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HeartShare, which educates over 700 children at HeartShare’s four pre-schools (ages 3-5) and The HeartShare School (ages 5-21) diagnosed with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism, celebrated Autism Awareness Month with various events.
HeartShare hosted a rock concert fundraiser at St. Finbar’s on Saturday, April 25th, featuring “On A Good Run,” a local band led by HeartShare Education Center Board Member Dr. Harry DeMeo. Also performing was The HeartShare School (THS) Rock Band, Oversight, which is comprised of students with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) who enjoy this musical outlet as the ultimate form of self-expression. In addition to appearances at the school’s fundraiser and related school functions, THS Rock Band also performed in front of 1,000 guests at HeartShare’s Centennial Anniversary “Block Party” at MetroTech Commons in July 2014, a milestone for children with ASD who have worked with HeartShare teachers and staff to develop strong social and communications skills.
Nearly 350 people participated in the 8th Annual Harbor Fitness Race for Autism on April 26th, which directly benefits HeartShare education programs. “The children are incredibly excited about Autism Awareness Month and they don’t want it to end! It’s moving how much they value, and how much we often take for granted, participating in community activities and events,” noted HeartShare DSP Monique Dalel.
Harbor Fitness also worked with HeartShare to help its students with autism improve motor coordination and social engagement through athletic activities. Harbor Fitness trainer Anthony Carucci led a class for HeartShare students last year, encouraging their inclusion in the Brooklyn community, as well as teaching exercises for healthy living.
HeartShare staff made it possible for the children, like Tallal, age 12, from The HeartShare School and Children’s Residential Program (CRP), to participate in the Harbor 5K Race for Autism.