Remembering Howard Fraser Crumb

Howard Fraser Crumb, 85, of Ridgewood, N.J., passed away on Saturday September 30, 2017. He was an active parishioner of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Fair Lawn. He received a B.S. and M.S. in Economics from Cornell University, where he enrolled in Army ROTC; he was a veteran of the US Army. He retired after 34 years at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. 

Throughout his life, he volunteered his time to many nonprofit organizations, including serving on Mill Neck’s Board since 2003, Chairman of Mill Neck Services, Chair of the Audit Committee and served on the Mill Neck Investment Committee.

“We were blessed to have Howard on our boards for so many years. He was a kind, gentle and caring man, who brought wisdom to every discussion,” said Michael F. Killian, President and CEO.

Howard is survived by his beloved wife Carolyn Snyder Crumb; children Paul Crumb, Amy Crumb, Nancy Crumb-Ricciardi and Neal Crumb; grandchildren Arlien, Nick, Dan, Ben and Patrick; and brother David Crumb.

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A New Group on the Rise: Friends of Mill Neck

Mill Neck is pleased to announce the launch of a brand-new group, Friends of Mill Neck. This group, in particular, aims to act as a resource for anyone who has ever been associated with any Mill Neck Organization, to help coordinate discussions, solutions, social gatherings and events, up-to-date Mill Neck news and more!

Friends of Mill Neck is run by two Deaf employees of Mill Neck, and former students of Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf: Janice Buonincontri and Vincent Romanelli. 

Vincent, who was born Deaf after his mother contracted Rubella during her pregnancy, now works in Mill Neck’s Billing Department and for Mill Neck Services. “We want to be role models for the Deaf community and show them that there is hope after they graduate school; they can still have a successful life.”

Janice was diagnosed Deaf after a high fever due to a severe case of Chicken Pox at 6 months old. Janice now works in Mill Neck Services in the community habilitation program and the Starry Night Café, which provides a place for socialization for Deaf adults. 

“I learned oral communication first because I had hearing parents, which was really tough on me growing up. I never had the access to the Deaf culture that Deaf children have now so it’s really great to see that,” she said.

Friends of Mill Neck will have a special booth at this year’s Apple Festival, signing up interested participants and selling T-shirts and goodies. 

In the meantime, check them out on Facebook

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MNI Presents at the Global Methodist Missions Conference of the Deaf

Reverend Margaret Mukami Lawi, a Deaf Methodist pastor from Kenya, wholeheartedly expressed gratitude for the Americans who traveled overseas to help her church, but when it came to how they worked, she was stymied. “Not much development work happens because we aren’t a part of the process of planning. We don’t know what materials they are bringing and they don’t ask us what we need.”  Rev. Lawi sat on a listening panel of Deaf and hearing church workers at the Fourth Global Methodist Missions Conference of the Deaf held in Waxachachie, Tex., on August 1-4, 2017. Panelists from the U.S., Ghana, Brazil, South Korea, Kenya and Sri Lanka responded to questions posed by the moderator, Sarah Houge, Mill Neck International’s Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist.



The day prior, Houge and  Dr. Amy Wilson, the Director of Mill Neck International, presented to the mixed group of 150 Deaf and hearing people doing ministry in the U.S. and abroad. They shared best practices of working together for development and how missionaries and volunteers can empower the millions of Deaf people living in poverty. Houge asked the panel participants probing questions related to this theme and how help coming from churches had affected the lives of those Deaf people who had received it.

“Before we traveled to Kenya, we knew we wanted to offer support but we weren’t quite sure how to do it,” shared Rev. Kirk VanGilder, a professor from Gallaudet University who has made several mission trips to Africa. “Before mission trips, the Americans would make all the plans about what was going to happen when they arrived in the country. Now I understand we need to flip that dynamic. The Deaf Kenyans know much better what they want. Our role in planning should lessen as the Kenyans take more control of projects.” Rev. Lawi beamed and enthusiastically shook her head as she saw VanGilder’s comments interpreted from American Sign Language into her native Kenyan Sign Language.

