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.
ThinkDIFFERENTLY Red Carpet Movie Day at the Roosevelt Theatre in Hyde Park brought out over a 100 people to enjoy a sensory sensitive viewing of a popular movie. DC Department of Community and Family Services Commissioner Marzouka and Vicki Phillip (parent) provided support to make this a wonderful morning for all. (May, 2018).
Human Rights Commission and Taconic Resources for Independence hosted two 100 Cups of Coffee events this month to continue to build on their mission that fosters discussions with residents on how Dutchess County can be a “kinder, safer and more connected” community. (May 2018)
Jessica Rainy (center) was honored by (seated left to right) Human Rights Commission, Jody Miller, the City of Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison, and Chief of Police, Thomas Pape and Jeanine Byrnes, of Taconic Resources for Independence, for her advocacy that led to the City’s review of their policy and commitment to ensuring events are accessible. (May, 2018)
Medical Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment (MOLST) Training was well attended by health care providers . This training was provided by Dr. Joseph Bonanno, Medical Director from OPWDD Region 4 and James Dayter, Esq. , Mental Hygiene Legal Services (MHLS). (May, 2018)
Lucky Orphan Horse Rescue’s Matinee Movie Day with the Ponies! New friends gained from a new experience! (May, 2018).
Lucky Orphan Horse Rescue’s Matinee Movie Day with the Ponies! Ricky getting to familiar with his new friend Ollie the pony (May, 2018).
Lucky Orphan Horse Rescue’s Matinee Movie Day with the Ponies! The Lucky Orphan Horse Rescue has over fifty horses, ponies and mini-horses along with many barn cats, a couple of goats and a sheep. It was a wonderful experience for all that visit. (May, 2018).
2018 Hudson Valley Epilepsy Stroll at Bowdoin Park (May, 2018)
The Bowdoin Turtles observing and on ‘cheering’ the Epilepsy Strollers ! (May, 2018)
Mary Graham a Red Hook High School student volunteered her time at the ThinkDIFFERENTLY Kid Empowerment Zone of the Dutchess Chamber of Commerce’s Kid Venture weekend. Mary helped children of all ages make empowering “Bee” signs that expressed affirmations like “Bee- smart” and “Bee- healthy” along with a sticker project that helped children express their feelings on a medallion of colorful paper. (April, 2018).
Tiffany Jorge from Greystone Programs provided her special sparkle of encouragement and appreciation to Greystone Programs’ Executive Director, Skip Pryce and Assistant Executive Director- Programs Tracilyn Vaticano as they prepared to JUMP for Autism! (April, 2018)
Greystone Program Inc's Leap for Autism was an amazing event of courage and commitment to improving the lives of the people that they serve! There were many seasoned and first time 'leapers' along with virtual leaping happening and smiles throughout the event - a great day ! (April, 2018)
Captain Bill Cannata from Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition provided Autism Sensitive Training to a well attended group of Dutchess County Law Enforcement Officers, New York State Troopers, area Fire Departments, Emergency Medical Technicians and other local community providers at the D.C. Department of Emergency Response on April 20, 2018.
The Flowers’ Family Old Fashion Easter Egg Hunt in partnership with Dutchess County ThinkDIFFERENTLY was a beautiful day of family fun and special sensory sensitive egg hunts. The Easter Bunny was assisted by several wonderful helpers who helped in the success of the day! (March 2018)
The Flowers’ Family Old Fashion Easter Egg Hunt in partnership with Dutchess County ThinkDIFFERENTLY was a beautiful day of family fun and special sensory sensitive egg hunts. The Easter Bunny enjoyed some time with her friends Jazzy and Jaheed. (March 2018)
Town of Unionvale Easter Egg Hunt hosted children of all abilities and was joined by the Easter Bunny to find Easter Eggs together. The Town of Unionvale’s Easter Egg hunted included a traditional egg hunt, a sensory-friendly egg hunt, a wheelchair egg hunt and a beeping egg hunt for children with visual challenges. (March 2018)
Easter Egg Hunt at Freedom Park in the Town of LaGrange. Children enjoyed meeting bunnies and baby goats from the 2 by 2 Zoo at the event (March 2018)
Mocha and other ponies from the Lucky Orphan Horse Rescue will be joining us at Kid Venture on April 28 & 29, 2018 at the Poughkeepsie Civic Center. Come enjoy the day with us! (February 2018)
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! (February 2018)
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. (December, 2017)
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)