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article imagePriscilla Arena discusses SASI, autism awareness, 'Blue Party' Special

By Markos Papadatos     Jun 10, 2017 in Lifestyle
Wading River - Suffolk Aspergers/Autism Support & Information (SASI)'s executive director and co-founder Priscilla Arena chatted with me about the "Blue Party" event that was held in Wading River, which supported SASI.
This nonprofit organization was co-founded with Stephanie Mendelson, and there was a tremendous amount of support from all over Long Island that gathered this evening.
On the outpouring at tonight's fundraising event, she said, "It is overwhelming and extremely humbling. I'll let you know after I count the numbers."
Priscilla Arena
Priscilla Arena
Priscilla Arena
Autism awareness is a cause that hits home to Arena and Mendelson. "SASI was inspired by my son and my co-founder's son, who both have autism," Arena said. "We found a tremendous lack of support and resources in the community. We felt that we could not possibly be the only people feeling this way, alienated, isolated and misunderstood, so we created SASI. December 5, 2015, it was only 12 parents in a living room, and now we are serving over 1,500 families."
On their plans for the future with SASI, they said, "We would like to open an office for SASI. When I was that parent, my calls and emails were never returned. We want to help as many parents as possible. Most importantly, we want to start an Advocacy program because our children run into so many injustices in the Long Island school districts."
Digital Journal covered this year's "Blue Party" SASI event at The Inn at East Wind in Wading River.
Various celebrities and dignitaries that were a part of "The Blue Party" event at The Inn at East Wind included Long Island Internet Radio's Dan Romano of "The Dan Romano Radio Show," his co-host Richard Kern, WWE superstar Mick Foley, World Boxing Council (WBC) champion Joe Smith Jr., freestyle superstars TKA, musician Dan Nelson (formerly of Anthrax) and his band. In addition, comedians Paul Bond and Rich Walker, Suffolk County legislator Sarah S. Anker, actor Angel Salazar from Scarface (known for the line: "Chichi get the yayo"), veteran broadcaster Eric Koppelman from WLINY, and radio personality and television host Janet Russell, among others.
For more information on SASI, check out its official homepage and Facebook page.
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