For Board of Directors Treasurer Ron Aghassi, his involvement with Life’s WORC and the Family Center for Autism is truly a family affair, thanks to his son Jacob. “Nearly 10 years ago when Jacob was in middle school, his mom came across a Newsday article about plans for the opening of the FCA,” Ron explains. They immediately reached out and were among the first members at the center, but their connection grew quickly. “I knew they were looking for board members, and being a CPA, I felt like I could help. I interviewed for the board and was offered a position,” he continues. “I got involved with Life’s WORC and the Family Center for my son, but I wanted to devote my personal time too.”
Ron knows just how hard the staff at the FCA works and the level of care they offer participants, because he has seen it firsthand with Jacob. “Any parent of a child with a disability knows it is extremely tough,” he says. “Jacob started classes at the FCA and we saw how well he was doing, and that he was able to grow as a person. He looked forward to going.”
Now that Jacob is a young adult, he is transitioning into a new phase of his life, which still includes Life’s WORC. Due to a variety of circumstances, Jacob became eligible for housing in a group home this year, and he will soon be moving into one of our newer residences for adults with autism. “For a short time Jacob and I were not in a good place, and I was his caregiver 24/7,” Ron continues. “Life’s WORC is essentially my family, and now Jacob will be taken care of by family that I can rely on for his care, at a level I can’t provide alone. I am looking forward to the staff working with him and helping him so I can enjoy being his dad again.”
Ron plans to stop by a few nights a week after work to have dinner with Jacob and get to know his new roommates, and he looks forward to planning quality father-son time together. “Jacob is really looking forward to moving into his new home and meeting new friends,” he adds. “He loves to be around people and participate in activities. There will be continued growth and a transition for both of us now as he goes from a young man to an adult.”
As for Ron, he plans to continue his role with Life’s WORC as well, and is proud to be celebrating its 50thAnniversary while simultaneously planning for the future. “This is a landmark accomplishment,” he says of the anniversary. “If you look back at the history with Vicki [Victoria Schneps-Yunis/founder] and her daughter, we have come full circle and are on our way to 50 homes where developmentally disabled people don’t just live but are truly taken care of. This is a tremendous accomplishment for everyone who works here. It’s incredibly difficult to be a caregiver, and the people who do this are angels to me.”
As Board Treasurer and a parent, Ron recognizes the importance of planning for the future for a child with special needs throughout all life phases. He is actively working with Life’s WORC Trust Services, in addition to his work with Life’s WORC and the FCA, to help expand its reach, truly rounding out his role with the agency.
We would like to thank Ron and Jacob for their contributions to Life’s WORC and the Family Center for Autism, and for allowing us to become a part of their family. We look forward to the future together.
In honor of the 50th Anniversary of Life’s WORC, we will be sharing the stories, people and events that have made Life’s WORC the organization it is today, along with our goals and vision for the future. Thank you for celebrating with us!