INCLUDEnyc Benefit Celebrates Young People with Disabilities and their Families

(New York, NY)—INCLUDEnyc hosted its Spring Benefit “Bites and Brew” at The Tap Room at The Yale Club on Wednesday, May 22. The event celebrated and supported young people with disabilities and their families.

INCLUDEnyc had several distinguished guests, including Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, who spoke about the importance of INCLUDEnyc’s work and her long-standing commitment to the disability community. “Congratulations on your hard work and offering such excellent programming for New Yorkers, especially for young people with disabilities,” Brewer said, kicking off the event.

INCLUDEnyc parent, Dionn Hurley, shared her story with guests at the fundraiser. Dionn attended INCLUDEnyc workshops, which helped her identify which school setting was right for her son, A.J. Then, when Dionn’s requests for another school placement went unanswered, INCLUDEnyc referred her to a lawyer, who helped her fight for her son’s rights. Dionn won the mediation and A.J. was placed into an appropriate school. “To have someone who understands the struggles from a parent’s perspective, that’s the gift of INCLUDEnyc. They help us fight for our children and empower families with the knowledge to be a strong, informed parent advocate,” she said.

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INCLUDEnyc also premiered a video sharing the story of another parent, Christine. For over 20 years, INCLUDEnyc supported Christine as she made critical decisions regarding her son, Ogechi. INCLUDEnyc helped Christine identify an early intervention program, find an appropriate school where Ogechi attended for many years, and advocate for Ogechi’s placement on an academic track to earn a high school diploma. “INCLUDEnyc is always in my back pocket. They were there all along the way, from the time Ogechi was a little boy all the way to high school. INCLUDEnyc has been a mainstay of our lives,” shared Christine. Today, her son Ogechi is studying at Borough of Manhattan Community College.

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To support programs helping parents like Dionn and Christine, guests participated in a live auction featuring lunch with Hollywood star Colin Farrell, house seats to Broadway hits like Hamilton and To Kill a Mockingbird, and a getaway to the Caribbean.

In her remarks at the event, Executive Director Barbara Glassman reflected on INCLUDEnyc’s growth over the past few years. “Today, we clear more paths for more families at every stage of a child’s life. In 2018 alone, we directly served more than 9,000 people and reached an impressive 130,000 individuals through outreach.”