FREE Blast: July 2018

July 31, 2018 | FREE Blast

Hello All,

July was packed with tons of sports. Our main event was our 26th Annual Golf Tournament, which was a huge success. Sprinkled throughout the month were notable triumphs, keeping everyone healthy and in shape. If you are looking to jump on board and want to start simple, take advantage of FREE’s new rec room, Budd’s Bay. Remember to stretch first!

Respectfully, Chris


Click HERE for the full-size poster! 

Raffle Winner Jax Berrios, of Broadway, and Her Sons at the Mets Game
Human Resources recently held a raffle for FREE’s Valued Team Members. Jax Berrios, Assistant Supervisor of Broadway, won four Mets tickets. Lauren Hallaceli, from Skills Unlimited PROS, and John Novick, from accounting, each won four tickets to attend a Long Island Ducks game. Keep an eye on your email for more raffles and prizes! Value of Innovation
FREE Players Ensemble Performs at Citi Field
The FREE Players Ensemble was honored to perform the “National Anthem” at Smile Farms’ 2nd Annual Citi Field Fundraiser. The Ensemble did an excellent job, as always, and look forward to future performances. Values of Diversity and Quality

PrideAbility Workshop at the Q Center
The PrideAbility workshop was co-presented by Claire Miller, Advocacy Coordinator, FREE; and Stefanie Russo, Peer Mentor and Advocate, FREE; as well as advocates, parent advocates and support team members from YAI FREE To BE in Bayside and YAI Self-Advocacy Group in New York City. Special thanks to the LGBT Network’s team at the new Q Center in Long Island City for hosting the workshop. Values of Integrity, Diversity Responsiveness and Quality

Angel Wins Gold Medals at Special Olympics
At the 2018 USA Special Olympics in Seattle, WA, Angel took home four gold medals in Powerlifting. FREE held a “Hero’s Welcome” to honor Angel. State, county and local leaders recognized Angel for all her hard work, and for showing the world that being differently-abled does not mean you are not able. The Special Olympics provides year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Congratulations, Angel! Values of Diversity and Quality

MediSked Implementation Team Holds Kickoff Event
The MediSked Implementation Team recently held its kickoff event to begin FREE’s transition to MediSked Connect, an EHR to centralize and manage information to create efficiencies across provider agencies, while maintaining a person-centered approach to services and supports. Values of Stewardship and Quality

Budd’s Bay Ribbon Cutting Ceremony
Recently, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the opening of the recreational room, Budd’s Bay, in Old Bethpage. The rec room was made possible by a generous donation from Mickey and Reese Michaels who share FREE’s mission of keeping the individuals we serve and Team Members healthy through good nutrition and physical activity. Healthy tasting demonstrations and refreshments were available thanks to an Eat Smart New York Long Island nutrition educator who incorporated vegetables and fruits from FREE’s Freedom Farm in Brentwood. The FREE Players Ensemble also performed several songs during the event. Values of Responsiveness and Innovation

