Friends and Supporters,

Happy New Year!

In the past several weeks, we entered into a brand new era with a new state-of-the-art payroll and HR system called UKG. Our construction crews battled the elements while still making great progress on our Children’s Specialty Hospital, we began important autism training for first responders, and more.

Most importantly, we paused long enough to find joy in light and color during the holiday season – while working hard to set goals for the New Year.

Here is brief look back at what The Center has been up to…

Children's Specialty Hospital Canopy

Children’s Specialty Hospital Update

It is now clear to all what a beautiful, warm welcome our Children’s Specialty Hospital will be to children with complex disabilities and their loved ones.

This month, elegant, curved cement benches were installed, and the canopy arrived from Europe. The reception desk was set in place and colorful graphic wall coverings were applied. With the space taking on its amazing design, we can also envision the connected kitchen and café space, which we know, will be serving up incredible, healthy food to everyone – very soon.

TCFD 2022 Annual Appeal

Annual Appeal

There is still time to tell your loved ones and friends about our incredible work!

Our 2022 Annual Appeal runs until the end of this month.

With just one click they can help sustain and expand our life-changing programming for our residents and students!

UKG Rollout a Success

Our UKG system rollout has been a huge success! We begin the New Year with an upgraded system that will streamline our People Operations, Payroll, and Finance processes and ultimately make work life much easier for our staff.

TCFD Receives Major Mother Cabrini Foundation Grant for CSH

We are so grateful to announce that we have received a $2M award from the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation for therapeutic landscape development at our new Children’s Specialty Hospital.

As we have always done with our campus and most recently our new Discovery Dreams Play Park, the exterior landscape at the Children’s Specialty Hospital is being designed specifically for our community. It will include areas for motor analysis by our teams, motor skills programming, physical activity and quieter, peaceful moments. This will include paved trails for walking, outdoor healing gardens, water fountains and stations, a courtyard and essential gathering spaces for families. We are also thankful the award allows new parking lots, fencing and a security gate.

“We want to thank the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Board for understanding the complexities of our population and the intricacies of our HealthE6 model which we will be introducing to hospital patients and teaching to their family members and caregivers. The outdoor environment is absolutely essential for healing. We know the development of this area of our new Children’s Specialty Hospital will be a key piece of the puzzle for everyone. We look forward to seeing it blossom,” commented TCFD CEO Patrick H. Dollard.

“As we look back at the compounding crises of the last few years, the health-related needs of vulnerable communities have only grown. Our grantees have demonstrated tremendous resilience, creativity, and dedication to serving those in need, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to have such detrimental impact,” said Alfred F. Kelly, Jr., Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Visa and Chair of the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation Board.

The Mother Cabrini Health Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the health and wellbeing of New Yorkers, bolster the health outcomes of vulnerable communities, eliminate barriers to care, and bridge gaps in health services. Named after a tireless advocate for immigrants, children, and the poor, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation funds programs and initiatives across New York State that either provide direct healthcare services or address the social determinants of health. For more information, visit https://www.cabrinihealth.org/.


We are so grateful to our Safety and Security, Integrated Arts and Health Informatics Teams as well as the Village of Liberty Police Department and Advent Health!

This month the three teams collaborated and began filming training videos to help first responders identify and assist people with autism in a crisis.

“Center staff will continue making more videos in-house to complete the training and will present it all to first responders across Sullivan County,” said TCFD Senior Director of safety and Security Devin Brust, “We will be filling a critical need in our area by sharing our deep knowledge of complex individuals, their needs and potential reactions to certain emergency situations.”

Award-Winning TCFD Balsamic

How sweet it is! We have a winning Balsamic vinegar!

Please help us congratulate our DNA Chief Cesare Casella who consulted with his good friend, world-renowned balsamic vinegar expert, Andrea Bezzecchi, and created del Sole – a 100% New York Concord grape balsamic.

