Staten Island

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.

A windy Great Kills Beach as Jose passes by in the Atlantic

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While Hurricane-turned-Tropical-Storm Jose is making its moves in the Atlantic, it’s making its presence known along the coast with high surf and riptides.

It won’t be coming here, Andre Fitzgerald assured us. It’s going north and turning east. Rain here, but more in Long Island tonight.

We decided to go to the beach and see for ourselves what if any effect it was having on Staten Island. We headed for Gateway National Park Area at Great Kills. We drove past the harbor and down to the last parking lot between the beach house and Crooke’s Point.

“The breeze is right into your face. It’s what I like,” said Kevin DiStefano who spread his arms and let out a hoot when he arrived.

“It’s not a day for a book and a flask of tea. This is a hold onto your stuff for dear life day,” observed Anthony Difato who nonetheless had book in hand.


Joe Maturi, Media Dept. supervisor, started to head down to the water with Kevin and Tim Fauske. They didn’t get far before a mini sandstorm arose.

“A bunch of sand started blowing hard,” said Tim. Through the fuzzy scene we could see a pair doing yoga at the water’s edge. “It was hard to take a picture,” said Riki Garcia.

Luckily the sand whipping around didn’t last long. But Jose’s reach could be seen in the choppy water and white caps, the dramatic clouds and the blowing leaves and grasses.

“That looks really rough. I wouldn’t go out in that water,” said Joe Trischitta when he saw the photos back in the Media Room. He does quite a bit of boating. And in fact, there were no boats out, even the gulls were hunkered down on shore for awhile. The rain hadn’t moved in yet though, so the sun, clouds and grey and silver water made for a beautiful and relaxing place to be.

We weren’t the only ones. In addition to the yoga pair, there were a couple of dog walkers, a cyclist and a rollerblader to name a few.

All in all it was a good nearly end of summer day. Enjoy the breezes and the clouds, which have been joined by the rain now as Jose passes by.

Kathryn Carse with Anthony DiFato, Kevin DiStefano, Tim Fauske, Andre Fitzgerald and Riki Garcia. Joe Trischitta and Joe Jones who were not with us at the beach also helped shape the story. Photos by Riki, Harry Rodriguez and Jenn Romano





Joe’s Walking essay

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Joseph Padalino aiming his camera. (Meredith Arout/Lifestyles)

My day of being in a wheelchair is horrible. It’s horrible because of my circumstance. I want to be able to walk like other people. I want to kick a ball like other people. I want to be like a normal person. Not because I’m normal now, you know what I mean? I want to be more normal than the average person. Physically, I can’t go to the bathroom by myself, feed myself, put my shirt on or go in the pool. I want to be able to do more things on my own. I want less help.

The reason why I’m revealing my feelings about walking is because I want people to understand what I’m going through.  Sometimes when I go home, I listen to Josh Groban. And I go in my room and listen to him and I cry. I cry because I sometimes get very emotional about this and crying releases tension. 

I like coming to Lifestyles because it brings me to a place where I have friends. It is not a babysitting service. Lifestyles is a structural program, which teaches us to go out into the workforce. It also gives us an opportunity to expand our minds.

And it gives us a chance to shine. Lifestyles hais a social basis where people come and be happy. And this is why I feel good when I come here. We learn to properly introduce ourselves. I enjoy interviewing people on camera and off. We take pictures and learn to be photographers. So when I come to Lifestyles, I feel like I have a purpose. I feel very special because Lifestyles got me a camera that I can put on my tray, so I can take pictures.

There is an invention called [Robotic] Exoskeleton that you put on like a jacket and you can walk. It has worked with some people, but for me, I don’t know. If you take a picture of my spine, it’s curved. So I don’t know how the Exoskeleton would work. I hope someday in the near future it would. The first thing I would do is go on a plane and take a trip to Italy to see my cousins. I did it once, but there were people to lift me. I want to actually walk by myself.

I enjoyed dictating this essay because it gave me a chance to tell you what I go through everyday in a wheelchair. I hope you read my story because I want everybody to know what I’m going through. Thank you everybody for listening and have a good day.

Joseph Padalino attends Lifestyles for the Disabled day habilitation program. This essay was dictated to Acewin Tam, an intern from Staten Island Technical High School, and Kathryn Carse with the Lifestyles M

Lifestyles goes on set at Staten Island CTV

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“Quiet on the set! 5 – 4- 3- 2 …”

And so began a new Lifestyles for the Disabled community partnership with Community Television (CTV), a place where we can to go to produce television shows.

harry2We visited the studios on Cable Way in Mariners Harbor and were impressed with the knowledgeable people who work there and the facility which includes studios, offices, a green room and editing rooms.

