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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

SNACK & Friends, Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Autism, Children & Youth, Children & Youth Services, Disabilities, Health, Human Service Organizations, Human Services, Youth Development Programs

Mission: The mission of SNACK* is to fill a void for children, teens and young adults affected with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and similar disabilities by providing unique after school and weekend programs designed and staffed to address their needs. SNACK also provides vocational training and supported employment opportunities and welcomes those with physical disabilities, verbal and non-verbal language abilities, across all socio-economic, race, and ethnic backgrounds. SNACK activity centers are devoted to "Fun, Friends, and Hope" and offer a variety of group and individual activities to provide these children with the help they need to thrive - the opportunity to make friends, have fun, improve skills, build confidence, work and participate in activities that typical people do everyday.

Target demographics: children, teens and young adults affected with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and similar disabilities

Direct beneficiaries per year: 180 children, teens and young adults on a WEEKLY Basis (60 hours of programming a week /7 days a week/ 46 weeks a year)

Geographic areas served: New York City Metropolitan Area

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.

Community Stories

14 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Roisin C.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!

Client Served

Rating: 5

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.

Client Served

Rating: 5

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!


Sujata B.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My husband and I bought a home in Manhattan and were looking for weekend programs for our 8.5 year old autistic son. I was introduced to Snack through the YAI network as an excellent organization for recreational after school programs. I reached out to them and received the warmest response ever. There are no organizations like Snack in and around NJ which provide such high-quality programs to parents whose lives are devastated by autism - We've signed up for the swim and the social skills snacktivities program and are so thankful we found SNACK - The staff are wonderful and so warm ! It's like finding an extended family !

Client Served

Rating: 5

SNACK has been a terrific resource for our family. Our 2 year-old daughter attends a play session on Sundays and she loves it. The staff are wonderfully attentive and I feel very comforted when she is in their care. SNACK has also provided us with sample classes in soccer and swimming. We fully intend to continue our relationship and highly recommend them.

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son, Sam, has been taking swim lessons with Snack for the past year and has made amazing progress. When he first started, he would mostly just stay in one place, bobbing in the water and engaging in self-stimulatory hand flapping and splashing. As of last week's lesson, he was able to swim laps across the width of the pool for 35 minutes straight! I am so proud of him and appreciative of the hard work and patience exhibited by Snack staff at each and every session.

Review from Guidestar

Client Served

Rating: 5

My son is on the autism spectrum and used to love to swim. In the past, being in the pool always had a positive effect on him so my husband and I were devastated when he went through a period where he refused to go in the pool. Luckily, we heard about SNACK's swim program and signed him up. We are thrilled to report that our son is back in the pool and progressing far beyond where he was, in a very short time. All of the instructors are patient, kind, and treat my son like any other child trying to learn a new skill. My son is having fun and we are enjoying watching him; it is one of the best days of the week for us! The positive feedback he is getting from the staff and from us is giving him a much needed confidence boost. We are so thankful to the staff at SNACK!!!