Tags Posts tagged with "Family Fun Day"

Family Fun Day

By Katherine Kelton

The newly-renamed Rotary Club of The Three Villages held its Family Fun Day of Service, Saturday, May 18. The club organized a beach and garden cleanup with bagels and coffee. Painting rocks, making birdhouses, coloring and a scavenger hunt were all available for young kids. 

Rotary member Dan Berger explained, “It’s important to give back to the community for all the good things we’ve received from them.” 

May 18 marked Rotary Day of Service, where more than 800 Rotary clubs across the country held community service events. 

“Our agenda is community service,” Three Village Rotary president, Marios Patatinis, said. The event had two service activities set up: collecting trash from Sand Street Beach in Stony Brook and weeding and planting in the Stony Brook Rotary Memorial Garden, gifted from the club years prior. 

Chris Sokol, another Rotary member, said, “I hope the kids can see the value in certain communities and cleaning the beach and beautifying this area that they enjoy all year long — see the value of serving and giving back.”

As part of the children’s scavenger hunt, they had to complete different tasks on the beach and in the memorial garden to win a free ice cream voucher to Sweet Mama’s, which Patatinis owns. 

The weather was cool and foggy, leaving the beach entirely to the volunteers, yet warm enough to attract families with little ones. Parents and children scoured the beach for trash and dug up dirt in the garden from 10 a.m. until noon.

The event also attracted community members who helped out at the local beach, including Brookhaven Town Councilmember Jonathan Kornreich (D-Stony Brook). 

For those who worked in the garden area, Avalon Nature Preserve nature initiative coordinator, Kayla Serina, donated plants, tools and expertise. With volunteers, she removed dead grasses and weeds from the area and planted new foliage expected to grow better. 

The event celebrated the Rotary club’s Reboli Center April fundraiser with the presentation of a check to the president of the center, Lois Reboli.

The club hopes to expand its event calendar over the next few months.

“We have an incredibly motivated and committed group of members who take what we do seriously,” Sokol said. 

In June the Rotary club will be sponsoring a mammogram bus for Stony Brook University Hospital. The bus will travel to people who need mammogram testing for a whole day. 

Patatinis indicated that the club is maintaining membership numbers, yet welcomes new members. He invites those interested to stay up to date with events and to “come have lunch with us.” 

Visit www.stonybrookrotary.com for event schedules and more information. 

Members of the Backstage Studio of Dance attend Family Fun Day at Port Jefferson Station’s Train Car Park. Photo courtesy Joan Nickeson
By Aramis Khosronejad

Over the rainy weekend and despite the weather, the Port Jefferson Station/Terryville Chamber of Commerce, determined to kick start the fall season, hosted a community celebration on Saturday, Sept. 30. 

The chamber held its annual Family Fun Day celebration at the Train Car Park in Port Jeff Station, where this unique site goes well beyond Saturday’s festivities.

Members of the League of Women Voters table during the event. Photo courtesy Joan Nickeson

The chamber is “trying to make it the hub of Port Jeff Station,” said PJSTCC president Jennifer Dzvonar. “We’re trying to bring a central sense of community here.”

Family Fun Day has taken place since 2018. However, this year was the first the event was back after a two-year hiatus caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, among other factors. The event consisted of many local vendors and businesses, various performances, games for children and adults, and apple pie and scarecrow contests.

One of the local businesses that performed at the event was the Backstage Studio of Dance, a volunteer group that teaches young adults various dances, including ballet and boys hip hop, among others. “My kids can perform and not feel pressure of competition or anything else,” said Gwenn Capodieci, the executive director of the dance studio. “They’re just up there having fun.” 

Pies are on display. Photo courtesy Joan Nickeson

Capodieci added what this event means for the community: “Support your local business while having fun with your family.”

Dzvonar noted that the event aims to “bring something to our community that encompasses everybody — the local businesses, families, our community.”

The original incentive, she added, was to create a simple, fun space where families can gather and enjoy each other’s company while supporting their local businesses. 

Dzvonar also mentioned how the event “is really highlighting our kids, our next generation and our future.”

Photo by Heidi Sutton

Join the Ward Melville Heritage Organization (WMHO) and the Stony Brook Fire Department (SBFD) for Family Fun Day in Stony Brook Village on Saturday, September 30th with WMHO’s Annual Scarecrow Competition and the Stony Brook Fire Department’s Annual Fire Prevention Day and Open House from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This event is free to the public.

Throughout the Stony Brook Village Center there will be over 35 scarecrows lining the sidewalks. Voting for WMHO’s Annual Scarecrow Competition will begin on Family Fun Day. Vote for your favorite scarecrow creation using ballots found in all shops and eateries in Stony Brook Village.

The SBFD Annual Fire Prevention Day and Open House will take place behind the Stony Brook Fire Department in Stony Brook Village. Here are several activities planned for people of all ages to enjoy!

— A Touch-A-Truck display allowing people of all ages to get an up-close look at big trucks and emergency vehicles such as firetrucks, ambulances, and the Brookhaven Town Fire Marshal’s Mobile Command Post.

