ACDS holds early St. Patrick’s gathering in Rockville Centre


Residents of Rockville Centre and nearby communities celebrated St. Patrick’s Day early last Saturday at the St. Agnes Parish Center during an annual gathering held by ACDS, a Long Island-based organization that serves children and adults with Down syndrome, autism and other developmental disabilities.

The highly anticipated event, which for years has been filled to capacity, raised funds to help support ACDS’s programs and services. Many individuals who live in ACDS group homes, along with their family members, joined in the celebration.

The evening’s festivities included music by “Spirits & the Radio,” raffle prizes, a silent auction and food and drinks provided by Kasey’s Kitchen and Cocktails. ACDS, formerly the Association for Children with Down Syndrome, honored Rockville Centre resident Tracy Kirley and ACDS staff member Tricia Leahy, of Lynbrook, for their outstanding service.

Kirley has been actively involved in ACDS since her daughter Bryn was born in 2009. A committed community volunteer, she immediately began to volunteer at ACDS’s events. When Bryn enrolled in the organization’s 2-year-old program, Kirley joined the school’s Parent Teacher Organization as a volunteer. The following year, she, along with Debra Vaccaro, became co-presidents of the PTO.

Together, they led its fundraising efforts including the purchase of the school’s first Smart boards. For the past 9 years, Kirley has been a major force behind the success and growth of the St. Patrick’s Celebration — ACDS’ largest fundraising event — serving as the event’s chairwoman for the past five years. A lifelong resident of Rockville Centre, she lives in the village with her husband, ACDS Board President Gene Kirley and their four children Danny, Timmy, Kevin and Bryn.

“It’s a great way to celebrate the end of winter and contribute to something meaningful at the same time,” said ACDS Executive Director Michael M. Smith. “The support we receive helps our organization to grow and better meet the needs of developmentally disabled children and adults in the community.”