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision of access, equality and opportunity for all into action

POUGHKEEPSIE (January 15) - Building on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s vision of the “Beloved Community,” Habitat for Humanity of Dutchess County announced plans to honor King’s legacy through a series of projects in the City of Poughkeepsie.   Over the next year, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity International and The King Center’s MLK 50 Forward initiative, Habitat Dutchess is renewing and strengthening its commitment to build a world where everyone has a decent place to live and the opportunity for a better future.

 “The time has come to reclaim our streets and homes for the families who have long supported this community and called it home,” said Executive Director, Maureen Lashlee.

This effort will build on work being performed by other Habitats across the country undertaking Beloved Community projects, including the construction of new affordable homes, critical home repairs and community revitalization initiatives.

“In 2018, as we mark the 50th anniversaries of Dr. King’s tragic death and the passage of the Fair Housing Act, we renew our pledge to make the concept of a Beloved Community a reality,” said Jonathan Reckford, CEO of Habitat for Humanity International. “This will never be a world of equality, of fairness, of human decency that leaves no room for poverty or prejudice or violence, unless we build it. And so we build.”

Habitat is partnering with The King Center in Atlanta as it marks the 50th anniversary of King’s assassination.

“With every new home that Habitat for Humanity builds, we move one step closer to my father’s vision of the Beloved Community,” said Dr. Bernice A. King. “Since its founding, Habitat for Humanity has been lifting families up through God’s love and showing them the path to take control of their lives through homeownership. This year, we’re going to have an even more powerful voice for those families and future homeowners so that one day, everyone lives in the Beloved Community with agape love.”


Orange County Human Rights Commission seeks nominations for 2018 awards

GOSHEN (January 15) - Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus announced on Friday that the Human Rights Commission is now seeking nominations for its 2018 awards.

Now in its 23rd year, the Human Rights awards program honors those who have made a significant contribution to advance human rights and eliminate discrimination. Since the award’s inception in 1995, 133 individuals or groups from Orange County have been recognized.

“The awards highlight those in Orange County that have advanced human rights,” Neuhaus said. “These men and women exemplify what our Human Rights Commission stands for and provide residents with compassion and hope. I know that we will once again receive several impressive nominations for the awards.”

“The Commission annually celebrates the contributions of extraordinary individuals or groups making a difference in Orange County,” said Inaudy Esposito, Orange County’s Executive Director of Human Rights. “The awards provide an opportunity to highlight the amazing work that is being done locally and the people making a difference.”

The Nomination will demonstrate how the nominee meets at least one of the following criteria:

  • Fosters mutual respect and understanding and build better relations among diverse groups in Orange County
  • Works towards the development of equity for oppressed groups in our community
  • Relieves tension and conflict between racial, religious, sexual orientation, or nationality groups
  • Works to create awareness of, and/or eliminate or reduce discrimination in Orange County

The human rights contributions must be happening in Orange County and may be from any field, including, but not limited to: education, law enforcement, public service, human services industry, social justice, volunteering, and not-for-profit work.

Completed nomination forms must be received no later than February 20, 2018. Nomination forms are available on the Human Rights Commission page on the County website, or by calling Inaudy Esposito at 615-3680. Entries should be emailed to:  or mailed to: Orange County Human Rights Commission, 18 Seward Avenue, Suite 203, Middletown, N.Y. 10940


Arc of Orange County receives recreation grant

NEWBURGH (January 15) – The Trustees of NYSARC, Inc. Trust (recently rebranded The Arc New York Trust) provided The Arc of Orange County with a $12,500 grant to provide recreational opportunities for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities served within Orange County.  The funding benefits more than five hundred people who attend The Arc of Orange’s recreation programs, as well as people who attend Creative Arts classes at The Arc’s Campbell Hall location.  These programs provide opportunities for students to learn new skills and to enhance their creativity in the arts, as well as offering opportunities to travel throughout the Northeastern United States.   

The $12,500 grant was specifically used to provide scholarships covering fees for recreation programs and trips to those who would otherwise be unable to attend, as well as enabling people with limited means to participate in a numerous trips and events.

In 2017 participants journeyed to Gloucester MA, Atlantic City NJ, The Pine Grove Ranch in NY, the Renaissance Faire, Six Flags New England, Mystic Seaport, Lake George NY, and Hershey Park PA, as well as numerous local events from Bingo and Art classes to a Masquerade Ball and a very successful ‘Ugly Christmas Sweater Party’.

NYSARC Trust Services administers supplemental needs trusts that enable people with disabilities to remain in their home and community while retaining Medicaid services and other government benefits. Information is available on how NYSARC Trust Services may benefit you:  our website , phone 1-518-439-8323, toll free phone 1-800-735-8924 or e-mail

The Arc of Orange County, is a chapter of The Arc New York (formerly NYSARC, Inc.). Founded in 1954 and headquartered in Newburgh, The Arc of Orange County’s 750 employees provide an array of educational, clinical, employment, residential, and day services for more than 2,000 people of all ages living in Orange County who have developmental disabilities. For more information on the organization or to donate online please visit


New Hope Community announces appointment of vice president of philanthropy

LOCH SHELDRAKE (January 15) – New Hope Community, whose mission is to enhance the lives of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, announces the appointment of Edward Winters to the position of Vice President of Philanthropy.

