NSSA’s Executive Director, Nicole Weidenbaum, hosted an end-of-school year pool party for her young sons and their friends last Friday. Her sons asked if their friends from Classrooms 1 & 2 at the Martin C. Barell School could come to the party, too.
It was a pleasure to see children be so inclusive of their peers with autism. Our students were respectfully and happily welcomed and enjoyed a great day with their new friends.
The kids played in the pool, went down the water slide, played soccer, and had pizza and treats from the ice cream truck. And basically just hung out together.
Classroom teachers stayed close by at all times to supervise the fun and make sure everyone had a safe time.
Thank you to Nicole’s kind-hearted boys for welcoming our students into their home and hearts.
Spirit Week tie-dying
Some adult clients going to the movies!
The NSSA Salad Shoppe has expanded to include yogurt parfaits! More about that next week…
And to end the week, a sneak peek of an end-of-year pool party…you can look forward to more pictures next week!
Have a great weekend!
Carley Schor (read more about Carley here) came to NSSA to visit her friend T, a Barell student, and donate more iPads to the school, purchased with money from sales of her handpainted sneakers at Carley’s Kicks for Cure. Carley has just graduated from high school and is preparing to leave for her first year of college at The George Washington University in Washington, DC this fall.
Carley donated three more iPads to NSSA, bringing the total to over 17 iPads for students and a large screen tv for the school!
Students from the youngest classroom help open all the packages.
In appreciation of all Carley has done for NSSA over the years we presented her with an engraved plaque and a going-away gift for college.
J. uses his iPad to say “thank you” to Carley.
At college, Carley will be in the Human Services & Social Justice Program, preparing to serve people and communities in need. We’re sure Carley will be a success at whatever she does and make a great difference in the world. She has certainly made a generous impact on NSSA!
Thank you for your caring, donations and friendship, Carley!
Here’s a quick look back at what went on at NSSA this week…
Snacks after a lap around the track for Global Running Day.
Amazing prize for NSSA employee who brings the most guests to Brew-B-Q on July 28!
Salad Shoppe delivery.
Carley Schor from Carley’s Kicks for Cure stopped by to donate more ipads (thank you!) and visit with her friends (more about that next week!)
Friends who Star Wars together, stay together!
NSSA sent a couple volunteers to man a Bike to the Beach rest stop, a hundred mile bike ride to raise money for autism and autism awareness.
Hope you have a nice weekend and we’ll see you again next Friday!
Global Running Day is a worldwide celebration of running that encourages everyone to get moving. It doesn’t matter how fast or how far you run—what’s important is that you take part, and how you do it is up to you. Run a lap around the block, take your dog for a walk, or meet your friends for a jog along the beach. The important thing is that you have fun being active—and you inspire others to join you.
Thanks to the enthusiasm of Randy Horowitz, NSSA’s new Associate Executive Director of Program Development, NSSA students, clients and staff celebrated Global Running Day by running or walking a couple laps around our playground track. Students and clients made signs in honor of the day, and medals were awarded to all who participated. Everyone had fun at this impromptu break!
And they’re off!!!
Everyone’s a winner!
NSSA’s adult clients recently started attending hour-long meditation classes at the nearby Elija Farm. Once a week they arrive at the peaceful farm in the morning and go directly to the farmhouse, where Tim & Steph of Astral Recess have set up the room for comfort and relaxation. The lights are low, gentle original Astral Recess music is playing and a scent diffuser is wafting a gentle aroma through the air. The floor is lined with cushiony mats, with thick yoga mats on top, creating individual spots for each client to lay. Another folded blanket will become a pillow under their head and a third blanket is laid atop each individual once they are laying down comfortably.
In gentle tones, Tim & Steph welcome the group to the class and ask everyone to get comfortable and relax. Tim guides the clients through deep breathing while Steph annoints her hands with essential oils and walks quietly from person to person, bending down and holding her hands near their face so they can breathe in the calming scents. At this point most of the clients are quiet and still. Some make some slight movements but if someone is uncomfortable, their teacher accompanies them out of the room for a walk or bathroom break, and they rejoin the group when they can.
Jason H (you met him here) joined Tim & Steph at the front of the room and began playing the singing bowl, which emits a gentle tone. Steph was using tuning forks to create even more soothing sounds in the room. Occasionally Tim reminded the group to relax and breathe and praised them. At one point he walked around the room from client to client, placing the metal singing bowl on their upraised palm and “gonging” it gently so they could feel the reverberation. Everyone seemed to enjoy this.
