Dear Staff,

Between September 10-16, ACLD joins the rest of the country as we celebrate and honor Direct Support Professionals. We recognize your commitment, dedication and unwavering service to carry out our mission in your roles each day in our organization, and we thank you.

This recognition week is one we look forward to each year, and are proud to continue that tradition- each of our DSPs will receive, if they have not already, a gift this year in recognition of the important work that you do. We say it often, but it still rings true- YOU are the heart and soul of everything we do to support the people we serve. We are grateful you are a part of our ACLD family. In this edition of Limelight, you will also read about several of our DSPs who have recently completed level one of the NADSP Certification

We are pleased to announce that ACLD has been named Best Nonprofit in Long Island Business News' 2023 Reader Rankings! We are incredibly proud to win this distinction and would like to thank all of our dedicated staff and supporters for making their voices heard in the voting period.

In this edition of Limelight, you will hear from some of your fellow coworkers on what National Hispanic Heritage Month means to them, see some highlights from our last Organizational Care day, read employee spotlights, and other news from across the agency


Rob, Kim, Gerard and Anne Marie

Robert Ciatto, President/CEO
Kim Leonard, Chief Financial Officer
Gerard DiMuro, Chief Administrative Officer
Anne Marie Sime, Chief Program Officer

Exemplary Service Award
The Board of Directors is excited to announce the 8th annual Exemplary Service Award for our staff. This award recognizes exemplary service and commitment to ACLD’s Mission and Vision to provide an enviable life to those supported in ACLD’s programs. The award application can be accessed by scanning the QR Code below or clicking the link below.
Please note: the deadline for submission is October 24, 2023.
Gail White-Rison Scholarship
ACLD is pleased to announce that we will be offering the Gail White-Rison Scholarship Award again this year. This is a $1000 scholarship for people who are pursuing a degree in the Human Services field or a related field of study. In order to apply either scan the QR Code below or click the link and it will take you to the application.
The deadline for submission is October 24, 2023.
Organizational Care: Graphic T-shirt Day!
ESL Cohort Kickoff
ACLD’s newest venture in partnership with Suffolk Community College is offering a 10-week English As A Second Language (ESL) Cohort to ACLD employees. The first class took place on September 5.

For more information on this course, please reach out to Poonam Rampal.
To me, Hispanic Heritage Month means celebrating all Hispanics outside of their countries.
Recognizing that many Hispanic people contribute their countries customs, food and culture.
This is a time of year that I can reflect on all of my Colombian roots. I love my food, celebrations, music and different customs during the holiday season. It is wonderful to be able to share with all of my family and friends. Being in a different country, I can still enjoy and re live most of my memories from my Colombian culture.
-Gloria Ruiz, SLF Apartment Program
Growing up in a Hispanic family made me aware of how culturally similar Latin Americans are despite being from different countries. The family values we have instilled in us by our strongest influences are the reason why we continue to push our traditions. Our festivities are still celebrated with the sounds of that classic 70s/80s salsa era we were lucky to grow up with. Our cuisine may look identical, but we can also bring different platters to the table to represent each country. Do you want to know what makes me proud of my Hispanic heritage? it’s that we are a passionate God-loving people!
-Juan Charria, Residential Manager, Johnson IRA
Winner, Winner!
Our very own Annette Foster, Lead Day Habilitation Specialist for Golden Opportunities, has been selected as the NY Alliance Long Island Region DSP Winner for the NY Alliance & RCWT Annual DSP Award! Anette has been employed with ACLD since 2004 and is devoted to the people supported in her program.

Annette keeps her group of people engaged in activities which include gardening, senior shopping and sensory activities with herbs from the garden. Annette’s group is also responsible for the inventory to stock the program’s travelling snack cart, for which she shops with some of the people supported to re-stock the cart. For several years Annette has been one of the main lead staff members with preparing, maintaining and harvesting the program gardens.  She is a fantastic cook and involves the people in a variety of cooking activities. Annette has also utilized vegetables from the program gardens in to the cooking activities. 

"We have been very lucky to have Annette on our team for so many years!" said Director of Day Services, Donna Celardo.

As a winner, Annette will receive a $50 Amazon Gift Card and complementary registration and hotel accommodations for the 2024 NY Alliance Annual Conference taking place in April at The Sagamore Resort in Bolton Landing, NY.

