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Philip talks about SKIP’s difficult past year.

May 16, 2014 -- Philip Lawrence has been President of SKIP’s Board of Directors for almost a decade. When he is not guiding and steering SKIP, he manages portfolios of high net worth families and pension funds as President and CEO of Inverness Counsel, LLC. He lives in Mount Kisco, NY with his wife Jill and their four children. Philip talks about SKIP’s difficult past year.

Message from Philip Lawrence, President of SKIP’s Board of Directors

March 14, 2014 -- Philip Lawrence has been President of SKIP’s Board of Directors for almost a decade. When he is not guiding and steering SKIP, he manages portfolios of high net worth families and pension funds as President and CEO of Inverness Counsel, LLC. He lives in Mount Kisco, NY with his wife Jill and their four children. Philip talks about the recent Board of Director's Retreat,

Interview with Peter Lydon.

March 14, 2014 -- Peter Lydon, a Fixed Income Sales Analyst at Barclays Capital, is the newest member of the SKIP Junior Board. His hobbies include mountain biking, skiing and golfing. Peter is also interested in cars and ran a car detailing business from his “family’s” home in Connecticut from the ages of 13 till 18, when he left to attend college at Northeastern University in Boston.

Junior Board member Brandon Burchman talks Turkey Trot.

The Turkey Trot was wonderful once again; I hope that I can do it again next year. It was especially rewarding because I was able to share the day with my dad and my daughter. We shared the load when doing the deliveries. We delivered Thanksgiving dinners to 11 families on Staten Island. It is very gratifying to see how gracious and thankful the families are when we brought them the Thanksgiving meals. I would really like to thank SKIP for giving my family the opportunity to be apart of the Turkey Trot the last few years. My family loves being associated with SKIP, and I know that anything we do is appreciated by everyone at SKIP.

Meet Marisa Altabet, a member of our Junior Board...

Marisa Altabet, a real estate agent at Corcoran, joined SKIP's Junior Board four years ago. Her hobbies are reading, the theater and playing with her schnauzer puppy, Barney. She loves to cook and whips up a mean brisket and pumkin souffle. Marisa and her husband Ed love to travel and are obessed with getting to Bora Bora. "I coudn't do everything I do for SKIP without the support of Ed or the amazing example set by my parents."


2014 Best of Buffalo Award

SKIP is honored with the 2014 Best of Buffalo Award in the Social Service Organization category for its contributions to making Buffalo a “great place to live, work and play”.

Kudos to Donna Andrzejewski, Director of the Buffalo Office, and her team! For more information, read the attached media alert.

SKIP Kids in the Spotlight

1,500 Year-Old Skeleton Found...with Down Syndrome

2014 Video Presentation: “Growing Up SKIP”

FDA MedWatch - Ventlab Resuscitator Bags: Recall - Possible Health Risk

Louisiana Special Education Bill Would Segregate Students With Disabilities, Advocates Say

Meet Bella Ruggiero, a young lady on our Waiting List.

March 19, 2014 -- Meet a SKIP family, Kelly and Thomas Ruggiero and their children Isabella (Bella) and Jake. Isabella has Muscular Dystrophy V1. Bella tires easily and currently has difficulty walking up stairs and running. Buttons, zippers, and snaps are hard for her to operate. Children with this disorder can develop scoliosis and breathing problems and their muscles tighten over time.

Mom's harness invention gives kids a chance to walk.

March 27, 2014 - A Mom's harness invention allows wheelchair-bound children a chance to walk and even dance!"

MVP Health Care is making changes to insurance plans that are impacting families with children and adults with special needs, including a SKIP family from Rochester.

Possible Thioridazine (Mellaril) Shortages

June 18, 2014 - The NYS Office of People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) announced that there may be intermittent shortages of thioridazine (Mellaril) until October 2014.  

Senator Schumer Proposes New Law to Protect Children with Autism: Senator Schumer Proposes New Law to Protect Children with Autism.

Because no one is perfect? Get closer..."

Watch the amazing campaign devised for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities by Pro Infirmis,. It is entitled "Because no one is perfect? Get closer..." It will take your breath away.

FDA - Nephron Pharmaceuticals Corporation Announces Voluntary Recall of Albuterol Sulfate Inhalation Solution, 0.083%

To see more details, please click on More button

FDA - Onfi (clobazam): Drug Safety Communication - Risk of Serious Skin Reactions

Please take a look at this important safety notice from FDA MedWatch regarding serious health-related issues with the anti-seizure drug Onfi (clobazam).

