May 2017

          A LABBB Collaborative  Newsletter

    Sharing best practices for promoting inclusive opportunities       for  students with special needs 

2017 LABBB-Best Buddies Special Olympic Games

In This Issue
Message from the Executive Director
Patric Barbieri
Let's Chat: More Conversation for Better Planning and Improvement
Every other month, I attend my sister's group home meetings. The group consists of the parents and guardians  and the group home managers. When I became my sister's legal guardian, I was invited to attend, but I didn't go right away. There were too many other things I needed to get in place. That turned out to be a mistake, because what I realized when I did start attending was that many of the parents could help me. They wanted to be a resource, and they had many of the answers I was seeking.
For example, I had been looking for a dentist for my sister that would be covered by MassHealth and be closer to the area where she lived. It was not easy, as I had learned while searching online. Then I brought my problem to the parent meeting, and the next day I had a dentist and all my questions answered to get coverage. The resource I needed was right at my fingertips!
For the first six months, I listened in, asked questions and learned about how the group home functioned. I needed a baseline and a sense of how the system worked. But I wanted to be seen as a contributor, someone who was helping make the group home a better place, and I eventually started to offer my ideas. It was a comfortable environment for speaking up. Since it was a small group of about 10 people, the dialogue just flowed. Sometimes we would meet for an hour and other times for two hours.
I look forward to the bimonthly parent meetings because I know everyone who attends is working toward  a common goal. We may not always agree, but we understand that the consensus of the group is what is most important. We never have an agenda. The expectation is that if you have something to talk about, you should bring it to the meeting. We do not discuss it via e-mail. The group home managers sit in and listen and contribute, but the majority of the dialogue is among the parents and guardians. It is the responsibility of the managers to carry out the group's decisions. 
Last month, we   held an Executive Director's   chat. It was an opportunity to learn what topics parents wanted to discuss in an open forum-anything goes! We talked about everything from the LABBB van running boards   to independent living, post-22 options, music and our students integrating better into classes in their respective schools. It was great  to hear parents say that even though their son or daughter was in a LABBB  elementary or middle school program, they enjoyed listening to what some of the high school parents were facing and what was coming in the future for their family. 
Just sitting around the table and talking informally-having a natural conversation-can be a more productive and meaningful  way of communicating. I hope to learn how you think LABBB is doing, what we can do to improve and new initiatives that are important to parents. My hope is that these chat sessions will be more than just a presentation; they should be a discussion, a way to problem solve as a group and generate new and creative ideas. So many of our parents have resources and thoughts to offer, and I found this forum to be more engaging
Let this be a venue to share different perceptions and ideas and bounce them off of other parents. Real-life experiences are powerful. What you learn from each other is knowledge you can use when you are making decisions about your son's or daughter's future.
My goal is to discover how we can constantly improve LABBB, and talking with parents is the best way to do this. LABBB cannot be everything to everyone, but as we grow and evolve, working together through conversation can help us shape the next five years. 
My plan will be to hold Executive Director chats  both in the evening and during the day. My hope is that they turn out to be a discussion similar to the group I attend. I look forward to your feedback. 

2017 Special Olympic Pictures
The LABBB-Best Buddies Special Olympics is an event that is a perfect example of a thriving community engaging, connecting, participating, and supporting one another. 

On Wednesday, May 3, the LABBB-Best Buddies Special Olympic games was held at the Lexington High School track and field. The LABBB tribe was out in full swing, feeding the olympic games spirit. I t was a incredible day as there were over 200 athletes competing and 250 Best Buddies and PAL's volunteers. As always we have the LABBB staff, parents, and teachers from our host schools coming out to join in the festivities. 

A nytime you talk to a person joining this community for the first time and experiencing these olympic games, they are just overwhelmed with a positive feeling about what is happening. Many times you hear, " I just can't put this into words, you have to be here to experience it"

To view a gallery of pictures from our event on Wednesday the link is below.

An Arlington High School "Subway" Trip!
By: Erika Wong
Restaurant trips are organized for students who attend the Arlington High School program. Some of the outings this year have included trips to Friendly's, Border Cafe and Red Robin. Before the April break, students were given the opportunity to go to Subway. Conveniently, Subway is located right on Massachusetts Avenue, which is only about a 10 minute walk from Arlington High School. 

This was a successful trip for many reasons.  First, students practiced community safety skills: walking with the group, looking both ways before crossing the street and waiting for the 'Walk' signal when necessary. When we arrived at Subway, there were very few seats available. Students practiced waiting their turn until they could sit. Then it was time to order. 

