Volume 4 -November 2018

President's Communication

Time To Make Our Voices Heard
This is the time of year for all of us to make our voices heard through our obligation as Americans to vote. Americans with disabilities often find themselves at the wrong end of the stick in their rights, opportunities and rightful place as citizens. I have encouraged all staff to take the time to vote this year as well as having them encourage their students and clients to vote. Voting is the ultimate response to our feelings of disempowerment and concern over issues that we wish to correct. 
On another note, I would like to personally thank Mary Holtzman, a Principal Engineer at National Grid who invited me to speak to a group of approximately forty National Grid employees regarding employing individuals with disabilities. I had once said to Mary that the primary issue of people with disabilities in employment may be the last great civil rights movement, and she asked me to make that the theme of the presentation. The presentation was well received and CEO is looking to expand our work with National Grid for future opportunities.
CEO has started its virtual Business Advisory Council which we expect to be the opportunity for regional businesses to collaborate with schools and CEO. Please feel free to visit our website bac.ceoincworks.com for further information.  
In September CEO started its programming in Westchester County in the Croton-Harmon School District and have been working with 9 students to start. The focus is to create the seamless transition services to employment prior and until graduation. We will also be working with the White Plains ACCES-VR office in that region.
I would like to thank the staff at CEO in their ongoing efforts to provide the highest quality services for the people we serve. We are looking forward to a great year and the feedback from our districts.

Wishing you and your family a Happy Thanksgiving.

Nicholas A. Villani, President
Get Involved
Business Advisory Council
The Business Advisory Council (BAC) for Career and Employment Options is the evolution of developing business relationships for the students and adults that CEO serves. The format and requirements of the BAC members makes participation and involvement simple, easy and productive. 
The primary purpose for the BAC is to link and provide resources to business to further their community participation and develop a strategic position in community involvement and expanding their workforce to individuals of all level abilities, individuals with disabilities included.

BAC format : 
·      Three meetings per year with one meeting being a general attendance and award meeting. 
·      The other two meetings will be virtual, taped and available for BAC members on the website. 
·      Website will have special entry code for BAC members.
·   BAC members can utilize the blog and other resources such as information regarding tax credits, incentives for hiring youth and youth with disabilities.  

If you are a business that would like to participate, please contact Joelle Kronberg at 631-234-6064
ext 106 or email at jkronberg@ceoincworks.com.
Town of Oyster Bay Department of Intergovernmental Affairs’ Division of Employment and Training Grant

CEO is excited to announce that we have been awarded the 2018-2020 WIOA Program Contract by the Town of Oyster Bay Department of Intergovernmental Affairs’ Division of Employment and Training. This grant will allow CEO the opportunity to provide services to at-risk youth in the Towns of Oyster Bay, North Hempstead, and Glen Cove with the goal of reintegrating previously disengaged youth back into the school system, and community as a whole. Ultimately, the program aims to focus on high school dropout prevention, work readiness skills, and placement in either employment or post-secondary education. In order to be eligible for the program, students must have an economic disadvantage and one additional barrier (a disability, pregnant/parenting, homeless, foster child, involvement with the juvenile justice system). If you know of any students that fit this criteria and could benefit from this program please contact the Program Administrator, Kimberly Miller, at 631-234-6064 x103.

Croton On Hudson Territory
CEO is proud to announce that we have expanded to Croton On Hudson territory and will be working with Croton-Harmon High School.
Success Story
by: Joelle Kronberg

Stephanie Zenatis was one of CEO's ACCES-VR clients. When I first met Stephanie, her focus was to work in the beauty industry. She naturally felt comfortable in that arena due to most of her work experience. As Stephanie and I started to delve into what she was really passionate about, it wasn’t the beauty industry. The challenge was to have her explore something new. After our conversation about potentially changing gears, I had Stephanie do an Interest Inventory. Through the Interest Inventory, we discovered her skills and interest lied in Human Services and Education. Basically, working with children. While Stephanie was at CEO looking for a full-time job,she was working part-time at Skyzone. It gave her great experience with kids. In early May, we decided to switch gears. As a result, we decided to apply to Camp Counselor positions to gain more experience with children. Stephanie landed a job at Camps R’Us , which she loved! Then I knew her calling was to work with kids. During the Summer, we continued searching for jobs in the schools. Late August, she interviewed and was offered a monitor position at Unity Drive Kindergarten-Pre K Center . Stephanie is currently working there and stated “This School is Wonderful!” She loves working at the school and enjoys working with children so much that she applied to work in an after school program and got an interview! I wish Stephanie continued success and thank Unity Drive Kindergarten-Pre K Center for seeing Stephanie’s great potential and giving her this amazing opportunity!

