December 2017  

          A LABBB Collaborative  Newsletter

    Sharing best practices for promoting inclusive opportunities       for  students with special needs 
LABBB Chenery Middle School Best Buddies Walk 
In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri
At the Woodland House
      #LABBBTribe Holiday       Gratitude

A few weeks ago, I attended my 35th high school reunion. We talked about our elementary teachers, teachers and classmates who had passed, life in the 70's, our children, and memories of the town we grew up in. These were good feelings; happy feelings.

Early in the evening, I was talking with a person I have known since elementary school. She said, "This is the first reunion that I have attended. I never wanted to come back, because, in my mind, it was going backwards and we need to move on." I asked, "Then why are you here?" She said, "I don't know, I am really nervous and ambivalent about it."  At the end of the evening, I asked her if she had a good time. She said, "Yes, it was much more fun than I expected. People are nice, everyone here was interested in what I was doing, they are kind, I am grateful for this, I just didn't realize it would be like this." 

We tried to recruit many of our classmates to attend, and many ended up saying that they didn't have enough time...we heard this quite a bit. I took this to mean either they were nervous to go or it would be uncomfortable. 

When I think of our LABBB reunion, we are amazed at how many of our graduates who just can't wait to attend. They want us to do something twice a year! We are glad that our students want come back to visit their friends. This has been such a positive influence on our culture. Our graduates attend because of the relationships and the happy memories that they want to revisit. Some struggled through our programs, and perhaps they realized later in life that it was an accomplishment, and they want to re-connect. 

Life is busy, life is complicated, life can be overwhelming, and we are constantly thinking,  there isn't enough time.  

I am writing this because someone told me this when the words, "I just don't have enough time," came out of my mouth. The person said, "Try and look at time differently. Time is a 'perception'." Now it is easier for me to make time than it was before. Nothing has changed, I didn't become less busy, tasks were not taken off my plate.  

When I step back and look at where LABBB has been, what we are doing, and what we are building for our future, I feel proud and a sense of gratitude for the community that is constantly evolving.  I am grateful for being able to work with passionate and dedicated staff. We are not just an ordinary school, we are the #Labbbtribe. 

As an organization, we have many reasons to be grateful. 

We are grateful for our Best Buddies and PALs who carry out our mission of being part of the most inclusive settings, our public schools!

We are grateful for the opportunity to work with TILL to acquire our Woodland House in Lexington where we will build an extraordinary experience for our students and families.

We are grateful for the wonderful staff in our host public schools who have made LABBB students and staff welcomed for 43 years. 

We are grateful to our parents; for their enthusiasm, support, and teamwork.

We are grateful for Mr.and Mrs. Masood for creating Omar's World of Comics & Hobbies and making LABBB a partner in this business. This is an opportunity we will cherish.

We are grateful for the LABBB Community that is growing every year. 

Finally, and most importantly, we are grateful for our students. We are fortunate to have them as part of our programs and to be able to provide them with the best educational, career, and social opportunities that we possibly can!

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

The LABBB Spirit Store Is Open!
We are excited to bring you the LABBB Spirit Store! The LABBB Spirit Store will be open now until December 29. 

A ll orders will be shipped after December 29.

If you would like to visit the store, please click on the link below.

                 The LABBB Spirit Store 
Arlington High Best Buddies Match Party
By: Erika Wong
On Wednesday, October 25th, LABBB AHS had the Best Buddies match party. The party, which was organized by AHS Best Buddies president, Emma Platt, was a great success! We had an amazing turn out of LABBB students, AHS best buddies and associate buddies.

The high school students brought supplies for the party, and everyone enjoyed eating, dancing, singing, and getting to mingle with their buddies and peers.
Halfway through the match party, Emma Platt and Chuck Hayes, Best Buddies Program Manager of the Greater Boston Area, held a parent meeting. The meeting discussed what Best Buddies is, events that will take place over the course of the year, and opened the discussion up to the opportunities that the program can provide. While the parent meeting was taking place, the AHS teachers and buddies were overseeing the meaningful initial interactions between all parties!
LABBB Arlington High School is looking forward to a fun-filled year with Best Buddies!

