Benedetto donates school supplies

Assemblyman Michael Benedetto made a donation of school supplies to a Pelham Bay school for children with special needs

Benedetto welcomed representatives from the Stepping Stone Day School at 2826 Westchester Avenue to his office on Monday, October 18 to donate supplies for needy kids enrolled in the school, which is located in the same building that once housed Fiesta Bowl. The school services children ages 3 to 5 years. A good percentage of the schools’s children have special needs, including autism and forms of developmental disabilities, as well as students who are not disabled.

Roni Horowitz, the executive director of Stepping Stone, which was founded in 1983 and has programs in Manhattan and Queens, and the site’s program director Ellen Ryan, were on hand to accept the donation. Donating school supplies like backpacks, pens, pencils, crayons, markers, pencil sharpeners, and other items to local non profits has become a tradition for Benedetto, who gathers the supplies from constituent donations from the 82nd Assembly District.

“Every year we run a drive for school supplies and the residents of the 82nd Assembly District have gone out of their way to help,” Benedetto said. “This year we will be donating to the Stepping Stone Day School at Westchester Avenue. A good percentage of the students have special needs, and we decided to make them the beneficiaries of the drive.”

Horowitz said that she was grateful for the donation of school supplies. She said that as a non-profit agency that the Department of Education has contracted with to provide services for young children, Stepping Stone was facing the same kind of financial strain as other types of similar agencies because many people and organizations don’t have the ability to donate.

“Particularly for non-profit organizations, this is a time of financial stress,” Horowitz said. “This will save us money on buying school supplies, which in the long run should help with our budget.”

The Stepping Stone Day School on Westchester Avenue provides physical, occupational, speech, family services, and Psychotherapy for children. According to Horowitz, every classroom has two aides and a teacher. They have a Universal pre-k at their site in Pelham Bay. They pride themselves on early intervention.

“Early intervention works with children with special needs who are under the age of 5, and can make a significant difference in their development throughout the course of their lives,” Horowitz said.

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