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To show support for Heart Awareness Month observed in February, Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI), the leading service provider on Long Island for children and adults with autism, invited staff and family members to participate in the American Heart Association's “Little Hats, Big Hearts” program. This program aims to collect handmade crochet and knit red hats for babies born in February to inspire a heart-healthy lifestyle.

 

Read more: Student Makes a Difference, One Stitch at a Time

DDI hosted its most successful annual Stars Gala and Auction on Friday, November 17, 2017 at Villa Lombardi’s in Holbrook. Over 400 attendees danced the night away and raised funds to help DDI fulfill its mission to help children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities experience personal growth and fulfillment.

 

The night paid tribute to those who have dedicated their time to support DDI. DDI longtime supporter, Edward Grilli, was selected as the 2017 Stars Gala Honoree. Helping to create a world without limits for the individuals served by DDI, Ed has been a true advocate and friend to the organization. He has given much of his time and money to support DDI in its mission from fundraising to facilitating meetings with top elected officials. DDI also recognized two members of its Board of Directors who will be retiring at the end of 2017. Kevin Long and Karen Valerie have given countless hours of dedicated service to the individuals served by DDI.

 

 

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Employing DDI individuals since 1987, DiCarlo Food Service was the very first Long Island employer to establish such a relationship with DDI. DiCarlo Food Service was awarded the 2017 Employer of the Year for giving the individuals DDI serves the opportunity to become more independent and able to lead self-sufficient lives in the future. Stephen Maltese was selected as the 2017 Employee of the Year. Stephen is the Assistant Residential Manager at the Radio Avenue Residence and has been a DDI employee for 26 years. Stephen’s dedication and commitment to the individuals DDI serves is admirable and has become an inspiration to all who work alongside him.

 

 

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DDI would like to thank all of its 2017 Gala Honorees, sponsors, attendees, journal advertisers, donors and volunteers for helping to make the night a success.