Community News

Life’s WORC Holds Ribbon Cutting for New Islandia Day Habilitation Center

On Friday, September 17th, 2021, Life’s WORC (, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and autism through its residential, community and trust services, held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the opening of its new Day Habilitation Center in Islandia, New York. In attendance were some local dignitaries, Life’s WORC Board Members and staff. A highlight of the event was the presentation of a proclamation by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone to Life’s WORC founder Victoria SchnepsYunis, which proclaimed Friday, September 17th as Victoria SchnepsYuris Day in recognition of her major contributions on behalf of individuals with disabilities.Suffolk County Executive Bellone also presented a citation to Life’s WORC CEO Janet Koch, acknowledging the organization’s 50th anniversary milestone and its many achievements over the past five decades.  Also on hand for the ribbon cutting ceremony were New York State Senator Alexis Weik and Janelle Dunbar, Communications and Community Relations Director representing New York State Assemblymember Phil Ramos.

Life’s WORC CEO welcomed those in attendance noting that the Islandia Day Habilitation center is certified to serve over 75 men and women with developmental disabilities and autism. She stated, “The Life’s WORC Day Habilitation program is designed to help build and develop important skills that will set the stage for a more independent adulthood. The program will provide enriching activities, socialization and skill-building opportunities for teens and adults with intellectual disabilities with varying levels of support needs. These individuals will participate as members of the Islandia community. They will be good neighbors and I ask you to treat them with the same courtesies that this community affords its other inhabitants.”

In addition to SchnepsYunis and Koch, representing Life’s WORC were Board Chair Lynne Koufakis and Board Members Vanessa Rogan, Anthony Taormina, David Feldman and Christopher Murray. Life’s WORC’s Assistant Executive Director John Pfeifer; Senior Director, Quality Assurance and Compliance Lynette Garcia; Community Services Director Nicky Faranda, and Director of Day Services Christina Abbinanti were also in attendance.

More About Life’s WORC

Life’s WORC was founded 50 years ago after the closing of Willowbrook State School back in the early 1970s. As a young reporter, Geraldo Rivera exposed the deplorable conditions that existed within the then largest institution in the nation serving children with developmental disabilities. Rivera first learned about these conditions from Life’s WORC founder Victoria SchnepsYunis. Her daughter, Lara, diagnosed at an early age with severe brain damage, was a resident at Willowbrook. When cuts in state funding caused the institution to fall into extensive disrepair, Schneps-Yunis, along with other concerned individuals, picketed to fight for the rights of Willowbrook’s more than 5,000 residents. Rivera’s report, which earned him a Peabody Award, ultimately forced the closing of Willowbrook. SchnepsYunis started Life’s WORC and opened its first home in Little Neck, Queens. Its first residents were former Willowbrookresidents.  Today, Life’s WORC provides beautiful homes located across the region, from Nassau and Suffolk to Queens and Manhattan, in addition to community services, financial and trust services, and the programs and services of its Family Center for Autism.

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