October 2016

The LABBB Collaborative

Sharing best practices for promoting inclusive opportunities for students with special needs     
2016 LABBB Reunion Dance
In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri

A Reunion For Life
  The phone calls and questions start flooding in a few weeks before the LABBB Reunion Dance that was held on Friday, September 30. Some students are asking when they will receive their tickets in the mail, family members are asking the date and time of the dance, and we receive last minute calls by LABBB graduates. This happens every year! You can feel the excitement building for both students and families. The Crestview in Woburn is filled with LABBB graduates as far back as 1987. Our Alumni list keeps building and the LABBB community continues to grow. Graduates still have a connection to LABBB whether they graduated last year or 40 years ago.
Graduates arrive to the reunion dressed in suits and dresses, and some graduates have arrived in limo's in past years. After the graduates have had some time to mingle, everyone sits down to dinner and the conversations keep going. They are just enjoying themselves with their friends. After dinner, well, lets just say the party begins! When that first dance song is played, everyone quickly leaves their table and is on the dance floor for the remainder of the evening.
The reunion dance is such a unique part of the LABBB experience. Every September this dance is a reminder that a connection to the LABBB community is so much more powerful that we can imagine. If you come experience this reunion, even for only a few minutes, you will experience what the LABBB community is all about!
Currently, we are in the process of putting together a LABBB student directory for current students, and we also plan on putting together a LABBB Alumni Directory. I had a recent conversation with a parent and we talked about many ideas to connect graduate families and offer guidance and resources for group home living.
Recently I met with Dafna Krouk-Gordon who founded Towards Independent Living and Learning (TILL) group residence housing. We discussed many ideas for starting a partnership between LABBB and TILL. This organization is an extension of what we do in LABBB and finding ways to connect families that are interested in group home living is something from which I believe the LABBB community can benefit.
As I talk with the graduates at the LABBB reunion, I ask where they are living, where they are working, and what they are doing for fun. In LABBB we have the resources to provide services up until age 22, but what happens after? How do families connect? How do they get their son or daughter into a group home residence long after they have graduated from LABBB?
The reunion dance reminds me that LABBB is here for life, both before and after age 22.
We want to offer a resource for life.  


2016 LABBB Reunion Video
Friday, September 30
We had 200 LABBB Graduates attend our Annual Reunion Dance. Please click on the video below to experience the LABBB Community at its very best. 

For any LABBB Alumni that are not part of our Directory please contact: Paula Rizzo, prizzo@labbb.net

Welcome to Camp Foxy!
By: Beth Veguilla
Our 5th grade students were asked to join the students at Fox Hill to participate in Camp Foxy.  During these two days, the students took part in a camp like setting (with less structure) while still learning.  On Thursday September 22nd, the students made an iMovie on plant life around the school and the Fox Hill Garden.  On Friday September 23rd, the students rolled up their sleeves, put on gloves, and dissected a squid!  They were able to explore the eyes, tentacles and much, much more with the guidance of Fox Hill's science guru, Mr. Musselman.   Students were thrilled to learn and be included in all the fun!!

Best Buddies Update from Chenery Middle School
By: Sarah Bennett

We are off to an exciting start for the Best Buddies chapter at Chenery Middle School! We had an incredible number of Chenery students sign up to be apart of the program this year, and we had about 60 students at the first group activity.
Each student in the LABBB program was paired with a Chenery Middle School buddy, and these buddy pairs will remain the same throughout the whole year. There are several friendships that were formed last year, and are continuing this year! It was incredible watching these friendships form and grow last year, and it's great to see how excited the students become when they know they get to see their buddies and spend some quality time together.
Each month, there is a large group activity here at the middle school. This past week, we started things off with the students getting to know their buddies through completing an All About Me poster.  They worked together in their buddy pairs to find out things they had in common, things they found interesting, or just some fun ways to decorate their poster. We then gathered together in the large community room for some fun fall activities, such as a fall scavenger hunt, fall bingo, and a pin the apple on the tree activity!
As many of you know, the Chenery students worked so hard last year, and their efforts were recognized in a recent nomination for Best Buddies Middle School Chapter of the Year! I'm thrilled to report that Chenery Middle School WON that award, and we are now the National Best Buddies Chapter of the year! It's been very exciting for the students, and we have some fun celebrations in store!
I have truly enjoyed being the faculty advisor for this great group of students, and I am incredibly proud of what this program has become.  I am looking forward to the great year ahead with Best Buddies!

