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PORT HENRY | Thursday, Nov. 2 was a monumental day in the life of Riesa Warren as she and a crowd of supporters gathered to celebrate her milestone achievement of creating her 2,000th basket with the Mountain Lake Services’ Weavers’ Guild.
Based out of Port Henry, the Weavers’ Guild began in 2008 and currently boasts 13 weavers in the program. Teaching job readiness skills to those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, the Guild welcomed Warren in December of 2008. In nearly 365 days, she completed 100 baskets and has currently made more than any weaver- past or present- in the program.
Like many other programs and organizations, COVID hampered the Weavers’ Guild. Once restrictions were lifted and Mountain Lake Services could resume their initiatives, a need to train new employees presented itself. According to Andrea Connor, Manager of the Mountain Weavers’ Farm Store and Guild, Warren stepped up to ensure the program persisted just as strongly as before.
“Riesa was instrumental in the continuity of the program by assisting both Mountain Lake Services’ team members and her peers,” Connor noted.
In 2021, Warren was hired as an employment services intern to assist Cindy Bodette, Guild Supervisor, and Andrea Connor in teaching classes to the public.
“Riesa demonstrates what the guild is about; hard work, dedication, and willingness; not just to learn but to teach and help her peers through example,” praised Elizabeth Rutkowski, Assistant Director, Community and Staff Relations.
Originally, the weaving program was a day rehabilitation program which has evolved into a job readiness program. Warren currently works part-time in the Mountain Lake Services’ commercial kitchen and assists in two offices in Port Henry for a few hours each week. When not working, Riesa enjoys participating in swimming through the Special Olympics, is a greeter at her church, and volunteers as a board member of the Mountain Lake Services Foundation; she is a prime example of the many success stories seen at Mountain Lake Services.
“Mountain Lake Services takes pride in partnering with people of all abilities to live their very best lives,” Rutkowski said. “The baskets created at the Guild can be purchased in the Mountain Weavers’ Farm Store located on Main Street in Port Henry, New York. They can also be found at farmers’ markets, craft fairs, and numerous shops throughout the Northeast.”
To stay up to date on happenings at the Mountain Weavers’ Farm Store and Guild follow them on Facebook.