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Daniel Dern, an Assistant Manager in our Human Resources Dept., has run nine marathons and provides some wisdom for members and perspective members of our Run for YAI team preparing for this year’s ING New York City Marathon. If you're interested in running in this year's marathon, you still have time! Join our Run for YAI team today.

  • Think of a marathon as three races … two 10-milers and a 6.2 mile race. It's overwhelming to think of the whole 26.2 mile course. This way you have milestones, and you can say to yourself at 10 miles "OK, the first race is over." And then again after 20 miles. Then your last race of 6.2 miles is psychologically shorter. Just don't forget to pace yourself throughout the three races.
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  • When I was 19 I ran the Long Island Marathon in 2 hours and 46 minutes, finishing in 21st place. It was first my marathon and I didn’t have a clue on how to attack the distance. I ran with no watch and didn't even pay attention to splits. I ran on all guts. I collapsed at the finish and was carried away.
  • Training is like a bell curve. Steadily build on your long runs. Follow a bell curve with mileage. Remember that rest is important, especially during those last few weeks of training.
  • To be successful in a marathon, you have to become obsessed with it. Everything revolves around the training -- when to eat, when to run, when to rest. It's always in the back of your mind.

  • The toughest part of any marathon comes between miles 16 and 22. In each of the marathons I've run, around the 22-mile mark I've said to myself, "Even if I have to crawl in, I'm finishing this thing."
  • Get ready to do nothing but change in and out of your running clothes. Buy plenty of laundry detergent.

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As the social media intern, I am always wanting to explore what YAI has to offer. After all, how can you write and advocate for programs and people if you don't have exposure to them yourself? 

Recently, I had the opportunity to sit in on YAI’s Manhattan Day Services program at 34th Street.

The program embodies YAI's mission of seeing beyond disability in every way. Every day, Monday through Friday, the program's participants visit volunteer sites throughout New York's five boroughs. One day they're packaging food to alleviate hunger through God's Love charity; the next they're walking dogs around Brooklyn through BARC, a homeless shelter for cats and dogs in Brooklyn.

The group that I was able to tag along with went to the Anti-Violence Project (AVP), a nonprofit organization, a few blocks away, whose mission is to teach safe-sex practices and prevent violence against the LGBT community.
Group members labeled folders used to file cases and folded pamphlets on anti-violence.

“Look at all I've done. Look at how much we've done,” said Kate, one of the participants, filled with pride as she looked at a pile of neatly folded pamphlets.

Seeing the guys accomplish their tasks with such determination and such concern over whether they were doing the job right was really inspiring.

“It's all about finding tasks that fit all different skill levels,” said Nicole Kapadia, staff member. “Sometimes you have to get creative, but what is great about this site in particular is there are many tasks that fit all different levels.”

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Tags: Day Services

Some days it seems the only predictable thing about it is the unpredictability. The only consistent attribute—the inconsistency. Autism can be baffling, even to those who spend their lives around it. The child who lives with autism may look “normal” but his behavior can be perplexing and downright difficult.

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Autism was once labeled an “incurable disorder,” but that notion has crumbled in the face knowledge and understanding that increase even as you read this. Every day, individuals with autism show us that they can overcome, compensate for and otherwise manage many of autism’s most challenging characteristics. Equipping those around our children with simple understanding of autism’s basic elements has a tremendous impact on their ability to journey towards productive, independent adulthood.

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Tags: Autism; Childhood; Family Support

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