Proudly donning hooded sweatshirts of every kind and color, parents, students and administrators from across the East Islip community came together on November 10 for a night of fun with a very special purpose. The second annual Black Tie Hoodie Event, held at the Irish Coffee Pub in East Islip, will provide funding for the EJ Autism Foundation’s work in supporting Long Island special needs programs that work with children diagnosed with autism.
EJ Autism founder Bea Huste-Petersen explained that the Black Tie Hoodie Event’s fundraising focuses on older special education students at the high school. “It’s to let people know that they are out there working and trying their best,” she said. “They live in our community and are part of it.” Proceeds from the event will create an "office" for the school district's older special needs kids – complete with fax machine, scanner, copier, printer, mail slots, mail cart and file cabinets. “It will have all the components that would be found in a modern office,” said Huste-Petersen, “so that they can practice working with these machines in a setting that may one day lead to a job. Children with disabilities live their entire lives in the community they grow up in. We are preparing these children for a future, and concurrently, we are preparing East Islip as well.”