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Brighter Futures Society
Thursday, October 19, 2006

Masked event at The Midtown Loft and Terrace 7:30-11 p.m. Featuring an array of cocktails, a selection of premium beers, tempting cuisine. For more informtaion please visit
www.yai.org/masked or contact Nicole O'Hara at nicole.ohara@yai.org

2006 YAI/NYL Fashion Show
Saturday, October 28, 2006
Gargulio's, 12 noon Brooklyn, NY
In honor of the principals of seven NYL Schools, featuring the Fashion Institute of Technology. For more informtaion please contact Nicole O'Hara at

2006 Benefit for Hope Gala
Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cipriani 23rd, honoring BMO Capital Markets, Corporation of the Year. Master of ceremonies, Al Roker
The Toy Building, 200 Fifth Avenue 6:30 reception, 7:30 Program & Dinner. For more infomrtaion please visit
www.yai.org/gala or contact Joanne Kaplan at joanne.kaplan@yai.org

Estate Efficiency Planning Seminar
Would you like to learn how to take advantage of current tax benefits when organizing your estate plans? Come hear distinguished experts speak on this topic and more at an Estate Efficiency Planning Seminar on October 10th or 17th. Contact Lauren Marzo at (212) 273-6121 or
lmarzo@yai.org for more information.


The Network in the News!

Last week, ABC's Eyewitness News featured a music therapy program at the New York League for Early Learning Gramercy School. Click here to read the text of this inspiring news story.


Raise Money for YAI/NIPD: Search with GoodSearch

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We hope that not only will you use GoodSearch as your main search engine from here on out, but will also pass this message on to your friends and family. The more people who use this, the more money will go to support the programs of the YAI/NIPD Network.

Use this link to start searching and support the YAI/NIPD Network.

Randy's Story

Randy and his mom
Watch the Video >>

For years, she waited to hear him say, "I love you, Mom." Randy has made her dream come true.

When Randy was born with cerebral palsy, his mother was told he would never walk or speak. She thought she would never hear him tell her he loves her.

Today, because of the help he receives from his YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network Family Support Specialist, he is an active 13-year-old who enjoys school, riding his scooter and socializing with his friends.

In addition to Family Support Services, Randy attends The Center for Assistive Technology, which not only helped him learn to talk, but also to find his voice and express his ideas, feelings and dreams.

Although Randy has accomplished much, to his mother, his greatest achievement came the day he said "I love you" to her. "For years I have been waiting to hear those words from my son. YAI Family Support Services has given my son a voice and hope for a life filled with many more moments like this."

YAI would not be capable of providing such critically important services for people with disabilities without the help of people like you.

Please help give a voice to those who need it by giving a gift to YAI today.

New YAI Autism Support Group to Begin

To continue our tradition of providing quality services to individuals with autism and their families, YAI/NIPD’s Clinical and Family Services Department will begin offering a support group for parents of children with autism. Meetings, which will begin in the fall, will be available in English and Spanish in Manhattan.

The support group is possible thanks to a $30,000 Manhattan Family Support grant from the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities.

“This new grant further strengthens the YAI/NIPD Network’s capacity to serve families who have a member with autism spectrum disorders, and reinforces our commitment to continued service expansion in this vital area,” said Marco Damiani, Director of YAI/NIPD Clinical and Family Services.

If you know families who might be interested in participating in the new group, please encourage them to call YAI LINK at 212-273-6182

Music Therapist Brings Song and
Hope to Children with Special Needs

Spectrum Connections
Elizabeth Balzano, the Music Therapist at the New York League for Early Learning Gramercy School, says that she has “the best job in the world.”

“I sing all day and develop special relationships with more than 100 kids through music,” said Elizabeth. “I love their laughs. Even their cries are precious to me.”

Elizabeth has been the music therapist at the school for three and a half years, and her methods have helped hundreds of children improve their language, motor and communication skills. One of these kids is Jeremy, a 5-year-old who always looks forward to singing and dancing in class.

"During the past two years at the Gramercy School, Jeremy has grown tremendously in his life skills, social skills and behavior coping mechanisms,” said Marge, Jeremy’s mother. “Music is an area of interest that Jeremy has always gravitated to, and using music as a tool to help motivate and encourage all the other areas of learning has been very successful for us."

Now, the techniques used in Elizabeth’s music therapy class can be brought into homes through Spectrum Connections, a series of programs in which Elizabeth uses music, song, movement and interaction to encourage children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to connect with their emotions, thoughts, words and bodies.

“I think we’ve created something really special with Spectrum Connections,” Elizabeth said. “It speaks to all children, but speaks very well to children on the autism spectrum and with other developmental delays.”

According to Cleve Keller, the creator of Spectrum Connections and the parent of a child with autism, these programs are the first of their kind to be entertaining while containing a core curricular that supports and addresses the developmental needs of a child with autism.

“One thing that I've learned about kids on the autism spectrum is that they are, first and foremost, kids, and I wanted to connect with them as kids,” Cleve said. “Spectrum Connections was born out of the belief that these kids should have the coolest, most entertaining programs possible.”

Music To Their Ears

“The day after my autistic daughter saw the DVDs, she was crying about something, looked at me and said ‘I'm sad.’ That was the first time she has ever labeled an emotion, and I credit the music class,” said a mother from Ohio.

To learn more about services available through the New York League for Early Learning, please call 1-866-2-YAI-LINK, visit http://www.yai.org/, or e-mail link@yai.org.

For more information on the two Spectrum Connections DVDs “Connection Emotions” and “Connecting Body Movement,” visit http://www.spectrumconnections.com/.


