Read about OCL people, activities and services in OCL’s Spring Newsletter

Looking ahead in 2016, introduction of new Board Members, thoughts from a recent OCL retreat, a call for new housemates, and One Closer Look at someone supported by OCL are just some of the interesting topics in our latest edition.

OCL Spring 2016 Newsletter

Sharing Stories of OCL

Please take a few minutes to watch the new OCL introductory video and see how individuals with developmental disabilities can be supported to live the lives they choose as integral members of their community. Our thanks to those who offered their time and talents to help us share the story of OCL and self-directed services.

Donna and Kelly at the ADA Celebration downtown in July
Joyce and Kelly at the ADA Celebration downtown in July

Is Self-Direction right for you or someone you know? How does it work?
Self-direction is ALL ABOUT YOU! It is a way for you to decide for yourself how you want your life to be supported and planned for. OCL can help you as little or as much as you want to have the life you want.
Self-Direction allows you to share a story about what is important to you, what you enjoy and what you do not want to occur. It is a way to talk with us at OCL so that you can keep all that is important to you in terms of relationships, community connections and activities, and guide us to the next goals that you want to achieve. You will also have an assessment done of your skill and need areas so that a personal resource allocation (PRA) can determined. This PRA will determine the budget that can be developed. With the support of family and friends, you will choose your staff and approve the funding for other goods or services in your budget. OCL will give you a monthly expenditure report each month. You can manage everything you want or ask us for the help and support. Either is ok to enable you to live a successful life.
Call 315-434-9597 and talk with Karen Gillette or Lisa Asper.


Alex Lupole, OCL's Receptionist, is our front line Community Ambassador, doing a great job on the phone and greeting visitors.
Alex Lupole, OCL’s Receptionist, is our front line Community Ambassador, doing a great job on the phone and greeting visitors.

How can you share the story of OCL?

That’s a question we invite you to ask yourself as OCL reaches out to Central New York for community leaders and committed individuals interested in serving on our Board of Directors; and as we invite others with an interest in event planning and our support services to serve on board committees (without being a board member).

OCL’s staff, current Board of Directors and administrators work hard to be true to our mission: To empower and individually support people with developmental disabilities to live full lives as integral respected members of their community. OCL is recognized internationally for its innovative pioneering services but we still need to be better at sharing our story at home.




OCL offers “Opportunity and Choices” in higher education through community partnerships.

One such program is OCL’s connection with Onondaga Pathways to Careers (OPC), which offers young people with disabilities the opportunity to enroll at Onondaga Community College (OCC), earn an industry-recognized credential, and acquire a job that pays a living wage in the local workforce.

OCC is partnering with Syracuse University (SU), the Syracuse City School District (SCSD), the public workforce system, disability service agencies, and regional employers in high growth industries to prepare youths and young adults with disabilities for skilled careers. More information here.

Joyce is Powered Up and Ready to Go!IMG_20150805_164521 copy

Years ago Joyce Herrington’s friend and Occupational Therapist Christine Lighthipe talked to her about the possibility of getting a power wheelchair.
“You know what Chris,” Joyce answered, “I’m a little scared of a power wheelchair.” “Have you ever been in one?” Chris asked. Joyce hadn’t but that day one happened on the same floor at Upstate so Joyce took it for a ride. “I went up and down the hall. I liked it!”

It took 5 years to get one but August 5th Joyce went to Upstate’s Institute for Human Performance to pick up her new chair. Her disability is categorized as ‘blindness” but as she says, “I’m not mentally impaired and can manage a power chair. When I go out, I have someone with me who guides me. I’m never alone.”

She lives at St David’s Court in East Syracuse and says, “I can go around the first floor and outside by myself.” Her new power wheelchair will make it easier for Joyce to enjoy and experience her surroundings and life. See the photos Kyara Jones shared of Joyce and her new chair on our Facebook page. The chair was found through Monroe Wheelchairs.

OCL is seeking a Housemates:

As a housemate, you would be responsible for providing overnight support to an individual with special needs in the Onondaga area. As a housemate, you will also be a natural support to this person in times of triumph, need or trouble. You will be a part of a team of staff, friends and family who cooperatively work together to enable the individual to have an enjoyable, well connected and pleasant life.

1194983761256499536house_gabrielle_nowicki_.svg.hiYou would not be considered to be in a staff or volunteer role. You would be entering into this situation freely as a private citizen, companion and friend. As a housemate, there will be fixed expenses that you will be responsible for paying, including: a housemate deposit, your fair share of food & household expenses, half of the cable/internet bill and your own long distance charges (if applicable). As a perk, you will receive free rent & utilities.

For more information or for interested candidates, please contact: Ingrid Stone


Opportunities and Choices in Life is what OCL is all about.

We empower extraordinary people to take charge of their lives, to “self-hire” those who assist them, and live as they choose. At OCL the person served is the person in charge.

Our experienced team listens, really listens to each individual we serve. We understand the importance of providing opportunities for people with developmental disabilities to pursue their desires and interests, to live as they choose, to volunteer and have jobs in the community, to attend college, and to grow genuine personal relationships.

Welcome to our site. Check out Our Story and TeamSupport Services, Ways to Give, and Resources for additional information. And please Contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.



Shop with AmazonSmille and OCL will receive much appreciated donations.

If you shop on, OCL can benefit from your purchases with AmazonSmile. Click on this link and a percentage of what you spend will be donated to OCL. Read more here.