Mill Neck International envisions a world in which Deaf people are included, empowered, celebrated and embraced as equals; they encourage churches and faith-based groups to reconsider how they “help” their constituents. Dr. Wilson said, “Sarah and I are thrilled when we see faith-based organizations first as Deaf groups overseas what kind of assistance they want and then discern what assets already exist in the community. Then they collaborate to create a project the community needs and often it is supporting Deaf people overseas running projects independently.” Houge added, “If mission groups go over and do work for Deaf people rather than sharing knowledge and training, for example, Deaf people will continue to be dependent on others. Churches really don’t want to be hurting people more than helping them.”

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Island Symphony Orchestra Visits with Students at Mill Neck Manor

“Many students will not have the opportunity to see, hear, feel or try orchestral instruments and I think it is important for all the students to have access to the arts,” said Christine Finn, Music Therapist at Mill Neck.

Sounds of Mozart floated through the air of the Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf Auditorium as we welcomed the Island Symphony Orchestra—bringing the world of music to our Deaf and Hard of Hearing students. During the presentation, members from the orchestra made their way to the stage to show the children their respective instruments, which included the drums, violin, cello, saxophone, clarinet and more. As one of the orchestra members played her cello, the children were captivated, seemingly hanging on each note. In an effort to teach the children about the instrument, they were invited up onto the stage to feel the vibration of the sound as they took turns playing it. They each squealed with delight at the chance, almost instinctively mimicking the movements they saw her perform just seconds ago.

“Many students will not have the opportunity to see, hear, feel or try orchestral instruments and I think it is important for all the students to have access to the arts,” said Christine Finn, Music Therapist at Mill Neck. “Even for students who have less access to sound, they are able to feel the vibrations on the instruments, like the strings on a cello or the beat of a drum through the floor.”

Take a look at some of the highlights of the Island Symphony Orchestra visit. Enjoy!


Category: Blog, Deaf Education Services · Tags:

MNM Alumna Kelly Kildare Returns to Speak to Students in MNS Summer Work Program

“We want work. We need work. We can work. We are willing to work.”

Select Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf Students enrolled in the Mill Neck Services (MNS) Summer Work Program recited the club motto in unison. The students were attending the last in a series of Work Readiness workshops, which serves to prepare each of the students for their summer job placement. School teachers, teacher assistants and MNS job coaches and staff collaborate to bring the motto to life and to promote confidence in the students.

When the Summer Work Program students showed up for the final Work Readiness workshop in their interview-appropriate attire on May 31, they politely gathered around the table, seated in front of their corresponding nametags. In an orderly and respectful manner, students went around the table to introduce themselves through their prepared elevator speeches to Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf alumna Kelly Kildare and the staff present in the room.


Kildare was invited, along with job coach Kristin Chykirda, to return to the very program that helped her get started in the work force. For the past four years, Kildare has been consistently and confidently working for the King Kullen store in Bellmore. MNS Coordinator of Employment Services Marta Reeger, leading the MNS Summer Work Program for 2017, recognized that bringing Kildare back to explain her work experience to the students would be a tremendous influence.

After the students had the opportunity to introduce themselves and describe their skills, and before they performed a mock job interview, with Kildare playing the role of Boss, she described the path she took to employment as a cashier. Students asked questions, eager to learn more. She described challenges she encountered with counting money in an accurate and timely fashion, navigating communication challenges, overcoming nerves and more.

“It wasn’t easy,” Marta Reeger jumps in to remind the students “but, [Kildare] never, never, never gave up!”


Mill Neck Manor Alumna Kelly Kildare with Mill Neck Services Coordinator of Employment Services Marta Reeger

Kildare’s journey to employment began with the school’s Vocational Program, where she gathered experience in a number of settings. One such setting, the school store, provided practice in money management and learning customer service. After graduating in 2010, Kildare joined the Mill Neck Services Job Club where she worked on her interview skills and participated in the Day Habilitation program to gain further experience through volunteer opportunities. Despite developmental challenges and being Hard of Hearing, Kildare has made great strides in her position as a cashier at King Kullen. With her friendly personality and willingness to learn, she has progressed steadily.