Thank You Rewards
As a way to extend DSP Appreciation Week, FREE has been sharing with everyone the Thank You Rewards, showcasing the Valued Team Members who go above and beyond what is required of them. It is our honor to announce July’s nominees: Denzel Washington, Jovan Gabriel, Kristen Wojtuniak, Isaiah Cousins, Bernard Muller, Angela Gonzalez, Nathan Barnwell, Stephanie Levin, Jillian Mellon, Carla Wisniewski, Nicole Mahoney, Lisa Changchien, Alea Sullivan, Allison Brettschneider and Chester Davis, as well as the entire Lindenhurst and Middle Island teams. These Valued Team Members have exhibited behavior that inspire all of us to go the extra mile. If you would like to nominate someone for a Thank You Reward, please contact Pat Hogan at Winners of a Thank You Reward receive a gift card and thank you card to show our appreciation. Values of Integrity, Diversity, Responsiveness, Stewardship, Interdependence, Innovation and Quality
26th Annual Golf Tournament
This year’s golf tournament was held at the Bellport Country Club. All the foursomes had a wonderful time playing this course, along with the perfect weather to make it one excellent day. Enhancing the event was the mouthwatering food the country club served for both brunch and dinner. As the evening wrapped up, people were eager to see who won all the different raffle prizes that were available. It was wonderful to see all the smiling faces as the night came to an end. Values of Stewardship and Innovation
Speaking FREE with Chris and Robert
The July episode of Speaking FREE with Chris and Robert, airing on K98.3, focused on farm markets. As usual, moderators included Robert S. Budd, CEO, FREE; and Christopher D. Long, Ed.D, President, FREE. This month’s guests included Jean Reinhart, Master Gardiner, Freedom Farm, who discussed FREE’s farm in Brentwood. Tyler H., Farmer, Freedom Farm, talked about his experience working at the farm. Stephanie Lewis, Assistant Vice President, FREE, discussed the Veterans’ Garden and Smile Farms at Skills Unlimited. Kim Schultz, Community Projects Director, Eat Smart NY Long Island Region, FREE, talked about the Fresh Truck Freedom Farm Mobile Market. Zahrine Bajwa, Regional Project Director, Eat Smart and Cornell Cooperative Extension (CCE) of Suffolk County, discussed the partnership between FREE and the CCE. And, Karen Bonne, Program Director, Saddle Rock Ranch, talked about the greenhouse business operation. In case you missed the airing of the show, visit to watch the entire episode. Values of Responsiveness, Interdependence and Innovation
Meet the Artists Reception at LENZ Winery
A Meet the Artists Reception was recently held to honor the Individuals who participate in the Fine Art and Art Therapy Programs who have their works on exhibit at The LENZ Winery, one of Long Island’s oldest and most prestigious North Fork vineyards. LENZ has been a longtime supporter of FREE, having hosted a number of showcases in the past. The collection on display, Disruption, consists of wide ranging depictions of differing natural frequencies of life, and will be up until September 4th, 2018. A bittersweet moment of the night was when they presented a framed piece of art to Peter Bolze’s family in his memory. Sadly, Peter recently passed away. He was well known for the art he created through FREE’s programs, and his artwork was even featured on a LENZ wine label. We will miss you, Peter! Values of Diversity, Innovation and Quality
Advocates Attend NACDD Conference
Four advocates and three support professionals from New York and Illinois presented at the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) Conference in Washington, DC on the PrideAbility and Proud and Included LGBTQIA Advocacy projects. The panel was moderated by Dr. Jessica Pidgeon, Federal Liaison, New York State Developmental Disabilities Planning Council. The FREE team consisted of Dennis Murphy, Advocate and President of FREE To BE, and Claire Miller, Advocacy Coordinator and Project Manager of PrideAbility. The People Inc. team from Buffalo included Alex Jusko, Advocate and President of PrideAbility of Western NY, and Rick Banner, Advocacy Coordinator and PrideAbility Statewide Co-Presenter. The Illinois team included Eddie and Jamece, Advocates and Members of Proud and Included, and Marie Gandy, Envision Unltd., and Project Manager of Proud and Included. The Nationwide LGBTQIA I/DD Advocacy Movement IS Coming Out of the Closet! Values of Diversity, Responsiveness and Interdependence
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the Veterans’ Garden
Skills Unlimited, Inc., an affiliate of FREE, offering vocational training programs for adults with disabilities, is proud to announce the opening of their Veterans’ Garden at their headquarters in Oakdale. A ribbon cutting ceremony was held, followed by a gardening demonstration by veterans and individuals with disabilities. This garden will be providing locally grown vegetables for the Northport VA, Long Island State Veterans Home, Beacon House and all veterans on Long Island.  The garden, with 14 raised garden beds, will be farmed and tended to by veterans from the community and adults with disabilities from the organization’s vocational training program. Opportunities to work directly with individuals with disabilities provides mutually beneficial and supportive vocational experiences. The goal of the garden is to: Improve the health of veterans who do not have access to fresh produce; Create jobs, both paid and volunteer (This type of work is known to lift people’s spirits and feelings of well-being.); and Build stronger community engagement. Values of Responsiveness, Innovation and Quality

KiDS NEED MoRE at Saddle Rock Ranch
For the third year in a row, Saddle Rock Ranch is hosting the KiDS NEED MoRE summer program. KiDS NEED MoRE is a not-for-profit supporting children with cancer and other life threatening illnesses. This year has been the best enrollment, with more than 120 kids involved. Each has the opportunity to participate in various ranch experiences, in addition to recreational activities including walking Eli the Donkey – a big hit! Special thanks to the Saddle Rock Team for going above and beyond each year to support this program. Values of Responsiveness, Interdependence and Innovation

FREE Lightning Participate in the NYSO Summer Games
The FREE Lightning Team recently went with their coaches to the New York Special Olympics (NYSO) Summer Games. They competed in Track and Field events, including the 50M and 100M Dash, 400M Speed Walk, Softball Throw and Javelin throw. They received gold, silver and bronze medals in these events. Values of Innovation and Quality

FREE Money Wins Volleyball Championship
This year, FREE Money (Accounting) faced off against The Avengers (Leadership). For those of you who don’t know, this was the third year in a row these talented teams have faced off for the championship title! FREE Money won the title in 2016 and The Avengers won it in 2017. The 2018 championship title went to the team that won two out of three games. FREE Money won the first two games, with scores of 15-10 and 15-12. Values of Responsiveness and Innovation

FREE Helps Make Sweet 16 Magical
Cancer survivor Erika Gottlieb recently celebrated her Sweet 16. FREE, in partnership with KiDS NEED MoRE and Cactus Salon & Spa of Smithtown, provided Erika and eight of her friends with a “Day of Beauty” before her Sweet 16 celebration. The spa donated hair and makeup services to the young ladies while FREE provided refreshments from Terry’s Café and goodie bags with jewelry from their retail shop, Fancy FREE. Values of Diversity, Responsiveness and Innovation