RCS Learning Center Receives $100,000 Cummings Foundation Grant

Natick, MA., June 11, 2018 – Realizing Children’s Strengths (RCS) Learning Center in Natick, MA is the recipient of a $100,000 grant from the Woburn-based Cummings Foundation.  RCS is one of 100 local nonprofits selected from 597 applicants for the Cummings Foundation’s “$100k for 100” program.

RCS Learning Center will use the grant to support the hire of a new position and implementation of communication campaign efforts to build awareness and understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). “We are so honored and grateful to receive this generous grant from the Cummings Foundation,” said Denise Rizzo-Ranieri, M.S. Ed., RCS President and Co-founder. “There are key deficits including the lack of high quality ABA-based educational behavioral programs, communication and verbal behavioral supportive programs, vocational programs supporting transition into adulthood, and advocacy and support for the ASD community,” said Rizzo-Ranieri, who is also the Chief of Design and Innovation at RCS. “We look forward to implementing a comprehensive program to further address the needs for these deficits. This grant will be significant in helping us achieve success in filling these voids.”

Rizzo-Ranieri and RCS Development Manager Julie Falcucci joined approximately 300 other guests at a recent reception at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn to celebrate the grant recipients. With the conclusion of this grant cycle, Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $220 million to Greater Boston nonprofits alone. This year’s diverse group of grant recipients represents a wide variety of causes, including autism education and programs, homelessness prevention and affordable housing, violence prevention, and food insecurity. Most of the grants will be paid over two to five years.

The $100K for 100 program supports nonprofits that are based in and primarily serve Middlesex, Essex, and Suffolk counties. Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate Cummings Properties. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings of Winchester, the Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages 11 million square feet of space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

“We are indebted to the nonprofit organizations like Realizing Children’s Strengths that have a meaningful positive impact on the local communities where our colleagues and clients live and work,” said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation’s Executive Director. “We are delighted to invest in their important programs and services.”

The complete list of 100 grant is available at www.CummingsFoundation.org.

About Realizing Children’s Strengths (RCS) Learning Center
Realizing Children’s Strengths (RCS) Learning Center is a leading not-for-profit, chapter 766 approved private special educational school that provides the highest quality individualized behavioral and educational services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities.  For over a decade RCS Learning Center has exceeded the standards for teaching students with Autism through the use of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) treatment methodology with an emphasis on Verbal Behavioral Model for teaching communication and language skills.  Individualized curriculum, programming, and 1:1 support is tailored to meet the needs of each student that includes specialized vocational program for students 14 years and older.  Our highly respected leaders in the field of ABA conduct cutting edge research, present at national and local conferences and provide intensive training for individuals in the field of Behavioral Analysis and ABA. RCS Learning Center is based in Natick, MA and is a 501c3b non-profit. More information is available at www.rcslearning.org

About Cummings Foundation

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including New Horizons retirement communities in Marlborough and Woburn. Bill Cummings released his self-written memoir, “Starting Small and Making It Big: An Entrepreneur’s Journey to Billion-Dollar Philanthropist,” in March 2018. The book may be purchased at cummings.com/book.

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Channel 5 News – 5 for Good!

5 for Good

Students with autism help families as part of job training program

We were so excited to be featured on WCVB’s “5 for Good” segment on Channel 5 News!  The news piece highlighted our students and the work they do around the community as well as special interviews with one of our students and our Executive Managing Director, Christina King!  Watch the full segment below!

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Access Framingham – The Framingham Beat

Interview with RCS Learning Center
We are excited to be featured on Access Framingham, Framingham Beat show to showcase our amazing school!  Watch as Beat reporter Francesca Cerutti-Harris talks with Dr. Christina King, Executive Managing Director of RCS Learning Center about some of our innovative programs for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other developmental disabilities.

Watch the interview below!

 

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Boston Globe – Natick nonprofit tailors services to children’s individual needs

 

Natick nonprofit tailors services to children’s individual needs

 

Realizing Children’s Strengths Learning Center provides individualized behavioral and educational services for children with autism spectrum disorders and other developmental disabilities. The Natick-based nonprofit organization was founded in 2006 by chief executive officer Louis Ranieri and president Denise Rizzo-Ranieri, who is also chief of design and innovation. Rizzo-Ranieri had this to say:

Q. What services does the center provide?

A. We recognize that each child has individual needs, so we offer a spectrum of services to fill every gap from age 0 to 22. You can’t just say we’re putting you in this round hole and you have to fit.

