A Message from Randi Rios-Castro, CEO
Randi Rios-Castro, CEO
I am pleased to share my August newsletter with you and hope that you and your families are enjoying a great summer with friends and loved ones.
Earlier this month, I celebrated my 5th year at Jawonio and am wrapping up my 3rd year as CEO of this wonderful organization. I am so grateful to be able to work side by side with an incredibly talented and dedicated staff who work tirelessly to support our children and adults with special needs.
I am excited about the future of our agency, and about the growth and innovation that will take place in both Rockland and Westchester. However, without a New York State Budget that secures sustainable funding for us, we will continue to face economic hardships and uncertainty.
That is why we need a stronger and more effective advocacy effort locally and on the state level in preparation for the 2024 NYS Legislative Session. Will you join us?
In order for our advocacy efforts to be successful, we need a wealth of voices to be heard locally and in Albany. We need an engaged community as well as the support of our families, friends and supporters. In other words, we need your help!
While we are disappointed in the outcome of the NYS Budget, we are grateful to our NYS elected officials from Rockland and Westchester who supported our requests.
I wanted to share a few of our advocacy highlights:
- We hosted two NYS Town Halls with members of our Rockland and Westchester Senate and Assembly delegations.
- I joined with our staff, participants, state and local partners for a rally at the Capitol in Albany.
- We attended lobby days, signed petitions and provided advocacy messaging on social media.
- On behalf of the agency, I was interviewed by LOHUD/USA Today; WCBS Radio and News 12.
- We hosted a legislative debrief meeting with our NYS elected officials in preparation for 2024.
We are told it will be a tough fiscal year and we need your help now more than ever to press for better funding. Together, we will keep Jawonio strong. I hope you will consider joining us for our 2024 Advocacy in Action efforts. Please drop me a note or contact Diana Hess at email@example.com if you are interested.
Please know that my door is always open to you, our staff, individuals, families and the community. I look forward to hearing from you.
Brick It Again
There is a growing excitement and buzz in Valley Cottage since the grand opening of our Brick it Again Lego resale store in March. As you may know, the mission of Brick it Again is to provide opportunities for prevocational, retail skills and employment training for individuals with special needs. Currently, we have six individuals employed at the store who are enjoying their work and learning new skills on a weekly basis. Children of all ages and their families have stopped by to play and purchase Legos.
We are especially grateful to those families and friends in our community who have organized Lego donation drives. Another wonderful way to support the store is by having your birthday party with us. If your child has a birthday coming up, then Brick it Again will make it a special and personalized experience for you. Click here or call 845.839.7032. and book your party today.
Parent, Nichole Lande shares her son Caleb's special day
“I want to pass along our heartfelt feedback about the birthday party we had at Brick it Again today. We could not be more pleased! Andrew and Matt were incredible and made sure that every detail went smoothly. On top of that, they were above and beyond engaging and wonderful with the kids!
My son, Caleb, is turning 5 and has been visiting the store weekly for a few months now. Andrew, “Mr. Andrew” as Caleb calls him, has become a friend and mentor to Caleb. He always helps us find just the right piece or new set.
Today’s party just made us fall further in love with your store and the whole program. Thank you for bringing this great venue to our town and my child’s life!”
Our Employees Shine
Beginning this spring, we launched a new feature on our website called “Employee Spotlight”. This regular blog post highlights our incredibly talented and dedicated staff.
Each month, our blog gives us the opportunity to learn more about the people who have chosen Jawonio for their career. It is wonderful to learn about our employees’ backgrounds; where they grew up, their educational path, and how they found Jawonio. There is a thread that weaves its way throughout all of their stories which is a commitment to our mission and the people they support. Visit and enjoy our blog page here.
Summer Excitement for our children, teens and adults
Summers at Jawonio are a community tradition. Beginning in 1947 as “Camp Jawonio”, the Jawonio Summer Education Program continues to provide outstanding academics, as well as art, music and swimming programs that make for the most beautiful days and memories for our children and teens. Everyone is preparing for the “end of summer” musical next week and we can’t wait!!
Summer 2023 has been great for our adult programs too!! Last week, in celebration of Disability Pride Month and the 33rd Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Rye Playland hosted our Rockland and Westchester individuals along with many other agencies around the Hudson Valley Region. Opportunities to enjoy recreational, social and physical activities are wonderful enhancements to our programs and make a difference every day.
Monthly Sustainer Program
The Jawonio Foundation began our monthly sustainer program in 2022. We are so grateful to our almost 70 donors who have joined us in this effort. For $7.50 per month, you will be supporting enhancements to our programs that are not reimbursable to Jawonio. With your gift, our children and adults will have more opportunities and access to social, recreational, creative arts and community based activities throughout the year! Monthly giving is an easy way for you to support our work now and for a sustainable future for all. If you choose to give at the $30 level and above, you will receive a a thank you gift from us for your generosity. Click here and make your tax-deductible contribution today!
More than 130 golfers enjoyed perfect weather and an outstanding experience at Paramount Country Club raising $155,000 dollars at our 35th Annual Jawonio Foundation Golf outing. Thank you to our golf committee who worked tirelessly for six months to ensure the success of this event. Thank you to all of our golfers, sponsors, golf committee and volunteers. We also want to thank our dinner guests and supporters who joined with us for the evening festivities and auction. SAVE THE DATE FOR OUR 36th ANNUAL GOLF OUTING ON Monday, June 3, 2024.
VISIT OUR EVENT AND THANK YOU PAGE here
2023 Hometown Heroes Bowlathon
More than 120 bowlers and friends filled the lanes at New City Bowl for our friendly high school vs. high school competition called the Hometown Heroes Bowlathon. This year’s winner was North Rockland HS. Following with a close second and third were the teams from Nyack HS and Nanuet HS respectively. We want to thank everyone who participated in this sold-out event who helped us raise $30,000 for our children and adults. Thank you to our co-chairs, Lon Hofstein and Lou Falco, along with our captains, donors, sponsors and volunteers. Thank you to Alice Lenna and her staff at New City Bowl for hosting us. Click here to see our event sponsor and thank you page. You can join in the fun in 2024 and play for your favorite high school team as an alumni or friend.
SAVE THE DATE for next year’s rock and bowl on Saturday, March 2, 2024.
The Marvin Blume
The Marvin Blume Scholarship is a fund created by parents Ellie and Dan Salmon. The financial award named for Ellie’s father, is presented to a college-bound student whose parent is a Jawonio employee. This year’s winner is Jesse Woodhouse, son of Kristen Woodhouse. Jesse will be attending SUNY Oneonta in the fall. Thank you to our selection committee for their hard work in support of our staff and their loved ones. Thank you to the Salmon Family for your generous annual gift.
It Will Be A
December to Remember
We are delighted to announce our Friends Award Honorees for 2023 – Drumroll Please… This year’s Gala Honorees are Bill Van Slyck, parent and member of our Jawonio Board of Directors and Margo Bohlin, community philanthropist and Associate Broker of Howard Hanna/Rand Realty. Congratulations to our two honorees!! Our livestream event will be hosted by the wonderful Janice Huff, Chief Meteorologist for NBC4NY. To RSVP please click here. This 4th annual gala will take place on December 3rd at 11:30am.
Rockland Duck Derby 8/5
The inaugural Rockland Duck Derby will be held this Saturday, August 5th at Germonds Pool in West Nyack. By adopting one duck or a package of ducks, starting at just $10 dollars, your donation supports: Jawonio, United Hospice, WMC/Good Samaritan Hospital, and The Rockland Community Foundation. There is still time to ADOPT A DUCK. Thank you to Amy Stern and Partners in Promos for organizing this event!