Cardoza Family, Cecilia Barry, Principal of ACDS
and Michael Smith, Executive Director of ACDS
Plainview, New York -- Raymond and Linda Cardoza were surprised when their son Raymond Eugene Cardoza III was born 15 years ago with Down syndrome. They knew nothing about the disability and wherever they turned for advice, whether it was the hospital social worker, family or friends, each path ultimately led them towards ACDS, which provides lifetime resources for individuals with Down syndrome, autism and other developmental disabilities and their families.
From the time Raymond III was eight weeks old until he was five, he benefited from the expertise of ACDS’ therapists and teachers who shaped his formative years. Today, he still participates in ACDS’ after-school and teen programs.
“There is a special spot in my heart for ACDS, for what they did for my son and my family,” said Ray Cardoza.
That gratitude led the Cardozas to have the desire to give back to the organization that had provided so much support to Raymond and his family. On April 27, 2012, ACDS held its grand opening/ribbon cutting ceremony of a renovated playground and small paved track that was made possible with a more than generous donation of nearly $40,000 donated by the Cardoza family-owned commercial plumbing business, as well as additional money he raised among his friends.
The playground includes a swing set, independent pieces for climbing and a paved track where children can ride bikes and practice their motor skills. The previous playground was designed for children over 5 years-old. “What was there wasn't suitable for those under 5 years old who are developmentally challenged. Some of the equipment was too high for them,” said Cardoza, who met with Vinnie Santo, Director of Development and Corporate Relations, to determine what was most needed at ACDS.
“I wanted to give more than money; something for the children to enjoy and admire. The playground is just that – a legacy,” said Cardoza.
The Cardoza family has already made an indelible mark on the organization. For the past 15 years, they have worked tirelessly to serve on the Dinner Dance committee where they, along with their friends, family, and business associates have rallied behind the organization, whether it be purchasing journal ads or searching for sponsorships and donations - the Cardozas and their supporters have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for ACDS. Cardoza was one of the original board members of ACDS and is currently a member of the Advisory board at ACDS. They were honored by the organization 2011 Dinner Dance.