Founded in 1957 by Dr. Jack M. Gootzeit, the Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics (IAHD) -- serving the Developmental Disabled in The Bronx and Westchester Counties -- has held an annual fundraising gala event every year, since 1969. Recently they hosted their 45th Annual Awards Dinner Dance at the Chelsea Piers in NYC. As a non-profit agency, they depend on the proceeds made from this evening to supplement their usual funding and to ensure that the agency is able to continue providing the unique population whom they proudly serve, the special types of activities and programs that these individuals also enjoy.
The Dinner Dance recognized individuals and organizations that have contributed to serving persons with developmental disabilities and other humanitarian causes. The awards given are the Distinguished Humanitarian Award, the Person-of-the-Year Award, The Lifetime Achievement Award and the Corporate Excellence Award. Past recipients include Fernando Ferrer, Gabe Pressman, Brooke Shields, David Dinkins, Oliver Koppell and Charlie Rangel. This year's Person of the Year Award went to Rita Cosby, Emmy Award-winning TV host and best-selling author and their Distinguished Humanitarian Awards went to Hon. Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Janine Rose of News 12 Westchester & Hudson Valley. William Lopez, Assistant Commissioner of the Bureau of Mental Retardation & Developmental Disabilities New York City of Health & Mental Hygiene, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
New York State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins (D -35th District) told me:
I was truly honored to receive the Distinguished Humanitarian Award at IAHD's 55th Anniversary Dinner, and to be in such esteemed company as the evening's other honorees, Janine Rose, Rita Cosby, and William Lopez. IAHD has been a leader in making sure educational, therapeutic, residential, and other critical services are available for some of the most vulnerable individuals in Westchester and beyond.
Throughout my career in public service, I have endeavored to level the playing field while giving voice to those often unheard. I believe every person deserves the opportunity to grow and live to his or her full potential -- regardless of ability or disability.
That is why for the past two years, I have contracted with Crystal Blue Cleaning Services to work in my office. This company employs developmentally disabled workers through IAHD's Work Readiness Program and they have become valued members of our staff family. I look forward to making sure the needs and concerns of people with developmental disabilities are heard and met.
Andrea serves Yonkers, which is in the region served by the Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics.
Since 1957, when they began, IAHD has provided significant leaders and innovators in the field of developmental disabilities, while positively impacting the lives of thousands of individuals and their families. They provide instructional and therapeutic programs for children with learning, language, motor, communication and behavioral challenges. Services are available to all children who qualify from birth to 21 years of age.
IAHD's Early Intervention Services are available for children from birth to three years of age. IAHD provides service coordination, evaluations, special instruction in a center-based facility, family training, speech and language, physical and occupational therapy. If a child qualifies for services they are provided at no cost to the family. The IAHD-St. Mary's Early Intervention Program is funded and regulated by the N.Y.C. Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene and the N.Y.S. Dept. of Health.
The Universal Pre-Kindergarten program is an education program for four-year-olds. IAHD offers a government sponsored UPK program for two and a half hours daily during the school calendar year. Educational activities that prepare children for school are offered during this time. Children do not need to have a language/learning disability to attend this program, which is considered to be a readiness program for kindergarten.
IAHD's School Age program has been designed for children whose special needs make it too difficult for this group of children to attend more traditional programs. A small teacher/student ratio and assistance in areas of living skills, as well as specialized teaching and training, make this a valuable program for students between the ages of five and 21.
IAHD operates 22 homes and apartments for children and adults throughout the Bronx and Westchester. After school and weekend programs are available for children under 21 years of age. IAHD is committed to providing support to children and their families, and the Family Support program provides these opportunities.
From volunteer opportunities to community memberships to neighborhood events, IAHD's presence within the community is proactive and positive. Community participation is an important part of all programs that IAHD offers. IAHD practices person-centered planning, and individuals who attend our programs and seek community experiences are supported to reach their goals. IAHD believes that individuals can lead more fulfilling lives when they are assisted to interact with people who do not have disabilities, when each day offers them different and interesting experiences and when they find meaning in the activities they join. On a daily basis, individuals who attend the IAHD program are shopping at community stores or retail warehouses, are participating in programs offered by the parks department and community centers, are using memberships at gyms and cultural locations and are participating in a wide range of sports activities and league play.
Lorraine Cancro, MSW, Director of the Global Stress initiative stated:
With neurological disorders on the rise, the need for resources and support for those with special needs is increasing exponentially. IAHD provides a community of care. It is no surprise that it was launched by a group of 5 mothers who understood their respective children's needs, armed with strength and vision forged ahead to fulfill those needs in conjunction with the efforts of Dr. Jack M. Gootzeit. There is no better advocate for a special needs child than their own parent. IAHD not only helped children of the 5 mothers, but also went on to change the lives of thousands of children and their families since its inception. There should be more institutions like the IAHD since the need for their kind of service on behalf of children and adults with special needs is so great. The IAHD also provides parents with the support, caring, and direction they need as they face the challenges that only a special needs family knows. With their help, the IAHD takes the dis- out of disabilities and replaces it with poss-abilities. There is no greater gift.
My mother was a child psychologist, my brother taught children with autism for years, and I have raised a wonderful son with special needs. When special needs exist, they are great -- and it is imperative that great institutions such as Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics exist to assist in their care and nurturing. I am thankful that north of Manhattan IAHD is there to help. Although Rita Cosby, Andrea Stewart-Cousins, Janine Rose and William Lopez were rightfully honored, it is the staff and volunteers of the IAHD who deserve our deepest admiration.
Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics (IAHD)
See Stories by Jim Luce on:
The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation (www.lucefoundation.org) is the umbrella organization under which The International University Center Haiti (Uni Haiti) and Orphans International Worldwide (OIWW) are organized. If supporting young global leadership is important to you, subscribe to J. Luce Foundation updates here.
Follow Jim Luce on Twitter: www.twitter.com/jimluce