Summer 2022 Newsletter

Shave the 'Stache Celebrates 10-Years and $100K+
10-years ago, Paul Halvatzis, a QSAC parent and a Vice-Chairperson of the Board of Directors, held the first Shave the 'Stache event at the Redken Saloon Salon in Astoria. Since then, the event has become an annual celebration that has raised more than $100,000 in support of QSAC's programs and services for the autism community of New York City and Long Island. The picture (left) is from this year's event and features (L to R) Lisa Veglia, QSAC's CEO, Paul Halvatzis, and Larry Litwack, a member of QSAC's Board of Directors.
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Believe Gala Raises $300K in Support of QSAC
QSAC's annual gala, Believe, was held on Tuesday, June 7th, at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in New York City. The event brought together more than 300 guests and raised $300,000 in support of QSAC's programs and services for the autism community. The benefit recognized three honorees: Barbara Lehrer of the Beacon Group, CAI Neurodiverse Solutions, and Sentinel Benefits and Financial Group. The event also featured remarks by Susan Lacher of Koeppel Auto Group. She introduced Edwin, a Koeppel employee hired through QSAC's vocational rehabilitation program after completing an internship with the company.
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QSAC Participants Take to the Tennis Courts
One of QSAC's group homes took the court earlier in the spring for several tennis outings. The outings were held in April and May at Great Neck South High School on Long Island. Everyone enjoyed learning about the game and practicing with staff and other residents.
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Students Host Q&A with "D-Voyant" Author
On Wednesday, June 29th, students at the QSAC School in the Bronx hosted a question-and-answer session with the author of the D-Voyant comic books published by Black Maverick Comics. Students had read the first book in the series, D-Voyant: The Forgotten Hero Rises, in preparation for the event. The comic is a story about a young teen with disabilities overcoming the challenges set before him with determination and courage.
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Mission Market Celebrates Grand Opening
Mission Market—a retail shop and transitional work environment operated by individuals with autism—is a Quality Services for the Autism Community (QSAC) project. As part of QSAC’s larger vocational training initiative, Mission Market provides a supportive work environment for individuals with developmental disabilities to improve their vocational, communication, and socialization skills in a community-based setting. The program is unique because it is a work-based learning environment that is open to the public. Mission Market's new storefront in Woodmere (Long Island), NY, celebrated its grand opening on Tuesday, June 14, 2022. Pictures from the event are featured below. Mission Market is open Monday - Thursday from 10 am to 2 pm. Visit the store at 1019A Broadway, Woodmere, NY.
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QSAC Staff Participate at ABAI 2022
Anya Silver, M.A., BCBA, Senior Director of Clinical for Day Services, joined Dr. Mary McDonald (Eden ll/ The Genesis School), Dr. Peter Gerhardt (The Epic School), and Dr. Robert LaRue (Rutgers University) to present a session titled, "The importance of independence and interdependence in adults with autism spectrum disorders." Lindsay Maffei, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA, QSAC's Director of ABA Training Development, served as a discussant for a symposium with Anderson Center for Autism titled, "Promoting Staff Behavior in Unprecedented Times: Utilizing Behavior Skills Training and Reinforcement Schedules to Promote Effective Staff Behaviors." In addition to Anya Silver and Lindsay Maffei, QSAC had several QSAC staff members attend the conference from both the adult and education programs. ABAI 2022 was held in Boston, MA, from May 28th to 30th.
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Astoria Day Hab Celebrates Flag Day
Participants and staff at the Astoria Day Hab celebrated Flag Day. Below are pictures of participants and staff with flags from around the world.
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Team QSAC will be in the NYC Marathon
QSAC has been awarded five charity spots in the upcoming NYC Marathon on November 6th. This year will be the first time in QSAC's history that we have been awarded slots for the full Marathon! Team QSAC will be featured among leading nonprofits such as Robin Hood, Memorial Sloan Kettering, and many others. Our NYC Marathon team includes QSAC's CEO, Lisa Veglia, and Maleek Welsh, who are QSAC employees. You can support them by visiting their fundraising pages. Other team members include Clare Penny and Joseph Lach, former QSAC employees, and Ryan Raskin. Please contact AnnaDea Diotalevi with questions at adiotalevi@qsac.com or (212) 244-5560 x2064.
