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Port Washington’s Spectrum Designs welcomed New York Red Bulls players on Monday, as part of the organization’s Autism Acceptance initiatives leading up to Autism Awareness Month in April.
Spectrum Designs is a company that specializes in apparel, promotional products, and its own branded merchandise. The company also has two other arms, Spectrum Bakes which sells various cookies, bars, and other goodies, and Spectrum Suds, a boutique laundromat. Spectrum Enterprises, the non-profit arm of the company, creates meaningful and inclusive employment and vocational training opportunities in a neurodiverse world.
Red Bulls captain and Long Island native Sean Nealis, along with Red Bulls forward Tom Barlow and former Red Bulls defender Connor Lade, spent the day with the staff to kick off the Autism Acceptance initiatives. Nealis, who grew up in Massapequa, expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to collaborate with Spectrum Designs and raise awareness of the organization’s mission.
“We want to thank Spectrum Designs for having us out here,” said Nealis. “It’s a great thing they do here. More people should understand what they do here and the bigger picture and how they inspire people’s lives, and hopefully, we can continue to collaborate with them.”
Spectrum Enterprises is dedicated to creating meaningful and inclusive employment and vocational training opportunities for young adults on the Autism Spectrum. The employees are paid at least minimum wage, and every hour of work allows them to gain independence, make friends, improve self-confidence and earn a paycheck.
For Nealis, coming home to Long Island and helping the community was a special opportunity. He previously worked at a summer camp with kids with autism, which he described as a huge learning moment for him. The Red Bulls will also hold their annual Autism Acceptance Night game on Saturday, April 15th when the Red Bulls host Houston Dynamo FC at Red Bull Arena.
“It’s a very special event,” said Nealis. “It’s a huge inspiration to watch kids and adults being able to overcome all of this, and hopefully, we can provide a little more smile on their faces as much as they provide a smile on our faces.”
For more information on Spectrum Enterprises, please visit their website at https://www.spectrumenterprises.org/. Tickets for the Red Bulls Autism Acceptance Night on April 15 can be purchased at www.newyorkredbulls.com.
Photos courtesy of the New York Red Bulls