Masked - The Event

Masked logo for newsletter
Every Brighter Futures Society event is upscale, exciting and unique. The group’s next event, “Masked”, will take place on Thursday, October 19, 2006, from 7:30-11:00 p.m., at a fabulous loft at 267 Fifth Avenue. Guests will especially enjoy mingling on the outdoor, wraparound terrace, which offers a spectacular view of the Manhattan skyline. Attendees will be offered an array of cocktails, a selection of premium beers, tempting cuisine, and a silent auction and raffle. At least 250 BFS members and their friends and colleagues are expected to attend.

More than 300 beautiful and unique masks will be handmade for this event by people with developmental disabilities. Each guest will receive a mask to enjoy at the event and to keep as a decorative reminder of the abilities and accomplishments of people with disabilities.

Learn More

The Brighter Futures Society (BFS) is a group of community-minded, financially secure, professional New Yorkers, ages 25-40, working primarily in finance, fashion, media, and business. BFS members are committed to helping people with autism, intelectual disabilites, Down syndrome, and other developmental disabilities lead independent, fulfilling lives.

The BFS hosts exciting special events that raise awareness of the needs and abilities of people with developmental disabilities, and that educate guests about the work of the YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network. Ultimately, the group strives to build a new audience of volunteers and donors to support the work of the YAI/NIPD Network. Click here to see photos from last event

Thanks to our participating sponsors: 42below, Heartland Brewery, Nubest Spa, Ivy Bakery, GusSoda, Smart Water, Wine Cellar Sorbets, North West Airlines, Vineyard 48, Crumbs, Chateau l'hesperit.


The “Masked” event is a highly visible, prestigious opportunity for individuals and local businesses to support the YAI/NIPD Network and to help break down barriers and stereotypes that keep people with developmental disabilities from achieving their full potential. Sponsorship opportunities range from $1,000 to $10,000. Benefits include a Web presence, product sampling, signage, and more. For information please contact Nicole O'Hara at nicole.ohara@yai.org.

The Corporate Source Makes A Winning Return to US Open

US Open
The pouring rain was not about to stop Nickiann. She was determined to keep tables and seats at the US Open Food Village as dry as possible so that eager tennis fans could eat and relax as they awaited the first matches of the Grand Slam tennis tournament.

“I like cleaning the tables,” said Nickiann, who attends YAI/NIPD’s Queens Supported Work and Training (SWAT) Program.

About halfway through her shift, Khamala flexed her arms.

“It’s a lot of work, but I like it,” said Khamala, who attends our Bronx SWAT Program. “This is my first time at the Open. And it’s my first job with pay!”

Consumers Take Pride in Their Work

Nickiann and Khamala were among nearly 60 graduates of YAI/NIPD employment training programs hired as porters by Compass Group, which handles the catering for the 650,000 guests at the US Open. Their job was to maintain the busy food village during the two-week tournament, which took place from August 28-September 10 in Flushing Meadows, Queens. This marks the eighth consecutive year that our consumers have been relied upon to get the job done.

Despite the rainy weather during the tournament’s opening days, the workers performed their tasks with professionalism and enthusiasm, demonstrating to everyone that people with disabilities are hard-working and dedicated employees who have what it takes to be successful in the workplace.

“It really is amazing to watch our consumers in action,” said Amanda Ceraulo, Assistant Manager of Corporate Relations for YAI/NIPD’s Employment Initiatives Department. “The pride they take in their jobs and the sense of accomplishment they have at the end of the day are obvious to anyone who sees them working. They see firsthand how valuable they are to the Compass Group team.”

‘A Great Experience’ for Compass Group

“It’s been a great experience and they bring a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the job,” said Bill Wilson, Director of Operations for Levy Restaurants’ Sports & Entertainment Group. “We’d love to continue this program for years to come.”

The workers are employees of The Corporate Source, a member of the YAI/NIPD Network which provides jobs for people with disabilities through outsourcing arrangements with the government and private sectors.

“Companies like Compass Group view The Corporate Source as a valuable business solution,” said Michael Kramer, Director of The Corporate Source. “Our employment trainees are hard working, loyal and reliable, and they appreciate the opportunity to prove their abilities to work at such a high-profile and visible event.”

Workers Shine in Tennis Pro’s Eyes

During the tournament, Bethanie Mattek, who plays on the Sony Ericsson WTA Tour, visited with some of our workers before heading off to her second-round doubles match of the day. She praised their efforts at the Open and urged them to keep working hard. Bethanie also encouraged our consumers, many of whom are seeking year-round employment, to “stick with it” when searching for a job. “When you find something you love, go for it,” she said.

Watching Dreams Come True

What makes this year’s return of our consumers to the Open especially significant is that it included individuals who may not have had the opportunity in the past. Thanks to an innovative New York State program — Options for People Through Services (OPTS) — consumers who require extra support became successful employees who benefited from the help of job coaches.

“Working makes me feel good,” said Jessica, who attends YAI/NIPD’s Bronx OPTS employment program. “And I’m getting a paycheck for the first time!”

“It makes me so happy to see their dreams come true,” said Nicole Coppola, a YAI/NIPD Employment Training Specialist from Brooklyn SWAT. “I’m very proud of all of them.”

Employers interested in hiring reliable, well-trained workers should contact Elizabeth Repoli, Senior Manager of Corporate Relations in YAI/NIPD’s Employment Initiatives Department, at 212-273-6134 or erepoli@yai.org.

Contents Copyright(C)2006 YAI/NIPD Network - All Rights Reserved

YAI/National Institute for People with Disabilities Network, 460 West 34th Street, 11th Floor, New York, NY 10001-2382

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