Disability Employment and Disability Awareness Month
On Wednesday , October 10, 2018 , Nicholas A. Villani, President and CEO of Career and Employment Options, Inc.was National Grid's guest speaker at the Enabling Disability Confidence Annual Meeting. Nicholas spoke about employment and individuals with disabilities, and his perspective on impacting change for the disability community. 
School Business Partnerships
School-to-Community Meeting
Fall School-to-Community
Shoreham Wading River Meeting
Shoreham, New York; October 18, 2018 – Over 50 individuals, including local community representatives, educators, and students joined together at the Fall Shoreham-Wading River School-to-Community Meeting. Its objectives were to network and explore collaborative ways for students to connect with the business community. Through small table discussions, each group provided feedback, ideas and next steps to connect with the community businesses that attended. Students were invited to contribute to these conversations, as their opinions are an essential element to ensuring the success of these community collaborations. These meetings foster positive working relationships and enrich Shoreham-Wading River High School students of all learning abilities experiences and perceptions of their career choices.

Thank you to the following community participants:
An Integrative Healing Wellness Center, Awsomotive Car Care,
Celebrate Your Home Team at Keller Williams Realty, Digital Onesource Consulting, Hounds Town, Intelligent Fitness, Maryhaven Center of Hope, Legislator Sarah Anker, Solntse Yoga, Stony Brook University- Social Competence & Treatment Lab, Sundaes.

T hank you to: Dr. Amy Meyer, Director of the STEM
Charles Althoff – Director of Student Services
and Frank Pugliese – Principal of SWR High School
Ann's Corner
Senior Consultant

A great FREE tool you may want to start using with your students is Google Forms. Google Forms can be used in a variety of ways during employment class including KWL, pre-assessments, surveys, reflections, evaluations, personalized learning activities, behavior/mood check ins, feedback forms, exit tickets and more. There are ready made templates you can choose from or you may wish to get creative. Google Forms are easily customized to best fit your needs and adding pictures and videos to the forms is simple. 
I’ve been using Google Forms to assist in preparing my students for their internships as well as community access trips by creating short quizzes and other activities. I am able to quickly and easily determine what information I need to focus on or re-teach, and what concepts my students have mastered. I’ve also used Google Forms to allow students to practice typing their contact information and complete sample online job applications. The forms are printable allowing the work to be submitted to the students district with month end. 
A quick Google search will turn up tons of articles, how-to’s, templates and ideas so you may begin to utilize Google Forms.


Exploring Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology Evaluations and Consultations for students, teachers and parents are in full swing this school year. CEO and its Assistive Technology Professional Brian Levine, is currently providing Assistive Technology Evaluations and Consultations in Smithtown, Miller Place, North Babylon, Middle Country and New York City. Brian Levine has conducted Assistive Technology Evaluations for students ranging from elementary school to high school age. The Assistive Technology Evaluations provided by CEO are utilized by school districts to determine the need for devices (Ipads, Laptops), applications and software that can enhance the capacity of a student to acquire the curriculum. Recommended applications and software may include: touch screen applications for word prediction, text-to-speech, planning and graphic organizing. Consultations are utilized to train the student, teacher and parent on how to effectively utilize the software and applications appropriately. If you’re interested in setting up an Assistive Technology Evaluation or Consultation for a student in your district, please contact the Director of Program Services Lori Rosado, at 631-234-6064 x102.
Above and Beyond-
Employees of the Quarter

