2011 ELIJA Gala

The 2011 ELIJA Foundation's Halloween Gala was a Spooky Success!

An incredible evening that was filled with FRIGHTENING food, MONSTER music, SCARY silent auction prizes, a WICKED raffle, DARING DANGER show, COSTUME contest, Priscilla the PSYCHIC and MORE!

Click here for a recap of the night featured on The Levittown Patch and check out the night's commemorative journal here. Special thanks to our friends at Marathon Bank for their ad.

L-R: ELIJA Foundation Founder and School Director, Debora Harris, Champion of Hope Parent Award Recipients, Michael and Lynne Koufakis, Councilman Gary Hudes and Champion of Hope Award Recipient Dana Reinecke, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Click here to check out photos from the event


Vampire Sponsors
Lynne & Michael Koufakis

Witch Sponsors
Yie-Hsin Hung &
Stephen Farinelli

Goblin Sponsors
Astoria Federal Savings Bank
Betsy & Adams
Robin & Tom Havens
Matt & Sue Pintchik
Robin Sadej-Krasnoff & Family
Marion K. Salomon and Associates
Thivierge & Rothberg, PC

Karen J. Mulcahy Walsh - Long Island Developmental Consulting
Autism Speaks
Skanska USA Civil

Ghost Sponsors
Deena & Erik Katz
International Longshore Men's Association Local 1964
Eric Harris
Arnold Harris
Mirella & Ory Giberstein

Special Thanks To:
Matt Scott Video
Our Amazing Danger Show Performers
Rock>L Productions
Ben and Devora Litwin
Michael and Alison Giangregorio


Our 2011 Champion of Hope Award Recipient
Dana Reinecke, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Program Director, Assistant Professor of Applied Behavior Analysis at Sage Colleges

Dr. Dana Reinecke is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She earned her doctorate in Learning Processes and Behavior Analysis Psychology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Dr. Reinecke provides consultation in behavior analysis to schools, school districts, and families of children with disabilities. She has co-authored books and book chapters in behavior analysis and autism, and published research in peer-reviewed journals. Dr. Reinecke has presented workshops and research at local, national, and international conferences. She has also provided training and consultation in Mexico, Ireland, and Australia. Dr. Reinecke is currently conducting research on effective on-line learning and using technology to teach individuals with autism.  Dr. Reinecke is the Department Chair of the Center for Applied Behavior Analysis (CABA) for the Sage Colleges. CABA is composed of two highly-regarded online graduate programs for the training of potential board certified behavior analysts. Dr. Reinecke also designed the newly launched Achieve Degree for the Sage Colleges. The Achieve Degree is a fully online Bachelor's degree program for students with autism and other disabilities who are academically capable, but find a traditional college experience challenging.

Our 2011 Champion of Hope Parent Award Recipient
Lynne and Michael Koufakis

Lynne and Michael Koufakis, one of the five founding families of ELIJA, have been critically involved with ELIJA since the school opened its doors in 2006. Over the course of the past five years, Lynne and Michael have chaired ELIJA’s largest annual fundraiser, The ELIJA School Golf Outing, and have been on the ELIJA Foundation Gala committee. The Koufakis’s support of ELIJA and the Long Island Autism community as a whole is manifested many other ways, which include hosting their own fundraisers and rallying community awareness and supporting other Autism schools, organizations and families affected by Autism.

Recently celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary, Lynne and Michael are the parents of four children, two who have been diagnosed with Autism. Their son, Jake, was one of the first students to join in The ELIJA School.

The Koufakis’s are well known in the Autism community for Lynne’s dedication to appropriate Autism education and Michael’s commitment to Autism medical research. Lynne and Michael have been featured in People Magazine, The Montel Williams show, The Levittown Tribune, Levittown Patch, among other publications. They are involved with, and generously support many local and national Autism organizations, including School for Language and Communication Development, Friends Academy, The ELIJA School, Autism Speaks, Autism Society of America, and the Boomer Esiason Foundation.

1. Start preparing your child early on by helping them understand the concept of Halloween. Fun songs, books or movies are a great way to help prepare. Take your child to a Halloween store and let them dress up as Dora the Explorer, Peter Pan, or their favorite cartoon character. Build up the excitement!
2. Create a picture story and read it together to better prepare your child. Feel them out for how they are feeling. Feel free to create your own rules and traditions for Halloween that fit your circumstances.
3. Practice makes perfect! Practice dressing up in costumes or trick-or-treating around the house is a great way to teach your child what to expect and how to act when the “big day” arrives. Act out specific scenarios like if someone asks them “What are you dressed up as?” or “I love your costume!”
4. Do a walk-through of the neighborhood ahead of time. Choose the houses you are going to visit and tell your neighbors what to expect and how to approach your child. Make sure there are not any spooky decorations or blinking lights that could upset your child.
5. Arrive early, be flexible and have FUN! The more confident and at ease you are, the more fun your child will have. And be sure to make mental notes throughout the evening to make next year even more special. Happy Halloween!

ELIJA's Halloween tips were featured onNY Metro Parents and the blog, LOVE THAT MAX


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