Mill Neck Volunteer Interns at White House

American Sign Language (ASL) landed Kaitlyn Persico in the White House.

Persico fell in love with ASL in middle school when she met a girl who was Deaf while participating in a group that tutored children of whom English was their second language.

Persico desperately wanted to communicate with her so she learned a few signs. When she began taking ASL in Massapequa High School, she was hooked.

“I just thought the language was so beautiful,” said Persico. “I took classes in New York City on the weekends and we would interact with the Deaf community and do movie night, bingo night and pasta night.”

It was then that Persico decided to attend Gallaudet University—a college designed to be barrier-free fo  r Deaf and Hard of Hearing students—to become a school psychologist for the Deaf. All of her classes were taught in ASL.

While in school, she interned at Mill Neck Services’ Day Habilitation program, where Deaf and disabled adults learn life skills; was a substitute teacher in Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf; and a counselor for Mill Neck’s Sign Camp for Hearing Kids.

Persico also received an opportunity to intern at the White House in the Eisenhower Executive Office building where she acted as a customer service representative, answering phones, reserving meeting rooms, ordering supplies and more.

“I was able to walk around and see the other offices, it was so amazing,” she recalled. “We got to explore and make deliveries to the West Wing and the East Wing, so we weren’t always in our building.”

In fact, Persico was the only intern who knew ASL, which allowed her to make her way into the White House kitchen to communicate with one of their Deaf pastry chefs.

“No one else knew ASL so I was able to talk to her and help bake the Halloween and Christmas cookies.”

With an intense passion for ASL and psychology, Persico is attending graduate school at Gallaudet and hopes to one day work for Mill Neck as a psychologist for the Deaf.

Category: Blog · Tags:

Mill Neck Services Celebrates NDEAM

Mill Neck Services is very proud to have Savers, Inc.  as a valued business partner and happy to nominate them for NDEAM award for being an exceptional “Employment Partner” in providing employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.    The Savers family of stores is a global thrift retailer offering great quality, gently used clothing, accessories and household goods. Their Rethink Reuse® business model of purchasing, reselling and recycling gives communities a smart way to shop and keeps more than 700 million pounds of used goods from landfills each year. They also help more than 100 nonprofit organizations by purchasing donated goods from them, which provides a source of revenue to help support vital community programs and services.

The relationship with Savers and MNS had a bit of a rocky start 3 years ago when MNS was just beginning to roll out new Employment Training Program (ETP) services.   Although MNS has a long history of approaching businesses for competitive employment opportunities, when Frank Adamo at Savers had more questions than our staff could answer about everything that a situational assessment would entail, a communication breakdown occurred which might have been the end of the story for most businesses.   Not so for Frank Adamo.   He contacted MNS Coordinator of Employment Services with his opinion on the follow up that (sadly) did not occur and offered us the opportunity to not only clear the air, but gave us a chance to prove our commitment to his business.  

Shortly thereafter, MNS conducted a situational assessment at Savers and a few months later this same individual was hired as a full time employee of Savers.     Savers staff and management was very receptive to the sensitivity and communication training provided by MNS staff in the course of training this individual.   They even implemented a more visual training tool developed by MNS staff that was easier for their Deaf employee to follow.   Since it incorporated a universal design, they found it useful and applicable to their staff at large.   Later, when this employee struggled to meet production goals even using this tool, and was not able to complete all required tasks, Savers was able to accommodate this by adjusting her job responsibilities.   She is now performing quite successfully and her efforts to get a jump on the early morning sorting of donations also helps the team – a win, win situation that we all strive for and can appreciate.  

Savers accommodated a second candidate’s preference to work a part time schedule and has worked very cohesively with MNS staff which was particularly important when his mother began to contact them on a host of non-employment related issues.    He is now working independently since his case was closed with ACCES VR, but Savers staff knows to contact MNS should he require ASL communication assistance beyond the skill they have developed.   The culture at Savers is completely representative of their official diversity policy, which reads:  “We’re in the business of unique treasures — especially the people we hire. All abilities, ages, ethnicity groups, genders, religions, sexual orientations are welcome here. We will provide reasonable accommodations, on request, through our recruitment and selection process; just let us know what you need. You truly can come as you are and be accepted and appreciated for the distinctiveness you bring.” years! 

