After a three-year hiatus, AHRC Nassau residents, staff and leadership enjoyed a wonderful Thanksgiving / Friendsgiving at The Heritage Club at Bethpage. Two separate dinners on October 24 and 26 were hosted by AHRC Residential Services to accommodate nearly 800 attendees.
The decades-long residential tradition returned with residents and staff dressed to the nines ready to enjoy an evening with friends, food and dancing. Music was provided by Chloe Best, one half of twin DJ duo, The Best Twins NYC, and daughter of Assistant House Manager Leslie TenEyck.
During the October 26 dinner, Markiah Addison, a Grand Avenue Apartments resident, kicked off the evening with a speech welcoming the attendees and thanking the agency, administrators, and direct support professionals (DSPs) – who she credits as always being there to help her achieve her goals.
“I love having the dinner back,” shared Markiah, who has been part of the AHRC Nassau community for over a decade and attended the dance with her apartment roommates and long-time boyfriend Dan Zinke. “I got to see my friends and dance. It’s been a while since we’ve been together.”
Thanksgiving dinner is an optional recreation event for the residents, but one that most choose to attend. To prepare for the event, residential administrators coordinated with agency leadership to ensure the event would go as smoothly as possible.
They accommodated residents’ dietary needs to ensure everyone was able to participate fully in the event and had nursing and clinical staff in attendance in case of emergency.
“It was truly an agency wide effort putting these events together,” shared CLS Office Manager Julia Sumakis.
Assistant Director Jo Ann Koelling, who’s been with the agency for 30 years, spoke to the dedication of staff in making sure the residents were prepared for the event.
“It takes a lot for the staff to do this. They pick the residents up from their daytime activities, get their hair and nails done, help them dress up. The staff do it because they see the enjoyment that the residents get from this event.”
Both events ran from 6–10 p.m., giving residents and staff ample time to share a meal, dance and reconnect with friends and colleagues from across the agency.