If you've ever been to a Subway, you know that there are many options. From the choice of bread, subs/wraps, and toppings; the options seem endless. Students took turns waiting in line and practiced social skills by communicating to the workers what they were ready to eat. As a class, we previewed the menu beforehand. It was nice to see that some students independently made different food choices when it was time to order. After the food was prepared, students practiced purchasing skills by giving the correct amount of money to the cashier and receiving change. 

The trip to Subway was a success for the students at Arlington High and one that will definitely be planned again!

Memorable Events of 2017 for LHS Rm. 715
By: Janet Paz
Room 715 at Lexington High School wants to share some of our memorable events this year with the LABBB Community.
The Patriots were off to the Super bowl ''AGAIN", so what better way to celebrate but with a huge pep rally, complete with mouthwatering treats, shakers, beads and music. The class enjoyed making apple pie bombs, and tater tot loaded skewers, while others cut tablecloths to make shakers to root for our team. Mrs. Farley's class participated in our ''favorite tailgating food contest.: We did not officially have a winner, everyone gave the food 2 thumbs up. As usual the Patriots DID THEIR JOB!
To beat the winter blues we started getting pumped up for truck day and spring training for our Red Sox. We decorated our door with a baseball diamond, players and Red Sox paraphernalia for all visitors to check out as they enter our room. We turned our math class into a graphing and data collection event to follow the Red Sox throughout the year, this will keep us on the right track for MCAS.
It was the first time in eight seasons that opening day was at Fenway! What does rm. 715 do to celebrate? We turn our room into Fenway park with all the fixings i.e., hotdogs, popcorn and peanuts. While donning our favorite Sox gear we played baseball, ate and listened to the typical ball game music compliments of Mr. Asklund's huge enthusiasm for the game. GO SOX!!!!!
To celebrate the warm weather, SPOT group, led by Ms. Julie and Ms. Jessica, had an "eggmazing" decorating / hunt in the quad at L.H.S. It was a beautiful day was had by all and at the end we all shouted ''Bring on Vacation!"
Until next time.....

LABBB Students "Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee" in the Boxing Ring!"

In our after school recreation program LABBB students have participated in many martial arts including Karate, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and Boxing. Our latest recreation activity brought us to Lucky Punch Boxing. This is a program that specializes in Boxing for students with Autism, but we included all our students in this activity. 

LABBB students are naturals when it comes to martial arts training. This has become a popular activity. 

If you would like to learn more about Lucky Punch Boxing please click on this link:
#LABBB Prom In the News!

The 2017 LABBB Prom has made quite a splash! Good news travels fast. The Lowell Sun did two articles on our prom. If you have a few minutes please take a look. 

Click on the links below to view the articles. 

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

We ended April with our first "Glow Golf" fundraising event for LABBB. It was held at Stone Meadow golf course in Lexington.
We had nine foursomes (36 people) signed up to play in this event. Everyone had a blast as they were laughing and talking on the course. They were also asking if we could do it again next year. We had many people from the LABBB Tribe including, parents of our LABBB students, LABBB staff, Lexington High Staff, and friends  and family of LABBB staff.  

People driving by on Waltham Street were curious and stopped in to see what was going on. It looked like fireworks were going off when the golfers drove the colored glowing balls in the air. 

 It was such a success that we are going to have the 2nd Annual Glow Golf fundraiser tournament next year. The event set for April 26, 2018. 
Recreation Updates

The LABBB Recreation Department would like to thank Todd Paris for working with us to create three sessions of the Lucky Punch Boxing at LABBB.  We started out with one session and found it so popular that we added two more sessions.  The third session just ended at the end of April. We are bringing Todd back in September for another ten week session. 

We have our last Dance for this school year on May 11th .

T he date is set for the LABBB Reunion Dance, September 22, 2017.  Look for invitations to come out in August. 

Tuesday and Thursday Bowling groups have started again along with Wednesday Recreation.
We have 2 new collaborations, one with Waypoint Adventures and one with TILL:
  • Waypoint Adventures took LABBB students Rock Climbing and will be doing a kayaking trip in June with more rock climbing groups in October. 
  • We also have a joint trip with TILL as we travel to Ireland together in June. 

LABBB has a two night Camping trip to Maine coming up in June as well.
Stay tuned for more updates later this year.

LABBB Podcast
Berklee Institute for Arts Education and Special Needs
  We want to share a very exciting new opportunity for students with special needs.We feel that this is an important part of our students' education. 

LABBB has a set of Core values and one of them is to promote more Music, Arts and Theater.  

Special Needs Arts Program, Inc.(SNAP)
Parent Resources
  • 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

Contacts and Social Media