NEW CITY, N.Y. -- Hundreds of folks turned out recently to support a New City-based agency that serves people with disabilities as it debuted its new name.
B.R.i.D.G.E.S., formally known as Rockland Independent Living Center, held the “big reveal” on Oct. 22 at the Hudson Valley Harley-Davidson showroom on Route 304 in Nanuet.
B.R.i.D.G.E.S. stands for Building Relationships, Investing in Diversity, Genuinely Empowering Self.
The agency’s board of directors said it feels that the new name better reflects its mission of “advocacy and leadership on behalf of people with disabilities.”
Along with the new moniker, the agency adopted a new tagline: Advancing Autonomy for People with Disabilities.
More than 400 people turned up to celebrate the change, including state Sen. David Carlucci, Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffee, Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, Rockland County Executive Ed Day, Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann and Judy Rosenthal of Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe’s office.
Performing at the event were the Rockland County Choral Society and Arlon Bennett and his group, The Healing Project, who sang an original song titled “A World of Possibilities.”
The Roll Call Wheel Chair Dance Company also entertained the Roll It Out event.
A graduation ceremony for the Pfc. Joseph P. Dwyer Veteran Peer Support Program was held, as was a partner service agency expo that featured 40 agencies that serve Rockland residents.
“We are very excited about the new name. It describes perfectly how the agency works with partner organizations to bridge people to the services they need,” said its executive director, Dr. David Jacobsen.
Tom Orlando, manager of Harley-Davidson in Nanuet, presented Jacobsen with a plaque thanking him for his dedication to the people of Rockland County and to those with disabilities.
The agency had heavily promoted the name change by sending a billboard-carrying truck around the county.
Part of the reason behind the move, it said, was that its previous name often led people to mistakenly believe that its sole mission was to provide housing.
Major sponsors featured on a truck included: Hudson Valley Harley-Davidson, Cintas, Active International, Connections Contact Center, PDI/Nice-Pak, Orange & Rockland and The Ducey Insurance Agency.
Founded in 1987, B.R.i.D.G.E.S. is a community-based peer-driven, cross-disability, not-for-profit organization.
It is one of dozens of Independent Living Centers operating in New York under the auspices of state Education Department.
Its services include advocacy, ADA compliance reviews, benefits advisement, career training, computer training, emergency preparedness, employment, equine therapy, food pantry, integration, work readiness, nutrition classes and peer support for veterans.
For more information, visit www.bridgesrc.org or call 845-624-1366.
B.R.i.D.G.E.S. is at 873 Route 45, Suite 108, New City.