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Statewide Parent Organization Elects President

NYSARC, Inc., the largest nonprofit organization of its kind in the state supporting individuals with intellectual and other developmental disabilities and their families, re-elected Laura J. Kennedy as President for a third consecutive one-year term. Opportunities Unlimited of Niagara is the Niagara County Chapter of NYSARC, Inc.

Kennedy and her husband, Henry, are parents of four daughters, including one who has a developmental disability. She currently serves as Director of the Early Childhood Direction Center at Staten Island University Hospital in Staten Island, New York.

“NYSARC’s seven decades of service to New Yorkers with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families has been extraordinary.  Created by families, for families, NYSARC has continued to make great strides, however, we still have so much more to do,” Kennedy said. “It’s an honor and a privilege to serve as president and I look forward to working with our diverse families to make NYSARC even stronger, as we fight to add needed residential opportunities to address the long waiting list in New York and continue work to increase state funding to permit us to pay our amazing direct support professionals a real, living wage.”

Steven Kroll, NYSARC Executive Director, said, “Laura Kennedy has been a phenomenal leader for NYSARC, our chapters, the amazing children and adults we serve and their families.  NYSARC and our field are evolving and going through major changes. Laura possesses the skills and commands the respect essential to continue to lead us through this changing period. The entire NYSARC family wishes Laura continued success, and we look forward to continuing to serve with her.”

Kennedy has been active in NYSARC at both the statewide and local levels for more than three decades. She is Immediate Past President of the New York City Chapter of NYSARC, Inc. where she continues to sit on its Board of Directors.

Deserving winner of numerous awards – including the 2000 Staten Island Woman of Achievement Award – and long active in her community, Kennedy serves as Executive Board Member for the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council, Chairperson for the Council’s Advocacy and Education Committees, Board Member for Friends of the College of Staten Island, and Board Member for Staten Island Mental Health Society, Inc. Kennedy also serves as Alter Guild Member for Christ Church New Brighton.

Kennedy has residences both on Staten Island and in Essex, NY, in the Adirondacks. 

“Challenging and rewarding, I am honored to continue my work with NYSARC. I am familiar with the issues faced by our diverse individuals and families across New York State and I look forward to continuing to fight on their behalf.  Nothing in my career has been more rewarding than guiding this organization in carrying out its mission of supporting people with developmental disabilities to live rich full lives in their communities during these very challenging times.”