Developmental Disabilities Institute Wins Big at Annual Stars Gala & Casino Night
(Smithtown, N.Y.) – Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI), the leading service provider for children and adults with autism on Long Island, hosted its Annual Stars Gala & Casino Night on Friday, November 16th at the Woodbury Country Club. DDI not only raised funds for the children and adults it serves, but for its employees as well. In light of recent events with Hurricane Sandy, DDI established a special relief fund to benefit any employee who lost their home or are facing extreme economic hardship due to storm.
“DDI is very grateful to our Foundation Board of Directors, corporations, parents, teachers, staff, friends and volunteers who helped make this event a special and memorable evening,” stated John Lessard, DDI Executive Director. I am especially grateful that a portion of the proceeds from this event will be designated to the DDI Employee Disaster Relief Fund, which has been established to help a number of our staff members who faced catastrophic losses due to Hurricane Sandy. Their homes were significantly damaged or destroyed, their cars were ruined, and their lives were turned upside down. Yet, despite the adversity, each and every one of our staff members collectively insured that all of the children and adults with disabilities entrusted to our care were kept safe and out of harm’s way. We are very grateful for their dedication and hope to be able to offer any assistance that we can.”
2012 Stars Advocacy Award Honoree Julian Fisher alongside DDI Executive Leader John Lessard.
The annual Gala featured two special award presentations. The 2012 “Stars Advocacy Award” was presented to Julian Fisher of Gallagher Benefit Services. Over the past decade, Julian, along with his wife, June, has worked tirelessly to raise funds in support of the many programs and services DDI provides to children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. DDI was also pleased to honor students who have been active participants in the school age vocational services in the Children’s Day Program. For three or more years, these students have participated in community based volunteer activities, which are meant to help the students prepare for future employment opportunities, increased socialization experiences, and the ability to lead productive and satisfying lives in adulthood. DDI was proud to honor these students, as well as the Transition/Vocational Coordinator, Doris Frisenda, who has worked tirelessly for over 17 years to provide this opportunity for the students enrolled in DDI’s Children’s Day Program.
DDI is a not-for-profit agency headquartered in Smithtown, NY, with more than 30 locations throughout Suffolk and Nassau Counties. Serving nearly 1,000 children and adults with a diagnosis of an autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), DDI is the largest provider of services for individuals with Autism on Long Island. It provides special educational, vocational, day and residential programs, as well as healthcare services for over 5,000 children and adults with autism or other developmental disabilities. DDI also operates family-centered preschool programs for both children with disabilities as well as typically developing students. DDI was founded in 1961 by a group of parents to address the special educational and therapeutic needs of their children with autism or other developmental disabilities. DDI is a member agency of the United Way of Long Island.
For more information about DDI, visit www.ddiny.org.
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