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Employment 21+

"Self-Direction Saturday" - SNACK* Models Walk The Red Carpet Fashion Show on May 11th @ 4PM

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"Self-Direction Saturday" - SNACK* Models Walk The Red Carpet Fashion Show on May 11th @ 4PM

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Sitting at Special Needs Mass at Blessed Sacrament Church yesterday with Jackie Ceonzo of SNACK*, it dawned on me how much I/we take her for granted in the Self-Direction community of NYC. Besides the support for SNACK*, this event is also an opportunity to meet many of the Self-Direction programs and community that we all need to understand better. Here is the opportunity to join SNACK* for a fun day of shopping at:


The SNACK* 2nd Annual Fashion Show

Fabulous gift items for Mother's Day, and pick up a few things for 

yourself too! Wonderful array of items will be on display:

  •  Endeavor Athletic Wear - Sophisticated Workout Clothes for the Modern Athlete

  • Kuo Ting Jewelry by Debbie Kuo - Vintage Meets Modern/One-of-a-Kind Pieces/Amazing Prices

  • Marie Atelier Handbags - High Quality/Special Collection/Handmade in Brazil

  • Goodthin.gs - Fashionable Sneakers by Branding Genius Jeff Henderson

  • SNACK*- Coffee, Student Art Scarves & Gear - All inventory, labeling, & packaging are handled by our wonderful group of  SNACK* 21+ members.

  • LuvMichael - Gluten & Nut Free Granola, Produced by Young Adults with Autism

  • Invictus Enterprises - Sweet Potato, All Natural Dog Biscuits, Hand Made by Young People of all Abilities

  • Village Health Works - Items Produced in Burundi Supporting Quality Health Care and Education for the Community  

  • The Otto Specht School and 21+ Community - Offers Waldorf Education and hands-on learning for children and 21+ young adults with learning challenges and developmental delays. They will be selling student-made items featuring ingredients from our farm in Rockland County.


 

SNACK* MODELS 

AS OF 5/2/19*

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Ian Aquino

Shoen Assis

Geri Avilai

Yianni Batalias

George Billson

Ava Blyn

Noah Buhler

Joe Ceonzo

Aiden Del Aguila

Harry George 

Greenlee Gutterman

Ian Gutterman

William Hamilton

Julia Kaminsky

Noko Kurusu

Maxi Lupa

Simon Portelli

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Leo Salinas

Allan Sanchez

Dylan Singer

Dusty Sweeney

Jordan Torres

Justin Torres

Julio A Vega

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NYU Silver Partners with Tech Kids Unlimited + Dustin "Tech Dude" Sweeney

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NYU Silver Partners with Tech Kids Unlimited + Dustin "Tech Dude" Sweeney

I am not sure how it took me so long to discover Beth Rosenberg and her program at TechKids Unlimited:

Tech Kids Unlimited is a not-for-profit technology-based educational organization for kids ages 7 to 21 with special needs. Our program was created specifically to work with students with IEPs and 504 plans.


In part with funding from the NYU Community Fund, the organization now serves over 350 young people with autism spectrum disorder, learning and emotional disabilities, and processing challenges. It offers distinct programming for kids ages 7-13 and teens ages 14-21, with the former focused on learning computer science principles and developing bonds with like-minded peers and the latter focused on applying their knowledge through work-based learning experiences to gain job skills. More.


Dustin Sweeney @ Tech Kids

Dustin Sweeney has attended two classes at Tech Kids:

As I get deeper into the programming and jobs for the 21+ Autism/DD population, I am amazed at Dustin’s interest and abilities. As the father of a “Low-Verbal Autistic”, my expectations were low for these two classes. Dustin loves YouTube, but I was not sure he wanted to try programming and development. Wrong Again! Dustin was clearly engaged and Beth and her staff gave Dustin as much attention as he needed, and they gave us leeway to shadow Dustin at the two classes.

It is an awesome atmosphere at NYU. Director of Operations Cristina Ulerio and the Tech Kids staff are great with our population. They find that delicate line of support, engagement, and discipline to focus the students on the task at hand. For two days of his life, it felt like Dustin was at college:


What’s Next?

So I started the conversation of 21+ Programming and Jobs for our population with Beth, and with a 20 year old son in her house, Beth and the Board of TKU are looking at ways to expand TKU Digital Agency. How and when (not if!!), so stay tuned. Beth is just a natural at the “Integration Model”, as she just blends in herself:

Beth Rosenberg (front right) and the TK Hackathon Team

Beth Rosenberg (front right) and the TK Hackathon Team

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Updated: Otto Specht Spring Farm Faire - Saturday April 13th, 2019

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Updated: Otto Specht Spring Farm Faire - Saturday April 13th, 2019

Here are some updated pictures from today’s Otto Specht Faire, and Thursday’s setup. It was a great day(s), great place, and great people at Otto Specht.


Original Post from March 2019

Get to work Dusty!!

Get to work Dusty!!

I am on the Board of the Otto Specht School in Rockland County, NY, and it is a very unique and special place. Otto Specht is on the campus of the 200 acre Threefold Community, and we are at the beginning stages of building out:

  • Otto Specht 18+ Summer Camp for Commuters;

  • Otto Specht 18+ Young Adult Commuter Program; and

  • Otto Specht 21+ Residential Program (three homes have been purchased by Otto Specht families).