Photography Class at Chenery
By: Jessica Niland

This summer, the students of Room 111 were lucky enough to participate in the first ever LABBB Chenery photo club. Haley Brown, former Best Buddies president, ran the club and shared her experience with our students below:

"I started by teaching the students of Ms. Niland's class the basics of photography: lighting and composition. I then, with the help of the wonderful teachers of classroom 111, worked individually with each student on how to use the camera; the outcome was better than I imagined. Each student had a unique style, a unique perspective, and every student was able to express both themselves and their interests without being confined to language.

I fell in love with photography years ago, but these students have allowed me to fall in love with teaching photography. They taught me more than I could ever teach them. They showed me pieces of themselves, both through their photographs, and through their ability to overcome obstacles that arose . I truly believe that photography is a universal language that has the ability to bridge gaps between communities. I am very grateful that I was able to work with such inspiring individuals, and I am so excited to see what each student does next!"
On November 7, 2017 our students were joined by parents, teachers, and peers to display their amazing artwork.  The students had an amazing time exploring the world of photography, and we hope to take part in the club again in spring 2018!

LABBB Woodland House Video Update
Clinical Corner: CBT Strategies Social Group
By: Counseling Staff
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) Strategies is a class taught by LABBB clinicians on a weekly basis at LABBB Lexington High School for students who present with social emotional deficits.  CBT techniques help students understand how their thoughts and patterns of thinking affect their feelings and behavior, including physiological aspects. In this class, a variety of techniques are practiced like guided meditation, visualization, breathing, stretching, and art.  Communicating through visual means like art can be very powerful as our students sometimes don't have the words to describe how they are feeling.  These techniques can also be pertinent where stress and trauma have been experienced.

The focus of the class is also to have students understand, through visuals and discussion, the cognitive cycle of their thinking, feelings/emotions, and behavioral choices.  The goal is to teach them positive strategies to RESPOND and meet their needs effectively, rather than REACT in a maladaptive way to difficult triggers.  Below is an example of a visual that is explained and broken down in several ways in class, usually after a session of practicing mindfulness, art, and relaxation techniques to reduce stress so students can use their "Wise Mind" and be ready to make better choices.

Some CBT workbooks that are used in class (listed below) are helpful for both the teenager and caregiver/parent to use as an adjunct to these classes to model the language and concepts that are being taught. 


DON'T LET YOUR EMOTIONS RUN YOUR LIFE FOR TEENS Dialectical Behavior Therapy Skills for Helping You Manage Mood Swings, Control Angry Outbursts & Get Along with Others BY; SHERI VAN DIJK MSW

Giving to Others
By: Janet Sullivan, SLP and Keren Averback, SLP

Students in the transition class at Arlington High School demonstrated the importance of giving to others just in time for Thanksgiving. They worked hard using their food preparation and cooking skills by baking and decorating cookies for the students in the Ottoson Middle School classroom and AHS classrooms. Although it was very tempting to eat the cookies themselves, they all did an excellent job making sure they delivered the cookies to others before trying their delicious creations!  All students used their communication skills to say, "Thank you" and "Happy Thanksgiving!" 

Thankful Turkeys
By: Lori Parent, OTR/L

For SPOT Group in November in Ms. Brown's classroom, the students created Thankful Turkeys.  Students practiced their bilateral coordination skills by using templates to trace the turkey parts onto colored construction paper.  They then had to carefully cut out each of the turkey parts using fine motor control and eye-hand coordination in order to stay on the lines.  By reading the step-by-step directions, students practiced their spatial organization and glued the turkey parts together in the correct places to make a Thankful Turkey.  They then had to write, copy, or cut out things they were thankful for and put one on each of the turkey's feathers.  Some things the students were thankful for include: their family, their parents, their brothers and/or sisters, games and toys, and pets.
Presentation of "Buddy Bench" at Burlington High School
By: Carol Chaisson & all the staff and students at Burlington High

On November 10, 2017, the LABBB Burlington High School Program was gifted a beautiful "Buddy Bench" that currently sits in the English hallway here at Burlington High.