Congratulations to John Keating

This quarter, the CEO Above and Beyond Award was awarded to John Keating. John has been a Career Consultant with CEO for the past three years. John is a true team player. When presented with a task, he always responds with “I work for you, let me know what you need and I’ll do it”.  When it comes to delivering services, John has been able to develop a rapport with a wide variety of students and families. He creatively develops job opportunities that align with the interests of his students and has secured multiple job placements over the past year. While working with the Town of Oyster Bay WIOA program, John worked tirelessly to ensure his students reached their goals; three of his students graduated High School this past year and went on to college.  John’s relatable nature and collaborative approach to services has helped secure the success of his students and clients. John is a valuable member of the CEO team and we look forward to his continued success with the Brentwood World of Work program this upcoming year. 
Avery Reisig began working in October as a Career Consultant at CEO, Inc. In this role, Avery provides transitional career services to students on the East end of Long Island. Avery prepares students for the employment process and oversees job placements/internships. Additionally, she helps students achieve their career goals by educating students through the use of the CEO curriculum which focuses on the skills needed to obtain and successfully secure and maintain a position within the community. 
Before working for CEO, Inc., Avery received her M.S.Ed. in Counselor Education from St. John’s University in 2017. She was a school counselor at Baldwin Middle School where she facilitated counseling groups for new entrants , generated academic success plans for students that were not passing core subjects and attended CSE meetings for students with IEPs and 504 plans. She also planned and hosted an annual career day in which Baldwin alumni shared their life and occupational experiences.
Avery believes that interest and passion should drive the students’ employment search. 
Bianca Posa is a Career Consultant with Career and Employment Options. In this role, Bianca works with students in the school based programs to help students develop career readiness skills.
               Bianca is a certified School Counselor, and a recent Mental Health Counselor graduate, obtaining both degrees from Hofstra University. Before joining Career and Employment Options, Bianca worked two internships for both Master’s Degree Programs. She was an intern at H. Frank Carey High School in Franklin Square for three semesters, and an intern at Pride for Youth in Bellmore for two semesters.
Bianca was a former Division 1 tennis athlete at Hofstra University. She currently works as a seasonal tennis instructor at Plandome Country Club and New Hyde Park Memorial High School. Bianca is a big believer in overall health, including the mind-body connection. Passionate about improving individual’s overall well-being, Bianca provides services that will help foster students’ success academically, socially, and emotionally.

Christa Tulloch is a Career Consultant working in the Croton-Harmon School District. Prior to working for CEO, Christa was a paraprofessional in the New York City Department of Education, in District 75, for 4 years. She worked heavily with students who have special needs, more specifically, emotional disturbance, ADHD, ODD, learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorder. While working in the NYC DOE she sparked a passion for helping others. This led her to pursue a degree in the helping profession of school counseling. She obtained a Master’s degree from Alfred University and is now a certified school counselor. As well, she has been a private music instructor for 8 years. Christa created her own music instruction business in 2013, based out of Long Island and the borderline of Queens. She has taught piano, violin, guitar, saxophone and voice over the course of the years. She plans to relocate her music instruction business into Westchester County. Christa is avid about supporting young adults socially and emotionally. She strives to be an outlet for these individuals in order to help them find their passions, interests, goals and ultimately, to be able to grasp all that life has to offer. 
Jessica Avdoulos recently joined Career and Employment Options Inc. as a Career Consultant in August of 2018. She has a master’s degree in adolescent special education, as well as a bachelor’s degree that dual certifies her in general education and special education for birth through sixth grade. She received these degrees through St. Joseph’s College. Jessica has been working with the special needs population for the past six years. She helps students 1:1 in their homes and out in the community reach a variety of goals. Along with this, she has worked for a federally funded program for four and a half years, helping low-income families provide early education for their children. She is looking forward to helping the clients of CEO explore all their options and achieve their goals. 
Courtney Collins is a Career Consultant with Career Employment Options. She currently has her bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and then later pursued her Masters of Science in School Counseling. 
For the last five years, Courtney has been working in the field of Special Education with both adults and children with various physical and intellectual disabilities. She spent two years as a Teacher’s Assistant at DDI, where she worked closely with children with Autism, using Applied Behavior Analysis to help the students with their academics and social skills. She spent the remaining three years working with adults with disabilities as a Community Integration Specialist at Independent Support Services, and a Behavior Intervention Specialist at United Cerebral Palsy. In these roles, she was responsible for tasks such as staff training, integrating individuals out into the community, creating social opportunities, providing individual counseling, creating Behavior Support Plans for addressing specific behaviors, and analyzing behavioral data. In her current role as a Career Consultant, Courtney coordinates all aspects of job development for placing students into internships, job placement, WOW Tours, and/or mentor programs.
 In addition, she is responsible for providing students with a positive environment and effective counseling to assist in helping them achieve their career and community goals. Courtney is a big believer in team work and collaborating to successfully meet the individual needs of each student. She is extremely passionate about this career and is eager to start making a positive impact on her students.
Kasey Renna is a new Career Consultant. She will be working with the Port Jefferson School District. She will be working with students individually and in groups to help them achieve their post-secondary goals. Kasey is a recent LIU graduate. There she earned her Master’s of Science in Education while studying to be a Certified School Counselor. She has previous experience as a Substitute Teacher for the Sachem School district and as a Teaching Assistant in Bayport Blue Point’s LEAP program.
Kasey is passionate about education and helping students find success in their academic careers. Currently, she is working on a Yoga and Mindfulness Certification for students K-12. She hopes to utilize the calming benefits of mindfulness with her students through counseling. Kasey is excited to be a part of the CEO team.
Cheerleaders With Disabilities Enjoy Recognition, Camaraderie
by Eric Lagatta, The Columbus Dispatch/TNS
November 13, 2018

