When Life Gives you Lemons, Create a Lemonade Stand

Two Young Brothers Set up Shop to Help Students with Disabilities

When Amanda Cerami, an employee of Mill Neck Services‘ Community Habilitation program and Medicaid Service Coordinator, met blind 6-year-old Anthony Dones in 2008, her life was changed forever.

 Anthony didn’t grow up like other children his age. Diagnosed legally blind and with osteoporosis, he wasn’t focused on life’s superficial offerings. He didn’t fret over video games, or beg to stay up past his bedtime to watch his favorite cartoons. Anthony, who was receiving services from Mill Neck at the time, learned at an early age what is really important in life: the intangible.

“Anthony taught me how to appreciate the simple things that most people take for granted, like being able to see what he wears every day, knowing what he looks like, and when he visits a beach being able to see what’s in front of him,” Amanda said. “This 6-year-old boy taught me how precious life can be and inspired me to want to help others.”

From there, Amanda began working at Mill Neck Services in the Community Habilitation program, which is designed to help individuals who are Deaf, hard of hearing and have other disabilities, to learn independence skills and improve their socialization skills. She also works as a Medicaid Service Coordinator for Mill Neck, a program that helps hearing children and young adults who have intellectual disabilities adjust to life and build long lasting relationships. “I enjoy encouraging our individuals, supporting their participation in recreational activities and watching them get excited when they learn something new or master a task,” she explained.

Amanda’s passion and dedication for her work naturally spilled over into her family life. “One day, I told my family that I would like to help put a group together that would benefit both groups of individuals in Community Habilitation and Medicaid Service.” Amanda’s brothers, Tyler, age 9, and Nicholas, age 5 – who previously attended Mill Neck’s Early Childhood Center for speech – both jumped at the chance to help. “It was important to me that Tyler and Nicholas understand that not everybody has the same opportunities as they have,” Amanda explained.

Amanda, Tyler and Nicholas decided to set up a lemonade stand to help such an important cause, raising around $160 for the individuals at Mill Neck. “They really enjoyed running the lemonade stand, and would like to continue to do it. Thanks to their efforts we are putting together a fishing trip outing for the group in July.”

A special thank you to Owen and Michael Perfetti for also participating in the lemonade stand.

Golfing for a Great Cause at Mill Neck Manor’s Swingin’ Summer


At Swingin’ Summer, golfers participated in several challenges on the course, the Hole in One contest, sponsored by BMW of Oyster Bay and Beat the Pro, among them.

A gentle breeze and plenty of sunshine greeted the golfers who participated in Swingin’ Summer, a benefit tournament held on June 27. The annual event took place at the luxurious Cold Spring Country Club, with proceeds supporting the Mill Neck Family of Organizations, which provides programs and services locally, nationally and around the globe for children and adults who are Deaf or have other special needs.

Golfers made their way to the course following a hearty brunch at the clubhouse. During their round of golf, they also enjoyed contests, refreshments and a barbeque lunch on the course. Later, they were joined by other guests for the Champions Dinner, featuring awards, silent auction, numerous raffles and, the highlight of the evening, recognition of honorees. Each of the 2016 honorees were recognized for their selfless dedication to the Mill Neck Family’s mission, whether this dedication has existed for a quarter century or began more recently.


Honoree Marianne Artinian, a long-time employee of Mill Neck Services Center for Hearing Health pictured with her two sons, husband and Mill Neck Family President and CEO Michael Killian (on the left).

For Marianne Artinian, support for Mill Neck began more than 25 years ago. Mother and grandmother of Mill Neck alumni, Artinian is currently the Administrative Assistant at Mill Neck’s audiology facility, Mill Neck Services Center for Hearing Health. During her often humorous speech about Artinian, Dr. Susan Antonellis, Operations Manager of the facility, had a number of serious reflections to share. “Her smile and beaming personality surrounds the office.

She knows every person’s name: treats them like family. She is an advocate for the Deaf and hearing impaired. Most importantly, her wonderful contribution is the empathy she offers to all families that walk through the doors with their children who are newly diagnosed. Marianne is up there, front and center, with a kind word, some advice or a hug,” said Antonellis.


Mill Neck Family Director of Human Resources, Kathleen Lagalante and Mill Neck’s Director of Advancement, Nancy Leghart with honorees Valerie and Joe Giacinto of PBI Payroll.