Jamie Kassiotis, Justin Kassiotis' brother, is a junior at L ynnfield High School and currently a Life Scout member of Troop 48 in Lynnfield MA. Jamie completed the bench for his Eagle Scout project. An Eagle Scout is someone that demonstrates leadership of others while performing a project for the benefit of his community. Jamie felt that by building/constructing something for Burlington High School and the LABBB program, it would be an extremely effective way to achieve the goals of the project.

Jamie put a tremendous amount of work into building the bench, and Burlington High School is honored to have been chosen as its recipient. The "Buddy Bench" is intended to be a place students can go to chat with others, sit and socialize with a peer or two, or just take a break.

Thank you, Jamie, for your hard work creating such an amazing, beautifully crafted and thoughtful gift!

Retail Partnership with Marshalls in Burlington
BY: Amanda O'Leary
While researching prospective community partners, it is important to find companies and organizations that share similar core values with LABBB; those who uphold similar 'missions' - promoting individuality by providing diverse life experiences within the most inclusive environments. In the winter of 2017, one of LABBB's Transition Counselors began communicating with the Corporate Office for TJX Companies. He quickly discovered that LABBB and TJX Companies do, indeed, share common core values. Both respect differences and encourage inclusive experiences, resulting in fulfilling experiences for everyone. As a Marshalls employee explained, "It is about creating an environment where all of our people, including the student interns, feel valued, where they can bring their differences to work each day, and where they contribute their personal best in every encounter."

After many email exchanges and phone calls with one of TJX Companies' District Manager, Andy Nyguen, and Marshalls Store Manager, Daniela Bono, LABBB's Transition Department has exciting news to share! We now have an Internship Experience at the Marshalls at Crossroads Plaza in Burlington. Currently, our students intern two days per week. They experience what it is like to work in a busy retail environment. With the supervision and support of LABBB staff, Gianna Carrabino, and various Marshalls employees, our students are working as part of a team through the Size it Up/Step it Up Program. The objective of this program is to improve the customer experience, monitor markdown productivity, and reduce 'mismates' by consistently executing 'sizing and recovery' standards. Some of the tasks in which our students participate include assisting with managing/distinguishing inventory, facing/fronting shelves, cleaning, and customer service. While in the community, students also focus on social and functional academic skills, such as ordering lunch, making purchases, and time management.

The Transition Department is looking forward to further developing our partnership with this TJX Companies (Marshalls) location, and to hopefully expand our partnership to additional stores throughout the region.

Thankful for Fun!
By: Rachele Leonardo
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the Francis Wyman students had some fun stuffing the paper turkey with various vegetables (and fruits) during motor group.  Our stuffing definitely had a tropical twist, mixing the usual ingredients with watermelon, pineapple, and even kiwi! Everyone had fun picking the foods they wanted and passing the turkey around the room.  Gobble, gobble! 

Holiday Meal
By: Scott Procko and The Transition Program Team
All the way back in the summer, the The Transition Program teachers at Belmont High School began talking about organizing a theme for our once a month cooking class starting in September. So, considering that our cooking class model has begun to focus more on individual meals, we decided to balance it out with a Holiday Meal Cooking Class theme. Starting in September, the class focused on making the same meal three times with the addition of a 'No Cook Meal Class' to follow up on what to do with leftovers.

In conjunction with the many lessons that go along with cooking, our goal was to build the students' skills through repetition in order to participate in preparing a holiday meal with their family. For November, we focused on setting the table, dividing the cooking tasks, and organizing it all so the food stays warm. This is a natural challenge that families tackle in preparing a holiday meal, and they did it. We had rotisserie chicken, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, vegetables, apple cider, and yes...we even had dessert. The students made an apple crisp with an oatmeal crumble topping from scratch!

So, what do you do with all the leftovers from a holiday meal? That was the challenge that we incorporated into this class to promote the lesson of planning, budgeting, and No Cook Meal Prep. The day following a big holiday meal, we all stood there and looked at the leftovers trying to decide what to eat, with the desire to make it a little different than the day before. Yes, I'm talking about the leftover turkey sandwich. 'The Turkey Terrific' to be exact! The students followed up the cooking class by making these tasty holiday themed sandwiches with turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce. A perfect match!

amplifi Winter Performance!

