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Dutchess County Executive Marcus J. Molinaro was honored earlier this week by Taconic Resources for Independence, Inc. for “ThinkDIFFERENTLY,” the successful initiative he established to encourage an inclusive and supportive environment for residents with special needs. Taconic Resources for Independence, which promotes independence and integration in society for people with disabilities, presented County Executive Molinaro with the award at its 30th Anniversary Celebration at the Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel.
County Executive Molinaro said, “I’m honored to receive this recognition on behalf of the people of Dutchess County, who have so warmly embraced our efforts to ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ about our neighbors of all abilities, making our community even more welcoming to all residents and visitors. I’ve been truly inspired by our county’s reception to our ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ initiative, as well as the great work our local service providers like Taconic Resources for Independence do every day to improve the lives of residents with special needs. Together, we can continue to be an example for New York State, proving by our intentions and actions that each of us, regardless of ability, deserves respect and compassion.”
The father of a daughter who lives on the autism spectrum, County Executive Molinaro in 2015 established the “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative, which looks to foster a more inclusive community for Dutchess County residents with special needs. Since then, Dutchess County has taken numerous steps to “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” about residents with special needs.
“Residents with special needs in Dutchess County have a true advocate in County Executive Marc Molinaro,” said Cynthia Fiore, Executive Director at Taconic Resources for Independence. “Through his ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY’ efforts, the County Executive has made Dutchess County even more welcoming and inclusive for residents of all abilities. We thank County Executive Molinaro for his tireless work to ‘ThinkDIFFERENTLY,’ and we’re proud to work with him on behalf of residents with special needs.”
Taconic Resources for Independence offers high quality, comprehensive services and technical assistance, provided both on site and in the community by a skilled team working in a professional environment. Services offered by Taconic Resources for Independence include mobile benefits help, special education advocacy, employment readiness, barrier-free architectural consultation, Mid-Hudson Interpreter Service and housing advocacy.
This past June, County Executive Molinaro introduced a resolution to the New York State Association of Counties (NYSAC) Board of Directors, on which he serves, to promote the “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” initiative in all 62 counties in New York State. The Board of Directors unanimously adopted the resolution.
The County Executive has also encouraged every city, town and village in New York to consider adopting “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” resolutions that promote supportive environments for residents of all abilities. Since July, more than 40 communities throughout the state have adopted “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” resolutions, fostering support for residents with special needs.
Earlier this week, County Executive Molinaro spoke at a “ThinkDIFFERENTLY” forum in Watertown, Jefferson County, to discuss how that community can enact the initiative locally.