A Grape Time Was Had by All at NSSA’s 21st Annual Wine Tasting

i Nov 13th No Comments by

Saturday, November 2 was a glorious, crisp fall day and friends and families gathered at the beautifully-decorated Garden City Country Club for NSSA’s 21st Annual Wine Tasting.

This event is a favorite with its casual atmosphere, wide array of wines to sample, delicious passed hors d’oeuvres and lavish buffet, many opportunities to win wonderful prizes and a chance to catch up with good friends.

The delicious wines were generously donated by Fidele Miranda and Empire Merchants. Thank you Fidele and Empire for supporting our event for 21 years!

The event is such a success thanks in great part to Champagne Event Sponsors, Mary Beth and Pat Miranda, who do so much for NSSA year after year.

We are especially grateful to guests whose generous donations raised the money for us to purchase a new agency-wide communication system, which will help keep students and clients safe throughout our buildings and in the community.

Bracelets hand-made by NSSA’s Adult Clients, for sale at the money booth, were the hit of the evening! Framed photographs taken by NSSA’s Camera Club were offered in the Silent Auction and are now gracing the walls of some of our guests’ homes.

Thanks to Rob and Laurie Rogers of Tobay Printing for their ongoing support of NSSA and for printing our beautiful event journal.

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: 

Thank you, everyone!

Happy Howl’o’Ween from NSSA!

i Nov 1st No Comments by

Halloween 2019 was a blustery day, but inside NSSA it was bright and cheery with laughter and fun! The day began with the annual staff Halloween costume contest – all the costumes were clever and everyone looked great!

The school Halloween party started mid-morning in the gym, with Classroom 4’s older students manning the activity stations and helping the younger students make crafts and play games.

  

Seeing the students in their Halloween costumes is a joy that we all look forward to every year.

   

Hope you had a fun Halloween!

Happy Families at NSSA!

i Aug 22nd No Comments by

At the end of every summer session, NSSA holds a special day for families and friends to spend an afternoon with students, Adult Program participants and staff. Siblings have a chance to enjoy some time with their own brothers and sisters, and to meet up with other siblings and family members like themselves.

The 8th Annual Family Day was held on Thursday, August 15, 2019. The high temperatures didn’t deter anyone and our playground was full and busy all day. The favorite activity had to be the giant waterfall slide, but the pool was a close second!

The NSSA Parent Association treated students and clients to a delicious lunch from the Eat Me, Drink Me food truck, while staff enjoyed a hero and accompanying sides. Friends and families ate at picnic tables in the shade and watched all the kids and adults having a good time around them.

It was a wonderful way to end the Summer of 2019. See you all in the fall!!!

Young Artist’s Inventive Alphabets

i Jul 26th No Comments by

LogansAlphabetMagnets blogsized

The Art League of Long Island recently held their annual “Perspective” Exhibition Fundraiser for Young Artists with Autism and Developmental Disabilities.

LogansAlphabetKnexComplete blogsized

One of NSSA’s own students, 17 year old Logan, submitted some of his original artwork to the exhibit. Since he was about 9 years old, Logan has been creating alphabets out of magnets, K’nex, PlayDoh and other toys. He creates them independently, spending time and concentration on each letter. He tries various combinations of shapes before deciding on just the right one and makes refinements along the way as the alphabet grows.

LogansAlphabetConnectors2 blogsized

Logan’s mother takes pictures of them quickly before he takes them apart as he rarely leaves them lying around. She says, “When you witness the process, the artistry of what he does is more apparent than just viewing the final art.”

LogansAlphabetKnexFace blogsized

The exhibit shared three photographs of his original alphabet creations. The executive director of the Art League was very impressed with his work. His mother thinks he was happy to see his artwork displayed in a gallery setting alongside artwork by his peers.

LogansAlphabetKnexInProgress blogsized

We’re so proud of Logan for creating this original artwork and hope to see more soon!

IMG_2083 blogsized

NSSA Throws a Summer Party: Pizza & Pints

i Jul 18th No Comments by

What better way to break up the dog days of summer than with a party? NSSA did just that with a new event: Pizza & Pints. Held on a muggy Thursday evening at the Great South Bay Brewery in Bay Shore, families, friends and staff were delighted to be in a spacious air conditioned room, sipping “pints” and sharing pizza and salad prepared by NSSA’s Salad Shoppe.

