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.
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.
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!
We started the week with a visit from Ginny Green from Autism Speaks who delivered a plaque regarding a grant they awarded NSSA for Building the Field and Scope of Educators Supporting Children with Autism. Thanks, Autism Speaks!
The week started out hot so some of the adult clients came over to cool off in our pool…
…and later to indoor air-conditioned glow-in-the-dark mini golf.
Students did more tie-dying in preparation for Brew-B-Q.
Adult clients were given the job of weeding this raised bed at the Elija Farm. Look at the great job they did! Great teamwork, everyone!
J from NSSA’s Green Team came to pick up the shredding and recyclables from the Martin C. Barell building. You can learn more about The Green Team in an upcoming blog post.
The Running Club had a second meeting on Friday morning.
And students enjoyed the weekly summer visit from Mr. Softee after lunch!
And so ends another week of NSSA’s summer session. Check back next week to see what we’re up to!
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!
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.
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Each December The NSSA Parent Association hosts a holiday party complete with pizza, dessert and live music.
Teachers and direct support professionals enjoy the festive atmosphere while students and clients enjoy lunch and dancing.
Some of the adult clients have been practicing for weeks to put on a Holiday Singalong, led by teacher assistant Shelley.
Teachers got in the act, too.
And everyone else came to watch and sing along!
As if that wasn’t enough, on Friday, SANTA surprised the boys in Classroom 1 by showing up with gifts for everyone in the room!
It was quite the way to end 2017…and now classrooms are empty and quiet waiting to be filled again after New Year’s with happy excited voices and activity.
Here’s a little video for you…have a Happy New Year.
Everyone looks forward to Halloween at NSSA. Students, clients and staff have fun dressing in costume for the day’s activities.
The Halloween party is a big success with games, activities and treats. Adult clients do a great job running the different stations. And this year some of the younger classrooms went trick-or-treating in the administrative offices.
Students kept busy with games and activities.
NSSA Adult Services clients recently spent a day at Commack Old Navy experiencing what it’s like to be an employee at a retail clothing store.
General Manager Doug Wadsworth and Business Operations Manager Lisa Simonelli invited five adult clients to be a part of the on-the-job experience.
Clients first watched a training video on safety and then went out onto the sales floor split up into groups: cashier, fitting room, clothes folding and sweeping. Each client got to take a turn and experience each area.
They got right to work!
Happy faces at the register.
They had lunch in the break room and then returned to their duties in the store.
It was a wonderful day for everyone and we appreciate Old Navy allowing our clients this opportunity to experience a day in the life of an Old Navy employee.
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.
A. is enjoying the demonstration.
B. & J. eagerly await their sample meals…
…and relish the new dishes when they arrive!
Bhavani shared some recipes for healthy cooking:
Wilted Kale Salad with Pepitas, Pomegranate Seeds & Lemon Dressing
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
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.
The students and faculty of Smithtown High School East, once again, hosted an evening of dancing, food and fun at their Hollywood-themed event for NSSA adult clients, consultation students and Barell students aged 14 and up.
Attendees arrived by walking up a red carpet and into a gym filled with high school students dressed up and ready to dance with our students and clients.
It’s so great to see our students and clients having a great time with the Smithtown East students and one another.
The high school also served a fun pizza dinner that was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Many thanks to Stacey Agosta for helping to set this up, DJ Matt Figuccio for the dance music, NSSA teachers for accompanying their students and Smithtown High School East for their graciousness and hospitality in putting this event on for us once again.
Jack Licitra of South Bay Arts is passionate about music. NSSA was fortunate to be introduced to Jack by a staff member and now he’s bringing his love of music to our students and clients.
Jack came to the Martin C. Barell School in April with enough bongos in tow for each class to have a 15-minute trial session. From this brief trial, NSSA staff were able to determine which students and clients would enjoy and benefit from ongoing drum classes at Jack’s studio.
Some clients and students have enjoyed music classes in the past and they have been used as reinforcers for skill acquisition and appropriate behavior. It’s also a good group activity and practice for following group directions and remaining on task. Music classes are also an excellent way to teach and develop new leisure interests and skills that our students and clients can enjoy during their down time.
The happy faces and enthusiastic drumming indicated that this exercise was a beneficial one and some of our students and clients will be attending and enjoying future drum classes at South Bay Arts in Bayport.