SNACK & Friends, Inc

Rating: 5 stars   14 reviews

Issues: Children & Youth, Disabilities, Human Services

Location: 220 East 86th St New York NY 10017 USA

Mission: The mission of SNACK is to fill a void in the lives of children, ages 3-18, with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other similar developmental and behavioral disabilities by providing after-school and weekend recreational programs designed and staffed to address their needs. SNACK provides specialized instructional techniques not available in other special needs programs and is committed to never turning a child away - no matter how challenging the behaviors. SNACK’s activity centers are devoted to “Fun, Friends, and Hope” and welcomes those with physical disabilities, verbal and non-verbal language abilities, across all socio-economic, race, and ethnic backgrounds.
Target demographics: The population SNACK serves includes children ages 3-18 in the New York City metropolitan area on the autism spectrum, PDD, ADD, ADHD, Sensory Issues, Asperger's Syndrome, Apraxia as well as other similar developmental and behavioral disorders, many who currently are unable to attend programs designed for children with special needs due to their intensive needs. SNACK welcomes those with physical disabilities, verbal and non-verbal language abilities, across all socio-economic, race, and ethnic backgrounds.
Programs: PROGRAM ACTIVITIES: All SNACK program activities are led by individuals, trained in their particular discipline, such as art, music, drama, yoga, movement, swimming and sports. Our 2:1 child to staff ratio and the ABA approach enable those children, who are not served through other programs, the ability to participate in these kinds of classes. Our programs run continually throughout the year during after-school hours from Tuesday through Friday, plus a full days Saturday and Sunday, and currently held in two (2) locations in the New York Metropolitan area. • SNACKtivities Socialization program: a highly structured 2-hour program featuring a variety of individual and group activities designed and staffed to promote socialization among peers in a fun environment. Activities include: Music, Art, Movement, Yoga, Sports and Snack time. • Private Swim lessons: one-on-one swim lessons ensures each child’s safety and helps children with special needs develop confidence in the water by learning proper swimming strokes, floating, and breathing techniques. Swimming has proven to be particularly therapeutic and enjoyable for ASD children, helping to calm sensory input and focus on physical coordination. • Soccer classes: utilizes entertaining and easy-to-follow soccer drills to help children incorporate much-needed notions of structure and task completion into their lives. • Sports classes: allow children to participate in basketball, kickball, calisthenics and other group sports. This program promotes the idea that athletics can aid these children’s development in ways similar to that of typical children. • Family Sunday Swim Program: enables the entire family - ASD children, their parents and their siblings - to enjoy and participate in recreational activities together as a family • Holiday Programs: filled with SNACK program activities and opportunities for socialization when school is closed. • Community Outings: offers children the opportunity to generalize the skills they have learned at school and at SNACK in natural environments and social settings, provide peer modeling by including interaction with typically developing peers (siblings) and involves the whole family. Outings have included: SNACK Movie Outings enabling SNACK families and their friends to enjoy a movie together; Soccer Tournament Field Trip; Family Fun Day with sports & pumpkin picking activities; and Story Time at neighborhood Barnes & Noble.

2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

My son has been going to SNACK for nealy five years. SNACK is a place where kids can go and make friends, have fun and enjoy themselves. Its a safe place where parents can leave ther children for a few hours and know they have peace of mind that the staff will take great care of them and that they have the ability to deal with any situation that arises. My son has came on leaps and bounds, he now is able to focus more and is a lot clamer. The swimming programme helps the kids to swim and the water us very claming for them. I have taken my son to other swimming programmes but i have to say SNACK have provided the most suitable one for my son. He enjoys the programme and the interaction with the staff. SNACK and Friends is a wonderful place for my special son.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My son's progress in focusing and socializing with others

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would make no changes

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Rating: 5 stars  

SNACK has helped my seven year old daughter learn how to swim! It is also a home away from home for us, where she has taken soccer classes as well as attended an after school program. It is the only program of its kind and quality that I know of.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The swim instructors at SNACK taught my daughter to swim even though she has significant language and sensory deficits.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

make the services more widely available and increase scholarship opportunities.

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Rating: 5 stars  

A year ago, my son’s ABA therapist recommended SNACK for its structured activities, nurturing environment, and high ratio of skilled adult support. I took her advice and sent William to the SNACKtivities holiday program during school break. His self esteem soared, his behaviour improved, and he was so successful that I have continued to send him to the after-school program at SNACK as well as full-day programs during school breaks. William has thrived from the positive reinforcement and the multitude of opportunities to be successful: in art, music, sports, and games. He has many opportunities to develop and practice social skills. I am so thankful for SNACK – without it, William would be home stimming and tantrumming.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

