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ADAPT Celebrates Women of the Organization with Tea Party 

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On Friday, March 22nd, 2024, during Women’s History Month, Brooklyn Day Programs 1 and 3 held their first High Society Tea Party to honor a selection of panelists who exemplify what it means to be a woman working for or supported by ADAPT Community Network. 

According to the New York City Comptroller, 89% of care workers in New York City (including home health aides, family and individual service workers, Direct Support Professionals, etc.) are women. As an organization that is part of an industry predominantly upheld by women, ADAPT would like to recognize the tremendous impact that women have in the world of intellectual and developmental disabilities services. We aim to not only uplift the women in our staff and the women we support this March, but to support them throughout their lives and careers. 

The celebration was part of the Brooklyn Day Hab 1 and 3’s monthly events, each organized by a different Habilitation Specialist at the program. This month, the Hab Spec was Kassandra Baptiste, who arranged an impressive celebration with a tea and coffee cart as well as all the fixings of a classic High Tea—sandwiches, mini desserts, and more.  

The entire room was adorned with pastel and floral-themed decorations, and all staff and people supported from the Lawrence Avenue Adult Learning Center were invited to attend. At the front of the room, the panelists sat at a long table. To begin the event, Master of Ceremonies Alicia Angevine introduced Kassandra and the honorees. 

Each of the panelists was introduced by Alicia, then approached the podium to make a short speech discussing their professional development and career growth. From directors to self-advocates, art specialists to habilitation assistants, each took the spotlight to share their inspiring journey to success. The honorees particularly spoke about how they navigated their professional careers as women in the I/DD field.  

Congratulations to all the honorees from our staff and people supported. Two of the honorees, Kimberly Kerr and Storm Burke, are Community Specialists, and teach the individuals we support self-advocacy and artistic skills respectively. During the panel, Storm spoke about how her journey as a transgender woman informed how she approaches her career and community. Nijmah Othman, who has been supported by ADAPT for 25 years, spends her days volunteering and being an advocate for those around her.  

Alicia Holness and Stephanie White both work at Brooklyn Day Hab 1 and 3, Alicia as the Director (who worked her way up from a Case Manager over 12 years) and Stephanie as a Habilitation Assistant. Stephanie, whose son is on the autism spectrum, says her work with ADAPT has helped her prepare to be a mother to a child with disabilities.  

Alicia Angevine, Director of Recreation Services at ADAPT, is well-known for her role as host of the Wake Up ADAPT! radio show. She is of Trinidadian and Panamanian descent and identifies as a lesbian woman of color, and takes pride in her sexual orientation, culture, and heritage. Rivka Wiener, ADAPT’s Brooklyn School Age Program Director, began her career at ADAPT as a school psychologist and was recommended for the Training Collaborative, a leadership program for ADAPT staff. After going back to school to receive her second master’s degree, Rivka was promoted to Assistant Director, then Director. 

Rivka said she “loves working at ADAPT for the way they treat their employees! We are each treated with respect and dignity and know that the agency has our best interests at heart. ADAPT builds their employees up instead of tearing them down and works to encourage staff to improve their skills and move into new positions.” 

In addition to the speeches, students from the School-Age Program visited to present their Women’s History Month fashion show. The girls from the program marched through the multipurpose room to cheers and applause, showing off their springtime outfits.  

“This event was important because it gave me the opportunity to highlight some very important women throughout the agency whose work ethics and background stories are vital and contribute to the identity of the agency,” Kassandra said. “The agency has a melting pot of wonderful women who work here. I am hopeful that the tea party held at Lawrence Ave will be a staple for the month of March and be another contributing factor to ADAPT’S rich culture.” 



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