Volunteering Matters
By: Kristin Spinosa
The first steps to employment are exposure and experience. How do we ever know who we are, or what we want to be without either one? And we, as educators, recognize how important this is for our students. They have their entire lives ahead of them, and it's our job to help shape their paths.
LABBB's Vocational Department has been busy since this academic school year began. The topic of many of our meetings has been 'exposure' and 'experience.' How do we increase it? How can we provide our students with the most valuable and authentic opportunities?
Well - volunteering is our answer! It's a meaningful way to encourage students to experience new environments, practice different skills, and meet amazing community members. Let's pay it forward!
We're proud to announce our new or expanded volunteering sites - Minuteman Senior Services (Arlington Senior Center), Arlington Eats, and CareOne (Lexington).
Now, we've had a long-standing relationship with Minuteman Senior Services, as our students have consistently participated in the Meals-on-Wheels Program at Arlington Senior Center. While volunteering, students partake in the sorting, packaging, and delivering of food and beverage items (both lunch and dinner) for local elderly citizens. We are now increasing our hours, thanks to Ed Reardan, Arlington Senior Center's Dining Manager. Thanks again, Ed, for expanding our students' opportunities at your facility!
Thanks to Donna Vanderlinden, a classroom teacher at LABBB (Arlington High School),  we've initiated a relationship with Arlington Eats. This local volunteer program has a mission to provide the students of Arlington with healthy snacks and meals throughout the academic school year, school vacations, and summers. Arlington Eats is based out of Thompson Elementary School, and is run by several Arlington Public School employees. LABBB students head to Thompson Elementary School two days per week. They bag various snacks, and wash and pack fruit to help prepare for the students who benefit from the program. Thanks, Karen LaRusso Roth, for opening up an amazing door for LABBB!
And finally, CareOne, a nursing facility for the elderly. We were presented with this opportunity from Mark Hurynowicz, CareOne's Activities Director. At this site, students will be greeting patients, completing errands for patients and nurses, participating in recreation opportunities, and engaging in conversation with patients. We're excited to begin volunteering! Thanks, Mark, for allowing our students to build relationships with some wonderful people!

And we'll continue to grow! Please contact us with any additional thoughts or leads!
LABBB AHS - Unified Gym
By: Donna Vanderlinden
Arlington High School and LABBB AHS are piloting a Unified Gym Class for the fall semester.   Students from AHS signed up to participate in this class last spring.  They are preparing and implementing lesson plans and activities for 2 gym classes per week for LABBB students.

This is a first for both programs!  So far we have participated in adapted soccer, football and tennis!  All the students really seem to be enjoying the class. It is great to watch how powerful peer modeling is!
This unified gym class offers such a great opportunity for all involved!   We are looking forward to the rest of the sessions!  
Recreation News and Events
By: Paula Rizzo, Integration and Recreation Coordinator
Recreation Resource links:

Along with recreation activities at LABBB, we often receive information regarding other recreational activities that are going on in other communities.  Check these out at their websites.  

If you have new ideas to offer, please email them to prizzo@.labbb.net. We are always looking for new ideas and opportunities our students will enjoy!

Remember to follow @LABBBREC on Twitter

Recreation Brochure 2016-2017

Parent Resources and Events
  • S chool Cancellation Policy: 
    All LABBB programs follow the school cancellations in their respective towns.
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LABBB Collaborative Central Office
36 Middlesex Turnpike
Bedford, Massachusetts 01730
(339) 222-5615