Julian Jeff Blue crop

Julian Gaxholli (pictured left) and Jeff Caravella (pictured right) hold artwork made by Eden II Programs participants to thank them for supporting the agency and spreading autism awareness

Delicious drinks and autism awareness were on the menu for local Staten Island restaurants Blue, Beso and Bayou earlier this year in honor of Autism Awareness Month. “Cocktails for a Cause” featured three signature “blue” drinks in each of the restaurants, with a portion of all sales during the month of April benefitting Eden II.

Restaurant owner Julian Gaxholli jumped at the chance to promote awareness in his restaurants, saying “Eden II is an amazing organization committed to serving families on Staten Island as autism rates continue to rise. As a Staten Islander and as a parent, I look to support autism awareness and raise funds to help my community.”

General Manager Jeff Caravella adds, “We are thrilled to be able to provide support and encourage residents to come in for a drink to help a great cause!”

To show their appreciation to Julian, participants created original artwork depicting their community.

Our Executive Director, Dr. Joanne Gerenser shared in the excitement, saying, “We are grateful to have Beso, Bayou, and Blue support autism awareness and Eden II Programs. The incidence of autism is 1 in 68 today; over 5 times greater than what it was in 1995. We need the community’s support as we look to help children, adults, and their families through their autism journeys, and we are grateful for Julian and Jeff’s support.”



Established in 1976, Eden II Programs began with just six students and one special education teacher. Today, the organization serves nearly 400 participants throughout the five boroughs and over 100 participants in Long Island. The mission of Eden II Programs is to support people with autism throughout their lives to achieve their full potential through service, science and passion. Eden II Programs provides a variety of services using the evidence-based principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) to treat the delays and challenges associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Currently, 132 individuals and families utilize Eden II’s full-day school program at its new state of the art autism center in Staten Island, preschool, Special Education Teacher Support Services (SETTS) and Special Education Itinerant Teacher (SEIT) services. 49 adults with autism reside in our 7 adult homes (located on Staten Island and Long Island). Our Adult Day Habilitation program serves over 90 individuals. The Genesis School program and Adult Day program assist a total of 62 participants throughout Long Island. Eden II also offers diagnostic and outreach centers on both Staten Island and Long Island. Hundreds benefit from a variety of other services such as Community Habilitation, Respite, Afterschool, and a number of Family Support programs.