Open Invitation to Attend Brendan House Blessing

This vacant farmhouse could soon be remade into a group home for non-elderly adults in need of long-term medical care.

This vacant farmhouse could soon be remade into a group home for non-elderly adults in need of long-term medical care.

• Story by Barbara LaMonica

Mark your calendars for next Wednesday, August 31 for an open invitation to the community as Reverend Vanessa Vaz leads in the blessing of Brendan House. The event will take place at 4079 Sound Avenue in Riverhead, one-half mile west of Briermere Farms. Guests will be treated to complimentary wine, cheese, live music from the showmobile and raffle prizes.
Allyson Scerri, Founder, CEO and President of New Beginnings Center for Brain Injury, speaks with pride as she explains Brendan House is a shared living facility for brain injury survivors. The facility was named after Brendan Aykroyd, a 25-year-old who suffered a brain injury from an assault in 2009. Brendan came to New Beginnings for care when the center first opened. Soon after moving into his house on Sound Avenue, he suffered a fatal seizure. After Brendon’s passing, the house was donated to Scerri and New Beginnings. “The blessing will also be an opportunity for people to learn more about our programs,” Scerri said.
It has been a five-year, community-wide venture of redesigning, reconstructing and restoring the house that will eventually become home to from 10 to 12 long-term resident brain injury survivors. The facility will be staffed with health care professionals from All Metro Health. The mix of very high-functioning survivors and lower-functioning survivors of brain injury will receive 24 hour, one-on-one around the clock care for some, while others will require lighter supervision.
“This is an absolutely beautiful house and during the reconstruction, we’ve managed to keep the original vintage look,” Scerri explained. As work continues on the structure, another $35,000 remains to be raised to bring the one-half million dollar project to completion. The house has been redesigned complete with ADA (Americans with Disabilities) specifications. An elevator has been built into the home, and significant reconstruction has been completed after half of the structure was demolished and rebuilt to suit the specialized needs of its future residents. “This has been truly a community effort that includes Riverhead Rotary and Riverhead Lions Clubs and the Town of Riverhead as a whole,” Scerri noted.
“We’re also working with Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent DeMarco’s Labor Assistance Program where 20 inmates come in to do painting and light construction and other projects on the house,” Scerri added. “As a group, we feed the inmates very well, and they look forward to these meals which are also another expense.” Scerri said she welcomes gift cards or lunches to be donated by local restaurants to help underwrite the effort to provide meals for the workers.
There are a few other big-ticket items that need to be addressed as the project comes to a close in preparation for opening to residents. The driveway is estimated to cost $10,000 and another $23,000 is needed to bring water from the street into the house. “We still have to raise money for these and some other odds and ends,” Scerri said, “and we are so thankful to so many people and organizations and groups who are helping to make this possible.”
To donate raffle prizes, gift baskets and monetary contributions of any denomination for Brendan House, donors are invited to log on to www.nbli.org or email Allyson Scerri direct at ascerri@nbli.org for more information on the blessing or further details on donations.
Scerri also invites those interested to mark their calendars for November 7 when New Beginnings will celebrate its 8th Annual Gala at Georgio’s in Baiting Hollow. The $150 per ticket cost will include a Mardi Gras-themed extravaganza that will include dinner, raffle prizes, entertainment and much more. Tickets may be purchased and vendors interested in promoting their businesses may also inquire on the web site at www.nbli.org.

Filed in: Community Events, News, Uncategorized

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