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Koeppel Auto Group Sponsors 2022 Car Raffle to Benefit QSAC
Koeppel Auto Group is once again generously supporting QSAC through our annual car raffle. This year's raffle is underway, and tickets can be purchased online using the QR code to the right or by using the link below. All tickets are digital to help avoid the loss of paper tickets and make it more efficient for people to purchase them. The drawing will take place on Giving Tuesday (November 29, 2022), just in time for the holiday season. Purchase your tickets today, and you could win a 2022 Subaru Outback OR $15,000 in cash.
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In-Home Behavior Management Training (Manhattan)
This short-term parent training program supports families of individuals with communication, social and behavioral difficulties. Families must live in Manhattan, have OPWDD eligibility, and the child must live at home. The parent trainer will provide families with a parent and individual intake, then the individual’s behavior will be assessed through observation and parental report. The parent trainer will then conduct, as needed, a functional behavior assessment, behavior intervention planning, teaching of data collection, intervention strategies, and model behavior change techniques and positive procedures. Follow-up visits, interviews, and satisfaction surveys are used to monitor the program's effectiveness continually and adjust the delivery of services when needed. To learn more, please contact Deepa Suchdeve at deepa.suchdeve@qsac.com
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Day School Celebrates 2022 Graduation
QSAC's Whitestone Day School celebrated six graduates from the Class of 2022 and four students from the Class of 2021. The school's staff coordinated the celebration and did an incredible job putting together this memorable event. Congratulations to all graduates, and best wishes as you begin this new life chapter!
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Team QSAC Runs NYC Half Marathon
This year's NYC Half Marathon team included QSAC's CEO, Lisa Veglia, Dita DeSena, Rocio Chavez, Danny Azzo, and Jessica Margulies. QSAC's participation in this year's NYC Half Marathon was particularly meaningful given that the team ran in memory of Eileen Breen, QSAC's long-time director of quality assurance. Eileen previously ran the Half Marathon as a member of Team QSAC. In addition to supporting this event and countless other fundraisers, she was an advocate, mentor, and friend to many people across QSAC and beyond.
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OPWDD is Hosting Strategic Plan Forums
OPWDD is preparing its 2023-2027 Strategic Plan and we invite you to provide feedback on the draft plan now on our website (a plain language summary is available). Using your input, OPWDD will adopt a final Strategic Plan that will guide the agency over the next five years. In addition to in-person forums, OPWDD will be coordinating virtual forums. Additional information, including a schedule of upcoming forums, can be viewed on the Updates for Families page of QSAC's website.
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QSAC Hosts Virtual ABANYC Conference
This year's virtual conference was held on Friday, June 24th. The conference featured a series of presentations, including a keynote address by Robert H. LaRue, Ph.D., BCBA-D, a Clinical Professor in the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University. Dr. LaRue's keynote was titled "Ethical Considerations in the Integration of Choice into the Lives of Individuals with ASD." Additional conference sessions were led by Peter Sturmey, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology at Queens College and The Graduate Center, City University of New York; Amy Davies-Lackey, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA-NY, SAS/SDA, Director of Education at Manhattan Children's Center; and panel on self-advocacy was hosted by Noor Syed, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA/LBS, Assistant Professor of Applied Behavior Analysis and Clinical Coordinator at Empire State College.
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Job Club Meets Every Wednesday via Zoom
QSAC's weekly Job Club provides individuals with autism with an opportunity to socialize with others while also taking part in an array of training workshops on topics such as communication in the workplace, resume and cover letter preparation, interview and networking skills, teamwork, customer service skills, advocating for your rights in the workplace, and other skills that are important to ensure success securing and maintaining employment. Job Club also provides a safe space for individuals to ask questions and discuss situations that come up at work. QSAC's Job Club meetings take place on Wednesdays from 10:00 AM to 11:00 AM. Meetings are currently being held via Zoom. To join an upcoming Job Club meeting, please email Steve Gardi at steve.gardi@qsac.com.
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