TCFD: A Month of Discovery

Friends and Supporters,

Welcome to our TCFD newsletter – a brief look into TCFD related happenings throughout the past few weeks.

Clean Air for All at TCFD

Notice something different around campus?

The Center for Discovery will soon complete the installation of 500 state-of-the-art hospital-grade air filtration units across every one of its locations. Every residence and classroom, including all daycare classes on the South Campus, will benefit from these filtration units. This is the culmination of a two-year long effort, in close coordination with New York State and Sullivan County government partners, to secure nearly $2,000,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding and procure the highest quality units.

The units will support air quality improvements campus-wide to further prevent and respond to various challenges – from COVID-19, flu, and other viruses, to the recent wildfire smoke that significantly affected the region – and will continue to do so throughout the next few months.

These air filtration units have the capability to reduce airborne pathogen counts, remove airborne gas phase contaminants and odors from the air, and inhibit the growth of bacteria and viruses via ultraviolet light technology. These units can also convert a patient room into a CDC-compliant negative pressure isolation room.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for safety upgrades in The Center’s nearly 50 residential homes and dozens of other school and supporting buildings, particularly in the area of air filtration. The grant will outfit each structure with state-of-the-art hospital-grade air filtration units and specialized filters. “The diffuse airborne nature of the COVID-19 virus made it clear that we need to focus attention on our air quality, not only for this continuing pandemic, but for general health and the prevention of other viruses to come,” said TCFD CEO Patrick H. Dollard. “This grant is vital in keeping our 1,700 staff members and their families safe. The Center will be in a stronger place for future infectious diseases thanks to the collaboration of various offices including Strategic Outreach and Partnerships, Facilities and Procurement, Environmental Management and Services, and Nursing.”

Hot Off the Press – Our Music Therapy Book

Our Music Therapy (MT) team is taking our work to the world!

This month, their first book, Songs of Discovery for Music Therapy, is hot off the presses and available for purchase on both Amazon and through Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

The book is a collection of 32 original songs composed by our therapists before and at times, spontaneously during clinical sessions.

“It has long been a dream to share these songs by publishing them so that they could be adopted and used by other music therapists, music educators and music therapy students in their own work,” said TCFD Music Director Conio Loretto, “We worked with an amazing music transcriptionist, who listened to recordings of our songs and put them on the written page.”

Since 1999, our MT team has been working hard to advance their profession by training nearly 150 interns from universities all over the world, becoming leaders in professional music therapy organizations, and presenting at conferences. “I think there is a growing recognition of music therapy as a clinical service. For years, the validity of music as therapy was questioned and misunderstood. But, as science has advanced and allowed us to learn more about music’s effect on our brain and bodies, we understand more about how it can be used to promote meaningful growth for people,” Conio said.

This book brings the unwavering dedication of our MT musicians to individuals with complex conditions and autism – to a new level. They now can touch anyone – anywhere, and anytime.

“The excitement with this particular publication is that its impact will be felt by those who are actually receiving music therapy services. To think my song will be helping someone somewhere to learn to wait their turn…to express themselves…to build their confidence…well, that’s pretty powerful stuff,” Conio said, “We hope these songs will be as useful to other professionals as they have been to us.”

Conio still remembers 26 years ago when he composed his first song for a young woman at TCFD who was in pain. “Her face held a grimace and she appeared very uncomfortable… As I played the first notes of music, her demeanor instantly shifted and a wide smile filled her face. I immediately sang the lyrics ‘Beautiful smile, beautiful smile…Heather’s got a beautiful smile…’which prompted her to giggle. Her smile grew bigger. Then her classmates opened up and began to smile and laugh themselves. And, in that moment, the song “Beautiful Smile” was born.

Conio and his Team are already planning Volume 2 of the songbook, and he would like to publish another book “that explores the health and wellness approach to music therapy we have implemented at The Center” like reducing stress in different environments, promoting sleep and peaceful mealtimes, and building community.