Guests chatted over beer barrel tables or relaxed on cushy sofas.

P&P-7.11.19-23-blogsized

P&P-7.11.19-8-blogsized

P&P-7.11.19-7-blogsized

They took their chances at winning raffle prizes or spinning the prize wheel. And this was no ordinary prize wheel. In order to win, guests had to perform feats of knowledge, balance or tongue twistery. This made for much entertainment and laughter in the wheel corner. The grand raffle was a much-coveted brew-crew cycle tour in Riverhead for up to 14 guests.

Others played giant chess or Jenga, or practiced their prowess at cornhole or the foosball table.

P&P-7.11.19-46-blogsized

P&P-7.11.19-47-blogsized

P&P-7.11.19-56-blogsized

Thank you to all who attended, donated and volunteered. Thank you to Rob Donahue of Great South Bay Brewery for making the event possible. And we’re especially grateful for the initiative, creativity and hard work of Jen O’Malley and Tori Ardito for creating this new fun summer event!

Lifelong Learning Classes at NSSA’s Adult Services Program

i Jul 18th 2 Comments by

In the summer of 2018, NSSA started a Lifelong Learning Program as part of its Adult Program. The program is comprised of three main categories: Health & Wellness, Lifelong Learning and Paid or Volunteer Work.
The Lifelong Learning topics have ranged from Basic Communication and Safety Skills to Money Management, Leisure Skills, Agriculture, Independent Living, Employment/Workplace Behavior and more.

These lessons have been taught by Adult Program staff, but this spring they broadened the range of topics and introduced some new classes taught by other NSSA staff members. Among these are:

Fire Safety and Shopping and Paying for Items by Stacey Agosta

lifelong learning fire safety collageInteracting Safely with Infants by Nicole Weidenbaum

lifelong learning infant safety 1 collage

lifelong learning infant safety 2 collageDeveloping Leisure Skills by Jayne Eaton-Bove

ID Cards & Personal Safety by Jason Watson

ID collagePhotography by Bettye Rainwater (these photos were all taken by adult program participants)

lifelong learning photography collage 1lifelong learning photography collage 2Making Apple Donuts by Jeanette Vera

apple donuts 1 blogsized

Lavender Vanilla Salt Scrub by Donna Lebovitch

lifelong learning scrub collageMany individuals with autism have extremely limited areas of interest and have to be taught how to pursue leisure interests on their own or be exposed to new activities that they may enjoy. The Adult Program participants enjoyed these hands-on lessons, from holding practice babies and playing card games to taking pictures or snacking on treats they’d made themselves!

TEAM NSSA Cycles for Autism with Bike to the Beach

i Jun 25th No Comments by

The 2019 New York Bike to the Beach Ride for Autism and disABILITIES lucked out once again with a picture perfect day for cycling. June 8 dawned with blue sky, no humidity and light breezes, making for a pleasant ride for the almost 400 riders. Most started in Manhattan at 5:00 am, heading east to Westhampton Beach. This year there were also 50- and 25-mile ride options starting in Wantagh and Blue Point, all headed to the same finish line.

bike-to-the-beach-2019-4-blogsized

NSSA had four riders on TEAM NSSA: Thomas Cardone, Richard Kobel, Kristian Nielsen and Danielle Spinnato. Between them they have raised almost $4,000 so far! We’re so appreciative and proud of our NSSA Team for doing this ride and raising money for NSSA.

Bike to the Beach TEAM NSSA collage w text 2

Two NSSA staff members manned Rest Stop #6 in Blue Point, some 75 miles into the ride. As the ride is growing in size, it’s also picking up in speed. The first rider rolled into the Blue Point rest stop at 10:08 am! He was closely followed by a steady flow of cyclists all throughout the day. They got Dunkin Munchkins from NSSA (#NationalDonutDay), as well as water, power bars, sunscreen, band-aids, bananas and even pulled pork sliders from Texas Roadhouse!

1-blogsized

Riders took a little break in the shade, comparing notes with fellow cyclists and resting ride-weary legs. But soon they were on their way to finish the ride and enjoy the finish-line festivities there.

7-blogsized  bike-to-the-beach-2019-11-blogsized  2-blogsized    bike-to-the-beach-2019-6-blogsized

We’re so grateful to organizations like Bike to the Beach for promoting awareness and for raising funds that make a positive impact on the autism community. We thank Bike to the Beach for letting us be part of this wonderful event once again.

bike-to-the-beach-2019-5-blogsized

You can still make donations by going here, typing NSSA into the search box, and selecting TEAM NSSA.

