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St. Pius Provides Space

Individuals with Down syndrome, autism and other developmental disabilities now have a new safe haven in Plainview.

In order to accommodate their continual growth, Long Island-based ACDS, in moving into a space at St. Pius X Roman Catholic Church on Washington Avenue in Plainview. The new facility will house the agency’s adult day habilitation and 5-plus program, which provides recreation and respite activities for children ages five and up.

ACDS moved into their new facilities on May 19, after some minor touch-ups and a fresh coat of paint by the agency’s staff. The 8,000-square-foot space is in a separate wing of the St. Pius X facility, and entirely on the ground floor level for enhanced wheelchair accessibility.

The space is comprised of eight large classrooms where 5-plus and day-hab participants can socialize, develop skills and participate in leisure activities such as dancing, art, and music.

“We had been renting space at another church in Hicksville, but they found a new tenant, so we had to leave,” says ACDS executive director Michael Smith, adding that ACDS is already headquartered on Fern Place in Plainview.”

“Fortunately, St. Pius had an occupant who had recently moved, and we jumped at the opportunity to lease the space. The fact that it’s in Plainview and close to our headquarters enables us to increase our presence in the local community. Plus it’s conveniently located to the major roads and highways in the area.”

Smith had been exploring several leasing options when he met with the Rockville Center Archdiocese and learned of the opportunity at St. Pius.

“I spoke with the Bishop, and he was very supportive of ACDS and our mission,” said Smith. “It was a win-win situation as we now have the space we need to relocate our 5Plus and Day Hab programs, and St. Pius has locked up a tenant for the next five years.”

While certain sports activities will be held elsewhere, the new space enables ACDS to consolidate most of their 5-plus and day-hab programs at one location.

“In 2011, the Day Hab Program had only five clients,” said Smith, “and now there are over 50. And the 5Plus Program has over 250 individuals in more than 500 program slots. When I joined ACDS in 2004, the Plainview school was half empty. Now it’s at full capacity. The fact that we can now consolidate the 5Plus and Day Hab programs under one roof frees up more space at the Plainview school to accommodate its continued expansion.”

As ACDS continues to grow, the agency plans to relocate about 15 headquarter staff — including finance, human resources, development and compliance — to new leased space at an elementary school on Jamaica Avenue in Plainview.

When that happens, Smith will be the only administrator other than the principal and other personnel left at the agency’s original headquarters.

“In the past decade, we have seen a steady increase in the demand for services to help the developmentally disabled,” said Smith. “ACDS has been very aggressive in expanding our services to meet those needs and have continued to grow, despite the economic downturn since 2008.

With state funding curtailed in recent years, we simply had to be more innovative to get the funding and support we need in order to provide the programs and activities for the individuals we serve.”

“They say that if you stand still, you get stale,” Smith continued. “And we don’t intend on standing still.”

News

The Columbus Day Parade played host a to a very special group this year. The Family Residences and Essential Enterprises’ (FREE) Players Drum Corps made history as they became the first special needs drum corps to march in the New York City Columbus Day Parade.

The group marched up Fifth Avenue from 44th to 72nd Street with a red carpet performance on Fifth Avenue between 67th and 69th Streets.

Driving rain and cold temperatures could not keep Long Islanders from coming out to support the first annual DogFest Walk ‘n Roll, a fundraiser for Canine Companions for Independence. Held for the first time at Marjorie Post Park in Massapequa, dogs of all breeds and sizes came with their humans with one goal in mind; to raise funds for CCI.

Massapequa resident and event organizer Yvonne Dagger, past president and now board member, discussed the importance of the event.


Calendar

4th Annual Harvest Festival

Saturday, Oct. 25

Health and Wellness Senior Fair

Tuesday, Oct. 28

Haunted Halloween

Wednesday, Oct. 29



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