Friends and neighbors will put on their summer white chic to attend Spectrum Designs’ eighth annual Night in White, honoring Steve and Lori Scrobe of Manhasset who have been very involved and supportive of the organization. The event will be held at North Hempstead Country Club on Thursday, July 26.
One in 59 children will be born with autism in the United States. The CDC estimates that 90 percent of teens with autism that age out of school-based services are unemployed, causing under-engagement and isolation. Spectrum Businesses is on a mission to provide autistic young adults with meaningful work after they leave school-based services, leading to greater independence, as well as improved quality of life.
Spectrum Designs is a nonprofit custom apparel company whose mission is to provide autistic young adults with gainful employment. Currently, 75 percent of Spectrum’s employees are somewhere on the spectrum. The company is projected to do more than $2 million in sales in the next year.
Stella Spanakos, Nicole Sugrue and Patrick Bardsley founded the business after the death of Spanakos’ husband triggered a need for her to figure out how to care for their son Nicholas alone. The program started in 2011 with Stella, two teens with autism, and one piece of equipment in their backyard barn. By 2012, the company was out of the barn and into a location in town, expanding multiple times before landing in their current location on Main Street in Port Washington.
The Scrobes have been participating in Spectrum Designs for years.
Lori is a Realtor and Steve is an investment banker. Married since 1987, they have four kids; Stephanie, Billy, Michael and Marykate.
Billy Scrobe has been an employee of the organization and Lori and Steve have been heavily involved in fundraising and volunteering since the start of Spectrum Designs.
“Having a child with a life-long disability is a place of uncertainty. Our greatest concern for Billy has always been what happens after high school? When Billy transitioned to adult services and began working at Spectrum Designs, our fears were alleviated. Billy is very happy. His days are filled with purpose,” Lori and Steve said. “Spectrum Designs is such an outstanding example of what employment opportunities for special needs people looks like.”
The event will consist of a cocktail hour with jazz music from the Sonic Pioneers, speeches from the founders and the honorees, followed by a dinner buffet. After dinner, expect plenty of dancing and opportunities to donate. There will be raffle baskets, a silent auction as well as a live auction. Spectrum expects around 300 people to attend the event, and their goal is to raise $155,000.
ARecently, Spectrum Designs has expanded their brand, and added Spectrum Bakes and Spectrum Suds. Spectrum Bakes makes and ships custom granola snacks and Spectrum Suds is a boutique laundry service, complete with pick-up and delivery in the Port Washington area.
The company hopes that they can become a working model for this type of business around the country so they can continue to help foster a community for autistic individuals to live more independent lives. They are committed to continuing to provide such employment with the profits made from sales and the donors that make events like Night in White possible.
The main event for Night in White will run from 7:30 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. with a sponsor VIP party at 6:30 p.m. For tickets, sponsorships and journal ads go to www.501auctions.com/nightinwhite. To donate directly to the organization, visit www.spectrumdesigns.org/donate.