Local Couple Celebrates Their 60th Birthdays By Giving Back

Mark and Ilene Weiss from Congers, NY, turned 60 this year and wanted to give back. Ilene was a special education teacher for over 30 years. She knew of the good work Jawonio does to help those with special needs and wanted to support them in some special way. As she and her husband were preparing to celebrate this great milestone with a big party, they reached out to their loved ones. Here is what Ilene had to say:

“My husband and I did not want people to feel that they had to buy us something if they wanted to come to our birthday party. Thankfully, there is nothing that we need and can buy anything we may want. We have reached an age where we want to clean out, not have more stuff!

I grew up in Rockland, and worked with special needs children and their families for over 36 years. There was no discussion when we were choosing our charities; we both knew Jawonio would be one of them. We are truly blessed with our family and friends, but know that not everyone can say that. We are glad we can do something to help others.”

The gifts came pouring in. Many beautiful cards were sent with wonderful sentiments about Ilene and Mark and how happy they were to give back to Jawonio. All of the donations totaled $1,194.00!!

From the entire Jawonio organization, we would like to personally thank each person that gave to us in the Weiss’ honor.  We would like to acknowledge all of these generous people who are now part of the Jawonio family:

Marilyn Taragano, Rosalyn Mintz, Cecile & Marvin Benjamin, Pam & Mike Finley, Jill & Theodore Goodman, Rose & Bruce Pollack, Nancy Ciraldo, Donna Bartunek, Naomi & Michael Feinkind, Judy Warren & Eileen Casey, Judith Gitnick, Gail Goldstein, Randy & Glenn Ascher, Debbie Compito, Elaine & Howard Gosman, Doris & Stan Haas, Louise & Warren Kaufman, Robin & Bert Liberman, Trish & Jim McShane, Linda & Jeff Sontag, Karen Stazzone, Catherine Spinney, Beverly & Ira Asinofsky, Vera & Anthony Corato, Helen Sontag, Tracey Paladino-Sherding, Mary Wolchan, and Sherry Parker.

HBO Documentary: Miss You Can Do It

Jawonio Miss You Can Do It
Miss You Can Do It
is a non-profit pageant for girls and young women with special needs and challenges between the ages of 4-25. Founded by Abbey Curran, Miss Iowa 2008 and the first disabled woman to compete in the national Miss USA pageant in 2004, to show these girls and young women that they could accomplish great things as long as they tried.

The HBO documentary highlights the extraordinary work Curran is doing with the pageant she founded. Curran and a team of enthusiastic volunteers give participants a chance to be celebrated for all they are inside, not just defined by what the world sees on the outside.

The Miss You Can Do It experience begins with a brief interview with local and celebrity judges, followed by a pizza party and special appearances from Snow White and Cinderella. Later that day the contestants get to strut their stuff across the stage in casual wear, evening wear and finally they get to answer an onstage question.

The entire weekend is designed to have fun, to build confidence & self-esteem and an “I Can Do It” attitude. By the end of the weekend the girls leave the pageant feeling great about themselves, and their families are beaming with joy! It is a heartwarming and exciting occasion for the entire family and friends to be able to celebrate their loved ones.

For more information about the 2015 “Miss You Can Do It” Pageant click here.

Gardening Day of Caring at Altman House

Day of Care
Jawonio has been awarded a $1,393.00 grant by the Rockland Alliance for Health for a sustainable, adaptable garden project.

The funds will cover expenses of the purchase of wood, construction materials, soil and planting supplies for raised garden beds at Altman Court residence. The garden will consist of a variety of herbs and vegetables to be used by our consumers.

Annie Christian Reuter, Outreach Coordinator and Horticultural Educator at Cornell Cooperative Extension, and a few master gardeners participated in a “Day of Caring” yesterday, June 30, to help set up the garden.

Volunteers from the Orangetown Jewish Center also participated and helped set up the garden, and will continue to help maintain the garden as well.

This project is part of an ongoing effort to promote health and wellness throughout the Jawonio community. We thank the Rockland Alliance for Health for the grant and hope to do more projects like this in the future.

Jawonio Thrift Shop

Jawonio Shop
Below you will find general information and questions about the Jawonio Thrift Shop located in Yonkers, NY. For more information about the thrift shop please contact Esther White at 914-963-8666 ext. 311


The opening of the Jawonio Thrift Shop offers an opportunity for people with disabilities to develop job readiness skills in a retail environment while providing much needed clothing, shoes, handbags and house ware/giftware at very affordable prices to the Yonkers community.


The thrift shop provides social interaction with the community. Working in a business environment provides them with an opportunity to develop their customer service skills along with the following:

  • Merchandising
  • Stocking
  • Hanging Clothes
  • Pricing and tagging clothes
  • Greeting Customers
  • Bagging
  • Selling


Tuesday 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Thursday 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Friday 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM


303 N. Main St. Yonkers, NY 10701


Donations to the thrift have slowed down. The shop looks full, but it needs to be maintained with new merchandise all the time. We have several regulars that will buy product when there is something new.