NSSA Thanks Fidele Miranda and Empire Merchants

i Jun 20th No Comments by

Friday, June 14, was the perfect day for a party: sunny, breezy and dry. And Empire Merchants took that opportunity to treat their staff to a fun day of food trucks and carnival games as a way to show their appreciation for all the hard work their employees do on a daily basis.

NSSA was graciously invited to participate in Team Appreciation Day by Fidele Miranda, Vice President, Sales, United Division, who happens to be Jack’s (of Jack’s Run) proud uncle. We set up a table with lemonade, brochures and giveaways, and offered free raffle tickets for a $100 Amazon gift card. People stopped by the table throughout the day to get raffle tickets and make a donation while they were there.

cell-1-blogsized

Everyone appeared to enjoy the day, talking and laughing while enjoying sausage & pepper heroes, wood-fire pizza and cannoli. From the NSSA table we had a front row seat to the strongman game, watching people test their strength in trying to ring the bell. That drew quite an audience over the afternoon!

6.14.19-3-blogsized

6.14.19 2 blogsized

6.14.19-4-blogsized

In all, it was a wonderful day. Generous people donated over $1,300 in just a few hours!

cell-4-blogsized

NSSA is so grateful for friends like Fidele Miranda and Empire Merchants, not only for inviting NSSA to be part of their Team Appreciation Day but also for donating all the wine to NSSA’s Annual Wine Tasting every year for the past 12 years. Their generosity has helped us to fund much-needed programs and services to families touched by autism.

6.14.19 1 blogsized

cell-5-blogsized

Congratulations NSSA Graduates!

i Jun 18th No Comments by

graduation-6.17.19-1-cropped-blogsized

June 17th was Graduation Day at NSSA and we are very proud of our newest graduates – Annie and Kevin.

graduatesA graduation ceremony was held in the NSSA conference center for families, teachers, students and school district personnel. Unfortunately, Kevin was unable to attend but Annie and her family were able to join in the celebration. Annie’s classmates attended the ceremony as well as students from other classrooms.

graduation 6.17.19 14 blogsized

Annie entered the room with her teacher Christine to the tune of Pomp & Circumstance, wearing her blue gown and white graduation cap.

graduation-6.17.19-3-blogsized

She sat with her parents and sister while Principal Deb Kennedy welcomed our guests. Teacher Becky Chi put together a slideshow of both the graduates from their time at NSSA.

graduation-6.17.19-4-blogsized

Teacher Christine Holmes paid a touching tribute to both students. She expressed, on behalf of her fellow Classroom Four teachers, her pride and affection for both Annie and Kevin.

graduation-6.17.19-5-blogsized

Annie was presented with a certificate of completion from The Martin C. Barell School.

graduation-6.17.19-6-blogsized

Mary Catherine Culella-Sun, Director of Pupil Personnel Services from Annie’s home school district, presented her with a Skills & Achievement Commencement Credential.

graduation-6.17.19-7-blogsized

Congratulations were given, photos were taken and guests enjoyed socializing and refreshments after the ceremony.

graduation-6.17.19-9-blogsized

graduation-6.17.19-11-blogsized

graduation-6.17.19-13-blogsized

Best wishes on your transition to NSSA’s Adult Services Program, Annie and Kevin! We’re so very proud of all of your accomplishments.

NSSA Gets Moving for Global Running Day 2019

i Jun 6th No Comments by

Global Running Day 2019 was on June 5 and NSSA turned out on the track ready to run!

global-running-day-2019-8-blogsized

This national event 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.

global-running-day-2019-15-blogsized

global-running-day-2019-13-blogsized

global-running-day-2019-3-blogsized

This is the second year that NSSA has participated, thanks to the enthusiasm of Randy Horowitz, NSSA’s Associate Executive Director of Program Development. NSSA students, clients and staff celebrated Global Running Day 2019 by running or walking a couple laps around our playground track then getting a well-deserved snack.

global-running-day-2019-14-blogsized

global-running-day-2019-12-blogsized

global-running-day-2019-17-blogsized

Everyone had fun at this impromptu break!

global-running-day-2019-11-blogsized