PRESS RELEASE — WATERTOWN, MASS., September 30th, 2019
Nearly 200 people, including children, young adults and adults with special needs, gathered at the Hellenic Cultural Center on Saturday, September 21st for a “Red Carpet Celebrity Night”. It was a beautiful event where everyone was happy, showing its best gala, performance, and attributes — with a serious purpose.
The Hollywood-celebrity-themed event, dubbed the “Red Carpet” Special Needs Dance, featured a DJ, disco dancing, raffles, prizes, and, most importantly, the unprecedented Red Carpet Walk where each guess was a “star”, winner of a byond22 “Oscar” presented by the vibrant, amazing Master of Ceremonies, Denise Isaac, Meteorologist, from NBC10 Boston. The event also marked the official launch of byond22 as an IRS approved 501(c)(3) Massachusetts nonprofit aimed at helping young people with special needs transition to happy, productive adult lives.
Participants included children and adults with special needs and multiple challenges (blindness, deafblindness, autism, and Down syndrome), their parents, caregivers, teachers, and therapists, from special needs schools such as the Perkins School for the Blind, group homes like WCI (Work, Communities, Independence), Beaverbrook Step, and Jewish Family for Children Services; Educational Center for Children with Autism such as ABATEC (Applied Behavior Analysis Training, Education and Consultation), as well as an interpreter for the deaf and hard of hearing, Ms. Christine Dwyer. Members of the local community and byond22 board members and advisory committee.
This event could have not been possible without the help of our Watertown Community sponsors, we are so grateful to Russo’s, CVS, Stop & Shop, BJs, Lexus. And some supporters from the Boston Greater Area: Bella Chez Salon and Staples Studio (Brighton), Christmas Tree Shop (Natick), Charles River Country Club (Newton), Costco (Waltham), Kendra Keenan and AJG (Boston).
“Last night was more amazing than what I could have ever imagined. Thank you SO MUCH for what you do and who you are. Look what you just did for all of us, people and families with children and young adults with special needs. You gave me a reason to enjoy a very special, elegant night with my son and with other families that are just like me. I felt comfortable, happy! My son was smiling, dancing, enjoying himself, he felt celebrated. I cannot thank you enough, I will always support byond22”. – said one of the parents who attended the event.“As the parent of a deafblind child, I understand firsthand the challenges that special needs youth and their families face during the transition to adulthood,” says Brandao. I also know that our kids need to have fun, be celebrated, be dressed up for an event. Moreover, whether we want to admit it or not, it can be stressful to take our kids to special events such as weddings, ‘Quinceañeras’, etc. because sometimes people don’t understand their behavior when they are not having a good day. The Red Carpet Dance was a night for our kids to shine. That was a “no judgement zone” our guests could make their “unique” noses, get upset, sit on the floor, have a tantrum and it was JUST FINE!” “I’m so excited about the world of possibilities we’re opening up for young people through our organization.”