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Anderson Center for Autism Presents First-Ever “Act Differently Award” to Vinnie Carozza

Date September 28, 2023

The executive leadership teams of Anderson Center for Autism and Anderson Foundation for Autism announced today that local resident Vinnie Carozza has been named the first-ever recipient of the organization’s “ACT Differently” honor.

The award was presented to Carozza at a team appreciation event at The Grandview in Poughkeepsie in late September.

Eliza Bozenski, Chief Development officer of Anderson Foundation for Autism, presented the award and remarked: “The ACT Differently award is for an individual who stands out from the crowd, personally embodying the incredibly impactful purpose behind Think Differently, an idea we are all familiar with. Dutchess County, the birthplace of Think Differently, has positively impacted our community and so many others as the message spreads far and wide, helping us all to realize the importance of thinking differently about people in our home communities, and how we can be inclusive and make the small changes that make big differences. The ACT Differently award is given by Anderson Foundation for Autism in recognition of people who choose to make those changes both in thought and in action.”

Bozenski then introduced Vinnie Carozza as the 2023 winner to several hundred guests of the event, which included a few of Carozza’s family members.

Said Patrick Paul, CEO/Executive Director of Anderson Center for Autism, “Among other examples of his spirit of generosity, Vinnie hosted a fundraiser at Locust Grove Brewing Company in 2022, where he raised $5,000 to support Anderson team members, and then a second event in 2023 where he raised over $1300. As impressive as his fundraising success was his desire to have that money used to enrich life for Anderson team members through gift certificates and high-end awards for them. He also gifted us a painted photo of Spruces Business Center which is located on our Staatsburg campus, along with autism/puzzle piece art. He is really doing his part to support individuals with autism, and is very deserving of the recognition. We are proud to have him as part of our circle of support at Anderson.”

Anderson Center for Autism, originally established nearly a century ago in 1924, today provides educational, vocational, and residential services for people with autism. Its award-winning programs are rooted in the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and evidence-based practices, drawing students and residents from all over the United States to experience its school and residential offerings.

In addition, Anderson Center International (ACI) has for many years hosted scholars from countries throughout the world for a 12-18 month training program at Anderson’s Staatsburg campus; during that period, scholars gain the education needed to improve schooling, workplace environments, and overall therapy and care for people with autism upon returning to their home countries. Today there are 26 students from 10 countries participating in ACI.

Another well-known aspect of the organization is Anderson Center Consulting and Training (ACCT), which ensures that individuals, leaders, municipalities, schools, businesses, and entire communities have the training needed to gain designation as being “Autism Supportive.” The agency also recently opened two Anderson Early Learning Academy locations, in Pine Plains and Latham, NY, and The Anderson Center Clinic in Latham.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 36 are now diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Vinnie Carozza commented, “I have autism myself and I like to do things for Anderson. I especially liked giving them the puzzle piece. This award means alot to me. I feel really good about it.”

Bozenski noted, “We are ever grateful to people like Vinnie Carozza who lead by example. His spirit of generosity has gone so far beyond his fundraising – Vinnie also ensured that Anderson team members enjoyed raffles and prizes that were purchased with the proceeds of his events; he wanted to use the money to make them feel appreciated, which is so kind. And Vinnie has also inspired us with the gifts of his art and his infectious desire to make a difference. It was a privilege to recognize him with this award, and we hope it inspires others to likewise help us optimize the quality of life for individuals with autism.”

For more information about Anderson Center for Autism, visit andersoncenterforautism.org.
Learn more about Anderson Foundation for Autism at andersoncenterforautism.org/giving/.

About Anderson Center for Autism
Our mission at Anderson Center for Autism is to optimize the quality of life for individuals with autism.

About Anderson Foundation for Autism
Through grantmaking, fundraising, and marketing initiatives, Anderson Foundation for Autism helps support, sustain, and expand upon Anderson Center for Autism’s efforts to optimize the quality of life for individuals with autism.