PBI Payroll owners, Joe and Valerie Giacinto, have been associated with Mill Neck since 2008 when PBI began processing the organization’s payroll. Over the years, PBI has repeatedly shown their support of Mill Neck. As noted by Kathleen Lagalante, Mill Neck’s Director of Human Resources, who presented the Giacinto’s with their honoree recognition, PBI not only hired candidates through Mill Neck Services, but “also showed they were all in by sponsoring several of Mill Neck’s golf events. Countless golf balls, tees, foursomes and even sponsoring holes were graciously donated from PBI over the last eight years.”



Nancy Leghart, Director of Advancement for the Mill Neck Family of Organizations, presented an honoree award to Ken Thalheimer, volunteer docent at Mill Neck Manor.

When not pursuing the next great shot, professional photographer Ken Thalheimer uses his time and talents as a volunteer docent at Mill Neck Manor. Whether leading a small gathering at the monthly Sunday tours of the mansion that stands on Mill Neck’s campus or guiding a group of 50 through the house, Thalheimer tirelessly imparts his in-depth knowledge, often sprinkling his talk with humor. He came to Mill Neck several years ago via a Designers’ Showcase® event and ever since, continues to give his time whenever called upon, including volunteering for the Mill Neck Manor Archive Committee.

Acknowledging that this event is the result of many helping hands, the Mill Neck Family of Organizations wishes to thank the golfers and guests, volunteers, committee members, parents and students for supporting another Swingin’ Summer and, by extension, the programs and services of the organization. Recognition is due to the following sponsors and contributors as well: BMW of Oyster Bay; General (Hole in One Sponsors); JLJ Enterprises; PBI Payroll; TNT Industries (Champions Dinner Sponsors); Bank United; Capitol One; Core BTS; Samuels Datacom, LLC; Wilson Elser (Eagle Corporate Sponsors); Glen Cove Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation; Celeste and Hank Pinkerton (Birdie Sponsors); Apple Bank; Fiduciary Investment Advisors, LLC; hint; R.S. Abrams & Co., LLP; Pickney Electric (Fairway Combo Sponsors); Mayor Peter and Mrs. Crisler Quick (Driving Range Sponsors); Christopher Jones, The Center for Wealth Preservation; McBreen & Kopko; Maspeth Roofing & Siding; Noodles & Co.; Ted B. Smith, Jr.; The Honorable Claire R. Kelly and Joseph J. DiBartolo; Tower Fasteners; Signature Bank; Richard Wehner (Par-Tee Sponsors); Applebee’s; Ayhan’s Shish Kebab; Bagel Café; Best Yet Market; Cheap Thrills Jewelry; Chipotle; Chocolicious Chocolatier; Carol Cook; Corporate Loss Prevention Assoc.; Cradle of Aviation; Eagle’s Nest – Vanderbilt Museum; Steven and Erin Ferrara; Fish on Main; Greenberg Cosmetic Surgery; Healing Arts Massage Therapy; Michael F. and Susan M. Killian; Locust Valley Florist; Locust Valley Market; Long Island Picture Frame and Art Gallery; Dilip Madnani, M.D.; Joseph L. Mancino; Mario’s Pizza of Oyster Bay; Megaris and Megaris Salon; Millcroft Farms Co.; Moe’s Southwest Grill; NuBest Salon and Spa; Old Westbury Gardens; Panera Bread; Safavieh; Marilyn Samuels; Sands Point Shop; Scentsational of Huntington; Kathleen Ray Smith; South Shore Golf; Spa Doc; Spuntino; The Garden City Hotel; Timber Point Country Club; Toshiba Business Solutions; Wells Fargo Institutional Retirement & Trust; Whole Foods and George and Carole Zivanow.

JJ DiBartolo, a former student at Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf, enjoyed the Champions Dinner.



The Mill Neck Family of Organizations includes Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf, founded in 1947 by Lutheran Friends of the Deaf, Mill Neck Manor Early Childhood Center, Mill Neck Services, Mill Neck Services for Hearing Health, Mill Neck Interpreter Service and Lutheran Friends of the Deaf. For more information, please call 516-922-4100 or visit millneck.org.

For more photos from the 2016 Swingin’ Summer Golf Tournament, please visit facebook.com/millneck.

Remember to  “Like” us while you are there!

