Thank you for a great Casino Night 2015

Thank you!


On behalf of the Durand Foundation Board, Durand students, their families and the young men and women in our residential and adult day programs, we want to express our appreciation for your generosity in support of our 9th Annual Casino Night.

 As you know, the goal of Casino Night is to raise funds for our multi-service agency programs that benefit individuals with special needs. 

We are extremely grateful for every donation we received. 

Thank you to all who attended, donated baskets and volunteered their time and effort in making this a great night! We even had a couple of members of the “Rat Pack” join us for a surprise performance. Many thanks to Geno Monroe (Sammy Davis, Jr.) and Robert Cabella (Dean Martin) for giving us all “A Touch of Vegas” with their surprise performances and tributes!

Take a look at Casino Night’s pictures on Facebook

Thank you to our sponsors for making our Gourmet Runway event a success!

Adler’s Pharmacy,

The Ravitz Family Foundation,

JB Autism ,


Bellia Office Furniture,

Obermayer, Rebmann, Maxwell et al Law Firm,

Law Offices of Cahill, Wilinski, Rhodes & Joyce,

Brett DiNovi,

 Capehart & Sachard,

TD Bank,

Durand Thrift Store,

EFK Group,

Foy Public Affairs,

Casino Night 2014, October 17th

casino_night_invite_2014The Foundation runs various fundraising activities throughout the year for its benefactors, including an annual Casino Night, which included celebrity guests like Dave Schultz, two-time Stanley Cup winner with the Philadelphia Flyers and 2009 Flyers Hall of Fame inductee.


The Foundation has also held celebrity events with Andrew Firestone, of Firestone Vineyards and “The Bachelor” fame and a book-signing of The Big Moo, by Donna Sturgess, VP of Innovations at GlaxoSmithKline. Participants have found these events not only stimulating, but are gratified by substantially benefiting those in need.

slideshow-3We are thrilled to announce that the next Casino Night will be help on October 17th.  This year’s event is already promising to be bigger and better than last year’s event.

Positive new developments for Durand’s Thrift Store

Durand Thrift Store has secured 2 large donations from Just4Kids seasonal consignment sale; donations included children’s clothing/shoes, toys, baby equipment, games and sporting equipment.

Just4Kids continues to partner with Durand Thrift and donates all unsold items from their seasonal sale four times a year.

Also, our individuals have taken a more active vocational role in the day to day operation of the Thrift store. Individuals are now involved with the pricing of items, completing the monthly sales calendar and assisting with window designing.

We have received positive feedback on the speed and efficiency of pick-ups of household items to be delivered to the Thrift Store.

Announcements from the Durand Academy

  • Dr. Ryan will be working on a research project with Drs. Ying Tang and Ragiani Muraleedharan Sreekumaridevi of the Engineering Department and Dr. Jay Kuder chair of the special education program at Rowan University.  The project involves reaction times and the creation of a therapeutic video game and will be piloted with Durand students.
  • Ms. Megan Otto, BA will be teaching Ms. Hughes former class in July 2013.
  • Ms. Lauren Scola, BA has been hired to teach the lower elementary class.

Two Prestigious Additions to Durand’s Board of Directors

We are pleased to announce that Eleanor Kubacki, founder and CEO, of EFK Group has joined the Durand Foundation Board and Dr. Jacqueline M. Kaari, Acting Chair and Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at UMDNJ, School of Osteopathic has joined our Durand Academy and Community Services Board.

Profossional highlights of Eleanor Kubacki include:

  • EFK’s ranking as the 18th fastest growing, privately held firm in the region.
  • Successful rebranding of Kean University, Lourdes Health Systems, The Atlantic Club Casino, Mercy Health System, Rider University and Rita’s Italian Ice.
  • Raised nearly $2.5 million for the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia and has served on the New Jersey Governor’s Conference on Women Board.
  • Named “40 under 40” by NJBIZ magazine.

Professional highlights of Dr. Jacqueline M. Kaari, D.O., FACOP, FAAP include:

  • Noted as “ Top Doc” in South Jersey Magazine within 7 years.
  • Chair of the Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine for the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners National Faculty.
  • Editorial Board, American College of Osteopathic Pediatricians, Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.
  • Several insightful contributions to various publications.

We welcome both members to the Durand Foundation Board and Durand Academy & Community Services Board. We appreciate their willingness to serve.

Raymond Cristofoletti
Executive Director

Dr. Tom Ryan, Principal at the Durand Academy, encourages his students to turn on their iPods and iPads every day during class.

By Carly Q. Romalino/Gloucester County Times Gloucester County Times
Read this story on

Dr. Tom Ryan, principal at the Durand Academy in Woodbury, encourages his students to turn on their iPods and iPads every day during class.

The handheld mini-computers that would distract other mainstream kids do the opposite for Ryan’s students with autism, who need the devices to give them a voice and open them up to the concept of choice.

The iPods and iPads aren’t the first devices on the scene to offer interactive programs that allows people with limited verbal abilities to communicate. The Dynovox has been used for years, and works similarly to the Apple devices, but for each $10,000 Dynovox, a school can buy more than a dozen iPads, which cost only a few hundred dollars.

The functions of both devices remain similar. In addition to educational games that can be inexpensively and easily added to the iPods and iPads, communication software allows students to type in what they want to say, but are unable to speak, according to autism class teacher Samantha Panagiotopoulo.

Her students – a half dozen 10- to 13-year-olds with Autism – have limited verbal communication ability. Making a choice between two items, as easy as deciding between cookies and crackers for snack time, was impossible. The pre-teen students would just repeat the last thing she said instead of telling her what they really wanted to eat.

Now when Panagiotopoulo asks her students if they want cheese puffs or potato chips for lunch, students like 10-year-old Kianna Parker can run back to her desk, point to the icon for “I want” and pair it with the photo for cheese puffs, and the iPad will read the sentence aloud. “I want cheese puffs,” the iPad will tell the teacher on Kianna’s behalf.

“They can communicate something they couldn’t (communicate) before,” said Panagiotopoulo, who said she has noticed a decrease in her students’ frustration levels since the Durand Academy introduced the Apple technology that also goes home with them.

While teachers of the school’s two autism classes have noticed improvements in communication since the iPads and iPods were introduced, Ryan said there is not yet research on the books to certify the devices have an impact. But parents, too, have noticed an improvement, he said.

“There is little imperical evidence that these things work. It’s purely anecdotal,” he said.

The lack of research, combined with Durand’s observations of success, has prompted the school to partner with software developers of iCommunicate, an assistive software for people who require visual aids, according to Ryan.

Helping Those with Autism Lead Happier Lives