On Wednesday July 10, 2013, New York City Councilman Dan Garodnick, New York City Councilman representing Manhattan’s 4th District, visited Shema Kolainu- Hear Our Voices, school and center in Brooklyn dedicated to providing therapy services for people with autism. Councilman Garodnick and his Chief of Staff Ilona Kramer met with Ezra Friedlander, CEO of The Friedlander Group, Gili Rechany, Educational Director of Shema Kolainu- Hear Our Voices, and Suri Gruen, Program Director of Shema Kolainu- Hear Our Voices.
The meeting discussed an array of topics, from the day-to-day activities that occur at Shema Kolainu, to autism in general inNew York City. Councilman Garodnick was interested to learn the variety of services provided, either at the center or through the home and community based programs.
Councilman Garodnick and Chief of Staff Kramer received a tour of the school, watching therapies take place through the observation rooms and seeing the Assisted Daily Living Center, which includes a mini supermarket, kitchen, bedroom, laundry center, and gym. Councilman Garodnick was fascinated to learn that the older students at Shema Kolainu are able to run the grocery store, restocking items and taking inventory each day. Councilman Garodnick commented,
“I have been a supporter of the City Council’s Autism Initiative and Shema Kolainu for many years. I had heard about the good work that Dr. Weinstein and the school were doing, but it was incredible to see first-hand. The level of individual attention and creative teaching methods—including a novel grocery store, kitchen, and laundry—really impressed me.”