Port holds first Special Needs Walk

Port holds first Special Needs Walk

Although the skies were threatening rain during the Special Needs Walk along the Hempstead Harbor Shoreline Trail on Saturday, attendance did not suffer, officials said.  

“We were so pleased with the participation of the various special needs communities who attended,” said Lisa Grossman, director of development for Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington. “Its flat terrain makes it perfect for people of any age or most any physical ability to take a leisurely stroll through the woods with frequent views of Roslyn Harbor. We were also so happy that residents of the Helen Keller National Center were able to join us.”

The event, organized by Residents for a More Beautiful Port Washington and Spectrum Designs, an apparel shop in Port Washington, was held on May 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is to occur annually.  

Officials said the event was to raise awareness for adults and children of all ages with special needs and to increase awareness and use of the Shoreline Trail, which opened in May 2015.  

The Shoreline Trail is a 1.25-mile trail that begins at the southern entrance to North Hempstead Beach Park. 

A gazebo near the boat ramp and boathouses marks the trail head. 

The participants and their friends, family members and caregivers walked all or part of the trail, participated in yoga stretches, did a sensory art project and enjoyed free drinks and snacks, courtesy of Spectrum Designs. 

“When Lisa called to suggest this event to team up on, I thought it was a brilliant idea,” said Stella Spanakos, director of development for Spectrum Designs and Nicholas Center. “Spectrum and Nicholas Center are always looking for new experiences for our teens and young adults. This was a wonderful way to explore nature.”

Aside from engaging special needs communities and generating awareness of the trail, the event created another activity for a separate special needs group, Grossman said. 

“Before the event, we reached out to AHRC Nassau to request help in cleaning the trail of debris beforehand,” Grossman added. “They enjoyed it so much that they are doing cleanups on the trail on a regular basis.” For information about Residents For a More Beautiful Port Washington, visit presidents.org or call 767-9151. 

For information about Spectrum Designs or Nicholas Center, visit spectrumdesigns.org or nicholascenterusa.org, or call 767-7187 or 767-7177.

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