Q. How have those services evolved?

A. When we opened our doors, we focused on ages 3 to 10 because we wanted time to build a vocational program for our kids to utilize the skills they work so hard to develop. We’re very proud of our Let’s Get to Work program, which supports students 14 and older in job training at the center and partner sites such as CVS and a local hotel management company. Our kids have great skills to offer, and we’d love to have more corporate partnerships in order to provide an array of experiences for them.

Q. Are any new services on the horizon?

A. We’re in the process of building a 5,000-square-foot expansion onto our current building, and part of the design is a vocational mall so students can get experience working at a restaurant, copy center, laundromat, and other businesses. This builds on the skills our younger students develop as volunteers who stock shelves and scan bar codes at a food pantry, help with Meals on Wheels, get snacks and lunches ready at a child care center, and as cashiers and landscapers at a golf course. Our goal is for students to not only go to work after graduation, but in their area of interest.

Q. How can the public help?

A. Donations are important so we can continue to expand our partnerships and increase staffing to offer the best services for our kids. The rate of autism continues to increase, and we’re doing our best to keep up with demand because with the right teaching, they make incredible gains. Every student deserves to reach their full potential, and no one should accept less.

Realizing Children’s Strengths Learning Center is located at 6 Strathmore Rd. in Natick. For more information, call 508-650-5940 or visit rcslearning.org.

Cindy Cantrell can be reached at cindycantrell20@gmail.com.

Link to interview on Boston Globe: Natick nonprofit tailors services to children’s individual needs

 

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RCS Learning Center Featured on WBZ New England Weekend

ABOUT THE EXHIBIT: The Natick Community-Senior Center is displaying art completed by students who attend Realizing Children’s Strengths (RCS) Learning Center in Natick. The exclusive art show will be exhibited from now until January 15.

Each piece of art includes an individual profile of a RCS Learning Center student, in the “Let’s Get to Work” vocational program, “who I am, what I like, what interests me.” Giving visitors to the Natick Community-Senor Center a peek into the lives of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) who attend RCS Learning Center, a school for students with ASD and other developmental disabilities. For many years the Natick Community-Senior Center has featured local artists, but this is the first time working with such a unique group, or any non-profit.

The Community-Senior Center and RCS Learning Center have a working relationship through the school’s vocational program. Older students in the RCS Learning Center program volunteer at the center and have assisted with Meals on Wheels. Vocational Director Jacqueline Adams, M.S., BCBA, LABA, said this is a wonderful opportunity for the students and RCS Learning Center to show their work in an art gallery-like setting, to share their stories with the public, for the public to learn about RCS, and to build awareness about its program.

ABOUT JORDAN RICH: Since his late teens, Jordan has been a fixture on Boston airwaves, beginning with his first job as weather reporter on WRKO in 1978. He soon was promoted to morning co-host, sharing the spotlight with the legendary Norm Nathan. He made his way to WLLH as a talk host and eventually became morning host on the adult contemporary radio station WSSH FM. Jordan greeted listeners daily for fifteen years on the 50,000 watt FM music station before moving to WBZ where he has remained since the mid 1990’s.

As host of the long running Jordan Rich Show, he developed a loyal nation-wide audience who enjoyed intelligent talk about art, culture, history, science, and the human experience. Jordan also interviewed many authors, musicians, actors, and other celebrities. Jordan can now be heard daily on WBZ’s Connoisseur Corner and New England Weekend.

Jordan Rich is a native of the Boston area whose career on Boston radio and TV spans nearly four decades. While attending Curry College, he began career began at WRKO Boston. Shortly thereafter, Jordan hosted a talk-radio show on WLLH-AM and a weekend music program on WSSH-FM. He went on to become the popular morning host at WSSH-FM, a position he had for nearly fifteen years. In 1996, Jordan began working at WBZ News Radio AM 1030, at that time taking over for his longtime friend and mentor Norm Nathan. He hosted The Jordan Rich Show at WBZ for two decades before “retiring” from the late night talk radio shift in 2016. Today, Jordan’s Connoisseurs Corner spots and New England Weekend updates remain popular across the region.

Jordan has a busy extra curricular schedule, often serving as a professional master of ceremonies, celebrity auctioneer, and keynote speaker. Throughout his career, Jordan has been an active fundraiser for many organizations and charities, including Bostons Children’s Hospital, The Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, The Boston Minstrels,  Vilna Shul, Metro West Jewish Family Services, and The Boston Home.

 

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Autism Expression Through Art at Natick Community Senior Center

Expression Through Art – RCS Learning Center Students Share Their Moments as Children with Autism

By Claire Burgess

Dec. 18, 2017 / Natick Patch / NATICK, Mass. – The Natick Community-Senior Center is displaying art completed by students who attend Realizing Children’s Strengths (RCS) Learning Center in Natick. The exclusive art show will be exhibited from now until January 15.