Other learning opportunities and responsibilities have grown from Kildare’s employment experience, like learning how to take public transportation and making sure her uniform is ready ahead of her scheduled work day.

When asked about her job, Kildare is emphatic in her response. “I feel confident. I feel brave. I feel proud of myself,” she says.

Through the workshop, Kildare hopes to share her enthusiasm and willingness to motivate the students. “If you guys are confident, you will definitely find a job shortly.”

Kildare took her role as the boss for the mock interviews very seriously. She met with each of the students separately and stamped their applications as either “Hired” or “Not Now.” Not all of the students were quite ready according to her standards, which highlights the challenge of the journey.

Believing in the transformative power of a job, Mill Neck Services continually advocates for candidates with disabilities, especially since the rate of unemployment for people with disabilities is significantly higher than for the general population. Creating a culture of inclusive employment has the potential to work for all; from the individual with a disability, the employer who is rewarded with qualified, dedicated workers, the agencies that strive to match the two, all the way to entire communities.

Established in 1986, Mill Neck Services (MNS) has placed more than 1,000 Deaf, Hard of Hearing or otherwise disabled workers in over 400 businesses operating on Long Island. To find out how the qualified candidates in the Steps to Success Program at MNS can help your business, please contact Marta Reeger, Coordinator of Employment Services at or 516-922-3818, ext. 315.

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May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

Join the professional staff at the Center for Hearing Health for the following events during the month of May.

Brunch & Learn: Widex Hearing Instruments
Tuesday, May 9, 2017
10:30 a.m.
Learn all about Widex Hearing Instruments and how to control your hearing aid with your iPhone.


Brunch & Learn: Unitron Hearing Instruments
Wednesday, May 10, 2017
10:30 a.m.
Learn all about Unitron Hearing Instruments and see the smallest receiver in canal (RIC) on the market! Try it on and wear it in your own environment for one week!


The Center for Hearing Health’s Open House
Thursday, May 11, 2017
10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Tour our top-notch center, meet our dedicated staff and view our state-of-the-art equipment.


Hearing Support Group
Wednesday, May 24, 2017
3:30 p.m.
Share your stories and form relationships with other Hearing Impaired individuals, with a special guest speaker!


To RSVP or for more information, call 516-628-4300.

Center for Hearing Health
Serving the Hearing Impaired community for more than 30 years
40 Frost Mill Road, Mill Neck, NY 11765 •

Category: Audiology, Blog, Events · Tags:

SPLIA Event at Mill Neck Manor

On a snow-covered Sunday in early January, Mill Neck Manor opened its 500-year-old doors as the location for a Society for the Preservation of Long Island Antiquities (SPLIA) event. Our beloved historic Mill Neck Manor (once known as Sefton Manor) served as an ideal location for the event, “Beyond Gatsby: The Fabled Gardens of Long Island’s Gold Coast,” which was a lecture presented by Landscape Architect and Historian CeCe Haydock.

Garden View 1 Garden View 4
SPLIA’s description of the event reminds us that beginning around the turn of the century and through the 1920s, Long Island’s North Shore was a favorite retreat for the rich and famous. Along with grand houses, they built elaborate gardens, hiring such notable landscape architects like the Olmsted Brothers, Beatrix Ferrand and Ellen Biddle Shipman. Haydock’s illustrated presentation explored several important commissions to reveal the gardens as they were originally designed and built, their history and present condition.

Sefton Manor was built in 1923 for Lillian Sefton-Dodge and her husband Robert Leftwich Dodge in the Tudor revival style and features fine Westchester granite and limestone trim. The formal gardens (sundial gardens) were designed by Charles Wellford Leavitt. The Sefton Manor gardens are beautifully described in a 1934 New York Times article announcing a garden party to benefit the North Country Community Hospital:

“The sundial gardens on this estate, which follow Old World garden design, are unlike anything else in this country, both from the floral and the architectural point of view. They are laid out on a plan based upon the signs of the zodiac, with classic temples symbolizing Morning, Evening and Midday. A Venetian fountain and a mirror-like canal add to the atmosphere of quiet beauty. This garden has never before been opened to the public.”

