beach street cover On May 8TH, 2015, Eden II Programs held a celebratory ribbon cutting ceremony at its new state-of-the-art autism center in Stapleton. Located at 15 Beach Street, the new center was officially named the “Hon. James P. Molinaro Center for Autism,” after the former Staten Island Borough President, for his many contributions to both Eden II and the autism community. Jim has been a steadfast supporter and advocate of Eden II Programs. He was instrumental in securing city funding for renovating the 30,000 square foot building. He joined Executive Director Dr. Joanne Gerenser and two Eden II participants, Billy Irvine and Meghan Mattei, at the podium. Billy and Meghan revealed the naming to the great applause of the board and community leaders present.

Jim, moved by the tribute shared, “We have a moral obligation to help these children, these families in our community, who need something to give them hope.” With the rate of autism estimated at every 1 in 68 children, this help is needed now more than ever.The center brings an innovative and visionary approach to teaching people with autism and preparing them for life. Dr. Gerenser notes, “It’s not necessarily just sitting at a desk and learning mathematics skills, but it’s putting together real life experience. It’s bringing the real world into the school for them,and helping them understand how to bring themselves and their family out, so they can do things they enjoy together. It’s very different and very new.”

“We on Staten Island do not have a better champion for autism than the Honorable James P. Molinaro.”- Eden II Executive Director Dr. Joanne Gerenser

During the ceremony, Dr. Gerenser shared that the final phase of the capital campaign is $1 million. She was thrilled to announce that the Staten Island Foundation will be granting $100,000 toward this final phase. She encouraged everyone to use their smartphone and text the word DONATE to 718-395-6718 to contribute toward this campaign. Donations can be made through our donation page or calling 718-816-1422 x156.