Finals for First Annual "Special Needs Got Talent" Competition Crowns Best on Long Island

Written by Long Island News & PR  |  07. February 2017

Old Bethpage, NY - February 6, 2017 - After two rounds of auditions, Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE), in partnership with the BroadHollow Theatre Company, held the finals for the first annual Long Island “Special Needs Got Talent” competition on Saturday, February 4th.  The finals, held at the Bayway Arts Center in East Islip, saw 22 finalists compete for the opportunity to be considered the best on Long Island, as well as for cash and other prizes.  The contestants performed in front of some of Long Island’s top talent professionals in three different age groups, Children, Teens, and Adults. 

The winners of the first annual Long Island “Special Needs Got Talent” competition are:

Children’s Group
First Place – Catalina Rojas from Hauppauge
Second Place – Kaitlyn Keisner from Coram

Teens Group
First Place – Natalie DeSantis from Selden
Second Place – Charlie Kosina from Rockville Centre
Third Place – Bryan Denadio from Port Jefferson Station

Adults Group
First Place – John McClean – First Place
Second Place – Christopher Triano
Third Place – Michael Korins from Merrick

“All of us at FREE are thrilled that these performers showed the world what we already know, being differently-abled does not mean you are not able,” said Robert Budd, CEO FREE.  “This event was a great success and we look forward to many more,” Budd continued.

Evaluating these performers were an all-star panel of judges who all had a distinct Long Island flavor.  The judges included Jay Jay French, Mark "The Animal" Mendoza, and Eddie "Fingers" Ojeda of Twisted Sister; WWE Hall of Famer, New York Times Best Selling Author and former WWE World Champion, Mick Foley; Joe Rock, WBAB on-air personality; Jessica Gallone, Sr. Day Services Director, FREE; Jessica Cianciotto, Director of a Special Needs Acting Troupe at Take-One Theatre; and Sly Geralds, Director of Rock-n-Roll University in Hauppauge.

FREE and the BroadHollow Theatre Company are already looking forward to the 2018 Long Island “Special Needs Got Talent” competition.  

Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE)
Family Residences and Essential Enterprises, Inc. (FREE), founded in 1977, benefits and proudly supports more than 4,000 individuals with intellectual/developmental disabilities, mental illness and traumatic brain injury. It is the mission of FREE to assist individuals of all abilities realize their full potential. FREE provides a diverse array of supports and services including: housing; recovery services; transition to work; employment; day, community and family services; respite; crisis services; education and after school support; specialty health services; and advocacy.

FREE also collaborates with a variety of diverse 501(c)(3) nonprofit partners on educational, vocational, rehabilitative and a myriad of other creative initiatives to enhance the local communities and the lives of more than 25,000 people that reside within them. Each of the valued partners of the Family of FREE Network has a unique mission, vision and strategic goals that are aligned in purpose, and embody the spirit of the meaningful work we do every day. For more information, please call 516-870-7000 or visit www.familyres.org.

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