“The Center’s team of music therapists are simply – the best. They are so deeply committed to the students and residents of The Center and are always open to where music therapy can be helpful. We would never have dreamed of how music therapy is used today at The Center, even just a few years ago,” he said, “It is through their commitment, open mindedness, and true love of the work – that the impact of music therapy has grown at TCFD. I am deeply humbled and honored to work with them every day.”

Please order a copy for your favorite musician or music teacher today at the following links:

Jessica Kingsley Publishers


Season of Renewal Fundraising Campaign

As you gather with friends and family this summer for barbeques, picnics, and parties, please mention our work here at The Center. Our Season of Renewal Capital Campaign (with its amazing “sneak-peek” videos of different departments) will continue until the fall. Please take a look at the Therapeutic Pool, Hen House operation, Peter Pan production and Imaginarium and help support us today.

2022 Annual Report – Read It Now!

Relaxing with a cup of java or a lemonade on a summer afternoon? Please open up our 2022 Annual Report as your summer reading of choice. Explore the scope of our work in one comprehensive, picture-driven document, and you will be energized and inspired. View it here.

New TCFD Website Coming VERY Soon

We are so excited to share that we will be unveiling a new website – right around the corner. TCFD’s new website will be more user-friendly and will better highlight the great work we do on our various campuses and within our programs, along with a lot with other exciting enhancements and new features. We have so much more to say about this, so stay tuned!

New Member of the TCFD Four-Legged Family!

Meet Scout!

We adopted this adorable 2-year old Beagle mix from the Catskill Animal Rescue (CARE) just over a month ago, with hopes of him joining our facility dog crew of Leland, Sully, Hurley, and Monti! It took him no time at all to settle in and be comfortable around The Center’s residents, students, and colleagues, as well as all of our animal friends at TCFD.

Our AAIE Clinical Director Sarah Merrick, and our veteran facility dog, Leland, are currently training Scout. “The hope is as he progresses he will begin to share the workload with Leland as he grows older and eventually assume his position when he retires,” commented Sarah.

There will be big paws to fill. Our favorite pooches (who celebrated birthdays in May) participated in 270 clinical/APE sessions in June.

“Our facility dog program continues to create incredible opportunities and encourage motivation and participation within our clinical sessions,” added Sarah, “All of the dogs continue to work miracles every day in the work that they do. Monti, Sully and Hurley have matured beautifully into the program – entering their prime working years.”

Hats Off to Our 2023 Grads

Hats off to our Graduates! What a school year it was. For the first time in 3 years, it felt like we were “finally back” to our magical ways.

This year included seasonal festivals, book fairs, holiday celebrations, pep rallies, Spirit Week, school pictures, a Read-a-Thon, the Color Wars Spring Conference, Prom, a debut Fashion Show, our spectacular production of Peter Pan, and of course in-person Graduation ceremonies.

“Perhaps the biggest return to normal accomplishment was the reintegration of community and residential students, and the rebirth of the communities on campus,” TCFD Education Director Jeffrey Bordeman said, “This year campus and community spaces went back to being shared which greatly expanded the interactions amongst students in different classrooms. TCFD is known for its strong community bonds, and it was great to return to the events and interactions that garnered us that reputation.”

Graduation day itself was truly jubilant. No one works harder than the students here do, and on that day, their pride in their accomplishments was infectious!

“As we gathered for graduation day to honor a group of extraordinary individuals, our Discovery Choir and a very talented student named Jack, played a rendition of ‘Long May You Run’ by Neil Young. This heartfelt melody speaks to the endurance and resilience we find within ourselves, no matter what challenges we face,” said TCFD Chief of Education Kerri Muzuruk and added this advice, “Graduates, as you step into the next chapter of your lives, I urge you to embrace the spirit of ‘Long May You Run.’ Run with determination, run with passion, and run with the knowledge that you are capable of achieving greatness. Your journey has just begun, and I have no doubt that you will continue to amaze us all with your accomplishments.”