Today is National Teacher Appreciation Day, which is part of Teacher Appreciation Week, the first full week in May of each year.
The National Education Association describes National Teacher Day “as a day for honoring teachers and recognizing the lasting contributions they make to our lives.” And NSSA is more than proud to honor our teachers, who are kind, patient, dedicated and SO hard-working.
Thank you for all you do!
On April 2, 2019, World Autism Awareness Day, 10-year-old Jake Prince got up in front of his entire school at Waverly Park Elementary School and gave a presentation about autism to his fellow students.
Jake’s younger brother has autism and attends the Martin C. Barell School in Commack, NY.
Jake’s presentation was called “What is Autism” and shared what it’s like living with a brother with autism. When he asked the audience if there were any questions, one girl asked, “Do you ever wish your brother didn’t have autism?” His very mature and poised response was, “I wish NOBODY had any disabilities!”
All during the week, Jake has been reading to his 5th grade classmates from Meet LISA at NSSA, a book featuring stories inspired by those served by NSSA, and selling Autism Awareness bracelets. His bracelet sales raised $477 which he donated to his brother’s school!
Jake is a wonderful example of today’s youth that is being raised to be compassionate and accepting of differences in people in the world around them. Young men like Jake give us hope that the future can be a better place.
We’re so proud of Jake that we’re officially declaring him an NSSA Champion!
On January 11th, the Smithtown High School East Leadership Club hosted an evening of dancing, food and fun at their Red Carpet themed winter dance for NSSA adult participants, consultation students and Barell students over the age of 14. This is a unique opportunity for our students to participate in a typical school dance experience. They are able to interact with and learn from the students of Smithtown as well as have fun and create friendships.
Attendees arrived by walking up a red carpet and into a gym filled with high school students dressed up and ready to dance with them.
Many thanks to Stacey Agosta for helping to coordinate the event, NSSA teachers and direct support professionals for accompanying their students and adult participants and Smithtown High School East for their graciousness and hospitality in hosting for us once again.
Participants in NSSA’s Adult Services Program have been busy making bracelets to sell to staff, families and at a local holiday fair. They started with Chakra bracelets, but they have branched out to other decorative beads and colors.
They work as a team, sorting and stringing the beads and packaging them according to size. Barell parent Liza Hein, has generously assisted the endeavor by sourcing and donating materials for the bracelets, as well as sharing her industry expertise.
On November 25, some of the adult program participants took their handmade bracelets and body scrubs, as well as knitted items donated by a staff member’s parent, to a local Holiday Fair. The Creating Keys Inclusive Holiday Fair was an ideal location for the clients to sell their items to the public.
Alyssa was an excellent salesperson, engaging with potential customers and upselling bracelet quantities. She was even interviewed by News12 (video below).
These handmade bracelets aren’t just beautiful to wear. They have provided an engaging project that contributes to the learning, growth and skill development of our adult program participants. We can’t wait to see where this project takes them next!
On November 30, the Smithtown High School East Leadership Club visited The Martin C. Barell School to learn more about NSSA’s school program. For seven years, Smithtown High School East students have been hosting dances for our students and clients at their school, so we have an excellent long-standing relationship with these amazing students.
When the Smithtown students arrived in the morning they were given a tour of the school by Stacey Agosta, NSSA Senior Behavior Intervention Specialist, then split up into smaller groups to spend time interacting with students in their different classrooms. Our teachers explained what the students were currently working on so the high schoolers were able to participate in the activities. They also brought craft projects to do with the students.
Afterwards, members of the Leadership Club shared a pizza lunch with the NSSA friends they have made over the years at their school dances.
We are so grateful to the students of Smithtown High School East for taking an ongoing and active role in the lives of our students and adult program participants at NSSA. We look forward to more wonderful events that these students host each year for their friends at NSSA.
For the past few months NSSA Adult Clients have been experiencing new activities thanks to a grant received from The Jack Fanning Memorial Foundation. NSSA has been offering more opportunities for enriching instruction in areas such as music, yoga, bowling, cooking, painting, horseback riding and more. Activities such as these help broaden the interests and skill development for our clients and help them to lead fulfilling lives.
On October 22, several groups of adult clients went to Bake Me a Cake Boutique for a step-by-step cake decorating class. They each had their own personal-sized cakes to decorate. They cut and shaped their cakes, rolled out fondant, cut out different shapes, and applied all the pieces to turn their plain cake into a whimsical rainbow fish. Tiny bites of sweet fondant may or may not have been taken throughout the class! At the end, the cakes were placed carefully into bakery boxes to be taken home to their families.
We can’t wait to see where NSSA adults go next!
Many individuals with autism do not know how to pursue leisure interests on their own or have extremely limited areas of interest. Due to a generous grant received from The Jack Fanning Memorial Foundation, NSSA is able to offer more opportunities for enriching instruction than ever before, in areas such as music, yoga, bowling, cooking, painting, horseback riding and more. Activities such as these help broaden the interests and skill development for our clients and help them to lead fulfilling lives of dignity and purpose.