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Under the Friday night lights of the football stadium at Independence High School, Lauren Flynn rallied her pep squad.
Just minutes into the game against the Marion-Franklin Red Devils, the Independence 76ers had marched into the opposing team’s territory, and the crowd needed a little coaxing to come alive.
“All right, ya’ll, let’s hear an I-H-S!” Flynn shouted at the group of six cheerleaders assembled on the track near the 50-yard line.
After Flynn led a count-off of “5, 6, 7, 8,” the students — pompoms in hand — chanted “I-H-S! Hey, we’re the best!”
Decked out in 76ers colors and sporting other signs of their school loyalty, the Sparklers — cheerleaders with physical and mental disabilities, including some who use wheelchairs and walkers — perform during the first quarter of every home football game for Independence, a Columbus high school on the Southeast Side.
Never failing to exude school spirit, the Sparklers — overseen by Flynn and Sam Wyatt, another Independence special education teacher — are a fan favorite.
“They always just get a huge ovation from the crowd, and it seems like everyone is watching them,” said Nicole Chavers, a special education teacher at the high school and founder of the squad. “They love every single minute of it.”
Chavers formed the Sparklers in 2012 after watching a segment on NBC Nightly News about the Sparkle Effect, a national organization with the mission of involving students with developmental disabilities in sports and other school activities.
“I thought it was wonderful,” she said.
The Sparklers originated with five members in the fall of 2013. The current squad has seven members — senior Rebecca Breedlove, 18; senior Dalaney Banks, 18; junior Diamond Jackson, 17; junior Tamara Perry, 19; sophomore Niani Moon, 15; freshman Priscilla Jenkins, 15; and senior De’Ontay Sanders, 20 — whose disabilities range from orthopedic impairments to cerebral palsy.
Although the Sparklers aren’t accredited through the national organization — some of the guidelines, such as a requirement that activities be offered throughout the academic year, aren’t feasible for the school — its mission mirrors that of the Sparkle Effect. It is also the only such group within Columbus City Schools, district spokeswoman Jacqueline Bryant said.
“These types of team efforts are examples of how we meet our students’ needs and interests while advancing our commitment to provide engaging and rewarding opportunities for all students,” Bryant said in an email.
Chavers coached the group until two years ago, when she stepped down to spend more time with her family.
Flynn and Wyatt said the visibility of the Sparklers boosts members’ sense of belonging and their self-esteem.
“They love the recognition,” Wyatt said. “They feel a part of a team. They feel they’re just as much a part of the school as everyone else.”
Added Flynn: “It’s great for them to have something that’s theirs only. They have a lot of ownership of that.”
The Sparklers perform at pep rallies and football games, often joined for some chants by the varsity cheerleading squad — the Liberty Belles.
The coaches are exploring the possibility of introducing the Sparklers to other sports, including basketball.
The group’s members say they enjoy the camaraderie and the adrenaline rush of being in front of the crowd during games.
“I like to cheer with my friends, my beautiful friends,” Jackson said. “It’s fun.”
Jenkins said she enjoys pumping up the crowd.
“I get them very excited,” said Jenkins, who is often joined at games by her 4-year-old sister, Gabriella.
At the most recent home game — a 14-12 loss for the 76ers — Jenkins wore a hand-sewn uniform made by her mom, Beatriz Jenkins, who stood by the fence near the Sparklers with other parents eager to support the cheerleaders.
“I’m happy seeing her thriving,” Beatriz Jenkins said. “It gives them an opportunity to do something they love to do that is sometimes unobtainable.”
© 2018 The Columbus Dispatch
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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