This particular garden party drew in more than 1,800 guests and boasted elegantly decorated tea tables that sat underneath bright umbrellas on the stone terrace. Debutantes and subdebutantes, dressed in picturesque costumes, strolled across the lawn selling cigarettes, wildflowers and sweets.  Guests wandered along the brookside or through the beautifully colored gardens with music playing in the background.

Garden View 3

The three temples are still visible to visitors and the gardens are used by students for school events to this day. The Manor House and gardens are open for scheduled visitors one Sunday at month. Our 2017 tour schedule is posted, make your reservation today!

Category: Blog · Tags:

Follow Peter’s Journey as he Battles Hearing Loss & Defeats Cancer

“I started to cry because he didn’t say to me, ‘Mommy, I hear better,’ he said, ‘Mommy, I feel better.’”


Deaf Friend,

“My heart was crushed. I didn’t understand why this was happening to us.”

That was Zina LoDuca’s first thought when she found out her 3-year-old son, Peter, was going Deaf.

Zina mentally checked a long line of family history; no one had ever been Deaf before: Peter was the first. Zina didn’t know where to turn. The family pediatrician referred them to Mill Neck’s Early Childhood Center (ECC)—a school that helps 3 and 4 year olds with a wide range of special communication needs—where he was diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss.

“I felt so nervous,” Zina remembers as tears roll down her cheeks. “My only comfort was that I knew Peter was in good hands with Mill Neck; they walked us through a very difficult time.”

Through Mill Neck Services Center for Hearing Health (formerly known as Mill Neck Audiology), Peter was fitted for hearing aids and Zina could instantly see a change in her little boy.

“I started to cry because he didn’t say to me, ‘Mommy, I hear better,’ he said, ‘Mommy, I feel better.'”


“I wouldn’t be where I am today without Mill Neck’s help,” Peter says. “They’ve been by my side through everything. Now, they’re family.”


Peter progressed beautifully at the ECC and after graduating he was able to attend a mainstream school.

As the years went on, Peter enjoyed his academics and found his niche on the baseball field.

Unfortunately, that didn’t stop him from being physically and mentally bullied every day because of his disability.

“People didn’t see me; all they saw was my hearing aids,” he says with a lump in his throat. “They would play with my hearing aids and switch them on and off. For so long, I have battled and it’s engrained so deep in me. But I’m proud of who I am now.”

With the help of Mill Neck, Peter took this life-altering obstacle in stride. But it wasn’t long before he would come face-to-face with another one. And this time, it was a matter of life and death.

Peter was 12 years old when a CAT scan revealed a diagnosis that turned his world upside down, again: Lymphoma, an aggressive form of cancer.

Peter pictured with long-time Mill Neck employee, and now, a close family friend, Marianne Artinian.

When Marianne Artinian—a longtime employee for Mill Neck Services Center for Hearing Health and, now, a close friend of the LoDuca family—heard the news, she visited the hospital right away.

“I was so relieved when Marianne came to see us,” Zina says. “She brought her son with her who was a cancer survivor and said, ‘Look at my son; he’s fine. This will be Peter soon, too; don’t you worry.’”

The only way Peter knew how to handle this unfathomable situation was to focus on recovering with enough time to get back on the baseball field for the spring season. During this time, he connected with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and fulfilled his dream of catching the opening pitch from former New York Mets catcher Paul Lo Duca (no relation).

(Click here to view Peter on the Today Show as an ambassador for Make-A-Wish Foundation.)

With a new outlook on life, Peter excelled in school is now studying Sports Management at Farmingdale State College on Long Island.

Join us in our mission to give individuals like Peter the support and resources they need to overcome life’s obstacles by making a contribution.


I thank you in advance for your generosity and wish you and your family a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a healthy joyous New Year.