— The SBFD will be providing a knockdown house, which allows kids to operate a fire hose to knock down flames in a mock-up of a small house.

— Stony Brook University Fire Marshal’s Office will attend with their Fire Extinguisher Simulator allowing members of the community to learn how to use a fire extinguisher first-hand.

— Terryville Fire Department will be present with a Fire Prevention/Safety Trailer which has the ability to teach fire safety within a simulated home and also what to do at the sound of a smoke detector.

— The Explorer Post #0528, will provide information to children about junior firefighting and provide firefighting gear that kids can try on.

— There will be giveaways for children and adults. SBFD plans to raffle off smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers while teaching community members the importance of safety with these items. Servpro will giveaway desktop calendars, activity books and pens/pencils

— The SBFD will demonstrate vehicle extrications and how to put out stove top fires throughout the day.

— Stony Brook Medicine will be in attendance with their Mobile Stroke Unit, a specialized ambulance designed to provide specialized, life-saving care to people within the critical moments of stroke.

To learn more about the Stony Brook Village Family Fun Day and to learn more about the WMHO, call 631- 751-2244.

By Rebecca Anzel

Melonie smiled as she watched her son Justin-Joseph, or J.J. for short, land several backflips on the trampolines at West Hills Day Camp in Huntington on Saturday. The activities at Suffolk Aspergers/Autism Support and Information’s first annual Family Fun Day — zip lines, face painting, sand art and a water slide, in addition to the trampoline park — were the perfect outlet for J.J.’s vast supply of energy.

J.J. is on the autism spectrum — Melonie is, too. “People look at us differently,” she said. “For me, it’s important for J.J. not to have that painful experience.”

SASI, a not-for-profit support group that provides special needs families with helpful resources, provides that sense of community Melonie wants for J.J. Founded in the living room of co-founder Stephanie Mendelson on Dec. 4 of last year, SASI has grown from 12 parents to over 700 families throughout Suffolk County and across the rest of Long Island in eight months.

Co-founder Priscilla Arena said Family Fun Day was meant to be an event for children on the autism spectrum to have carefree fun, and a way for families to bond.

“[I’m excited] for our kids to make friends — to see them smile. Here, they’re part of one community.”

—Priscilla Arena

“[I’m excited] for our kids to make friends — to see them smile,” she said, tearing up. “Here, they’re part of one community. They are the popular kids in SASI.”

Mendelson and Arena, both from Mount Sinai, have children on the autism spectrum. They found there was a lack of resources on Long Island for families and formed SASI as a support group to fill that void.

“Parents found themselves lost, confused, hopeless, alienated, isolated and alone,” Arena said. “SASI created an environment where they could come together and share their stories and experiences.”

To its members, SASI provides information about available resources, advocacy, financial and emotional support. On the last Friday of every month, the group hosts speakers at John T. Mather Memorial Hospital in Port Jefferson — so far, families have heard from a representative from Parent to Parent, a state planning attorney, a Medicaid broker and a parent advocate for education.

The group’s first speaker, special education advocate Danielle Brooks, was at Family Fun Day giving free advice to families. She said SASI is a special organization because it built a caring network for families in a short period of time. The event, she said, was a great opportunity for children to have fun in a safe environment.

SASI also hosts a birthday party club for its member’s children, who range in ages from kids just shy of 3 years old to adults in their late 20s. Arena said children on the autism spectrum have difficulty making friends, so sometimes there are not many others to invite to a child’s birthday party. The group is also working on a lending library, which will help members borrow books donated to the organization; a job skills program; life coach program and blue pages resource handbook, which would help parents find services they need across the island.

Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai) said she is “thrilled and excited” that Arena and Mendelson founded SASI. Instead of complaining about a lack of resources, she said, the SASI co-founders work hard to address issues.

“I think SASI will be able to address problems and advocate with a stronger, louder voice.”

—Sarah Anker

“I’m really supportive and beyond happy that Priscilla has taken this concern and made it into a centerpiece to gather around — creating this organization so people have a place to go for information and resources,” Anker said. “I think SASI will be able to address problems and advocate with a stronger, louder voice.”

The group has also gained the attention of U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-Shirley), who is sponsoring a bill to ensure Americans with disabilities have access to necessary health-care equipment.

“In Congress, one of my top priorities is ensuring that all Americans with disabilities have the resources they need to live independently and happily,” Zeldin wrote in a statement. “I thank the Suffolk Aspergers/Autism Support and Information group for their work in our community to help children and adults with disabilities.”

Family Fun Day was held at West Hills Day Camp in Huntington, a facility famous for its autism-friendly Gersh Academy. The facility donated the space for the event, which Anker said had about 800 attendees.

In addition to the attractions, the event also had refreshments from Crazy Crepes, Mr. Softee and Kona Ice. Families could purchase t-shirts or raffle tickets to win one of many donated baskets.

The event was just the first of many more to come, Arena said. “We’re new, but we’re just getting started.”

For Melonie, Family Fun Day was the perfect way to spend time with her son.

“It’s everything to see smiles on all the kids faces,” Melonie said. “They don’t get this a lot.”