Finally, Savers offered a summer work experience to a Mill Neck Manor Student – providing her valuable experience for that ever important FIRST JOB that is so crucial to each of us.     She did so well and became so integrated into the amazing culture at Savers, that she was retained after the Work Try Out ended and she stayed on, working weekends and school vacations even when she returned to school in the fall.  

 Frank Adamo and his team at Savers in West Hempstead clearly embody the “big heart and even bigger vision” of the Savers brand.   He is committed to creating a culture that is “open, affirming and entrepreneurial”.   They make “solid career development” a priority and make sure their employees feel both appreciated and challenged.  We look forward to working together going forward as we collaborate to develop the skills and contributions of the employees they have hired through Mill Neck Services.      Savers is not only “an impressive thrift store, a community champion and a revolutionary recycler” but also brilliant business partner that deserves this NDEAM Nomination. 

Category: Blog · Tags:

Senator Marcellino Visits Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf

Senator Carl L. Marcellino came to Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf on Oct. 24, 2018, to visit the Deaf Education Center students. Marcellino, who was a force behind the “Mill Neck Student Support” grant that was passed, toured the school and received a thank you card from the students. The funds from this student-focused grant will be used to improve security measures, student safety, upgrade technology, purchase a van to transport students who live too far to attend extracurricular activities and more.

“Senator Marcellino played an integral part in getting this grant approved,” said Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf Superintendent Fran Bogdanoff. “This grant will allow us to greatly enhance our program touching the lives of each of our students. We are so grateful to Senator Marcellino and all who helped this come to fruition.”

The Mill Neck Family of Organizations thanks Senator Marcellino for his dedicated support of our vision to create a world where Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals are included, empowered, celebrated and embraced as equals.

Category: Blog · Tags:

Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf 2018-2019 Meal Charge and Prohibition Against Meal Shaming Policy

  1. Purpose

The goal of Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf  is to provide student access to nutritious no- or low-cost meals each school day and to ensure that a pupil whose parent/guardian has unpaid school meal fees is not shamed or treated differently than a pupil whose parent/guardian does not have unpaid meal fees.

Unpaid charges place a large financial burden on our school. The purpose of this policy is to insure compliance with federal requirements for the USDA Child Nutrition Program and, and to provide oversight and accountability for the collection of outstanding student meal balances to ensure that the student is not stigmatized, distressed or embarrassed.

The intent of this policy is to establish procedures to address unpaid meal charges throughout the Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf in a way that does not stigmatize, distress or embarrass students. The provisions of this policy pertain to regular priced reimbursable school breakfast, lunch and snack meals only. Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf  provides this policy as a courtesy to those students in the event that they forget or lose their money.  Charging of items outside of the reimbursable meals (a la carte items, adult meals, etc.) is expressly prohibited.

  1. Policy

Free Meal Benefit – Free eligible students will be allowed to receive a free breakfast and lunch meal of their choice each day.   A la carte items or other similar items must be paid/prepaid.

Reduced Meal Benefit – Reduced eligible students will be allowed to receive a breakfast of their choice for $0.25 and lunch of their choice for  $0.25 each day. The charge meals offered to students will be reimbursable meals available to all students, unless the student’s parent or guardian has specifically provided written permission to the school to withhold a meal.  A la carte items or other similar items must be paid/prepaid.

Full Pay Students – Students will pay for meals at the school’s published paid meal rate each day.  The charge meals offered to students will be reimbursable meals available to all students, unless the student’s parent or guardian has specifically provided written permission to the school to withhold a meal.  A la carte items or other similar items must be paid/prepaid.


  • Staff will be trained annually and throughout the year as needed on the procedures for managing meal charges using the NYSED Webinar or the school’s training program.
  • Staff training includes ongoing eligibility certification for free or reduced price meals.


  • Parents/guardians will be notified that a student’s meal card or account balance is exhausted and has accrued meal charges within 15 days of the charge and then every month


  • Staff will communicate with parents/guardians with five or more meal charges to determine eligibility for free or reduced price meals.
  • School staff will make two documented attempts to reach out to parents/guardians to complete a meal application in addition to the application and instructions provided in the school enrollment packet.
  • School staff will contact the parent/guardian to offer assistance with completion of meal application to determine if there are other issues within the household causing the child to have insufficient funds, offering any other assistance that is appropriate.


