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Cody Center Recreational Program for Kids with Autism Gets Boost With $30,000 Donation


The Recreation/Respite Program at the Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at Stony Brook University received $30,000 from Long Island Charities on November 11. The gift, through the efforts of John Tsunis, owner of the Holiday Inn Express, Stony Brook, will help to build the programs that offer children with autism spectrum disorders and related developmental disabilities an opportunity for indoor and outdoor play, including artwork, games, music, and other activities when school is not in session and on weekends.

Cody Center Recreational Program for Kids with Autism
Lisa Niski of Selden, N.Y., plays with her 7-year-old son, Joey, at the Cody Center for Developmental Disabilities at Stony Brook University Medical Center. Joey partakes in the Recreation/Respite Program at the Cody Center, which received $30,000 from Long Island Charities.
Lisa Niski, mother of 7-year-old Joey Niski who has autism, calls the vacation Recreational/Respite Program a "Godsend" that has kept her son from regressing at Jericho Elementary School in Selden, N.Y. She says the program has helped him read better. He read aloud for the first time in a group at the program.

"Joey is one example of the many children and families helped through our program," says John Pomeroy, M.D., Director of the Cody Center. "For children with autism and related disorders, structured play and recreational opportunities help their cognitive, social and behavioral skills, which remain a constant challenge for them."

"Having a child with special needs is difficult," says John Tsunis, Stony Brook University Development Council Member and a Board Member of Long Island Charities. "The program is an ideal place for children to grow and learn, and my family is proud to be a part of it."

The program in which Joey participates offers recreational opportunities during school vacations for children ages 5 to 9 years. This program, funded by the New York State Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities, offers children a safe, structured and stimulating environment, as well as gives parents and caregivers a break so they can attend to their other children's needs or other tasks. The Cody Center will be able to expand its offerings to other age groups with the funding from the Tsunis family.

For more information about the Cody Center, please visit www.codycenter.org, or call 631-632-3070. To support the Cody Center, or the Recreational/Respite Program, call 631-444-2899.
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