Congratulations, Annette!
Welcome to Children's Services, Stacey Ratner!
Stacey Ratner, MS, LBA, LABA, BCBA, SBL, SDL, is the Principal of ACLD’s Children’s Services. In this role, Stacey oversees both the Kramer Learning Center, the Alan and Ellen Spiegel Children’s Center, and ACLD classrooms at the Bayshore School District UPK Center.
Ms. Ratner has over 35 years of experience working with individuals with special needs in a variety of clinical, educational and leadership roles. She has been a featured presenter at local and national conferences, including the National Association of the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) on a variety of topics, including parenting with science, positive behavior supports and interventions, and organizational growth and systems change. 
“I am honored to accept this role and work collaboratively with the ACLD teams to ensure quality educational services and the strategic growth of our Children’s Programs,” said Ms. Ratner. Stacey can be reached at 631.665.1900 ext. 350 or by email

Robin Stevens, current Principal of Children's Services, will be retiring in June 2024.
A Heartfelt Thanks
I just wanted to shout out my co-workers over at Oceanside IRA. At the end of August, one of the people supported in the house experienced a heart attack (cardiac arrest.) The resident shouted, “Ahh!” and started falling slowly to the ground. Oceanside staff Jennifer Davis, Timothy Obisakin and Michelle McJunkin acted quickly and gently guided the individual to the ground. Jennifer, Timothy, and Michelle tried getting a response from the individual, but after not feeling a pulse and noticing the person was not breathing, they quickly implemented CPR, keeping the person stable until paramedics arrived. The paramedics were able to resuscitate the person, and is recovering.

I just wanted to see about having them shout out on the Limelight for their heroic intervening in a critical situation, their rapid response to the person who was in a crisis, and due to their actions, the person is alive, had a speedy return to consciousness, and is being treated for their heart condition. Definitely, if it wasn’t for their quick action, the situation could’ve turned out much more grim.
-Matthew Woitovich, RN
A Visit from the Associate Commissioner of OPWDD
Last month, we were fortunate enough to have Alison M. Pingelski, Associate Commissioner for the NYS Office for People with Developmental Disabilities and Kathy Brown, NADSP E-Badge Academy Administrator as we celebrated Richardson Cadet and Joseph Brennan, Lead Day Habilitation Specialists at Choices, Bethpage and Broadway Bridges (respectively.) Cadet recently completed level III of his NADSP certification and Brennan completed level I.
(From left to right)
Gerard DiMuro, Rob Ciatto, Kim Leonard, Anne Marie Sime, Poonam Rampal, Richardson Cadet, Joseph Brennan, Scott Bradshaw, Kathy Brown and Alison M. Pingelski.
(From left to right)
Rob Ciatto, Scott Bradshaw, Poonam Rampal, Alex Cohen, Joanne McHugh, Colleen Valentin (behind), Anne Marie Sime, Daniel Clancy (behind), Marie Lafontant Pierre and Leda Sanchez
Last month we also celebrated Joanne McHugh, Day Habilitation Specialist for Bridges Levittown, who also recently completed the NADSP Level I certification.
Congratulations to all!

For more information on the NADSP Certification Program, please contact Poonam Rampal.
Introducing EV Charging Stations and Advancing Our Sustainability Goals
We're excited to share some great news that aligns with our commitment to a sustainable future. As part of our ongoing efforts to promote environmentally friendly practices, we're introducing Electric Vehicle (EV) Charging Stations at our Bethpage campus.
These EV charging stations were installed at no cost to the agency through a program offered by PSEG Long Island. . This initiative is a significant step towards not only making our workplace more convenient for those of you who drive electric vehicles, but also for reducing our collective carbon footprint.
Here's what you need to know about our new EV Charging Stations:
  • Convenient Charging: The charging stations have been strategically placed across the Bethpage campus to provide easy access for all employees who own electric vehicles.
  • Charging Rates: We plan to offer free charging during working hours for our employees who own EV’s!
  • Sustainable Choices: Our organization is fully committed to promoting sustainable practices. In addition to the new charging stations, we are taking steps to gradually replace our fleet vehicles with Electric Vehicles. This shift not only reduces our carbon emissions and lowers fuel costs but also sets an example for other organizations to follow.
  • We encourage all employees who own electric vehicles to take advantage of our new charging stations. By doing so, you're becoming a part of the positive change we strive to create in our workplace and the world we live in.
Thank you for being an integral part of our company and embracing the values that drive us towards a more sustainable future.

If you are interested in using the EV chargers, please contact Rich Vandyke
Thank you to a valued partner
Let’s give a shout out to a long-time vendor who has gone above and beyond to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those who need it most. When the request was submitted to our vendor John Johnson of Lacable to install data cables to extend wireless signal at our Seaford and Straight Path homes, they offered to do the work free of charge. This not only included materials for the project, but also their time and expertise. I think we can all agree that John and his company’s generosity speaks volumes about their values for making a positive impact beyond business transactions.  
-Rich VanDyke, Director of Business Operations
*Subject to change

End of Summer Fun!
Last month, the Sayville IRA had their annual summer BBQ, which was Hawaiian themed. It was filled with food, fun and laughs for all!
Facilities BBQ

This past week, the Facilities department had their annual BBQ on the Bethpage Campus, enjoying burgers, hot dogs and sausages grilled by grill masters Frank Pepitone and Brian Kellar.
Everybody say 'Luau!' 📸

Last week, the Levittown Bridges program had a great time celebrating their annual luau party, complete with festive outfits, decor, music and food prepared by the Levittown Staff.

