Francesca Saraniero (holding scissors), director of employment and business development, celebrates the opening of Eden II’s community center with staff, parents and community members.
STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Eden II Programs recently opened a new community center during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on December 5, 2018.
Parents, donors, staff, and elected officials joined together to tour the new site at 400 Victory Blvd. in Tompkinsville, Staten Island.
“Through the expansion of opportunities we provide, and based on their unique strengths, differences and challenges, we are helping individuals living with autism to be valued, contributing members of their communities,” said Francesca Saraniero, director of employment and business development.
“By participating in meaningful daily activities, whether vocational or recreational, our participants gain self-confidence. This is powerful and why we do what we do. We are excited for whatever opportunities this space will bring in the future.”
Joe Collins, Sarah Collins, and Residential Director, John Patala
Eden II parent, Lisa Caldarera, was delighted with the new space. “My son, Nicky, is so blessed to be part of this wonderful program. He gets a sense of independence and structure with the most dedicated staff who works to provide amazing, integrated opportunities for my son,” she said.
“He enjoys being out in the community every day doing various jobs, going to the (community) center for cooking classes, gym and recreational activities in this beautiful, homey atmosphere.”
Entrance to 400 Victory Boulevard. The mural was created by Jenna Morello
The community center allows participants to engage in volunteer, pre-vocational and recreational opportunities. A local charter school also uses the community center on a daily basis. Through the different opportunities Eden II provides, the participants gain valuable skills to prepare them for competitive employment.
Susan Arvanites; Eden II deputy executive director Dr. Eileen Hopkins; Konstantinos Arvanites; and Eden II executive director Dr. Joanne Gerenser
“The additional space the community center provides gives us more opportunities to do exciting things that will positively impact our students in the program. I’m looking forward to what the future holds for this space,” said Eden II executive director Dr. Joanne Gerenser.
About Eden II Programs
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 more than 100 participants on 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. Currently, 132 individuals and families use Eden II’s full-day school program, preschool, special education teacher support services and special education itinerant teacher services.
Victoria Mecca, representing state Sen. Diane Savino, and Elena Brady, representing Steven Matteo
Forty-nine adults with autism reside in seven adult homes located on Staten Island and Long Island.
The adult day habilitation program serves more than 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, after-school and a number of family support programs.
Retired Supreme Court Justice Anthony Giacobbe and Eden II associate executive director Dr. Irene Cavanagh.