Welcome to The Center for Family Support’s 2022 Awards Dinner, “Building Dreams Together!” We are delighted that you’ve joined us this evening. Your presence and support makes it possible for us to offer special services and programs that help the individuals we work with achieve their dreams. Tonight, we celebrate our individuals, families, and… you!

We’re thrilled to award the CFS Advocate Award to our terrific partner Gallagher Nonprofit Insurance and Consulting. For almost a century, Gallagher has been proactively providing insurance, risk management services and comprehensive benefits consulting that help their nonprofit clients protect their organizations, staff, volunteers and boards, while maximizing their impact.

Also, tonight we will present CEO Steven Vernikoff with the Lloyd Stabiner Award in honor of his 30 years with CFS. Steven has worked in the intellectual and developmental disabilities field for forty-five years, and under his leadership CFS has become an innovator in the person-centered model of services, setting the standard for individualized support.
Thank you for joining us!

Donate to Win

In the spirit of supporting CFS’ mission, we encourage everyone to make a special donation tonight in honor of those we serve. All gifts of $100 or more made by the end of tonight’s dinner will be entered into a fantastic raffle. Tonight’s winners will get to choose from our fantastic prizes:

  • iPad with wireless keyboard, donated by PC Connection
  • Lenovo M8 Tablet, donated by PC Connection
  • Samsonite Laptop Bag, donated by Board Member Helen Yeardley
  • One Year “Explore” MOMA Membership

Be sure to stop by the silent auction table next to the DJ Booth for our fantastic items, featuring a VIP chef tasting for 4 at TAO Downtown, donated by TAO Group, and a weeklong time-share vacation, donated by Board Member Cynthia Selover.


Evening’s Program

  • Welcome Reception        6:30
  • Dinner Program               7:30
  • Cocktails and Dancing     8:30
  • Farewell!                            9:30

Speaker Bios: 

Danielle Elliot – Danielle has been supported by CFS for 8 years. We’ve helped her achieve her dream of living more independently and raising two wonderful children. She’s a caring, strong willed, loving person.

Jose Jara – Jose has been the Chair of CFS New York since 2019, and has been on the Board since 2010. He is of counsel at Fox Rothschild Attorneys at Law, where he focuses on employment litigation and counseling.

Commissioner Kerri Neifeld – Kerri serves as the Commissioner of the Office for People with Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD) following her nomination as Commissioner by Governor Kathy Hochul in early November of 2021.

Rochelle Powell – Rochelle is the Chair of the CFS Foundation and has previously served on the CFS New York Board. She is the Managing Director at Prager & Company, where she is also a member of the Firm’s Executive Committee.

McLee Smith – McLee is the NY/NJ Metro Area President for Gallagher Benefit Services. He is accepting the CFS Advocate Award on behalf of Gallagher’s National Nonprofit Insurance Practice.

Steven Vernikoff – Steven is the Chief Executive Officer of The Center for Family Support. He has worked in the field of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in senior leadership positions for 45 years.

CFS Dreams Built

    Walking Club Tours with Kevin

    In the summer of 2021, when people could finally start going out again, Kevin, who has been receiving support from The Center for Family Support for many years, lead the way by starting a Nature Walks Club for CFS Community and Day Habilitation participants .“We’ve walked around all around Central Park, Riverbank State Park, and downtown,” Kevin said. Kevin is looking forward to planning many more trips, including one to the beach at Coney Island, and growing as a leader!

    How to Stay Safe: CFS’ New Self-Defense Series

    This year, CFS started a new series of self-defense classes to prepare individuals we work with in being safe as they explore their neighborhoods again. Participants learned self-defense and martial arts techniques, and went over a number of scenarios they might encounter. In addition, participants met with Community Policing officers in Manhattan and The Bronx to create a safer community for people with disabilities, part of an initiative led by CFS P.A.G.E.S. (Political Advocacy Group Enhancing Services) an advocacy group formed by our participants.

    Elisanta’s Dream: GED

    Elisanta was studying at her local library in the hopes of obtaining a GED Diploma. But COVID-19 struck and the library doors closed. Elisanta was undeterred. She researched and enrolled herself in an online GED course offered by the Stanford Career Institute. Even while working towards her dream of a GED diploma, she has continued to work on her wellness through the CFS Virtual Supports program, a curriculum of wellness workshops. Elisanta’s commitment to herself to work on her financial, social, mental and physical wellness has never wavered and we applaud her perseverance!