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What is TIES?

Together Including Every Student (TIES), developed in 1997 by two parents of children who have disabilities, promotes the participation of students and young adults who have developmental disabilities in inclusive, organized extracurricular and community activities through the support of trained student volunteers.

Participants who have developmental disabilities join activities where they can develop recreational interests, learn about their community, and have fun with peers.

Peer volunteers learn how to support participants according to their individual needs, gain more understanding of disabilities and diversity, and make a positive difference in a peer’s life.

Activity leaders create an experience where all individuals and talents are included, and promote community awareness and inclusion.

Is TIES in my child's school district?

All the districts currently offering TIES are listed in the chart "TIES Coordinators and School Districts" below. If your child's district isn't listed, contact Kathy Costello to see what we can do together with you to connect with your district team.

TIES Coordinators and School Districts

Kathy Costello – TIES Program Director - (585) 546-1700 - kcostello@starbridgeinc.org

School District TIES Coordinator District mailing address
Allegany-Limestone

Kelly Carlson

kcarlson@starbridgeinc.org

Allegany-Limestone Central School District
3131 Five Mile Line Rd
Allegany, NY 14706
Avon

Christine Bird

cmbird22@gmail.com

Avon Central School District
191 Clinton Street
Avon, NY 14414
Brighton

Karen McGraw

karen_mcgraw@bcsd.org

Brighton Central School District
2035 Monroe Avenue
Rochester, NY 14618
Brockport

Jean Rowley

jta362@aol.com

Brockport Central School District
40 Allen Street
Brockport, NY 14420
Cattaraugus-Little Valley

Sheryl Williams

swilliams@cattlv.wnyric.org

Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School District
25 N. Franklin Street
Cattaraugus, NY 14719
Fairport

Mary Bridget Barniskis

TIESProgramfairport@outlook.com

Fairport Central School District
38 West Church Street
Fairport, NY 14450

Gananda

Julie Neal

djn4boys@gmail.com

Gananda Central School District
1500 Dayspring Ridge
Walworth, NY 14568
Gates Chili   Gates Chili School District
3 Spartan Way
Rochester, NY 14624
Geneseo

Darlene Hunt

darlenehunt@geneseocsd.org

Geneseo Central School District
4050 Avon Road
Geneseo, NY 14454
Grand Island

Lisa Valle

vallebug@aol.com

Grand Island
1100 Ransom Rd
Grand Island, NY 14072
Greece

 Fran Dubester-Vick

franvick@gmail.com

Greece Central School District
750 Maiden Lane
Rochester NY 14615
Hamburg

Nancy Hawes

Nhawes@hcsdk12.org

Hamburg Central School District
5305 Abbott Road
Hamburg, NY 14075

Hornell

Amber Kossow

amber.kossow@hornellcsd.org

Hornell City School District
134 Seneca Street
Hornell, NY 14843

Livonia

Marie Lynn Sweet

msweet@livoniacsd.org

Livonia Central School District
P.O. Box E
Livonia, NY 14487
Newark

Tracy Larson

testing@drtracylarson.com

Newark Central School District
100 East Miller Street
Newark, NY 14513
Orchard Park

 Christina Wojciechowski

cwojciechowski@opschools.org

Orchard Park Central School District
2240 Southwestern Boulevard
West Seneca, NY 14224
Pittsford

Dale Cameron-Kody

dale_cameron-kody@pittsford.monroe.edu

Pittsford Central School District
75 Barker Rd
Pittsford, NY 14534
Rush-Henrietta

Doreen Blankenbush

dblank1229@gmail.com

Rush-Henrietta School District
150 Telephone Road
West Henrietta, NY 14586
Spencerport

Maggie Eichelberger

meichelberger@starbridgeinc.org

Spencerport Central School District
71 Lyell Avenue
Spencerport, NY 14559
Starpoint

Kimberly Burrows

kimadair44@yahoo.com

Starpoint
4363 Mapleton Road
Lockport, NY 14094

Victor

Erin O'Brien

eobrien@starbridgeinc.org

Victor Central School District
953 High Street
Victor, NY 14564

Waterloo

Daidra Hamlin

dhamlin@starbridgeinc.org

Waterloo Central School District
109 Washington Street
Waterloo, NY 14456
Watkins Glen

Nancy St. Julien

stjulienn@aol.com

Watkins Glen
301 12th Street
Watkins Glen, NY 14891
Webster

Carolyn Maciag

tmaciag@rochester.rr.com

Webster Central School District
119 South Avenue
Webster, NY 14580
West Irondequoit

Stephanie Bock

stephanie_bock@westiron.monroe.edu

West Irondequoit Central School District
321 List Avenue
Rochester, NY 14617

West Seneca

Lori Carden

lcarden@starbridgeinc.org

West Seneca Central Schools
675 Potters Road
West Seneca, NY 14224
Wheatland-Chili

Sarah Salamone

ssalamone04@gmail.com

Wheatland-Chili Central School District
13 Beckwith Avenue
Scottsville, NY 14546
Williamsville

Gina Cordova

gcordova@starbridgeinc.org

Williamsville Central School District
105 Casey Road
East Amherst, NY 14051

How does TIES work?

TIES Coordinators work closely with the school districts to identify eligible participants, recruit and train peer volunteers, communicate with activity leaders, and make necessary arrangements for each activity.

Activities can be –

  • A single event, such as a school dance or after-school football game.
  • An ongoing class, such as cooking, dance, martial arts, music, or gymnastics.
  • Ongoing participation in a community organization, such as Scouts.
  • A Drumming Circle.

Participants are children and young adults between the ages of 8 and 21 who have developmental disabilities. Individuals receive an application from the TIES Coordinator that asks about interests and what support is needed to be successful. Support is individualized and can be in physical, social/behavioral, or language areas. Participants list the activities they would like to join or request information about desired activities. The Coordinator discusses the chosen activities and needed support with the participant and parents. An individualized plan is developed that guides the peer volunteer’s support. The Coordinator also communicates with the activity leader to introduce the TIES program and assess what individual accommodations may be needed.

What does an activity look like?

ties track edit

It can be any organized recreational or extracurricular school activity in which students typically take part. TIES arranges a trained student partner for each participant to facilitate a successful experience for all members of the group.

How long is each activity?

An activity may be one event, such as attending a school dance or after school football game, or an ongoing class (dance, martial arts, music, gymnastics) or continuing participation in a community organization such as Scouts. If an activity is ongoing, two or more peer volunteers may share the commitment.

Peer volunteers are students within the school district in grades 8 to 12 who want to support the participant to experience the learning and fun of the activity. After completing an application form and training, volunteers are paired with participants based on mutual interests, personal attributes, and availability. The Coordinator develops and explains the participant’s support plan and provides ongoing assistance.

How do you apply to be a peer volunteer?

Please complete the Application for Peer Volunteers and follow the instructions on the application. Individuals whose applications are approved must attend a TIES training workshop prior to being matched with a participant.

What is the role of the TIES Coordinator?

The TIES Coordinator is selected by the school district and TIES Program Director and is ideally the parent of a child who has a disability. The Coordinator is responsible for –

  • Marketing TIES in the school and community.
  • Recruiting participants and peer volunteers.
  • Training peer volunteers and activity leaders through the training workshop.
  • Developing a support plan for each participant and sharing it with the peer volunteer.
  • Evaluating the experiences of the participants, peer volunteers and activity leaders.

TIES is a program of Starbridge, and is funded by the Finger Lakes Developmental Disabilities Regional Office and the Western NY Developmental Disabilities Regional Office.