Category: Blog, Events, Our Services Slideshow · Tags:

Swingin’ Summer Invitational Golf Tournament

Benefiting the Mill Neck Family of Organizations

Monday, June 27, 2016 


Club LogoThe Mill Neck Family of Organizations will be hosting the annual “Swingin’ Summer Invitational Golf Tournament & Spa Day” to be held on Monday, June 27, 2016 at Cold Spring Country Club in Cold Spring Harbor, NY. The Tournament will feature many exciting opportunities for golfers. There will be prizes for individuals and teams, opportunities for hole-in-one prizes, a million dollar challenge, putting green contest, raffles and more.  Non-golfers can also show their support by attending the evening’s “Champions Dinner.”

The Mill Neck Family of Organizations is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for people who are Deaf, or who have other special needs, through excellence in individually designed educational and vocational programs and services. Advances in technology have allowed us to greater enhance the quality of education and services we offer. Proceeds from this event will help to increase our access to the new and vital technology our organization needs.

We hope you will join us for this exciting event!



Ways to Get Involved:

Sponsorship_Opportunities_Button--          Register_to_Participate_Button-



Why not donate a foursome to your club or a raffle prize to our silent auction?

Please call Samantha Hallman with your raffle prize ideas and donations at (516) 628-4239, email shallman@millneck.org or contact any of our committee members:


Rudolph Auslander Bill Charon Nancy Leghart Frank McIntyre
Michael Killian Maryann Rocchi Maura Burns Michelle Yadoo
John Mangano Samantha Hallman Matthew Pomara











Thank you to all of our sponsors, golfers, spa participants and spa-goers for making the 2015 Swingin’ Summer Golf & Spa event a success!


Visit our Facebook page for fun photos from the event.



(Back to Community Events)

Category: Blog, Events · Tags:

Running for a Reason: Deaf Child’s Family Steps Up

For Vincenza and Daniel Garcia: it was simple. When their one-year-old niece, Giuliana Fullone, was diagnosed with severe hearing loss, they knew they wanted to do something special for her—give back somehow. But just mailing a check wasn’t going to cut it. Instead, they decided to make an impact—run 6.2 miles through the most magical place on Earth: Disney World.

It’s been said before that bringing a child into this world is one of life’s greatest miracles. The melodic purity of their laugh; the high-pitched squeak of their first word; the soothing wave of comfort splashed on their face at the sound of a familiar voice. These gifts are ones that play on a blissful loop; engrained memories for parents that make it all worth it—make it all tangible.

giulianaBut for some, those tangible gifts turn to intangible fears when things don’t go as planned. And for the Fullone family, those fears became an earth-shattering reality the very day they found out their daughter, Giuliana, was unable to hear.

“The first thing I felt was shock—sort of like a trauma,” Carolina Fullone, Giuliana’s mother, explained.

With a trauma of this kind, it usually bleeds into the hearts of anyone in arm’s length. In this case, it was Carolina’s sister, Vincenza. “Our family was extremely worried for Giuliana. I remember thinking, ‘Are her peers going to make fun of her or bully her because of her disability?’ and ‘What do we do now?’”

Numerous physician visits, inundated with new research and unfamiliar information, hearing aid trials, constant speech therapy—all of which failed to improve Giuliana’s hearing—started to take a toll on everyone involved.

But Vincenza was behind them every step of the way—she knew that her sprightly, bright-eyed niece would come out of this stronger than ever. “Giuliana is extremely caring and thoughtful,” she said with a full heart. “When I saw everything she had been through, I knew that she would emerge determined and strong-willed.”

Because Giuliana’s hearing aids failed, she became a candidate for cochlear implants. She was enrolled in the Nassau BOCES Hearing Services Infant Program five days a week and underwent two cochlear implant surgeries—all before the age of two. Giuliana then moved on to attend Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf, and this is where things began falling into place.

“When Giuliana first came to Mill Neck, her speech was nowhere near the level it is today,” recalled Vincenza. “Now she has more than 100 words in her vocabulary and has no signs of a speech delay. She speaks in complete sentences and communicates very clearly.”

Vincenza_DanielInspired by the sheer strength Giuliana possesses, Vincenza and her husband, Daniel, decided to participate in an event called runDisney, allowing participants the unique opportunity to run through Disney Theme Parks. In February of this year, Vincenza and Daniel ran the Disney Princess Enchanted 10k race at the Epcot center in Orlando, Fla., to raise money for Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf and to raise awareness for children who are Deaf or hard of hearing.

“Completing this event was a huge accomplishment and knowing that it was being done to thank Mill Neck Manor’s teachers was the motivation behind it all,” Vincenza continued. “Our hope is that Giuliana learns that through determination, perseverance and faith, she can achieve anything.”

