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Mission of Abilities First
New AF Preschool Offers New Community Opportunities
“The Abilities First Preschool is important to me and my child, Jelani, because it has provided her with the opportunity to grow academically, emotionally, and socially. It provides her with the tools that she needs to be a happy child who is able to learn in an environment that is conducive to her needs. I can't thank the entire staff enough for what they have done for/with Jelani. [The Abilities First Preschool] provides me with a sense of relief, support, guidance, and feeling of extended family!”

Janea Hill, parent of Jelani Hill, in remarks shared at the ribbon cutting ceremony on May 20, 2021 at the new Abilities First Preschool in New Windsor, N.Y. 

Leadership Spotlight
Community Members Entrusted to the AF Board of Directors 
Gary Cassiello, CPA, ABV, CFF
Partner, Judelson, Giordano & Siegel, CPA, P.C.
AFI Board of Directors Vice Chairman Gary Cassiello, CPA, ABV, CFF, first learned about Abilities First several years ago via a member of the AFI Board of Directors.

Gary, who quickly became interested in the agency's breadth of services to the community and the quality of the people who make up AFI, joined the Board of Directors in 2015. In addition to serving as vice chair, Gary also serves on the Audit, Finance, and Executive committees, and is an active supporter of Abilities First’s fundraising and education initiatives. 

As a resident of New Windsor, N.Y., Gary is pleased to see the continued growth of Abilities First services into Orange County. He and his firm, Judelson, Giordano & Siegel, CPA, P.C., are regular participants and supporters of the agency's fundraising and educational initiatives. Gary graduated from Fordham University magna cum laude, and is a past president of the Hudson Valley Chapter of the New York State Society of CPAs. 

Thank you, Gary, for your exceptional leadership and support to the mission.
Chris Gilbert
Strategic Planning Coordinator, Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.
Chris Gilbert, a resident of Poughkeepsie, N.Y., came to Abilities First in 2018 after being recommended for volunteer leadership by Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp. (Central Hudson). He began in positions on various fundraising event committees before being elected to the AFI Board of Directors in 2020, on which he presently serves. 

Since the very beginning of his involvement with Abilities First, Chris has demonstrated great interest and commitment to the many roles he plays in our organization. He has engaged Central Hudson to participate in various activities, and launched highly successful personal fundraising campaigns to benefit the mission of Abilities First.

“Hearing the stories and meeting the children and adults who our services support motivates me to get the word out to my network and surrounding communities about the great work being done at Abilities First,” Chris said.

We thank Chris for his long-term volunteer leadership and exceptional success in fundraising on behalf of those supported by Abilities First.
Board Members Recommit To Continued & Expanded Leadership
The AFI Board would like to thank David Melby, senior vice president at Rose & Kiernan, Inc., for his exceptional commitment and leadership to the mission of Abilities First. David has served in many officer positions on the Abilities First Board of Directors, including past president. He has been instrumental in leading the organization through varying times and bringing it to its present position as a strong nonprofit in the community. As David finishes his term on the AFI Board, we welcome his continued interest in supporting this organization as he joins the Board of Directors of the Foundation for Abilities First NY (FAFNY). 
William Van Ornum’s involvement with Abilities First is a story of transition and development. He first became involved with Abilities First with his son, William, Jr., who attends AF programs and was the former AFI Ambassador. More recently, William's involvement became more hands-on as he joined the Board of the Foundation for Abilities First NY in 2019. He will now transition to the AFI Board and utilize his professional experience to help direct the operational needs of the agency. William is a Professor Emeritus of Marist College.
Renee Giordano MacDonald not only serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Foundation for Abilities First NY, she will now also serve as the FAFNY Liaison on the Abilities First Board of Directors. Thank you for enhancing the communication and interests of each board’s work to the other!
Staff Spotlight
Donovan Ashe: From Program Coordinator to Director of Residential Services
Thank you to AF Director of Residential Services Donovan Ashe for stepping up to the plate throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by helping to drive initiatives designed to protect the health and safety of all those in the Abilities First residential programs.

