West Hempstead, NY- April 15, 2016 - Students with autism in elementary through high school at Gersh Academy in West Hempstead recently marched in solidarity in observance of April’s National Autism Awareness Month while making a difference in the lives of orphaned children in Africa. Gersh Academy’s annual Walk featured over 125 students on the autism spectrum proudly walking laps inside the school with close to 70 teachers and staff members along with an approximate dozen parents. The Walk was held inside the school due to inclement weather.
While joining forces to observe Autism Awareness Month, the students worked to raise money during their walk with a bake sale and a jewelry sale to help orphaned children in Africa. The approximately $1,000 in funds raised will be given to the Caroline W. M. Foundation, a nonprofit organization whose mission is “to rescue orphans and vulnerable children from poverty.” Many of the students wore royal blue clothing in recognition of National Autism Awareness Month to heighten autism awareness while celebrating the uniqueness of individuals with autism.
“Autism Awareness Month is a time to draw attention to autism, which is on the rise; it is also a time to showcase our students’ tremendous strength and potential in leading productive, meaningful lives. Events like this are important because the students learn about being empathetic and caring about others. Our Gersh Academy programs are specially designed to integrate social and learning activities into our students’ curriculums for this very purpose,” said Gersh Academy Principal Celeste Gagliardi.
Gagliardi added, “Our students’ amazing strength, empathy and compassion were transparent during our walk as they marched together to not only mark Autism Awareness Month but also accentuate their ability to make a difference in the lives of other children in need.”
Gersh Academy offers educational programs for K-12 students with autism from across the New York Metropolitan area. There three Gersh Academy locations, on Long Island. Gersh Academy’s goal is to offer students with autism exceptional services and programs and, whenever possible, the opportunity to return to their home and school districts with the tools and skills they need for becoming successful and achieving their full potential.
In 1991 Kevin Gersh was inspired by a very unique autistic child who was enrolled in one of his educational programs. Mr. Gersh recognized that this one child and all children, with the right educational environment, appropriate instruction and highly trained dedicated staff, can learn and thrive despite their challenges. Mr. Gersh founded Gersh Academy based on this belief and philosophy. Today Gersh Academy’s successful and much needed programs for children K-12 focus their educational efforts on students on the autism spectrum. Currently, Gersh Academy has five locations, with three on Long Island and two in Puerto Rico. Gersh Academy in West Hempstead, Long Island, New York is led by veteran Principal Celeste Gagliardi and a team of dedicated professionals. The school provides K-12 educational services for students from across the New York Metropolitan area. It is the goal of Mr. Gersh as well as the school’s teachers and staff to offer exceptional services and programs and, whenever possible, provide students the opportunity to return to their home and school districts with all of the tools, knowledge and skills needed for being successful and achieving their full potential.