Established in 1951, Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf provides the highest quality of services to children who are deaf and have other special needs from all social and economic backgrounds. Children are bused to Mill Neck daily from 49 Long Island School Districts, Queens, Staten Island, and Manhattan with the hope that one day they will have an opportunity to leave their mark on the world, just like everyone else.

For more information on how to help children at Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf, please contact 516-922-4100.

Category: Blog, Deaf Education Services · Tags:

LFD Launches a Free Vacation Bible School on Long Island

VBS_Tiffany_resized“Gospel Hands” Vacation Bible School (VBS) is an exciting 4-day program being offered this summer by Lutheran Friends of the Deaf. Free of charge to Deaf children and their siblings (ages 6-12), this unique VBS will be held at the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection in Garden City on August 16-19, 2016.

Since 1947, Lutheran Friends of the Deaf (LFD), the founding member of the Mill Neck Family of Organizations has made it their mission to serve the spiritual needs of those who are Deaf, locally, nationally and around the world. And while they serve Deaf individuals as far away as Ethiopia, LFD’s first and foremost priority is to serve individuals right in their backyard of Long Island.

With a generous grant from the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (LCMS), LFD was able to develop and launch this special program. LFD also teamed up with the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League (LWML), who awarded a grant that funded the development of “Bible Story Books”—a series of 12 written and ASL Bible Stories for children. Using the Bible Story Books as the basis of the VBS curriculum, LFD will bring the Gospel into the lives of children by combining American Sign Language, expressive artwork, the written word and video.

Language and cultural barriers have often left the Deaf population in isolation, especially when it comes to learning the Gospel. Christian Deaf ministries estimate that only 1 percent of Deaf adults will attend a Christian church. Through “Gospel Hands” VBS, as well as other programs and social events, LFD aims to reach hundreds of Deaf individuals on Long Island, greatly increasing the percentage of those who attend an LCMS church and also actively participate in this community.

Advance registration is required to attend the “Gospel Hands” VBS. The program’s hours are from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Lunch will be provided and financial scholarships for public transportation are available for those with a demonstrated need. Please visit millneck.org for more details or contact Deaconess Tiffany Manor at tmanor@millneck.org or 516-628-4229.


Gospel Hands is free


May is Better Hearing and Speech Month


Mill Neck Services
Center for Hearing Health

is celebrating hearing health all month long! Call 516-628-4258 today to reserve your spot at these FREE events.


May 4 & 5
For Moms
This Mother’s Day, why not give the gift of better hearing?
Free hearing screenings and hearing aid cleaning will be available. Refreshments too!


May 17-19
“Good Neighbor” Days
Hearing screenings open to the community.  All ages.


May 26
Civil Service Day
Hearing screenings for civil service employees.


The Center for Hearing Health is a full-service adult and pediatric audiology facility. Most insurances accepted.

Mill Neck Services Center for Hearing Health
40 Frost Mill Road
Mill Neck, NY 11765





Category: Audiology, Blog · Tags:

Lutheran Friends of the Deaf featured in LCMS RSO Newsletter!


Header for LCMS RSO 2nd Quarter Newsletter


Category: Blog, Deaf Ministry · Tags:

Rhythm & Reds: Hitting a High Note for Deaf and Special Education

Meet Grammy award winning musician Sting and director Trudie Styler at Mill Neck Manor Event

NewTrudie+Sting_Photo Jaime TravezanLR

Tudie Styler and Sting purchased and restored the historic Italian estate and vineyard Il Palagio in 1997.

Tudie Styler and Sting purchased and restored the historic Italian estate and vineyard, Il Palagio, in 1997.

It’s not every day you see the words “music” and “Deafness” paired together in such harmony. Actually, it may sound downright out of place for those who aren’t familiar with Deaf, hard of hearing or special needs populations. Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf has witnessed the astounding effects of music therapy and improved literacy first-hand—and they’re personally inviting you into their world.

On Wednesday, June 22, from 6-8 p.m., the Mill Neck Family of Organizations, along with actress and director Trudie Styler and world-renowned musician Sting, is hosting an exclusive evening called “Rhythm and Reds.” This special event features a wine tasting of vintages from their Tuscan estate, Il Palagio, and food pairing to benefit the Mill Neck Manor Music Endowment Fund for children and adults who are Deaf and have other special needs.

