Stella L. Spanakos, co-founder of The Nicholas Center and Spectrum Designs Foundation, was honored as a Nassau County Woman of Distinction 2021 on Tuesday, Nov. 9. The award recognizes individuals who are influential in their field and have created an inspiring vision for the future—consistently demonstrating the skills to be successful and encouraging strategic thinking, innovation and action. The event took place at Leonard’s Palazzo of Great Neck.
The Nicholas Center welcomes more than 120 participants each year on Long Island and Westchester to learn critical life skills, improve their social and communication abilities, gain meaningful vocational training, and engage in community projects, including feeding the homeless and beautifying the neighborhoods where they live and work. About 50 percent of these participants, with guided assistance from The Nicholas Center’s Direct Support Professionals, also enjoy part-time employment opportunities with Spectrum Designs Foundation’s enterprises—Spectrum Designs, Spectrum Bakes and Spectrum Suds.
The Nicholas Center was pleased to testify at an historic first-ever New York State Assembly hearing on Employment Opportunities for People with Disabilities. Spanakos and Senior Director Employment and Inclusion, Dave Thompson spoke of the organization’s decades-long revolutionary work in this field. The organization is proud to be a voice in the discussion about improving support, training, community partnerships and vocational training for a population facing 80 percent unemployment and under engagement once school-based services finish at age 21. Learn more about The Nicholas Center: www.tncnewyork.org.
—Submitted by Spectrum Designs