Each piece of art includes an individual profile of a RCS Learning Center student, in the “Let’s Get to Work” vocational program, “who I am, what I like, what interests me.” Giving visitors to the Natick Community-Senor Center a peek into the lives of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) who attend RCS Learning Center, a school for students with ASD and other developmental disabilities. For many years the Natick Community-Senior Center has featured local artists, but this is the first time working with such a unique group, or any non-profit.

The Community-Senior Center and RCS Learning Center have a working relationship through the school’s vocational program. Older students in the RCS Learning Center program volunteer at the center and have assisted with Meals on Wheels. Vocational Director Jacqueline Adams, M.S., BCBA, LABA, said this is a wonderful opportunity for the students and RCS Learning Center to show their work in an art gallery-like setting, to share their stories with the public, for the public to learn about RCS, and to build awareness about its program.

“We are so proud of the work our students have created, and we are honored to be the featured show during the holiday season,” said Adams. “Each student has worked so hard at their jobs in the community, it is a great opportunity to highlight their accomplishments and for the public to get to know these young people and their families, who are integral parts of the community.”

The Natick Community-Senior Center sees about 300-400 visitors daily. With a theme of Holiday Giving, visitors will be encouraged to not only learn as much as they can about RCS Learning Center and the students, but they also will have an opportunity to donate to the school, which is a non-profit.

Sharon Kirby, Program and Event Coordinator at the Natick Community-Senior Center, said she’s excited for this show and is impressed with their work. “I think our visitors will really connect with the students and RCS Learning Center through their art. We hope the holiday giving theme will encourage them to donate to the school. RCS Learning Center is doing a wonderful job with these students, and we think this art show will help visitors understand about Autism a little more clearly! It also will attract new visitors to the Community Center which helps us in turn get the word out about what we do here for the community and with the senior citizens.”

Realizing Children’s Strengths (RCS) Learning Center is a leader whose mission is to provide the highest quality of individualized behavioral and educational services and researching treatments for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities. Founders Denise Rizzo-Ranieri and Louis Ranieri combined their many years of successful behavioral and educational consulting and developed the Natick school that exceeds the standards for teaching students with autism effectively through intensive, quality 1:1 interactive education through ABA services/methods. RCS Learning Center provides vocational skills training through real-world job training on site and at partner locations.

For more information about RCS Learning Center, please visit www.rcslearning.org

The Natick Community-Senior Center is open M-Wed, 8:30am-5pm; Thu 8:30am-7pm and Fri 8:30am-2:30pm

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Realizing Children’s Strengths (RCS) Clinicians Share their Knowledge as Respected Expert Resources, Continue to Build Awareness for Autism

A panel of behavior experts from Realizing Children’s Strengths (RCS) Learning Center in Natick and RCS Behavioral and Educational Consulting recently presented at the Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT) Conference in Amherst.

Nov. 17, 2017 / PRZen / NATICK, Mass. — RCS Learning Center Executive Director and Chief of Research and Application, Dr. Christina King, PhD, and Colleen Yorlets, RCS Chief Clinical Specialist, co-chaired the panel and led the discussion at the University of Massachusetts on Preparation and Oversight of Early Career BCBAs. Multiple RCS staff served as panelists, including RCS Learning Center Clinical Director Meg Breault, and Lillie Joyce, Clinician. They were accompanied by Dr. Russell Maguire and Dr. Ron Allen of Simmons College, and Dr. Nicole Davis of Northeastern University.

For 30 years, Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT), a respected resource for behavior analysts and others interested in the topic, has hosted an annual conference targeting many professionals, teachers, students, and anyone interested in the areas of behavior analysis, autism, developmental disabilities, ethics, behavioral medicine, staff development and more. The conference draws expert presenters and professionals in the field from across the US.  Throughout the year, BABAT provides advocacy for practice, support for members’ professional development, recognition of significant contributions, and the sharing of research and scholarship.

“University faculty, practitioners, and employers of behavior analysts all share the task of preparing new and future behavior analysts for their roles across various settings and populations,” said Colleen Yorlets, Chief Clinical Specialist for Realizing Children’s Strengths. “Regardless of the quality of graduate programs, practicing behavior analysts acquire and develop additional skills and methods in the field, making oversight beyond graduate school essential. In order to ensure the effectiveness and success of early career BCBAs, adequate ongoing support and feedback is critical.”

In the BABAT presentation titled Preparing and Overseeing Early Career BCBAs, panelists discussed some common development areas for new BCBAs and the challenges to oversight. Additionally, panelists shared models and strategies found to be effective in practice.