Michael F. Killian
President and CEO

Category: Blog · Tags:

Mill Neck Soccer Team Plays in Annual ESDAA Tournament

By Larry Manning, Physical Education and Athletic Director

Heading into the 2016 season, the Mill Neck Manor (MNM) soccer team had its sights set on the annual Eastern Schools for the Deaf Athletic Association (ESDAA) Soccer Tournament. Mill Neck returned five starters from last year’s team: Keren Guerra, Julio Reyes, Kevin Canales, Noel Rodriguez and Jose Yanes, plus two newcomers: Nataly Osorio and Bianca Llorens. In addition, Mill Neck also had two young players, Bryan Alfaro and Jonathan Velasquez, participating to help prepare them for the future.

Prior to the ESDAA Tournament, the team participated in the 26th annual Friendship Soccer Tournament on Oct. 14-15 at the New York State School for the Deaf in Rome, N.Y. In order to have enough players to participate, Mill Neck combined with Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (PSD). Struggling to find the right balance and chemistry with PSD, we, unfortunately, lost both games. However, the players gained valuable experience during the two games and it helped prepare both MNM and PSD for the ESDAA Tournament.

On Oct. 21-22, Mill Neck, again, combined with PSD for the annual ESDAA Division 2 Soccer Tournament. This year’s tournament was held at Rochester School for the Deaf (RSD) and co-hosted by both PSD and RSD.  Other schools participating included: Rhode Island, New Jersey, St. Mary’s (Buffalo), Rochester, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. The team entered the tournament unsure of how they would fare due to the previous weekend’s results. MNM/PSD opened the tournament against defending champions, Rochester, and proceeded to lose 3 – 0.


Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf 2016 Soccer Team

The team had an hour to ponder and discuss strategy for the next game against West Virginia School for the Deaf (WVSD). Something must have clicked between the first game and this game as we soundly beat WVSD 10 – 0. Noel had 3 goals, Keren had 2 goals and Julio and Kevin had one goal apiece. Bianca Llorens narrowly scored, but the ball hit the post and bounced harmlessly away from the net. Our bench players had plenty of playing time during this game.

At the end of day one, we were seeded number two in Pool A and were set to play against the number one seed from Pool B, N.J. On Oct. 22, with thoughts of last year’s loss, MNM/PSD came out on fire and jumped out to a 2 – 0 lead thanks to goals from Noel and Keren. N.J. narrowed the lead to 2 – 1, which was the score at half time. MNM/PSD got one back on a beautiful breakaway goal by Keren to take a 3 – 1 lead. N.J. came back less than a minute later to make it a 3 – 2 game. With less than two minutes left in the game, Jose banged one into the upper left corner on a free kick to take a 4 – 2 lead. On the final whistle, players and coaches of both MNM and PSD teams were thrilled to not only win, but to clinch a spot in the championship game.

MNM/PSD had to play Rochester again for the championship. The game was deadlocked at one apiece at halftime. However, the second half was all about Rochester as we could not contain their two-time tournament MVP who scored four goals in the game.

It turned out to be an excellent tournament for the MNM/PSD team, finishing runner-up after coming in fifth place last year. For her efforts and talents, Keren Guerra was named onto the All-Tournament Team.

Great job everyone!!

Category: Blog, Deaf Education Services · Tags:

Stand Alongside Mill Neck Family for #GivingTuesday 2016

“Giving back”: two words, three syllables, and jam-packed with power.

When you decide to participate in this selfless act of kindness, you decide to stand up. You stand up for a cause you believe in; you stand up for change; you stand up to make a difference; you stand up for those who are less fortunate.

Mill Neck Family of Organizations encourages you to stand up alongside us as we partner with #GivingTuesday—a national movement that embodies the phrase “pay it forward,” redefining the giving season by dedicating an entire day to give back to a charity you’re passionate about.

On Tuesday, November 29, 2016—after we give thanks to our loved ones on Thanksgiving, and after we find the best deals with holiday shopping through Black Friday and Cyber Monday—choose to support Mill Neck’s mission to give children and adults who are Deaf and have other disabilities a chance to live a fulfilling life.

Even the simplest acts of giving back can have a monumental impact.

To learn more about #GivingTuesday, please visit

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40 Frost Mill Road
Mill Neck, NY 11765


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Lutheran Friends of the Deaf



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