As the Club project for Rotary Day of Service, in a heartening display of community support, the Sunshine NY Rotary Club, through the District's 2023-24 District Matching Grant Program, has provided a significant boost to special needs children by donating six laptops aimed at aiding their developmental growth.

The laptops, funded by the Sunshine NY Rotary Club and supplemented through the District Matching Grant, were handed over to the Autism Society Habilitation Organization (ASHO), a 501(c)(3) non-profit agency dedicated to assisting individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. ASHO, known for its commitment to fostering a safe space for the South Asian and IDD/ASD population, has been tirelessly serving over 200 families across the state/city for the past few years.

Catering to children ranging from 7 to 15 years old, with some older due to developmental circumstances, ASHO identified a pressing need for laptops to facilitate learning and engagement within the IDD community. With insufficient resources hindering their progress, the provision of six laptops by the Sunshine Rotary Club is a significant stride toward addressing this gap.

"The laptops will play a crucial role in empowering these children with special needs, offering them better learning opportunities and facilitating their integration into society," remarked Bina Ahmad, Charter President of the Sunshine NY Rotary Club. Rubaiya Rahman, Executive Director of ASHO, reaffirmed, "This initiative aims to bridge the gap caused by the lack of adequate learning facilities, ensuring these children receive the support they need to thrive."

Under the project, which amounted to a total cost of $4319, the Sunshine NY Rotary Club generously covered half of the expenses, with the remaining funding secured through the District Matching Grant. ASHO meticulously managed the procurement process, ensuring the laptops met the specific needs of the children and would serve them effectively for years to come.

At the formal handover ceremony, on 11 May 2024, as a project for Rotary Day of Service, Sunshine NY Rotary Club was represented by its youngest member Nahian Ehtesham, and the Club's Community Service Director, Ashfaque Salim.  Nahian said she was happy to meet with the children and their families.  "They are very excited about this partnership", she said.  Highlighting the sustainability of the project, the laptops boast an average service life of at least five years, backed by a comprehensive three-year warranty. Furthermore, the laptops will remain with ASHO, allowing for their reassignment to other children in need as necessary.

Through this collaborative effort, the Sunshine NY Rotary Club and ASHO have reaffirmed their commitment to empowering special needs children, offering them the tools they need to thrive and succeed in their educational journey.