Nine BCBAs from RCS Learning Center also attended the conference for ongoing education and insight.

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Realizing Children’s Strengths (RCS) and Simmons College Collaborate in BCBA Program

** Also featured on Framingham Source**

September 12, 2017., Natick, MA

Realizing Children’s Strengths (RCS), which provides behavioral and educational research and education for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other development disabilities, announced a 2017/2018 collaboration with Simmons College that will enable RCS employees to further their education in Behavior Analysis on the RCS Learning Center campus.

Through this year’s agreement, the 5th Cohort to date, twenty-one staff members at RCS who wish to work toward an M.S. in Behavior Analysis have enrolled in the Simmons College Graduate Program, with all the classes being held at the RCS Learning Center in Natick. RCS employees receive a significant reduction in tuition and enjoy all the privileges of an on-campus Simmons student. After completing the 42 credits over five semesters, the RCS M.S. candidates will be eligible to sit for the BCBA exam.

The Simmons College Behavior Analysis program prepares its students for leadership roles in the implementation, evaluation and administration of applied behavioral analytic principles and methods.  The innovative curriculum emphasizes contemporary research and the fusion of applied behavior analysis with other scientific fields. Simmons and RCS have enjoyed a long relationship with Simmons staff also working full-time at RCS and Simmons BCBA students getting hands-on experience working with RCS students.

“Simmons is proud to work with the talented and dedicated staff at RCS and to provide them with the tools to give the children in their care the support they need,” said Professor Russell Maguire, who helped develop the program and serves as chair of the Behavior Analysis Department at Simmons. Adding, “RCS is committed to finding the most effective way to deliver high-quality programs and services to children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, and this valuable collaboration enables RCS employees to study the latest advances in behavior analysis and immediately apply what they have learned in a real-life setting.”

Simmons College (www.simmons.edu) is a nationally recognized private university located in the heart of Boston, and is the preeminent authority on women’s leadership. Founded in 1899, Simmons is the only undergraduate women’s college in Boston, and maintains a history of visionary thinking and a focus on social responsibility. The college offers world-class coeducational graduate programs in nursing and health sciences, including physical therapy and nutrition; liberal arts; education; behavior analysis; library and information science; management; and social work.

“We strive to engage our employees with a supportive work environment which facilitates hands-on learning of behavior analytic principles and concepts,” said Dr. Christina King, RCS Learning Center’s Executive Managing Director and Chief of Research and Application for Realizing Children’s Strengths. Adding, “The RCS, Simmons Partnership not only allows our staff to grow in their careers, but most importantly it encourages them to deliver even more intensive behavioral and educational services in order to further our progress of each of the students we service.  This successful partnership has produced over 75 Behavior Analysts with many of the graduates remaining employed at RCS within an advanced role.  It is a great source of pride for RCS to maintain this partnership and add to the advancement of the science and application of Applied Behavior Analysis.”

About Realizing Children’s Strengths (RCS) Learning Center
Realizing Children’s Strengths (RCS) Learning Center is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to provide the highest quality of individualized behavioral and educational research and services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities. Founders Denise Rizzo-Ranieri and Louis Ranieri combined their many years of successful behavioral and educational consulting with a leading team of experts and over a decade-ago developed the Natick school that exceeds the standards for teaching students with autism effectively through intensive, quality 1:1interactive education. The RCS team believes every child has unique skills and they are dedicated to helping each child develop these skills and reach their full potential with an intensive staffing and supervision structure which enables the highest quality of comprehensive and individualized programming and services tailored to meet every student’s needs. Realizing Children’s Strengths, which currently serves 45 RCS Learning Center students and 26 school districts in MA, also provides unique training environments with a continued focus on developing vocational skills training through real-world job training on site and at partner locations. Highly respected industry leaders with award-winning services, RCS Learning Center is based in Natick, MA and is a 501c3b non-profit. More information is available at www.rcslearning.org and http://rcsconsultingne.com/

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RCS Learning Center Receives Eighteen Thousand Dollars from Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation

Natick, Mass., July 18, 2017RCS Learning Center today announced it received a $18,389.00 grant awarded by the Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation for the 2018 fiscal year. The support will allow RCS Learning Center to provide 1 to 1 access to technology for each student. Thus, ensuring the appropriate technological advances are available to every student to support their academic, vocational, and daily living needs.

RCS Learning Center will be adding iPads, supporting software programs, educational applications, and protective cases to provide the 1 to 1 access to technology that will allow for an increase in effectiveness of providing the highest quality of individualized programming for each student.

