Public officials, community leaders and officers of the Guild for Exceptional Children attended the agency’s third annual Legislative Brunch, held at 260 68th Street, which was followed by a tour of Guild programs and casual meetings with developmentally disabled participants engaged in the day’s activities.
President Anthony Santoro opened the program with an appeal for legislative support during Governor David Paterson’s proposed budget cuts, which would negatively impact funding for people with disabilities. “Our consumers would be negatively affected if the cutbacks become a reality,” he said.
CEO Paul Cassone told the assemblage, “This year’s state budget is very difficult and would severely hurt Guild. Items that have been deleted or greatly reduced must be restored in order to protect the civil rights of our participants.
“We serve more than 1000 individuals with developmental disabilities, from childhood through old age,” he said. “A very large group requires extensive, acute support due to medical frailty and the aging process. The well−being of these people would be endangered if their services are reduced.”
A legislative bulletin, which explained funding issues was distributed to the crowd and an appeal was made to send the letters or make phone calls to legislators to voice support for the much needed funds that affect the health and safety of consumers.
Congressman Michael McMahon, Assemblyman Peter Abbate, Councilman Vincent Gentile and representatives of other public officials voiced their support of the Guild’s mission and restoration of proposed budget cutbacks. The public officials agreed to do their best to assist the agency and its participants from devastating budget reductions.
Following the program, legislators and community leaders toured four of the Guild programs, the Peter J. Mulligan Center, Hope Morrison Day Center, Four Seasons Senior Day Center and the Workshop, where they were able to observe services and meet with program participants.
©2009 Community News Group
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