Photo submitted From left, Fulton Montgomery Regional Chamber of Commerce staff members Tara Ryczek and Becky Dutcher, Liberty Foundation board member Brett Harris, Liberty ARC board President Paul DiCaprio, Liberty ARC board Vice President/Liberty Foundation board member Donna Canestraro, Liberty Corporate Compliance Director/Chamber Ambassador Sarah Quist, Liberty ARC CEO Jennifer Saunders, Liberty ARC COO Candace Opalka, chamber ambassadors Michele Harder and Kelly Hart, chamber staff member Alex Ruggeri.

Liberty ARC, the Montgomery County Chapter, NYSARC, Inc., recently held a ribbon cutting for its new Learning Center/Computer Room. The innovative computer lab was made possible through a $30,000 grant from the Liberty Foundation board.

“As Liberty ARC celebrates our 60th anniversary, we are proud to be able to celebrate the grand opening of our new computer room and the numerous possibilities it offers. This Learning Center, will expand our programming and services enabling the individuals we support, their families, our employees and the local community the ability to enhance their learning, while developing skills in the use of technology as well as promoting job readiness skills.” said Liberty ARC CEO Jennifer Saunders. “These necessary employment skills will allow individuals the opportunity to pursue competitive employment and enable them to be an active, successful member in the workforce.”

The learning lab will primarily focus on a set curriculum of weekly classes for the individuals Liberty ARC supports. These weekly topics will cover: online learning apps, introduction to computer and technology, introduction to mobile technology, employment readiness, internet etiquette and cyber safety.

An emphasis will be on promoting job readiness skills through classes such as networking, resume writing, keyboarding, computer software/internet navigation, online resources and word processing. Individuals will also be able to improve upon life skills like decision making, problem solving, social interaction, increasing independence and promoting/enhancing self-esteem through classroom learning.

“The Liberty Foundation is thrilled to be part of establishing the Liberty Computer Room, a technology based learning center here at Liberty ARC,” said Liberty ARC Vice President/Liberty Foundation board member Donna Canestraro. “This new resource allows Liberty to focus on providing individuals with personalized, interactive classroom instruction on, job readiness, career exploration and career building exercises while also engaging individuals in basic academic skills studies that will assist them in attaining the skills they need to pursue employment in our community.   The impact of this room will have on the community is immeasurable, as its programming expands to include Liberty ARC’s families, employees and community groups.”

The learning center will also be available to individuals in Liberty ARC’s After-School and Recreation programs as well as Liberty ARC staff.

After-School and Recreation Program Offerings include creativity development, gaming and internet access (focus on web safety and apps to increase life readiness skills).

Staff development involves agency management software and intranet communication application, Microsoft Office Suite and keyboarding.

“In the near future the program will grow to include individuals who are currently involved with Liberty’s day program and supported employment program.  We are also excited to be able to make this room available to our employees and the community, providing job skill training that will benefit the economic development possibilities in Montgomery County,” Saunders said. “I’d like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Liberty Foundation Board for their generous donation which has made this computer room a reality.”

Liberty ARC, the Montgomery County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc., was founded in 1957 by parents of children with developmental disabilities who wished to establish special education programs in the local community. Currently celebrating 60 years of quality services, the organization has grown to include vocational, recreational, residential, day, family support and health-related services to nearly 580 individuals with physical, developmental and other disabilities.