“For individuals with autism, access to technology can improve their communication, assist in the development of social skills, and aid the development of self-help and vocational skills.,” said Dr. Christina King, RCS Learning Center’s Executive Managing Director and Chief of Research and Application for Realizing Children’s Strengths. “Several students within our school are non-verbal with a limited ability to communicate with others. The iPad is an invaluable resource to provide them with an alternative way to communicate.”

RCS Learning Center is a nonprofit organization serving families and 26 school districts within Massachusetts providing the highest quality of individualized behavioral and educational research and services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities. RCS Learning Center prides itself in the unique qualities of the educational & behavioral services provided and with a vision to remain the leader with intensive and individualized programming in a 1:1 staff to student ratio.  The implementation of a 1 to 1 technology program supports this goal. Local residents can see how the Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation grant and local funds are benefiting the RCS Learning Center by visiting us at www.rcslearning.org.

“Middlesex Savings Bank has always cared deeply about the communities we serve,” said Dana Neshe, president of the Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation. “Through the Foundation grants, we are able to provide support to the people and organizations who work the hardest to both solve problems and create opportunities for our neighbors. We are pleased to support RCS Learning Center this year with the awarded grant.”

About the Middlesex Savings Charitable Foundation

The Foundation was established in 2000 to carry out further the philanthropic mission of Middlesex Savings Bank by supporting the communities served by the Bank. Since its creation, the Foundation has provided more than $4 million in grants to over 400 nonprofit organizations, supporting services, and programs in a wide variety of fields, including education, and basic human services. Since the inception of the Foundation, Middlesex Savings Bank has funded the endowment with over $15 million in contributions. More information available at https://www.middlesexbank.com/community-and-us/community-support/Pages/charitable-foundation.aspx.

About Middlesex Savings Bank

Middlesex Savings Bank, founded in 1835 and headquartered in Natick, Mass., is a mutual savings bank. As one of the largest independent banks in Massachusetts with assets exceeding $4 billion, the bank has been committed to providing outstanding value in consumer banking and business banking products for 180 years. The FDIC and DIF insured bank has 30 branch offices located in 24 communities – Acton, Ashland, Bedford, Bellingham, Boxborough, Concord, Framingham, Franklin, Groton, Holliston, Hopkinton, Littleton, Maynard, Medfield, Medway, Millis, Natick, Needham, Sherborn, Southborough, Sudbury, Walpole, Wayland, Wellesley, an Westford. For more information, please visit www.middlesexbank.com, www.facebook.com/connectwithmsb and www.twitter.com/middlesexbank.

About Realizing Children’s Strengths (RCS) Learning Center

Realizing Children’s Strengths (RCS) Learning Center is a not-for-profit organization and global leader whose mission is to provide the highest quality of individualized behavioral and educational research and services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other developmental disabilities. Founders Denise Rizzo-Ranieri and Louis Ranieri combined their many years of successful behavioral and educational consulting with a leading team of experts and over a decade-ago developed the Natick school that exceeds the standards for teaching students with autism effectively through intensive, quality 1:1 interactive education. The RCS team believes every child has unique skills and they are dedicated to helping each child develop these skills and reach their full potential with an intensive staffing and supervision structure which enables the highest quality of comprehensive and individualized programming and services tailored to meet every student’s needs. Realizing Children’s Strengths, which currently serves 45 RCS Learning Center students, also provides unique training environments with a continued focus on developing vocational skills training through real-world job training on site and at partner locations. Highly respected industry leaders with award-winning services, RCS Learning Center is based in Natick, MA and is a 501c3b non-profit. More information is available at www.rcslearning.org, https://www.facebook.com/rcslearningcenter and https://twitter.com/RCSLearnCenter

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Autism Awareness Month: Natick School Says ‘Children With Autism Are Individuals’

Read the full article on CBS Boston Autism Awareness Month: Natick School Says ‘Children With Autism Are Individuals’

NATICK (CBS) – A Natick school says during Autism Awareness Month that children with autism can make progress.

Natick’s RCS Learning Center has been working with children, up to the age of 22, with autism for more than 10 years.

RCS students come to the school because they’ve been unsuccessful in the public schools.

“Our motto at RCS is that we want progress for all children. I think that’s a really important message to communicate,” King said.

“We actually measure that and report back to the families and the school districts in the community on how our students are doing and there’s measurable criteria for that,” King also said. “So all students making progress is really the bottom line.”

Another message the school wants the world to know is that kids with autism are people too.

“The most common impairments are in the area of their social skills. They have problems in presenting with eye contact or if they prefer to be alone,” King said. “Maybe they’re not responding to their name at about a year, year-and-a-half years old. That would be a potential signal.”

King adds that early diagnosis is crucial in helping children with autism.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Tina Gao reports

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