  • School will not publicly identify or stigmatize any student on the line or discuss any outstanding meal debt in the presence of any other students.
  • Studunts who incur meal charges will not be required to wear a wristband or handstamp, or to do chores or work to pay for meals.
  • Schools will not throw away a meal after it has been served because of the student’s inability to pay for the meal or because of previous meal charges.
  • Schools will not take any action directed at a pupil to collect unpaid school meal fees.
  • Schools will deal directly with parents/guardians regarding unpaid school meal fees.


  • School staff will conduct direct certification with NYSSIS or using NYSED Roster Upload to maximize free eligibility. NYSED provides updated direct certification data monthly.
  • School staff will provide parents/guardians with free and reduced price application and instructions at the beginning of each school year in school enrollment packet.
  • Schools using electronic meal application will provide an explanation of the process in the school enrollment packet and instructions on how to request a paper application at no cost.
  • Schools will provide at least two additional free and reduced price applications throughout the school year to families identified as owing meal charges.
  • Schools will use administrative prerogative judiciously, only after using exhaustive efforts to obtain a completed application from the parent/guardian only with available information on family size and income that falls within approvable guidelines.
  • Schools will coordinate with the foster, homeless, migrant, runaway coordinators to certify eligible students. School liaisons required for homeless, foster, and migrant students shall coordinate with the nutrition department to make sure such students receive free school meals, in accordance with federal law.

Students/Parents/Guardians may pay for meals in advance via a check payable to Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf or cash placed in a sealed envelope with student’s name on it.   Funds are then entered into our NutriKids Program to minimize the possibility that a child may be without meal money on any given day. Notices will be sent home to parents informing them that the student’s funds are almost depleted and requesting additional funds.   Any remaining funds for a particular student may/will be carried over to the next school year.

Refunds for withdrawn, and graduating students; a written or e-mailed request for a refund of any money remaining in their account must be submitted.  Students who are graduating at the end of the year will be given the option to transfer to a sibling’s account with a written request.

Unclaimed Funds must be requested within one school year. Unclaimed funds will then become the property of the Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf’s Food Service Program.


Category: Blog · Tags:

Mill Neck Sails the Sound for Deafness

The Mill Neck Family of Organizations held its annual Sail the Sound for Deafness Regatta & Summer Soirée on Thursday, Aug. 9. 2018. Oakliff Sailing made their fleet available for an exciting race around Oyster Bay and into the Sound. Sailors participated with their own boats and spectators watched from The WaterFront Center’s showpiece Christeen—the oldest oyster sloop in North America.

After the race was over, around 200 guests arrived for a summer soirée at the historic Mill Neck Manor—a spectacular Tudor Revival Mansion—featuring great food and drinks from top restaurants in the area, live music, raffles, a silent auction from Steiner Sports and much more.

One of the evening’s highlights was the announcement of the regatta and restaurant winners: first place in the sailing race went to Banzai with Don Woodworth and the Golden Galley Award for the top restaurant went to the Green Pear Catering.

Without the endless dedicated support, this event would not be possible. The Mill Neck Family wishes to thank our co-hosts, Oakcliff Sailing Center, The WaterFront Center and Oyster Bay Marine Center, as well as these generous event sponsors: (Landlubber Sponsors) Lamb and Barnosky, LLP; BNC Contracting, Inc.; TNT Industries Construction Services; R.S. Abrams & Co., LLP; (Trophy Sponsor) Core BTS; (Skipper Sponsor) O’Keefe Plumbing and Heating; (Captain Sponsors) Toshiba Business Solutions and Pickney Electric.

We also acknowledge our food and beverage sponsors: North Oyster Bay Baymen’s Association, Osteria Leana, Mill Creek Tavern, Christina’s Epicure, Oyster Bay Brewery, Seasons 52, Spinnakers, Banfi Vintners, Coach Grill & Tavern, Birch Hill Market, Elegant Affairs, Greenpear Catering, Greek Cove, Mario’s Pizzeria, Harborside Deli, Messina Market and King Kullen.

Our sincere gratitude goes out to our local community partners for their generosity toward raffles, silent auction items, food, beverages and other contributions. And a world of thanks to all sailors, committee members, volunteers, guests, staff, students and families.

See some pictures from the event below! We hope to see you at next year’s event!