FDA MedWatch - Carefusion Avea Ventilator: Recall - Underreporting Of Tidal Volume If Used In Conjunction With Neonatal Hotwire Flow Sensor

Ventilator Recall Alert from the FDA: The FDA MedWatch is sharing an important product recall on CareFusion Avea Ventilators. Please click “more” to read the full update

Front Door Proposed Legislation

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State Senator David Carlucci, Chairman of Senate Health and Developmental Disabilities, addresses complaints of Front Door policy and develops a plan to overhaul and improve the Front Door process...more

If you would like to reach out to the Senator please go to his contact page.

HCBS 1915 Waiver Fact Sheet Summary is Now Online.

Please check out this summary of the 1915 waiver provided by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Check out for more information.

Health & Safety Alert From OPWDD

The OPWDD Office of Facilities Management, Fire Safety and Emergency Services is sharing an important Product Recall on Dehumidifiers from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Michigan High School Robotics Team Creates Hand for Disabled Child.

Check out this amazing story on Huffington Post Impact Impact of a four year old girl who was given a new hand by an inspired group of young students.

Upcoming changes to Electronic Benefit Transfer System

New York Office of Temporary Disability Assistance recently announced that the state has signed a new contract to operate and manage Electronic Benefit Transfer system. During the conversion there may be issues accessing benefits.  

Have your voice be heard! Click on the link below for the OPWDD Complaint Form.

OPWDD Complaint Form.

New Wheelchair Makes Dreams of Dancing Come True.

A new wheelchair is helping children with disabilities, such as spina bifida and cerebral palsy, dance for the first time. Merry Lynn Morris, a professor at University Of South Florida, built the handsfree wheelchair which uses sensors to detect motion, similar to a segway. For the full scoop check out

the Huffington Post Impact Website.

Check out the incredible story of Melissa Smith.

Recently paralyzed from the waist down and trapped in a five story walkup, Melissa’s sister was able to raise $400,000 to finance a new house for Melissa which will help her live independently. You can find the full story on the Huffington Post Impact Website.

Incredible Art of Inclusion Exhibition Highlights Artists with Disabilities.

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As you may know from the beautiful artwork on our walls created by SKIP kids, we are passionate about showcasing art created by people living with disabilities. Now we want to share with you a moving report by the Irish Examiner with a story from Cork City, Ireland, where the work of 50 artists with intellectual disabilities will be displayed in an exhibition called Outside In: The Art of Inclusion. The exhibition is a collaboration between several art galleries, CIT Crawford College of Art & Design and the Cork City Counsel. For more on the incredible artists participating in the exhibition please check out the full article on the Irish Examiner Website.

Groundbreaking New System Lets People with Disabilities in Manhattan, NY Call for Wheelchair Accessible Taxis.

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New York City has released a new system of hailing a cab for those living in Manhattan with disabilities.  The “accessible dispatch” system can be accessed by phone, internet, or a free smartphone application, called “Wheels on Wheels”. As of now there are only 233 wheelchair-accessible taxis that can be hailed using the new system, an issue that’s resulted in up to 30 minute wait times. However, more than 2,000 new wheelchair-accessible cab medallions are in the process of being issued.  The influx of new medallions will surely make a huge impact if they are granted.  Check out the full story on the WNYC Transportation Nation Website.

Seven People with Disabilities Climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with Help of Philanthropist

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In 2008, in honor of her 50th birthday, Philanthropist Herta von Stiegel headed a team of seven individuals with disabilities to Tanzania to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro. Working with UK-based Charity Enham, she selected the seven individuals, three of whom reached the mountains summit. We applaud Ms. von Stiegel for her inspirational effort in personally empowering people with disabilities. Read the full story from the Huffington Post Impact website.

Family Comes Together to Help Girl with Cerebral Palsy Win Triathlon

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A moving story from Kansas via the Huffington Post, where 9-year old Cecilia Neimann, who suffers from Cerebral Palsy, became the first person to win the race’s new “Challenged Athlete” division. She finished the UCP Shawnee Mission Triathlon with the help of her mother, grandmother and a family friend. Get the full scoop on the Huffington Post Impact website.

Breakthroughs in Technology Helping People with Disabilities Finds Jobs

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Remarkable new breakthroughs in technology are having a profound impact on the ability to work for people with disabilities. Real-time video sign language interpreters, tablet applications, voice activated phones and most recently Google Glass have helped the employment rate among people with disabilities jump 4% in the last two years, more than that of able-bodied workers. Read more about these amazing technologies and the people they’ve empowered at the Huffington Post Impact website.

