Video Wire

Fair Finds Disability Resources for Transition to Adulthood

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Individuals seeking adult services for disabilities and their families learned about what is available at the Family Resource and Transitions Fair, this past October 5. The gathering of service providers, sponsored by the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council, was held at the College of Staten Island for families of people transitioning from school to adult programs.  Emphasizing the rights of individuals to stand up for themselves, the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities is shifting towards more person centered services, which were a major topic of interest this year.

Our crew covered the event with interviews and photos at the College of Staten Island.

-Written collaboratively by Steven Filoramo and Eddy Gregory.

Reporters: Gregory Perosi, Andrew Moszenberg, Antonio Pabon, and Steven Filoramo.

Photos: Aaron Bialer, Meredith Arout, and Antonio Pabon.

Kiwanis Aktion Clubs Converge on Rochester

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Volunteers from across New York descended on Rochester to share their ideas at the Kiwanis Aktion Club statewide conference this October.  Lifestyles’ own Kiwanians were among the groups represented who talked about leadership, their club activities, and why they give their time.

“Kiwanis Aktion Club members serve their communities,” explained Eric Schwacke.  “We’re here to serve. What can I can say – it’s a family.”

“With all that the Aktion Club members do, it’s a great feeling,” said Dennis Gable, advisor to the Staten Island contingent. “I’m very happy to be a part of it and to be involved with Lifestyles Aktion Club.”

Lifestyles was represented by Eric Schwacke, William Bush, Michael Cilmi and new member Kenneth Tobin, along with staff advisors Paula and Edward Gregory.  

This year, the Lifestyles group collected toys for children, raised money at a 60’s dance to send people to Kamp Kiwanis, and gave clothes and holiday gifts to residents of Project Hospitality. Other Aktion Clubs at the conference included Ontario County, Newark, Waterloo, Brighton, Brockport, and Gates.  The state clubs also conducted bake sales, clothing drives, arts and craft supply collections, car washes, disaster relief packages, and more.

The Gregorys made the most of crossing 300-plus miles of the state. They guided the four young men to some of the highlights of Central New York, taking in Lake Ontario, the Rochester Museum of Science and the Corning Museum of Glass.

The Aktion Clubs are Kiwanis groups of people with disabilities volunteering to support others.  There are more than 500 Aktion Clubs with more than 12,000 members worldwide.

  • Article by Eddy Gregory with Eric Schwacke and Meredith Arout.
  • Photography: Eric Schwacke
  • Video: Michael Cilmi, reporter, Eddy Gregory, producer.

Field Day Fun at Ocean Breeze Athletics

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At Lifestyles we are all work and play. Check out Ed Burke, Deputy Borough President, singing the praises of the beautiful Ocean Breeze Athletic Facility with Anthony DiFato. And look at all these happy people running, jumping and dancing freely at Staten Island’s premier fitness and competition center. A good time was had by all.

WrestleMania WarmUp at Lifestyles

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The build up is peeking. The card is set. Or is it? What will John Cena and the Undertaker do?

At Lifestyles, Sal DiBenedetto interviewed our own contenders — The Destroyer (Kevin Distefano), Joey Whispers (Joe Padalino), The Darkness (Aaon Bialer), Joey The Wrath (Schiavone). Dangerous Alan Russo, Anthony ‘The Animal’ Arragona, Thomas ‘The Tiger’ Lema. Cena and the DeadMan got nothing on us. Get ready for WrestleMania 34.


‘Summer in the Forest,’ a film about work of Jean Vanier, to debut in New York

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Editor’s note: Lifestyles Media Department had the opportunity to screen “Summer in the Forest,” a film that tells the story of how Jean Vanier’s life was changed when he began living and working with people with intellectual disabilities. Vanier founded L’Arche, an international network of communities supporting people with developmental disabilities.

The film has its New York debut on Friday March 23 at Village East Cinema.

Also Max Toone, here to promote the film, stopped in for a quick interview videoed with members of the Media Department. Check out that video, the trailer of the film, and the reviews and reflections that the film sparked in participants at Lifestyles.

“ ‘Summer in the Forest’ is a movie about people with disabilities. They become independent,” says Joseph Padalino. “They shave. They go out and have a good time. I give it a 10. It is a very emotional movie. The ending will make anybody emotional.”

“This movie is about people’s lives and how life changed for people with disabilities.,” adds Dolores Palermo. “For everybody it will teach you something about life and the goodness of health.”

“Hopefully, this movie will bring out awareness in people who don’t have disabilities,” observes Joseph Schiavone.

Much of the film takes place in a village outside of Paris. “It takes place in a forest. It is beautiful. You can see the trees and hear the birds,” says Dolores Palermo.

“The music of the introduction and the setting wrapped me up in a spiral of emotions,” said Joseph Schiavone.

Sal DiBenedetto: In those days [in the 1960s] people like us were institutionalized. They didn’t want people like us in the community. Now we go out in the community and take on challenges.

Anthony DiFato: “It is slow paced. You see a man shave, going to the grocery store, picking up the mail.

Kevin DiStefano: I like the guy on the tractor who was cutting the grass.

Andrew Moszenberg: In ways, he (Michel) is like us. We are the same on the inside, our feelings.

Sal DiBenedetto: I liked the part when they walked into town, trying on clothing. It showed what it is like in the community, doing normal everyday stuff.

(Story continues after “Summer in the Forest” Trailer.)

Frank Faretra: “It’s funny.  They treat him well in the group home, but outside they bullied him.”  (Referring to Hilmi, a Palestinian boy in the second half.)

Aaron Bialer: The thinking was they should be locked up. Little did they know it’s not true. People do care about them.

Dolores Palermo: For people with disabilities, it helps build self-esteem. You can prove yourself to yourself by doing everyday activities such as taking a shower. I struggle with getting dressed, but I can do it if I try.

Joseph Padalino: The movie is funny.  It reminds me of “My Left Foot.” It shows me how people get through disability.  Part of the movie makes me sad. They take care of one another.

Sam Stone: “An amazing movie.  It’s great that they get to work together and work things out.”

Written with Kathryn Carse and Eddy Gregory