It's a GIRL!

Congratulations to Tara Pace, Behavioral Intervention Specialist in the Psychology Department and her wife Joanna on the birth of their baby girl!
Lilian Rodrigues Pace was born on 8/10/2023.
Anniversary Milestones- September 2023
1 Year

Veronica Anne O'Kelly Speech Language Pathologist, Kramer Learning Center
Yahao Zhong In-Home Waiver Respite Counselor, Bethpage 807

5 Years

Julia Desiderio Teacher Aide, Kramer Learning Center

10 Years

Ryan Dalo Behavioral Specialist, Spiegel Children's Center

15 Years

Jennifer Stegemann Residential Manager, Ronkonkoma

25 Years

Irene Roche Physical Therapist, Kramer Learning Center

Welcome August New Hires!

Fahendjy Augustin Direct Support Professional, Residential Services Oaklake Ln
Noshad Azad Day Habilitation Specialist, Fay Services, Levittown - Strive/Day Hab
Derek Baumann Junior Recruiter, Administrative Services, Bethpage 807
Elijah Cruz Day Habilitation Specialist, Day Services, PWW- Commack
Courtney Eason Registered Nurse, Residential Services, Bethpage 857
Marie Henris Jean Baptiste Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, Northport
Jonathan Jorgensen Special Educator, Children's Services, Spiegel Children's Center
Naivline Jules Oscar Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, East Meadow
Makerlud Jules Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, Oaklake Ln
Tara Laclotte Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, East Meadow
Daphne Loiseau Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, Ontario
Sabba Mahmood Special Educator, Children's Services, Kramer Learning Center
Laurie Maker Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, Westwind Dr
Mackenzie McAllister Special Educator, Children's Services, Kramer Learning Center
Kimberly McKeithan Day Habilitation Specialist, Day Services, Levittown - Strive/Day Hab Supp
Fredjinia Mezilas Day Habilitation Specialist, Day Services, Bethpage 837
Andre Paul Michel Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, Seaford
Cheryl Mills Residential Administrator, Residential Services, Bethpage 857
Catherine Moreno Teacher Aide - Bilingual, Children's Services, Kramer Learning Center
Anthwan Newell Behavioral Intervention Specialist, Residential Services, Bethpage 857
Madeline Oh Human Resources Assistant, Administrative Services, Bethpage 807
Bryant Pearson Teacher Aide, Children's Services, Kramer Learning Center
William Petrez Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, Healy
Brianna Pierre Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, Blake Ave
Nerva Pierre Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, Brighton
Imani Denai Ramsay Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, Blake Ave
Stacey Ratner Principal, Children's Services, Kramer Learning Center
Michelle Rodriguez Social Worker - Bilingual, Children's Services, Kramer Learning Center
Jennifer Romero Gonzalez Teacher Aide - Bilingual, Children's Services, Kramer Learning Center
Christopher Russo Driver Day Services, Day Services, Bethpage 837
Annette Scurry Medical Coordination Specialist, Residential Services, Long Hill Road
Richard Sinclair Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, Great Neck
Kayla Strube Job Coach, Day Services, Bethpage 857
Ronald Terry Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, Ronkonkoma
Venetia Tsempelis Teacher Aide, Children's Services, Kramer Learning Center
LeAndre Turner Residential Administrator, Residential Services, Bethpage 857
Keiry Velasquez Teacher Aide - Bilingual, Children's Services, Kramer Learning Center
Quantella Victor Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, West Hempstead
Margaret Weidig Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, Spur Drive
Bethsaida Yacinthe Direct Support Professional, Residential Services, Westwind Dr

Shout Out Board

Don't forget to give a SHOUT OUT to recognize someone at your location for something special they did for you, your department or a person we support.
Submit YOUR stories to Limelight
Each month we include stories in The Limelight, ACLD's digital employee newsletter, about YOU and all the amazing staff here at ACLD!
BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP to find out about these stories. Please send us anything to include, such as:
·    A story about how you or someone else went above and beyond to help the people we support, organized any fun or educational activity, or did anything to further our mission in any way.
·    A few sentences on any staff member or team who should be spotlighted for their consistent, exceptional work.
·    Information or news that is useful for staff across the agency.
·    Proud moments for you or your family (personal or professional milestones, awards, weddings, educational degrees or works in the community.)

·   Employee Engagement day photos of you and your team.
"The Limelight" is produced by the
Development and Community Relations Department.

Thank you to all who have submitted information
and photos. Keep them coming!

We welcome your comments and suggestions.
Adults and Children with Learning
and Developmental Disabilities, Inc.
807 South Oyster Bay Road, Bethpage, NY 11714

Newsletter contact: Sarah Klaum / 516.822.0028, ext. 211