Those We Love Don’t Go Away, They Walk Beside Us Every Day

i Jul 31st No Comments by

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This past week we celebrated the life of our co-worker and dear friend, Gina Doria Pisaeno. In her 22 years with NSSA, Gina dedicated much of her time to our students and clients. She loved learning about their lives and they loved spending time with her. No matter what, she was always available to them and showed great compassion and concern for their welfare.

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This summer we installed a gazebo in our backyard which will be a nice spot for children and clients to get some shade on hot days while out on the playground. Blue hydrangeas were Gina’s favorite flower so we planted them around the base and dedicated the garden and gazebo to Gina’s memory. On July 25 we held a dedication ceremony and invited her and her husband’s family, past and present staff members and the individuals and families served by NSSA to join us. We had a full house of almost 100 people!

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It was a lovely cool evening for guests to socialize and share fond memories of Gina. Memory books filled with pictures and sentiments from people who had known Gina were presented to her father and her husband. Refreshments were served, children played on the playground, and in all, it was a lovely celebration of her life. The gazebo and garden are each a beautiful reminder of our beloved friend and will bring joy to the students and clients of NSSA, just as Gina always did.

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We know that we will get much enjoyment from the gazebo and garden…and they will help keep Gina in our hearts forever.

Someone’s in the Kitchen with NSSA

i Jul 14th No Comments by

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 ELIJA Farm extended an invitation to NSSA’s Adult Services clients to attend a Cooking Demo with natural foods chef  and food activist Bhavani Jaroff. Currently Bhavani is running a program called iEatGreen which is helping to facilitate change in our communities, home, schools and workplaces.

On July 12 she visited the ELIJA Farm to speak to our clients about healthy cooking and eating.

The demo was beneficial for our clients so they could learn how to prepare healthy food choices. They were also practicing attending to a speaker while in a group. And the most fun part, they got to try new healthy foods.

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A. is enjoying the demonstration.

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B. & J. eagerly await their sample meals…

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…and relish the new dishes when they arrive!

Bhavani shared some recipes for healthy cooking:

Wilted Kale Salad with Pepitas, Pomegranate Seeds & Lemon Dressing

  • 2 bunches of kale, red, green or dinosaur
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 carrots grated
  • 1/4 cup raw pepita seeds
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsely
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 tbsp stone ground mustard
  • pomegranate seeds
  • coarse salt

Remove the stems of the kale and discard in compost. Chop the leaves into small pieces and put into large bowl. Squeeze 1/2 lemon onto the kale, drizzle 2 tbsp of olive oil and sprinle 1/2 tsp of salt over. Massage the kale leaves for 3 minutes, until softened. Add the grated carrots, parsely, pomegranate seeds and pepita seeds. Make a salad dressing with the remaining olive oil and lemon juice, and mustard. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with avocado right before serving.

Watermelon, Mint and Feta Salad

  • 1 medium seedless watermelon, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1/3 cup white balsamic vinegar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lb feta cheese, cute into small cubes
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • a medium bunch of mint, chopped

Drain 1″ watermelon cubes for 1/2 hour with a bowl underneath (this way you can drink the juice!). Whisk together the white balsamic vinegar, oilive oil and lemon juice in a bowl. Mix the drained watermelon, feta, onion and mint in a large bowl. Chill in refrigerator. Drizzle with dressing, sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste, and toss right before serving.


A-Camping We Will Go!

i Jul 11th No Comments by

Over 30 young people with autism spent the last week of June swimming, swinging, sliding, bouncing, crafting and relaxing at NSSA’s summer day camp.

The one-week camp helps provide structure and recreation opportunities for children with autism at a time when there are typically no summer school sessions available.

Every day is filled with activities and field trips. The playground gets plenty of use. A bouncy house with water slide is a big favorite.

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The ice cream man pays a visit bringing the kids icy treats.

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Pump It Up in Plainview is a great place for letting off some steam…or relaxing!

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Kazam in Farmingdale encourages campers to climb, shoot foam balls through tubes, and get rained on by cascades of soft balls falling from above.

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Craft projects allow kids to take home a personalized souvenir from their fun-filled week.

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Kids splash safely in the enclosed pool under the watchful eye of the lifeguard.

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The final day is a little bittersweet as we say goodbye to new friends…but we always have next year to look forward to!