It won 3rd place in the Concord Grape Innovation Award contest! Along with a cash prize, Cesare and his DNA team will get expert support from the Center of Excellence for Food and Agriculture at Cornell University in the form of nutritional profiling of the vinegar, new packaging techniques and ideas and optimization of product development. The statewide visibility will likely also create new opportunities for partnership.

The grapes were all indeed grown in state and Casella hopes to grow some at The Center in the future.

“This award is a great honor and further highlights the innovation that is always present at The Center for Discovery,” commented Casella, “We are excited to build new partnerships and share our New York State Concord balsamic vinegar, as we continue to advance our Food is Medicine model.”

Dayhab at TCFD

Meet the New Day-Hab Team

We are so excited to introduce you to our new DayHab Team – Chief Rachel Chaiet and Assistant Chief Kelly Irving!

Rachel is a TCFD veteran! She has been at The Center for 12 1/2 years- the last four as an OT and a Senior OT.

“As an OT, it is my passion to help people participate in the activities that are most meaningful to them,” she said, “I am very excited to work with the DayHab team to enhance and expand our current DayHab program. I would really like to create more opportunities for all, but find ways to provide more individualized experiences for those who have special interests.”

She has big plans that are already in the works! They include a new, accessible DayHab space at the DPW building! Rachel and Kelly are already building more farming, fiber arts and herbal production curriculum in Sunset, Wawanda, Hamilton and Rapp Road.Rachel says she was drawn to the field of occupational therapy by her older sister who promised her it was a profession in which she could use her creativity to help people gain independence. Mission accomplished!

She has done so much for so many, yet, she says she feels her students teach her some big life lessons – like not to sweat the small stuff. In her 12-plus years on campus, there are tons of memories, but some of those that never leave her are from the stage productions like A Midsummer’s Night Dream and The Little Mermaid. “I love working with the students and adults in this capacity,” she commented, “We have such a great time and I’m always blown away by their talent on stage.”

A wife and a mom to two little girls – 5 year old Mikaia and a 1 ½ year old Adelyn, Rachel loves The Center and loves her job. “We really have our own special culture here where kindness rules- that is very uncommon in the rest of the world today.”

Kelly is also a veteran! She has been with us here at TCFD for approximately 17-years as an OT, Senior OT and OT Fieldwork Coordinator and has worked on every campus and in most of our programs with every age group. They include adults at the Discovery Health Clinic, CSA farm, Stonewall Farm and the Life Center, teens and adolescents on the Ridge and at the Big Barn, and younger students on South Campus. At the Ridge, Kelly collaborated with Integrated Arts Team colleagues to develop the RESSST (Relaxation Entailing Stretching, Sound, Stories and Tactile input) program for a more restful night. She has also worked on the FED program to help students expand their food choices.

Getting back to adults in the DayHab program will be like going home for her. “Adult programming is initially what brought me to the Center,” she said, “I feel like I am coming full circle … I am excited to be back… I enjoy problem solving ways for everyone to be an active participant in the activities that are of interest to them.”

Off campus, Kelly is a crocheter, hiker and serious runner. She participated in the MS Run the US Cross- Country Relay. She ran 164 miles over 6 days from a town through Utah and Colorado!

Congratulations Rachel and Kelly! We are so happy to start this new exciting DayHab chapter with you!

Overnight Breakfast for Staff

Breaking Bread – Our Overnight Holiday Breakfast is Back

We are extra grateful this holiday season that we were able to resume our Annual Overnight Staff Holiday Breakfast in person! Some eggs, pancakes, a splash of pure maple syrup and a whole lot of good will and laughter made the event so memorable.

The senior leadership, including our CEO Patrick H. Dollard and President Dr. Terry Hamlin, handed out the yummy meal prepared by our DNA staff as well as a special gift.

“The staff was really excited about having the breakfast inside again,” commented TCFD Overnight Manager Hector Herrera, “They really appreciated everything from the food to the sweaters that they received.”