For about the last ten minutes, Tim & Steph resumed their spots seated at the front of the room and continued playing the bowl and forks, so the room was filled with lovely soothing tones as everyone relaxed comfortably and quietly.
Finally the music changed to a light jazzy version of Mr. Rodger’s “Won’t You Be My Neighbor” theme song, and teachers started helping their charges to a sitting position, everyone moving slowly and quietly. Tim & Steph thanked everyone for joining them that morning and wished them a good rest of the day…and the spell was broken. We all left the room, returning to the bright light of day…but carrying a bit of peace in our hearts.
Tim & Steph have been developing and expanding the Astral Recess sound and meditation program for the Elija Farm since 2017. They are excited to be working weekly with their friends at the farm and hope to bring the program to more schools and learning centers soon.
In spite of threatening skies, Mother Nature graciously held the rain off til just after the last award was handed out, and NSSA’s 12th Annual Jack’s Run for Autism Awareness went off without a hitch.
Over 150 runners came out to run and support NSSA.
Staff, families and even clients participated in the run…
As well as behind the scenes…
Jack himself had a great time running!
There were enthusiastic runners of all ages.
Congratulations to Overall Winner: 12-year-old Alex Addison and and Top Overall Female: 13-year-old Ishil Kirkhan
This gentleman has run Jack’s Run every one of its 12 years – thanks for your support!
We are grateful to the Miranda and Slone families for starting Jack’s Run 12 years ago in support of their nephew and NSSA.
We are so appreciative of everyone who helped make this event a success: runners, volunteers, donors, staff and sponsors.
Thanks to everyone who participated – we look forward to seeing you at future events!
NSSA’s 26th Annual Dinner for Our Children was held on April 14, 2018, the most beautiful day of the year! Guests were greeted at Leonard’s Palazzo by borders of cheerful pansies and daffodils.
Inside, tables were set for over 400 guests, the sumptuous cocktail buffet was open and the bar was taking drink orders.
A casino room, raffles, wheel of chance, prize balloons and prize boards offered guests opportunities to win prizes.
The Money Booth was open to let guests know what activities were available to them, how to play, and to redeem casino money for raffle tickets.
We welcomed familiar faces and made new friends.
Thank you to Carley Shore and Carley’s Kicks for Cure for donating another five iPads to NSSA!
The highlight of the evening was the generosity of our guests when we did a special fundraiser to raise $35,000 to commemorate NSSA’s 35th anniversary. With everyone’s help we not only reached our goal but surpassed it! Thank you to everyone!
And as always, there was an inspiring and moving video which you can see here.
We have so much gratitude for everyone who helped make this night possible – sponsors, donors, guests, families, volunteers, vendors and staff.
Events like this are so important in helping NSSA continue to offer the programs and services that are so needed by individuals and families touched by autism.
On April 13, 2018, Smithtown High School East hosted a Candyland-themed Spring dance for the students and clients of NSSA over the age of 14.
Guests eyes lit up when they saw the tables strewn with an assortment of candy.
A dinner of pizza was served by high school volunteers…
…and then DJ Matt Figuccio turned on the music and colored lights and the dance floor got hopping!
Since they’ve been doing this for NSSA for over 6 years, our clients are now familiar with the high school students and the dances are a good time to catch up with old friends and have a little fun down-time with NSSA teachers.
We are so appreciative of our friends at Smithtown High School East for being such gracious hosts and befriending our students and clients and creating these fun social activities for them! Thank you also to NSSA’s Matt Figuccio for the music, Stacey Agosta for coordinating and overseeing the event and NSSA teachers and Direct Service Professionals for attending the event and making sure our students and clients have a good time.
On February 9, 2018, the students of Smithtown High School East once again turned their cafeteria into a winter wonderland for the students and clients of NSSA.
Snowflakes and Valentine’s hearts lined the walls and hung from the ceiling.
High school students danced and socialized with NSSA teens and adults. NSSA staff volunteered their time to be sure all went well.
Pizza, snacks and beverages were shared at dining tables.
NSSA’s own DJ Matt Figuccio spun records and kept the dance floor lively.
A fun time was had by all.
Thank you, Smithtown High School East, for welcoming NSSA into your school and into your hearts year after year.