William being able to attend an after-school and holiday program that meets his needs and builds his self esteem, behavior management, and social skills.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Add more classes and more SNACK locations.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Our son Grant is now 11 and has been going to Snack for over five years. I think he participates in everything - Snacktivities, soccer, swimming, he's been to their camps during school breaks, etc. Snack is, quite simply, an amazing place for children with autism and for the parents of children with autism. It is so difficult fining playgroups and places where your child can interact with others, develop social skills, learn sports and just be a kid. At Snack, no child is ever turned away - no matter what their challenges are - and everyone is made to feel welcome. The staff is not only high skilled, but friendly and loving towards these kids. The smiles you see on the kids faces when they are there is just priceless. I would highly recommend Snack to any family with a child with special needs - you won't be disappointed.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Watching my son learn to swim, play soccer, control his behaviors, interact socially with others - you name it. Snack is an important part of Grant's life - and ours.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I wouldn't change a thing. If anything, it would be great to someday see more "Snacks" - either around NYC or across the country.

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Rating: 5 stars  

My five year old son with c.p. has been swimming with SNACK for two years. He loves it, and it's very theraputic for his muscles. SNACK personnel have gone above and beyond to make our weekly session beneficial and enjoyable. Now my son's typically developing twin sister joins in the swimming session, which is darling for us as they get to enjoy an activity together.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

the benefit of my family. I am watching my son grow and his relationship with his twin sister. NOt only is it a wonderful weekend activity, there are many many benefits. We enjoy and benefit from the community at SNACK, meeting other parents in our special situation, my son's muscle + core strength has improved tremendously and it's a family outing we all enjoy.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I can't think of any...the staff are very helpful. Correspondence is prompt, the swimming lessons are wonderful, the community warm and inviting and inclusive. It's all good!!

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Rating: 5 stars  

SNACK has been a godsend for us. They provide a safe, fun, activity filled day for children with autism. This is the best program I ever spent money on.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

that my son is calm and fewer behavior problems when he is out of school

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would love to expand it. Open locations in the five boroghs

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

My son has been swimming with SNACK for seven years. Since children with Autism are attracted to water I considered swimming nothing more than a vital life skill. Surprisingly it turned out to be so much more! Not only does he love it, but he now competes as part of a team, doing something he's good at out in the community.
This is way beyond what I had anticipated. Thank you SNACK!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

This skill has given my son a social life and choices that most children with autism never get.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

As children age into young adults, it might be nice to collaborate with Special Olympics in some way.

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Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

My special needs son, had swim lessons, at various institutions, and with various instructors, but could not get over, his fear of the pool and getting his face wet in the water. Then we tried, SNACK, for swimming instruction, and now he floats across the pool, and looks forward to his weekly lessons. We have since, signed up for soccer,went to movies , and participated in charity events, and have been overwhelmed with their care and enthusiasm , at making every event, super special for the children there!We went to a showing of UP , where we were encouraged to have fun, and be ourselves, and not worry, about the usual dark , quiet movies that we are usually forced to attend. Thanks to you Jackie, and your awesome staff!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My son is now comfortable in the pool and looks forward to his swim lessons!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Invite more families, to help it grow, so that we could interact with even more , great kids and families! It seems that there is a real need for this kind of organization!

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Rating: 5 stars  

When your special needs child presents problem behaviors, it can be very difficult to find programs and settings that can manage those behaviors without resorting to sending a child home from time to time. I want my boys to have group experiences, and be safe, but I also know what it feels like when my kid was the one being disruptive. SNACK staff now how to keep everybody safe, including the child who is having a tantrum.

This is a remarkably affirming experience for a parents who manage day to day behaviors in the community that are safety hazardous or socially stigmatizing. Being accepted and nurtured is the ultimate in support for both child and family.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My boys are strongly inclined to do their own thing, and spend much of their school days in individual instruction. Their peer skills and play skills are weak, weak, weak. In the time they have been attending SNACK programs they have actually learned to enjoy certain activities because they are done with a group of friends.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Grow to serve more families in more locations, offer scholarships.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I am a parent of a 15 year old boy, George, who has severe autism. We moved to New York from Europe 7 years ago and were fortunate to meet Jackie Ceonzo shortly after we arrived and soon after she had set up SNACK. George has been an avid attender of the SNACK program ever since and it has been a life-changer for him. In my opinion, SNACK is the finest after-school recreation center of its kind in New York, filling a void in George's life, and that of many other children afflicted by autism and other disorders, by providing much-needed programs to address this community's needs. Art, music, sports, yoga, swimming, and just plain old hanging out with his buddies are among the many activities which George has learned to love.

George's verbal skills are continuing to improve, in no small part to the onsite speech therapy services offered to him during the SNACK activity sessions. George obsesses about his weekly schedule and recites it multiple times a day to anyone who will listen. SNACK gets a big shout out and George also makes sure that the bus driver is 100% aware that George has to be dropped off at SNACK on Thursdays and Fridays!


I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

attending as a parent

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

It is a superb organization. The special needs community needs more organizations like SNACK.

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