The Town of Oyster Bay Sanitationmen's Benevolent Association presented a $3,500 donation check in support of furthering the Center's mission. In attendance were Senator Phil Boyle, Town of Oyster Bay Sanitationmen’s Benevolent Association VP and Veteran Recovery Coalition Robert M Cornicelli, Sanitationmen’s Treasurer, Tom Luongo, JoAnne Watson and Dominic Watson. Dominic (pictured) is a member of the DD community.
Captain Robert Cornicelli shared a story of Dominic and his mom JoAnne, who dedicate their time to the Veteran Recovery Coalition and happily deliver meals to the veterans to give back to the community.
Dominic’s kindness and tireless work commitment served as an inspiration to donate to the Winters Center for Autism – dedicated to helping adults with autism experience purpose and fulfillment through job training, placement and access to a variety of recreational, health and wellness programs.
A heartfelt thank you to all involved for supporting and believing in the Center's mission!
Colleen is officially a HOMEOWNER!! - thanks to the collective efforts and kindness of community members near and far, Colleen’s home and job at Home Depot are safe and secure.
Back in December 2020, we shared a story of Colleen, an East Islip resident of over 40 years and a veteran Home Depot employee of 23 years, who was in danger of losing the only home she ever knew.
Losing a home goes far beyond becoming homeless for Colleen. Her parents dedicated tireless years to helping Colleen master day-to-day activities and her independence as an adult is strongly tied to her ability to navigate her neighborhood. Colleen, now in her forties, can walk to her doctor, food store, bakery, laundromat and most importantly, she can get to work.
Colleen walks to a nearby bus stop and takes the bus to Home Depot where she has worked for the past 23 years. “My mother and I practiced the route to work for years” shared Colleen.
In April 2018, Colleen’s mother suffered a massive stroke leaving her in need of nursing home care and is currently on life support. Due to costly medical bills, Colleen could no longer afford to keep her forever home.
Spearheaded by Susan Palladino - Home Depot Manager, Colleen’s coworkers and East Islip residents, initially raised more than $15,000 in just a few weeks. Hopeful and determined to help Colleen preserve her home, Susan reached out to Boomer Esiason, a retired NFL quarterback, to share the story of Colleen, a fellow East Islip native in need of help.
Esiason who is deeply rooted in the East Islip community, was touched by Colleen’s Story and promptly reached out to Joe Winters, of Winters Center for Autism. As a founder of an organization dedicated to helping people with autism gain purpose and fulfillment through employment, helping Colleen preserve her home was of utmost importance to Joe. Because for Colleen, losing her home would have resulted in losing her job, her support system and the only life and routine she ever knew.
The two entities quickly combined their efforts to help. In addition to urging the listeners on his show, The Morning Show with Boomer & Gio, to give what they could, Esiason pledged to match the first $25,000 raised. “It’s not the amount we each give, it’s the amount of people who give.” Tweeted Boomer.
In today’s global pandemic it is important to keep our humanity and remain connected through kindness and generosity. We are happy to tell you that thanks to your generosity, Colleen will be able to remain in her home, maintain her job and the safety and security she had worked so hard to achieve. We are eternally grateful to all the kind-hearted people who supported the WCFA Relief Fund to make this happen. Your incredible kindness made a world of difference for Colleen and serves as a powerful reminder of what a community can achieve when people come together for a common cause.
Utmost gratitude goes out to Susan for recognizing a problem and advocating for a colleague in need, to Boomer and Gio at WFAN Sports Radio for utilizing their platform to spread the news about Colleen’s predicament and to Joe for never turning his back when given an opportunity to help.
Sadly, Joe Winters passed away following a brief battle with COVID-19, early January of 2021 and is not here to celebrate this news with us. His big heart and spirit of giving will always be our organization’s guiding light. His legacy will live on forever in our hearts as we continue to create a more inclusive and meaningful future for adults with autism.
You can hear more about the story in the link below.
Winters Center for Autism Team
The Winters Center for Autism is committed to enhancing the quality of life for adults with autism through job creation, training and placement while helping businesses to develop and implement programs to employ people with autism.