Jackie was inspired to create SNACK in 2003, when her son Joey, whose disabilities fall on the Autism spectrum, was turned away by a special needs program because “he wouldn’t fit in” due to his significant needs. She formulated a plan to establish a center where Joey and other children with special needs would be welcome, regardless of their language abilities, behavioral challenges or skill level. She envisioned a place where parents and children would feel comfortable socializing and learning life and recreation skills in a creative and safe environment. Jackie worked with a pediatric neurologist, a disability advocate and a behavioral specialist to create SNACK (Special Needs Activity Center for Kids). She spent three years funding, developing, implementing and growing the SNACK organization to today’s level. Jackie is actively involved in the Center’s administrative and programming decisions and is available on-site to meet with parents, caregivers, and outside therapists. In addition to her time developing SNACK, she is also Vice President of the Board of Directors for the Hawthorne Foundation, an agency that provides a continuum of care for individuals with developmental disabilities. An alumna of the Marymount School of New York, Jackie recently completed serving 9 years as President of the Alumnae Association and a member of the Board of Trustees. Jackie’s business experience includes 16 years in the textile industry supplying major retailers and manufactures. She had risen to the position of vice president, with responsibility for $75 million of annual sales, when Joey was diagnosed. Jackie holds a BA in Economics from Villanova University.
Jeanne has over twenty-five years experience as a sales, marketing and business development executive, and consulting positions to bring new companies to the marketplace. She has worked with small to large Fortune 500 companies as well as advocacy, community-based and non-profit organizations. Jeanne has a proven track record in strategic planning and development, building relationships with key decision makers, establishing strategic partnerships and raising funds to support SNACK’s organizational needs and growth. Since joining SNACK in 2006, she has been instrumental in helping to generate over $5 million dollars in fundraised revenue by developing and managing a variety of fundraising initiatives, enabling SNACK to maintain and expand its programs to significantly increase the number of families who have children with special needs it serves.
Director of Operations
Liz oversees daily activities, scheduling and staff management, and assists the children in social skill development as well as oversees various organization administrative responsibilities on a daily basis. In addition to her duties at SNACK, she has worked for over twenty years in the field of developmental disabilities, nine of
which were working as the Behavioral Specialist Trainer under the direct supervision of a PhD Behavioral Psychologist. Liz holds a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from Hunter College.
ABA, BCBA - Lead ABA Consultant
Clare supports Jackie and guides the SNACK programs. She holds a Bachelors of Science in Psychology from SUNY Cortland; a MSEd degree from Hunter College; and she is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Before joining snack*, Clare taught for several years at the Martin Barell School in Levittown, Long Island, and spent a number of years doing home consultations for children with special needs. Clare is also currently an ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) supervisor for a New York City based agency.
Program Director/ Facility Manager
Katie assists with programming throughout the weekhandling setting up trial classes, enrollment and scheduling as well as overseeing day-to- day facility operations at SNACK. She ensures that the environment for the staff and kids is safe, clean, and comfortable. Katie has beeninvolved in the special needs community her entire life, as her autistic brother is a frequent competitor in the Special Olympics. Katie has a degree in Musical Theatre from The American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City.
Gray is a Board Certified Music Therapist with a Bachelors degree in Music Therapy from Temple University. Before he started at SNACK, Gray worked to bring music to a wide range of populations such as adult psychiatric and rehabilitation care, geriatric inpatients, and children with developmental delays. Gray now fills a number of roles at SNACK including leading music classes, teaching swimming, and assisting with programming, setting up trial classes, enrollment and scheduling throughout the week.
Program Director, Snack 21+
Ricardo has a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and is currently seeking his Master's in Child Psychology. He is currently working as an educational assistant (Paraprofessional) for the Department of Education. He has been working with children for over 8 years, and has been working with children on the spectrum for over 4 years. He is snack*s lead Program Supervisor overseeing all land activities including SNACKtivities, Soccer, Sports, Musical Theater, Teen Fitness & Teen Night.
Program Supervisor, Snack 21+
Janet is a special needs art specialist/swim instructor with a Bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and is currently enrolled in the Master’s Degree in Art Education at Queens College. Before starting SNACK, Janet had worked with the special need’s population at St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital located in Bayside, NY for over 8 1⁄2 years in a number of roles in the inpatient long-term care setting (ages 0-27), Medical Day Healthcare program (ages 6-30), and St. Mary’s Preschool/Early education setting (ages 3-5). Janet has experience in developing and creating art programs for both therapeutic and educational settings. At St. Mary’s she assisted in the aquatic therapy program and was a swim instructor for Angelfish Therapy. Janet currently has multiple roles at SNACK including instructing art classes for 21+ program and snacktivities, teaching swimming, and supervising the SNACK 21+ program.