Recreation News and Events
By:  Paula Rizzo, Integration and Recreation Coordinator

Recreation Updates

LABBB Recreation is always open to trying out new activities.  Last year, we introduced a boxing class to our after school programs.  It was such a big hit that we had three sessions and will continue this year with another three sessions. 
This year, LABBB Recreation's new offering was a three week Holiday Decoration Class.  Each week, students made a decoration to share with their families for the holidays.  The first week, the group made wreaths; the second week, dough ornaments, and the third week, holiday pillows.  They listened to holiday music as they worked and socialized. Students enjoyed the time together and were so proud of the decorations they made.  

This month, the LABBB Basketball teams are getting ready for their season.  We had 36 students at try outs, enough to build three teams. Good luck to the 2017/2018 teams.  


A LABBB Podcast

In this episode we are joined by 'Omar's World of Comics & Hobbies' Manager, Sally Hoops. Omar Masood has been a student in LABBB since middle school and he is graduating this April from the LABBB Lexington High Program. Omar's parents had a vision of creating a business for him when he graduates to keep him connected to the LABBB community. Omar has had an interest in comics since he was a young boy and this sparked an idea! 

This vision is now a reality. Omar's World of Comics & Hobbies will be opening in Lexington Center at 30 Waltham Street in the next month. LABBB will be partnering with the Masoods and Sally Hoops to run this business. The store is a short walk from the Lexington High School program, and many LABBB students will be involved in the day to day responsibilities of running the store. Kristin Dailey, LABBB Transition Department Supervisor who has been working with Sally, also joins us for this episode. This is an exciting opportunity, and we are looking forward to making this a huge success!

More Episodes:

Parent Resources
  • LABBB School Cancellation Policy: 
    All LABBB programs follow the school cancellations in their respective towns.
Recreation Links  

(FNFC) Friday Night Fun Club, Bedford, Ann Seamans: or 781-275-8381
(MMArc) Minute Man Arc Afternoon Recreation Afternoon Recreation & Friday Nights (16+yrs), Darcie Heller: or C:978-201-2481/W: 978-287-7936 

(TILL) Toward Independent Living & Learning Travel:  Springboard Club, Dedham, high independence, Dale Belcher: or 781-302-4619 (RARA) Recreational Adult Resource Association, Lowell Contact: or 978-453-5598 
Riverside Community Care: DDS Family Support Center, Woburn Kaley Stoner: or 781-686-6073  Lifelinks - DDS Family Support Center, Chelmsford, Rachel Ward Sullivan: or 978-349-3040  *verify current + open to public 

Greater Marlborough Programs Inc - Social & Recreation (DDS Family Support), Marlborough Jim Karami: or 508-485-4227 ext. 1006 
Echo Enrichment, Burlington, Mary Ann Perreira, or 781-640-9351 
Trips R Us, Framingham, Mike Graham: or 508-405-0999 

Alternative Leisure (ALCS), Bedford, Drew Bilillies: or 781-275-0023 
Music Makes Me Happy Chorus, Lexington, Marsha Martin: 
Concord Recreation, Anna Wood: awood@concordma.

Sudbury Therapeutic Recreation, Amber Forbes: or 978-639-3257 

Belmont (SPORT) Special Programs Heidi Barbiero:  or 617-993-2760 

(SNAP) Special Needs Arts Program Chorus & Art, Lexington Contact: or 781-325-8025

(GWArc) Greater Waltham Arc Recreation/Plus: Mike Mullins: or 781-899-1344 x4120  Newton Therapeutic Recreation w/ Newton Athletes Unlimited, NewtonMark Kelly: or 617-796-1527 
Kids in Disability Sports (K.I.D.S.), Lowell, Info: or 866-712-7799 
Access Sport America, Acton, BettyMiller:
Burlington Therapeutic Recreation, Burlington, Laurel Rossiter:, 781-270-1937

LABBB Contacts and Social Media

Like us on Facebook 

View on Instagram 

Follow us on Twitter

  Follow me on Twitter  (LABBB  Recreation Twitter)

LABBB Health Office