Donovan has been with Abilities First for 19 years. He started out as a program coordinator, but his hard work and dedication over the years has netted several well-earned promotions.

Donovan has always provided tremendous support and care for the individuals with whom he works on a daily basis, and his commitment and compassion has earned the gratitude of Abilities First, the individuals in our residential programs, and their families and loved ones!

Events | 2021
JULY 26, 2021
We are looking ahead to a great day of golf and tennis at one of the country’s oldest private clubs and to reconnecting with community and business leaders while making a lasting impact to the Abilities First mission. From the moment they arrive, golfers, tennis players, and sponsors will enjoy an outing that is clearly a one-of-a-kind experience. Enjoy an array of course specialties including food and beverage samplings, cigars, silent auction, and more.
NEW THIS YEAR: Our Classic is getting even more exciting with the addition of tennis!
Our 2021 Golf & Tennis Classic is filling up FAST! Our sponsorship packages are almost sold out; reserve your participation with a sponsorship TODAY!
Secure your participation with branding benefits via a sponsorship today! melissamccoy@abilitiesfirstny.org | 845-485-9803 ext. 1223.
Non-sponsorship foursomes and individual golfer spots now open!
Pete Setaro | Co-Chair
Clark Patterson Lee, LLC
Mark Copans | Co-Chair
Personalize It

Anthony Morando, Esq. | Cuddy & Feder, LLP
Chris Gilbert | Central Hudson Gas & Electric Corp.
DeForest Howland | William A Smith & Son, Inc.
Joanie Spiconardi | MVP Health Care
Joshua Mackey | Mackey Butts & Wise, LLP
Michael Pine | thinkWealth, LLC
Patrick Rose | A & R Security
Theresa Mulkins | Professional Computer Associates
Tim Scannell | Mobile Life Support Services, Inc.
Amy Bombardieri | Day & Stokosa Engineering PC
Michael Garofalo | Judelson, Giordano & Siegel, CPA PC
Brian Powers | Mid-Hudson Construction Management
Maddalena Egbert | thinkWealth, LLC
Anna-Marie Dolgov | Community Member
Kim Hunt Lee | McCabe & Mack, LLP
Renee Bulla | Focus Media
Renee Giordano MacDonald | Essence of Life Therapy
McCabe & Mack, LLP | Tennis Ace Sponsor, Golf Cart Sponsor
Mobile Life Support Services, Inc. | Eagle Sponsor
Marvin and Company | Eagle Sponsor
RBT CPAs | Tennis Rally Sponsor
Mackey, Butts & Wise, LLP | Power Card Sponsor
Professional Computer Associates | Mystery Gift Sponsor
MVP Health Care
thinkWealth, LLC | Power Foursome
Wallkill Valley Federal Savings and Loan | Power Foursome
Clark Patterson Lee, LLC | Power Foursome
Renu Medispa | Tennis Rally Sponsor
M&T Bank | Power Foursome
Healey Brothers | Hole in One Sponsor
Royal Carting
Check out these helpful resources for individuals with disabilities & their loved ones!
LIFEPlan CCO NY is a partnership of community-based agencies with a long history of serving people with I/DD and providing advocacy, recreational, educational, and vocational services. Its goal is to connect people with the complete spectrum of services they need to live full, meaningful lives. 
Are you looking for affordable income-based housing in our community? The Mews at Hopewell Junction, located conveniently near Route 82, has immediate occupancy available for two-bedroom apartments (please note that income limits have been revised as of June 2021).
Organizational News

Support the Foundation for Abilities First NY
To make an online gift to the mission of Abilities First, go to https://www.abilitiesfirstny.org/make-an-impact/donate/. For additional information about gifts, sponsorships, events, volunteering, or hosting a fundraiser, contact Melissa McCoy at melissamccoy@abilitiesfirstny.org or 845-485-9803 ext. 1223.