For our first show, Kristin Dalton, a reporter with the Staten Island Advance/SILive interviewed Lifestyle participants and staff about their work on Life-Wire News Service, a voice for people with disabilities. Life-Wire founders and developer Eddy Gregory, Joseph Maturi and Kathryn Carse were joined by Lifestyles Associate Executive Director Scott Salinardi for the first segment. 

“Thanks to CTV, this helps us build our network and continue to grow our vision for   Life-Wire. The show was an opportunity for us to explain the work we do and the skills we are teaching to provide content at” – Joseph Maturi/Co-Founder of Life-Wire. 

“I was nervous to be on TV. I was afraid, what if I mess up,” said Meredith A. “But I was prepared and Kristin guided me when I hesitated.”

Meredith was part of a panel of future hosts along with Anthony P and Greg P. Meredith talked about her work as an interviewer and photographer which included working at 2016 NYC Fashion Week. Anthony described his experience interviewing and photographing the Staten Island Yankees. Greg recalled his interview with Staten Sen. Lanza at his annual Resource Fair.

“When I first got there, I was very enthusiastic about learning about TV and being on TV,” said Anthony Pabon. “Seeing the work that was being done was very impressive.”

Other Media Department members observed the taping from the audience. They saw lighting, sound checks and behind the scenes personnel in action.

“We had to be quiet during taping,” observed Yoni C.

He and Harry R helped document the activity by taking photographs (see gallery below).

Whether on the set or in the audience, everyone is looking forward to going back and thinking about the role they can play in future CTV productions.

“Where I went  today was the best expence I ever had,” said Dolores P. “I saw how to work on set with people that work at CTV. I also learned a lot of new things that I might like to do in the future.”

Meredith A., Yoni C., Andre F., Anthony P., Dolores P., and Harry R. with Kathryn Carse

Tune in Tonight 7/20 at 9pm ch. 37 for Fios customers and ch. 1997 for Spectrum Customers!

Photos by Yoni C and Harry R




Bonus track:  Dolores Palermo interviews Gregory Perosi about the new Life-Wire News.

Dyslexic students to benefit from new Staten Island charter school

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Plans are moving forward to establish a charter school that addresses the needs of children who are having difficulty learning because they are dyslexic.

“We’ve got a problem on Staten Island. Students, our children, with dyslexia are going to public schools and their needs are not being met,” said Laura Timoney, the borough’s deputy director of education.

Borough President James Oddo’s office found that the need is pressing and the available programs are both costly and distant for local residents. The conclusion: We need a community charter school.

Plans are going forward for Bridge Prep for Creative Thinkers where multi-sensory instruction that appeals to all learners will be implemented.

In her remarks to a general counsel presentation at the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council, Timoney explains the process and plans to open the school with a second and third grade class for the 2018 to 2019 school year. A grade will be added each year until the school serves students in grades 1 through 8.

Watch the video for both the story and a question and answer period.

Dyslexic student endures hours-long daily trip to school.

Basketball Fantasy: Shoot the winning basket

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The crowd is going wild. The cheerleaders are pumped. Brian coolly dribbles in, shoots and sinks the winning basket.

Brought to you through the magic of a green screen.

Members of Lifestyles Media Department traveled to New Dorp  to join the high school students at Staten Island Tech for some cool sessions in their TV studio.

In addition to a control booth and three video cameras, the studio is equipped with a green screen. The creative juices were flowing with all the possible visual effects provided by the digital backdrop.

For Brian, that meant hearing the roar of the crowd as he launched the game winning shot.

R5 Fan Fantasy with SI Tech and Lifestyles for the Disabled

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Members of Lifestyles Media Department traveled to New Dorp  to join the high school students at Staten Island Tech for some cool sessions in their TV studio.

In addition to a control booth and three video cameras, the studio is equipped with a green screen. The creative juices were flowing with all the possible visual effects provided by the digital backdrop.

Meredith Arout chose to “attend” a concert of R5, her all-time favorite band.

“I didn’t really know what I was going to do ahead of time, but I have been to an R5 concert so I know what it was like,” said Meredith.

She looks right at home dancing on stage.

“It was funny when I ran off the stage,” she laughed.

Was she nervous about being “on stage.”

“No. I was excited,” she beamed.

Meredith Arout with Kathryn Carse