In recent weeks, adult clients have been expanding their experience horizons with cake decorating, decorative sign painting, and horseback riding, all of which were a big hit!
On October 24, a group of clients went to LumberJax in Commack to make decorative signs. Family names and design choices were sent in ahead of the paint session and the LumberJax staff had stencils prepared for when the clients arrived. The use of layered stencils made it possible for clients to create unique and beautiful hand-painted signs for their home or family.
Decorative sign-painting was such a success, other groups from NSSA’s Adult Services have already returned to LumberJax for more creativity. What do you think of their artwork?
Thanks to the instruction and help from LumberJax. I’m sure we’ll be back!
From the time students and clients arrive at NSSA in the morning til the time they leave, their days are filled with learning, job sampling in the community, recreation and physical activity.
NSSA offers Parent Training workshops to help foster learning with challenges at home. In-home respite, a Saturday recreation program and a week-long summertime day camp are available to provide them with enjoyment, structure and leisure activities.
NSSA’s reach also extends beyond our walls with outreach in the form of consultation services to Long Island school districts and twice-yearly Adventureland events and training workshops for teaching professionals.
Your support allows NSSA to offer valuable school, adult and outreach programs such as these. Will you join our Give $5 Tag 5 Campaign for #GivingTuesday on November 27 to help NSSA raise money and spread awareness?
Launched in 2010 with a grant from Autism Speaks, the NSSA Green Team helps individuals with autism learn new skills and prepare them for the workforce while simultaneously serving the community in a meaningful way by promoting environmental sustainability.
Every week, the Green Team collects refundable and nonrefundable plastic, aluminum and glass containers, as well as paper from local businesses and residences. Paper is shredded and other materials are cleaned and sorted to prepare for recycling. Nonrefundable containers, cardboard and shredded paper are delivered to local recycling centers. Refundable materials are exchanged at local grocery stores and money is reinvested in the program.
November 15, 2018 is #AmericaRecyclesDay. In support of the day, The Green Team kicked off a recycling drive with families of NSSA students and clients. To date, the NSSA Green Team has recycled over 1,000 pounds of shredded paper and cardboard, keeping it out of landfills. They have earned over $500 in the past few years by returning bottles and cans for deposit.
The Green Team partners with several Long Island companies and agencies, such as Geico, Suffolk Y-JCC and Elija Farm, in making recycling pick-ups and drop-offs. They continue to seek community partners that will allow us to place recycling containers at their locations. Containers will be maintained and emptied by Green Team participants on a weekly basis. For more information about partnering with The Green Team, contact Mark Kennedy, Participant Enrichment Program Lead, at (631) 462-0386 or email@example.com
For more information about recycling, visit https://americarecyclesday.org/
We’re so proud of NSSA’s Green Team and the difference they’re making in the world.
NSSA celebrated the 20th anniversary of its wonderful Wine Tasting & Auction event on Saturday, November 3, 2018 at the beautiful Garden City Country Club. Friends, families, volunteers, local residents and staff all joined in for the celebration.
There were raffles and other games of chance offering guests many opportunities to win fantastic prizes, such as Frozen on Broadway tickets, a 55” Smart TV and a $1500 Amazon gift card. Many guests went home happy with prize baskets in their arms!
There was, of course, an amazing selection of delicious wines generously donated by Fidele Miranda and Empire Merchants. Thank you Fidele and Empire for supporting our event for 20 years!
Event founders Mary Beth and Pat Miranda were honored for their longstanding support of not only this event but of all NSSA events. Thank you, Mary Beth and Pat, for all you do for NSSA!
In addition to the extravagant wine bar, there was a sumptuous buffet and pass-around appetizers throughout the evening, followed by dessert and coffee.
The astounding generosity of guests was evident throughout the event. Thank you so much to everyone who attended and donated!
Bracelets hand-made by NSSA’s Adult Clients, for sale at the money booth, were the hit of the evening!
Thanks also go to Rob and Laurie Rogers of Tobay Printing for their ongoing support of NSSA and for printing our beautiful event journals.
We have so much gratitude for everyone who attended, donated, volunteered and worked so hard to make this year’s Wine Tasting a success. Special thanks go to our generous sponsors: Champagne Event Sponsors: Mary Beth & Pat Miranda; Wine Sponsors: Fidele Miranda and Empire Merchants; Chardonnay Sponsors: Richard & Merry Slone; Merlot Sponsors: The Cahill Family; Pinot Sponsors: Phil & Carolyn D’Avanzo, The Liggio and Haiduk Families, Mark & Lorraine Healey; Grand Raffle Sponsor: Maureen Fanning and Printing Sponsor: Tobay Printing. Thank you all!