Category: Blog · Tags:

Mill Neck Graduate Celebrates 50 Years as the Mets Mailman

Full disclosure: Tod Tillotson loves the Yankees. Now, that’s not to say that he doesn’t share a learned love for the Mets. But just like any born-and-bred New York boy in the 50s, Tillotson spent his adolescence wholeheartedly rooting for the Yankees before the Mets even existed.

Tillotson had quite a different childhood, however, after an incident left him Deaf at the age of 5: he fell out of his crib as an infant in his Kew Gardens home and hit his head on a radiator.

He attended Mill Neck Manor School for the Deaf, which back then was a boarding school for Deaf children, and frequented Mill Neck’s Apple Festival each year. “I slept in the Manor House and I loved it; it was so much fun,” Tillotson recalled of his time spent at the school.

Years later, in 1964 when he was 15, he landed a job with the Mets organization through a connection his father made with then owner Donald M. Grant. Tillotson worked summer jobs for a few years and helped with mail, filing and special services, before taking on a full-time position as the Mets mailman.

Mill Neck Interpreter Service, a part of the Mill Neck Family of Organizations that provides professional Sign Language interpreters throughout Long Island and the metropolitan area, translates for Tillotson when coworkers aren’t able to understand his speech. 

After 50 years working for the Mets, the employee of longest tenure, Tillotson has met his share of professional athletes and celebrities. One, in particular, was Justin Timberlake. “I was standing behind him and said ‘excuse me’ and we started talking to each other,” he remembered.

Tillotson makes about six trips to Citi Field, delivering mail and picking it up, walking about eight miles a day. And he has no plans of retiring any time soon.

Category: Blog · Tags:

Bill Passed which Requires ASL Interpreters at All Emergency Press Conferences

At Mill Neck, we strive everyday to empower Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals. After months of advocating for the Deaf community to the Nassau County Legislators, we at Mill Neck are proud to state that yesterday, April 25, 2018 marks a significant change, which ensures that those who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing will receive equal access during an emergency situation in Nassau County.

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran signed a bill stating that American Sign Language Interpreters shall be provided at all emergency press conferences held in Nassau County. This bill was announced and submitted by Legislator Josh Lafazan–who serves for the 18th District of the Nassau County Legislature–at Mill Neck’s Day Habilitation Program in Hicksville, N.Y.

“As a County, it is our responsibility to ensure that the Deaf and Hard of Hearing individuals have access to the same kind of information that is provided to others in emergency situations,” said Legislator Lafazan.

We thank you Legislator Josh Lafazan and County Executive Laura Curran for helping us continue our dedication to create a world in which Deaf and hard of hearing individuals are included and embraced as equals.

Category: Blog · Tags:

GoFundMe Campaign for Safe Playground

The DEC has started a GoFundMe Campaign to raise money for rubber mulch in the student playground, which is vital to the safety of our Deaf children. Most of our Deaf and Hard of Hearing students wear hearing aids or cochlear implants, which are very expensive and can fall off and break easily. The addition of rubber mulch would reduce this risk as well as other general safety issues. Read more about our GoFundMe Campaign here.

Category: Blog · Tags:

CHH Hosts St. Patrick’s Brunch & Learn

The Center for Hearing Health (CHH) held their first St. Patrick’s Brunch and Learn at the historic Mill Neck Manor for their current and prospective patients. The event was led by Erik Sengstacken, the Regional Sales Manager from Widex – a family owned company based in Denmark that is a leading manufacturer of hearing aids. Erik discussed their most advanced Digital Hearing system known as the BEYOND hearing aid and how they offer the most advanced, natural sound on the market. He also presented a variety of accessories that can be utilized with the television, iPhone and landline phone. To learn about future events or schedule a free hearing screening, contact or 516-628-4300.

Category: Audiology, Blog · Tags:

Mill Neck Interpreters Attend Canine Graduation

Mill Neck Interpreter Service (MNIS) – a nonprofit agency that provides Sign Language interpreters throughout Long Island and the New York Metropolitan Area – continued to show their support by providing interpreting services at the February 2018 graduation ceremony for Canine Companions for Independence. MNIS has provided interpreters for Canine Companions graduations for more than 10 years. 


Category: Blog · Tags:

Mill Neck Logo


40 Frost Mill Road
Mill Neck, NY 11765




mill neck


mnm staff email login