Since 1959, The Resource Center has provided services to people with disabilities and their families. In 1994, TRC Foundation was created to raise money to meet the unfunded needs of people with disabilities or socioeconomic challenges.
Recently, Denise Jones, The Resource Center president and chief executive officer, and Randy Ordines, TRC Foundation, Inc., chair, announced the dissolution of TRC Foundation and the transfer of its $2.2 million in assets to the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.
“The Community Foundation has a 40-year history of serving the greater Chautauqua region,” Ordines said. “(They) bring a vast amount of experience in fund and investment management, planned giving and fund development.”
Established in 1978, the Community Foundation serves the charitable purpose of benefitting the people of the community it serves. It currently holds nearly 750 funds and has $94 million in assets, granting over $3 million back into the community annually in the form of grants and scholarships.
“The Resource Center and TRC Foundation have profoundly impacted thousands of area residents with disabilities, as well as, their families and fellow community members,” said Randy Sweeney, Community Foundation executive director. “This new partnership ensures that these relationships will continue today, and into the future.”
The following funds were established at the Community Foundation to continue benefitting The Resource Center and Filling the Gap, Inc.:
This fund honors the memories of individuals who have played a significant role in the history of The Resource Center and TRC Foundation, including longtime Executive Director Michael J. Raymond and influential employees such as Freda Eddy, Roger Paganelli and Norma J. Smith, as well as community champions such as Carl Cappa.
This fund provides support to The Resource Center and the Filling the Gap, Inc., network in supporting individuals with disabilities and other socio-economic challenges and their families. This support includes autism services, educational services, community activities, guardianship, transportation, and otherwise unfunded programmatic and capital expenditures.
In August 1997, Wayne Hotelling took off from the New York-Pennsylvania line near Lake Erie, on a quest to jog across New York State, a distance of roughly 420 miles, to raise awareness about people with disabilities.
Inspired by his daughter, Laurel, who had Down syndrome, Hotelling ran 20 miles a day for the first five days before a leg injury sidelined him.
Once healed, Hotelling continued on his journey, by bicycle, with his wife Elaine driving alongside him in the family van. The Hotellings finished on time in Columbia County, greeted by a throng of cheering friends and family.
Intended to be a one-time event, people the Hotellings met on their journey were so moved by their dedication that The Arc New York, an organization that advocates for people with developmental and other disabilities, decided to make Laurel Run the keynote event of its 50th anniversary. In 1999, Laurel Run passed through every county in New York State and featured over 20,000 individuals joining the cause.
In 2001, Laurel Run returned to Chautauqua County and remains a two-day event, which features a relay from Jamestown to Dunkirk, as well as, other running and walking activities. The second day features family friendly activities in the Hoteling’s hometown of Silver Creek.
Although Laurel passed away on November 13, proceeds from the annual race will be placed in The Laurel Run Fund, which supports community awareness, prevention services, employment and training support for individuals with disabilities.
For 25 years, Kathy Seastedt dedicated her life to helping those in need. The longtime Resource Center employee passed away in 2008 while being treated for a blood clot. She was 48.
A graduate of Fredonia State College, Seastedt earned her master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from Edinboro University. She joined TRC in 1983 as a Behavior Technician at the Intermediate Care Facility on Foote Avenue. After several promotions, she joined TRC’s Executive Management Team as the Director of Rehabilitation and Community Services in 2003.
Following her death, The Resource Center, TRC Foundation, Inc., and Filling the Gap Inc., collaborated to create The Kathy Seastedt “Dream On” Fund to provide money to assist people with disabilities who have urgent needs.
This fund has assisted people with home expenses, vehicle expenses, recreational expenses, medical and health expenses, and more.
A reporter and editor for The Post-Journal from 1959 to 1977, one of Margaret Look’s first assignments was to write a story about The Resource Center’s inaugural programs, an educational class for mentally disabled children at the old Medical Arts Building on Pine Street.
By the time she joined The Resource Center Board of Directors in 1968, the Center’s Jamestown program grew to include a preschool and training center located on North Main Street. Both programs served approximately a dozen individuals with developmental disabilities.
The next year, the programs moved to Brooklyn Square and young adults participating in the training center program began working for Clark Box Company, Truck-Lite and the Visiting Nurses Association.
Look moved to Wyoming in 1977 and currently lives in Nye, Mont. She used to visit Chautauqua County several times a year and, upon returning, would marvel at the growth of the Center, and express her gratitude for all it has done for local residents and their families, including hers.
With The Resource Center’s support, Look’s son, Peter Bentley, was able to work at KeyBank for many years, as well as, live in his own apartment with occasional assistance from TRC.
“The Center does so much for disabled people,” Look said. “(It) opens up their lives, especially people who have a job through the Center. It means so much to get a paycheck.”
Today, The Resource Center serves thousands of people with disabilities and their families. One of the county’s largest employers, it has been managing its workshop operations at 75 Jones and Gifford Avenue since 1975.
In 2001, Look made a donation to create a fund that would allow people with disabilities the opportunity to enhance their personal appearance, purchase new clothes, or obtain other items needed on an urgent basis.
From tragedy came a WOW moment.
When Mark Pacheco, an Assistant Manager at one of the homes The Resource Center operates in Jamestown, was killed in 2010, his friends and family came together to create The “WOW” Fund.
Standing for Working on Wonders, this fund allows individuals with disabilities to experience a WOW moment, something fun and exciting, and something they will always remember.
“Some examples would be an individual who has always wanted to attend a New York Yankees game, or an individual who talks and dreams about taking a special trip but can’t without some financial assistance,” said Marcos Figueroa, TRC employee and friend of Pacheco who spearheaded the effort to memorialize him in this way. “Wishes and dreams could be more modest, like a ride on the Summer Wind or a trip to Waldameer or Cedar Point.”
In addition to having a disability, individuals wishing to benefit from this fund must receive support from The Resource Center.
The Resource Center Excellence Awards Fund
Each year, The Resource Center recognizes the achievements of individuals with disabilities and the staff, community members, volunteers and businesses that support them.
This fund will provide necessary financial support to promote and encourage excellence among TRC service recipients, volunteers and staff. Awards include the Disability Awareness Awards, Achievement Awards of Individuals with Disabilities, TRC Educator Award, TRC Employee of the Year, and TRC Direct Support Professional of the Year.