Full details on our Health Page


(contributed photo)

Local children receive additional warmth this winter courtesy of the Junior League

MIDDLETOWN (January 6) - The cold winter weather is no match for the warm-hearted women who make up the Junior League of Orange County. The volunteer organization, which is in its 96th year of local service, recently engaged in a community outreach program and collected 50 new hats, 65 pairs of new mittens and 100 pairs of new socks for many of the 184 kids in RECAP’s Head Start Program, providing additional warmth for kids age 3-5.  

“Children lose proportionately more body heat than adults through their exposed extremities,” said Barbara DeStafeno, President of the Junior League of Orange County. “Being able to provide the Head Start children with these warm winter accessories means their parents can focus their resources in other areas of care.” 

Kerri Foley, the Junior League’s Chairwoman for the Hats, Mittens, Socks Collection Program, said she was grateful for the generosity of her fellow Junior Leaguers, along with some great friends, who helped to make this small drive a big success for our county’s youngest residents.

Warm up to the Junior League in 2018! Follow us on Facebook - Junior League of Orange County, NY, Inc. Like the posts and join the conversation as we build better communities together for our Orange County families, friends and neighbors. Happy New Year!


Habitat Newburgh seeks volunteers and honors Martin Luther King, Jr. with a day of service

NEWBURGH (January 6) - Join us on Monday, January 15, 2018 for a day of service in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. All are welcome to volunteer! No prior construction experience is necessary.

For those ages 16+, we will be working at several sites, including the ReStore. All tools and materials will be provided. Please wear appropriate construction site clothing and shoes.

This year, we also have an opportunity for kids ages 8-15 to be a part of this day of service! They can come build and paint a butterfly house for the Downing Park Urban Farm! Ages 8—15, must be accompanied by an adult.

8:00 AM – 12:30 PM
(Kids’ Activity 10 AM – 12:30 PM)
followed by complimentary lunch for participants at Calvary Presbyterian Church

SIGN UP at or call (845) 568-6035 x110


Dutchess Chamber accepting Headliner Award nominations

POUGHKEEPSIE (December 28) - The Headliner Awards Committee of The Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce is accepting nominations for its 2018 Headliner Awards.

Full details on our Business Page


L to R: Ron Warren, New Bus Prep Technician; Misty Mentnech,
Parts Generalist; Keith Hindley, New Bus Prep Technician; Kevin Stevens,
Service Technician; Lenny Garramone, Service Technician;
Jeff Mayer, Service Manager

Leonard Bus Sales Launches “Giving Thanks and Giving Back” Initiative

MIDDLETOWN (December 18) – Leonard Bus Sales is showing its appreciation to the communities they serve by launching their “Giving Thanks and Giving Back” charitable initiative.  The program includes a BackPack program to help eradicate child hunger, a holiday can drive and annual direct contributions to food banks. 

In lieu of sending out holiday cards, Leonard Bus Sales, the region’s distributor of IC Bus and Trans Tech brand school buses, is making contributions to local foodbanks to give back to the community.  In addition, the company recently sponsored a can drive competition among all its facilities to benefit local food banks.  In just four weeks, the enthusiastic support from the Leonard Bus Sales team generated over 9,000 cans, or nearly 4 tons of food, which the company donated to local food banks across New York State.

“Our company has been committed to providing safe school buses to protect children for over fifty-years,” said Leonard Bus Sales Vice President, Jon Leonard.  “Our Giving Thanks and Giving Back program is just an extension of our commitment to the children and the communities that we serve.”

The heart of the “Giving Thanks and Giving Back” initiative was launched earlier this year when Leonard Bus Sales partnered with seven regional food banks across the state.  The partnership was forged around their newly created “BackPack” program to help eradicate child hunger and raise awareness about the problem of food insecurity in New York State. 

Instead of spending money on promotional giveaways at industry tradeshows, Leonard Bus Sales now dedicates those resources to ending child hunger and helping feed over 4,000 children a year by donating $5 per event attendee.

“Leonard Bus Sales is committed to donating one backpack per event attendee for each of the industry trade events it attends,” said Leonard.  “The seven participating food banks are provided a proportionate share of the meals donated based on the number of children they serve.”


Community links (Each link opens in a new window)

Not-for-profit community service organizations are invited to submit links to their websites. Organizations must not preach hate or intolerance in any form or advocate public discrimination on the basis of race, gender, national origin or sexual orientation.

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County

Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County

Faith and Community ACTION - Dutchess County

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Newburgh

Hilltowns Community Board
News of Southern Albany, Greene & Schoharie Counties

Hopewell Junction Citizens for Clean Water

Mid-Hudson Horse Trails Association

National Association of Retired Federal Employees (NARFE)

Orange County Citizens Foundation-

Orange County Land Trust

Salvation Army of Newburgh

Vietnam Veterans of America, Chapter 537 Hudson Highlands



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