Seatrac Device Helps People with Disabilities Swim

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Seatrac is a revolutionary new solar-powered device developed in Greece, similar in design to a wheelchair, which allows a disabled person to be transported 20 meters from the beach to the water.  This is a huge breakthrough in technology, as it allows for people with disabilities to enjoy being in the water.  It’s already been exported to Cyprus and could show up soon in Croatia, France, UAE and Israel. We hope to see Seatrac in the U.S. soon!  Read more about Seatrac on the Huffington Post Impact website.

The Front Door Initiative

June 1, 2013 – OPWDD has put into effect a new process when applying for services or changing existing services. This process is new in development and implementation. For more information please refer to the powerpoint presentation and manual directly from OPWDD’s website. Each Developmental Disabilities Regional Office (DDRO) has a Front Door representative; please click on the More link below to see your DDRO representative. Questions about the Front Door


Margaret talks about some hard challenges facing SKIP and our families.

May 16, 2014 --
Margaret Mikol,
Co-Founder and Executive Director

Notes from the field from Donna Andrzejewski, Regional Manager - Buffalo

March 05, 2014 -- Well, here in Western New York, we celebrate our winter months with lots of oohs and aahs and ouchs and “are you kidding me-s!!!.” We have had a boatload of snow, at just under 100” we are coming in on a record in accumulations and COLD!!!

Notes from the field from Jeremiah Webber, Assistant Manager - Rochester

May 13, 2014 -- On Thursday May 8th, I attended The Alfred L. Davis Public Service Awards ceremony at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) where Rose Marie Toscano (a parent who has worked with us for about 25 years) was awarded The Four Presidents Distinguished Public Service Award. As part of her award, she was able to make a donation to charities of her choice and graciously chose SKIP to be one of three recipients. I have asked Rose Marie’s permission for the RIT webpage link and some information about her to be posted on the SKIP website.

Margaret talks about Friendraiser 2014, its importance to SKIP, and what it means to her.

Margaret Mikol,
Co-Founder and Executive Director

Margaret's Tribute to Avonte Oquendo.

Margaret Mikol,
Co-Founder and Executive Director

Margaret talks about some challenges as we welcome 2014.

Margaret recalls 26 years of the Turkey Trot.

Margaret Mikol,
Co-Founder and Executive Director

Margaret and her husband Yves were up at the crack of dawn the Tuesday before Thanksgiving to pick up 80 turkeys for SKIP’s 26th Annual Turkey Trot—our most successful to date. Click on MORE button to listen to Margaret reminisce about past Turkey Trots and how this tradition came to be.

More Turkey Trouts.

SKIP wants to thank all the volunteers, food donors and, especially Robert Greenzeig and Interstate Foods for its donation of 80 turkeys and Enterprise Car Rental for its help in securing 6 cars for the Turkey Trot delivery and its very generous donation to help offset the costs of the Turkey Trot. For pictures of SKIP volunteers organizing the Turkey Trot, please click

Diane Campione Salutes SKIP of New York.

Diane Campione has been with the New York Public Library (NYPL) for nearly 26 years. She lives in Staten Island with her husband Keith and their son Christian Jeffrey who was diagnosed with autism in 2000. “I actively use my position with NYPL to advocate for special needs and provide effective programming that is unique and individualized to suit the needs of the special population. My greatest accomplishment is my son Christian, who is the light behind everything I do.” Click the picture above to hear Diane talk about how SKIP has helped her and her son.

Jim Moran salutes Skip of New York

With almost 30 years at the New York State Office for People With Disabilities (OPWDD), Jim Moran has had a distiguished career and a lifelong commitment to people with develomental disabilities. Jim (now retired) has been a great friend to SKIP and is knee deep into an assemnt of SKIP over the last 30 years and directions it should go in the future. Click the picture above to listen to Jim talk about SKIP.

A look behind the scenes at SKIP: An interview with SKIP Director of Training, Malia Faleafine

As Director of Training, Malia Faleafine oversees the training department and writes the curriculum for SKIP trainings. She also heads the enrollment and incident departments as well as making sure that all our hardworking employees get the recognition they deserve.

A SKIP Success Story with Behavior Specialist, Stephanie Ross

Stephanie Ross has a master's degree in Psychology with a specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis. She was inspired to pursue a career in helping children with developmental disabilities after volunteering for a soccer program in California with kids with autism. She works with children in the Home and Community Based Waiver (HCBS) department who have community habilitation. As part of Stephanie’s roll, she visits families and takes video interviews to help better analyze their child's needs.

A Look Inside SKIP

This video, produced for our recent Friendraiser, is a snapshot of what SKIP does and why it matters as seen through the eyes of SKIP families and staff.

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