Launched by Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro in 2015, the “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative seeks to change the way individuals, businesses, organizations and communities relate to our neighbors with special needs.
“ThinkDIFFERENTLY” is a call to action, a genuine challenge to determine if we have it within ourselves to look past our differences and treat others the way we would hope to be treated. Too often, too many with special needs are overlooked and their unique abilities ignored. Instead, we seek to lift each other up and embrace all residents of all abilities.
How Individuals Can “ThinkDIFFERENTLY”
We can all focus on the abilities and strengths of each person rather than being concerned about their disabilities. Inclusion makes everybody feel good.
How Businesses Can “ThinkDIFFERENTLY”
Your office or store can be designed to accommodate every customer, without regard to their differences. Families and individuals who have sensory, hearing, mobility or visual issues are, at heart, just customers, and are welcomed in any establishment.
How Communities Can “ThinkDIFFERENTLY”
Being open to everyone benefits our communities in countless ways, many of which have no added cost – from partnering with local organizations to changing the way they think about residents with special needs. The opportunities to think creatively, engaging with people who have special needs and the community at large are exciting, all with the goal of providing a more supportive environment for people of all abilities.
If you’d like to sponsor one of Dutchess County’s “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” events, contact email@example.com or (845) 486-3434.
County Executive Marcus Molinaro and the Kid Venture – Kid-Krew spreading the news about Dutchess County Chamber of Commerce’s Kid Venture Weekend on April 28- 29, 2018! Come see the ThinkDIFFERENTLY and Abilities First Inc. sponsored Kid Empowerment Zone – where kids will be empowering kids by sharing their interests with the Boy Scouts and 4-H Clubs!
Think Ahead classroom at Dutchess Community College welcomed a guest speaker, John Steffens, who presented on soft-job readiness skills. As he explained to the students these are the same skills that he uses on his job as a musician and played some music. (February 2018)
Dutchess County's "ThinkDIFFERENTLY" sponsored the "Collaboration of Services and Care Across the Life Span for People with Special Needs" on December 1, 2017 at The Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home, with keynote speaker Alycia Halladay, Ph.D., from the Autism Science Foundation. This will be come an annual event for families and service providers.
Christmas Cheer in the Think Ahead Classroom at Dutchess Community College (December 2017)
The City of Poughkeepsie Community Day in September where ThinkDIFFERENTLY and Dutchess County 100 Cups of Coffee collaborated to hear from the community. Pictured in the carnival lion is Cynthia Ruiz, retired Dutchess County Transit Administrator. (September 2017)
The City of Poughkeepsie Community Day in September where "ThinkDIFFERENTLY" and Dutchess County 100 Cups of Coffee collaborated to hear from the community . Pictured are Jody Miller (left) ,the County Executive Marcus Molinaro (center) and Yvonne Flowers (right) who was the organizer of the day’s events. (September 2017)
County Executive Marcus Molinaro ready to field a catch at Dutchess County's "ThinkDIFFERENTLY" Picnic (August 2017)
"ThinkDIFFERENTLY" Picnic 2017 - Little Brays of Sunshine from Donkey Park USA meeting Carmella the mini therapy horse from Lucky Orphan Horse Rescue (August 2017)
Sandy Washburn, and Gerrett Uhle of the Town of LaGrange Recreation Department were amazing hosts at Freedom Park, for the ThinkDIFFERENTLY Picnic! (August, 2017)
"ThinkDIFFERENTLY" Picnic 2017 - Blue Path Service Dog, Kermit who is specially trained to support people with Autism and his new friend (August 2017)
Bee Bee the Clown's story telling at the "ThinkDIFFERENTLY" Picnic created much delight and laughter for children and parents alike. (August, 2017)
County Executive's Think Jobs Round Table welcomed businesses and providers of vocational training together to build partnerships and create employment opportunities. (June, 2017)
Dutchess County Executive's Think Jobs Round Table at the Henry A. Wallace Center at the FDR Presidential Library and Home. Community vocational planners, educators and businesses coming together exploring ways to collaborate and create employment opportunities. (June, 2017)
Jonathan aka "Superman" preparing to complete in his 20th full Marathon at the 2017 Walkway Marathon with his brother Verlaine (June, 2017)
Jonathan aka as "Superman" running his 20th full Marathon inspiring us to "ThinkDIFFERENTLY" and aspire to new goals. Visit his website to learn more about his journey and Autism at www.Autismsuperman.com
"ThinkDIFFERENTLY" Dash brought out over 300 competitors and a spirited race on Main Street in the City of Poughkeepsie (June 2017)
"ThinkDIFFERENTLY" Dash racer enjoying a post race ice pop from Main Street Pizza & Cafe, Pougkeepsie (June 2017)
Dutchess County Chamber of Commerce's KidVenture 2017 - Inclusive Event sponsored by "ThinkDIFFERENTLY" in the City of Poughkeepsie and featuring the Spirit of Dutchess hot air balloon! (May 2017)
"ThinkDIFFERENTLY" hosted a "Selfie" with the Easter Bunny at the Upper Landing Park in Poughkeepsie! (April 2017)
New York State Special Olympics games hosted by Dutchess County at Bowdoin Park (February 2017)
New York State Special Olympics Flag flown in the Mid-Hudson Bridge celebrating Dutchess County's hosting of the games. (February 2017)
County Executive Marcus Molinaro and friends visit Franklin D. Roosevelt Library & Museum. The FDR library and Museum is a valued partner who embraced the Autism Sensitive Environment training to best support of people with all abilities who visit the Presidential Library and Museum. (February 2017)
County Executive Marcus Molinaro and friends touring the sensory sensitive Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library & Museum (February 2017)