When it comes to literacy, Deaf children have the odds stacked against them from the time they are born. Deaf infants begin life in a soundless world with the unimaginable task of trying to make sense of what is happening around them. By school age, most Deaf children’s language skills are significantly behind their hearing peers and the gap tends to widen as time goes by. Mill Neck was pleased to find studies that show music can act as a powerful tool to positively affect oral language development and increase other literacy skills.


Mill Neck Manor’s Part-Time Music Therapist works with children in the Deaf Education Center and the Early Childhood Center.

“Rhythm and Reds” was launched to foster awareness of the significant connection between music and literacy skills and create continued support of this important educational endeavor. And this remarkable connection extends beyond just the Deaf population. Mill Neck’s Early Childhood Center, which consists of 3- and 4-year-old children who have intense communication issues, such as speech/language delays and disorders, cognitive and motor deficits and autism-related disorders, are also profoundly affected by the influence of music and literacy.

The upcoming event will be held at the historic Mill Neck Manor House, a circa 1923, Tudor Revival mansion at 40 Frost Mill Road in Mill Neck. Attendees will partake in a special wine tasting of four vintage red wines: “When We Dance,” “Message in a Bottle,” “Casino delle Vie” and “Sister Moon,” all produced at Il Palagio—Trudie and Sting’s sprawling 865-acre Tuscan estate. The April 2016 issue of Wine Spectator features Trudie and Sting on its cover and a 9-page story on their award-winning wines and beautiful Italian home.

Guests will also enjoy a variety of delectable hors d’oeuvres created by celebrated Long Island chef/restaurateur Tom Schaudel and have opportunities to bid on silent auction items, including a Fender Precision Bass Guitar autographed by Sting; dinner for 10; the evening’s featured wines; an autographed selection of Sting’s albums and much more. Note: online auction bidding begins on Monday, May 16 at 10 a.m.

Tickets for “Rhythm & Reds” are $200 per person. Space is limited. For more information, please contact Samantha Hallman at 516-628-4239 or shallman@millneck.org.

Category: Blog, Events, Mill Neck Manor House · Tags:

Applebee’s Flapjack Fundraiser for Mill Neck Services, Inc.



You’re invited to an
Applebee’s® Flapjack Fundraiser breakfast to support


Mill Neck Services, Inc.
April 17, 2016 8am-10am
Tickets Cost: $15.00

If you are unable to join us at the breakfast on April 17,
consider making a donation to the event and we will include your name 
(as you wish to be listed) in our “Virtual Pancake Stack” on our website.


200 Airport Plaza
East Farmingdale, NY 11735

For more information, please contact Gabrielle Pollard at 516-622-2185 or email gpollard@millneck.org.


Category: Blog, Community Services, Events · Tags:

Mill Neck Manor Team Wins Sportsmanship Award at Academic Bowl!

From March 10-13, the student representatives from Mill Neck Manor competed in the 2016 annual Gallaudet University Northeast Regional Academic Bowl hosted by New York School for the Deaf at Fanwood. The Mill Neck Manor Academic Bowl team received guidance from coaches Rebecca Pilson, and Rose Madera de Farruya. The team had four wins and four losses at the event. Coach Gabrielle Barry, who helped prepare the team through December before she left on maternity leave, came to the regional competition to show support for the team with her beautiful new baby girl. Also present in the audience from Mill Neck Manor, showing much support, was Superintendent Fran Bogdanoff. Both Fran Bogdanoff and Principal Katie Kerzner kept in touch with the team throughout the competition, celebrating the wins and comforting and encouraging the team during the losses.

A Sportsmanship Award is awarded to one team from each pool at the Regional competitions based on a vote of all the players and coaches in the Regional competition. Players and coaches cannot vote for their own team. The Mill Neck Manor Academic Bowl team was awarded the Sportsmanship Award for the Buff Pool. Each coach and player received a small plaque and one large plaque to bring back to the school.

The annual Academic Bowl competition is part of Gallaudet University’s youth programs outreach initiative which aims to provide opportunities for middle and high school students to connect with each other, pursue academic challenges, and experience personal and academic development.

Team Award

The Mill Neck Manor team with coaches Rose Madera de Farruya and Rebecca Pilson, after receiving the award, pictured with the director of the Gallaudet University Regional Center – East, Kathy Vesey and the new President of Gallaudet University, Roberta “Bobbi” Cordano.


The Mill Neck Manor team with Coach Gabrielle Barry and her new baby girl.

AB coaches

AB 16

AB 16 2


40 Frost Mill Road
Mill Neck, NY 11765
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