Happy Holidays from the NYDBC Staff

As 2020 comes to a close, a most challenging year, we look ahead to 2021 with hope and strength. As always, we are here to support your needs for your child who is deaf-blind or the students you work with. Please take a look at our Remote Learning Series, already scheduled into March 2021, that is designed to support your at-home needs. All sessions are free and approved for CTLE/ACVREP credits.

On a very bright note, NYDBC couldn’t be happier with the new addition to our team, Nanci Bentley, as our part-time Famiy Engagement & Outreach Coordinator (FEOC), for Western NY! She will work in collaboration with Suzanne Chen to continue to support the needs of our families. Please read below to learn more about Nanci and her family. The part-time FEOC position for the Capital District of NYS remains open, which we will look towards in 2021.

On behalf of the entire staff, we at the New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative would like to extend the best to you and your family during this holiday season.

Susanne Morrow, Project Director
Chris Russell, Project Coordinator
Suzanne Chen & Nanci Bentley — Family Engagement & Outreach Coordinators
Buki Ramusevic, Billing Assistant
Eneida Lamberty, Project Assistant
Dr. Patricia Rachal, Principal Investigator

Meet Nanci Bentley, Family Engagement & Outreach Coordinator and the Bentley Family

What a gift in 2020!

Nanci lives in the Finger Lakes Region of New York with her husband Mike and 9-year-old son MJ. Prior to joining NYDBC, Nanci held positions in the area of business that included operations management, human resources and training and development. She has a degree in Business Administration, among other certifications.

In 2011, when her son was six months old, he was diagnosed with a rare chromosome disorder called Pallister Killian Syndrome, which includes both hearing and vision loss. In 2013, she and her husband decided that it would be best for Nanci to step out of her career to lead their family journey into the world of special needs.

Since then Nanci continues to be Mom, advocate and coordinator of their son’s circle of support. MJ continues to defy all odds and makes milestones with the continued expert strategies from his “dream team” that includes doctors, therapists, educators, friends, family and his own self-determined attitude. While MJ has deaf-blindness, delayed mobility and speech, he continues to make heroic progress. MJ enjoys horseback riding, ice skating, walking in his walker, swimming, biking, sledding, participating in an adaptive surf program, dance parties, eating out, and many other outdoor activities. We participate in many of these activities together. We never say we cannot do something. We just decide how we are going to do it. And while there is need for adjustment and times can be doubting and chaotic, Nanci and her family continue to dream big and never give up, seeing a win in every day!

Nanci’s strengths are in building relationships with families that share similar stories to hers and discovering ways to support each other. She believes in building awareness of deaf-blindness, inclusion, diversification, universal design and accessibility for all in the community. Nanci encourages others to find the strength and confidence to advocate for themselves and their children. But, truth be told, her biggest passion is seeing her son thrive!

Nanci also has a strong belief in community service and paying forward all the support they are given. She currently provides service to the YMCA Board of Directors, Ability Partners Foundation (Happiness House, CP of Rochester, Rochester Rehabilitation) Board of Directors, Kiwanis Club, Inclusion In Motion Committee for universal design playground and many other community service activities that will enrich the lives of many. Nanci’s leisure time is spent with her family going boating, swimming, outdoor activities, visiting the Jersey Shore, reading, and just relaxing.

About 4 years ago MJ became part of NYDBC, who provided support to the family and technical assistance to MJ’s team of providers. Then on October 1, 2020, Nanci came on board part-time as the Family Engagement & Outreach Coordinator (FEOC) for the western part of NYS. She couldn’t be more excited to merge her home and professional passions into one!

Please contact Nanci Bentley for any parent needs in Western New York.

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