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Honoring Those Making a Difference

Honoring Those Making a Difference

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In the spirit of giving back, the Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group hosted appreciation dinners to honor support staff, families and friends impacted by autism. Honorees were nominated and selected for their commitment and dedication to raising awareness of autism spectrum disorder or for making a significant impact in the lives of individuals with autism, during the Spirits of the Holiday promotion.

Autism appreciation honorees:
Learn more about the honoree’s contributions by clicking on the links below.

Rick Freni – founder of the Little Ricky Foundation, an organization which supports Boston area schools by donating technology and other supplies for special education classrooms.

Heidi McGilvray – special education preschool teacher from Milford, MA, who advises other preschool programs in the school district on how to improve their special education programs.

Pa’al Josh – Special Olympics coach who lead his teams to championship as well as increasing awareness of the program in Northbrook & Glenview, IL.

Denise Hair – special education teacher at the Nexus School in Huntington Valley, PA, training to become a behavioral specialist. She devotes personal time to help support students & parents in situations that are high stress for the family.

Chris & Theresa Waddell – parents of two autistic children who built a foundation through their investment firm, The Waddell Group out of Vienna, VA, with a focus on helping families fund trusts for children with special needs.

Judi Greenspan – volunteer who coordinates outings for young adults in the Cleveland area with autism & other disabilities as well as founding a support group for parents of young adults with high-functioning forms of autism.

Smith & Wollensky Restaurant Group is a proud supporter of the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism. For more information on the foundation’s grants and programs, please visit