The Spring Faire is a casual opportunity to see the campus and potentially meet some of the staff, students, and the surrounding community. It is a really unique and special place and I will be there along with Dustin Sweeney on April 13th, so come check it out and see my previous writeup on Otto Specht/Threefold for additional background:

https://www.ottospechtschool.org/farm-faire-1



Music is a daily event at Otto Specht/Threefold.

Music is a daily event at Otto Specht/Threefold.

27 Miles to Otto Specht from Sweeney’s NYC Apartment

 

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Podcast with Journey Skills: "Possibilities with Mike Sweeney of Carousel 51"

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Podcast with Journey Skills: "Possibilities with Mike Sweeney of Carousel 51"

I met Debra Caldow of Journey Skills via Alison Berkley of Invictus Enterprises, and Alison did a Podcast with Debra here.

Debra is based on the Southeast coast of England in Kent, and they position their Podcast and Blog as:

“We have a vision for our daughter, and we want to provide a central hub for like-minded parents and carers – a place to find resources that will help develop skills around purpose, relationships and daily living skills. Young people with additional needs can achieve many great things, and we want to help them on their path to greater independence.  We aim to provide practical resources to parents and carers to make the journey a bit easier.”

It’s interesting to hear the comparisons and contrast of USA and England for Autism services, and here is my first Podcast (22 minutes):

Podcast Episode 52. Rather than waiting until we have to act the better option is to start exploring what is already out there and start actively working towards creating solutions. This is exactly what this week’s podcast guest Mike Sweeney is doing.

Mike talks about the various projects that he has become involved in as he looks towards finding a community for his son Dustin to live in when he is ready for independent living.

Mike talks about how he has moved from thinking of housing as being the most important focus of his efforts to the realization that work would as he puts it “changes peoples perspective”.

He also discusses how the system in the USA is changing towards young people with additional needs being given more control over their own futures through what is known as self-direction. Mike also reminds us how important integration is in terms of ensuring that our young person with additional needs can have an independent future even when we are no longer around.

Although Mike’s journey is not a unique one, there is much to learn from the way he is navigating his way through the challenges. Listening to Mike’s story will help you as you plan ahead for your own son or daughter’s future independence.
— Debra Caldow of Journey Skills - Kent, England

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Kessler Foundation Signature Employment Grants - non-traditional solutions for individuals with disabilities.

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Kessler Foundation Signature Employment Grants - non-traditional solutions for individuals with disabilities.

For those creating “non-traditional solutions” in the employment and jobs category, please take a look:

Kessler Foundation awards Signature Employment Grants yearly to support non-traditional solutions that increase employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Our success is in stimulating ideas from the field that spark new models that are adaptable to replication and scalability, and may be models for policy change. Kessler Foundation’s flexible funding dollars encourage organizations to pursue promising approaches and concepts beyond what they might have done without our support.
— Kessler Foundation

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NYC Showing Monday January 14, 2019 - "Extraordinary People: A Documentary About Adults with Autism & Employment"

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NYC Showing Monday January 14, 2019 - "Extraordinary People: A Documentary About Adults with Autism & Employment"

On Monday January 14, 2019, Luv Michael, NSASA, and Extraordinary Ventures of North Carolina are hosting a screening of "Extraordinary People: A Documentary About Adults with Autism & Employment". Following the film, there will be a panel discussion on the business of Luv Michael and employment for 21+ Autism population.

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Luv Michael is an existing Autism business in NYC, and they train, educate, and employ people with Autism. Luv Michael produces a high quality organic, gluten-free, and nut-free granola without harmful chemicals and toxic allergens. I am a happy client and I typically have 2-3 bags in my backpack on a daily basis!!

Please RSVP to Clare Davis if you can attend: clare@luvmichael.com


Please join us for a private screening of a new documentary and conversation around creating meaningful employment for adults with autism and disabilities.

The 30-minute film follows the stories of six individuals across the spectrum who tap into individual skills and strengths to find success working at a special purpose business called Extraordinary Ventures. “They’ve been told they can’t do it. Well, look at them now!”

While a job is a vital source of pride and self-esteem, opportunities for this population are scarce. It is incumbent on us all—individuals, families, communities, employers—to be more accepting and open to new ideas. The film explores ways to create businesses and meaningful employment around what people are good at, not what they can’t do.

A panel discussion will follow the film.
— Clare Davis of Luv Michael

Monday, January 14, 2019

7:00PM

AMC Loews Orpheum 7

1538 Third Avenue, East 86th Street

New York, NY 10028

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SSI Recipients CAN work - Cornell University Yang & Tan Institute

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SSI Recipients CAN work - Cornell University Yang & Tan Institute

Cornell University’s Yang-Tan Institute advances equal opportunity for people with disabilities in partnership with federal and state government and philanthropic organizations.

I am looking forward to the day when Dustin Sweeney is earning a paycheck from his job. However, that brings complications in terms of his Social Security and other benefits. This webinar by Ray Cebula of Cornell University’s Yang-Tan Institute on Employment and Disability starts to answer those questions on how to keep your SSI benefits while you work. It is a complicated conversation, and it is only the start of the conversation.

To help navigate this process, Dustin Sweeney and our Developmentally Disabled population have access to a “Benefits Planning Agency” which can be found at:

Social Security Administration’s “Ticket To Work”

PS - Yes, I know we need less rather than more agencies in the navigation of this Self-Direction world, but this is where we are today.


Here is the slide presentation from the webinar, and below that is a streaming link:


“SSI Recipients Can Work” - Streaming Link: http://edimedia.org/tiny/kk8av

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