Message from the Mayor

Dear Friend,

The Mayor’s Benefit Gala continues to achieve its mission in enhancing the quality of life for individuals in our community.

This year, my wife Susan has chosen The Kelbernan Center as the recipient of the 2018 Mayor’s Benefit Gala, to be held on Saturday, April 28th at the Doubletree Hotel Utica in downtown Utica.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 1 in 6 children in the United States have a developmental disability.  This ratio equates to 2,300 children in Utica with an additional 200 babies each year.

Research has continually proven that high-quality, early intervention makes a significant impact in changing and improving a child’s trajectory and quality of life.

Despite this fact, there is a major gap in the availability of appropriate and timely screening as autism can be diagnosed around age 2, yet the average age of diagnosis nationally doesn’t occur until years later.

With funding support from the Mayor’s Gala, The Kelberman Center is launching a bold, early intervention screening initiative led by a clinical licensed psychologist through the Kelberman Center Clinic.

The program aims to help families with children up to 8 years of age by catching early warning signs and then assisting them in accessing appropriate services and resources.

The initiative is available for all children and families, but targets those in poverty who otherwise would not have access to these life changing services.

The screening program is easily accessible and mobile and can be brought into schools, community organizations or even someone’s home.

Effective early intervention services such as applied behavior analysis (ABA), speech therapy, occupational therapy, counseling and social skills support not only improves an individual’s learning and life skills, but can also greatly reduce the need for intense support later in life.

Mayor Robert & Susan Palmieri stated, “You can tell the heart of a community by how it treats those who are most vulnerable.  Utica is a warm and giving community and in that spirit we are excited to support The Kelberman Center in their mission to screen and assist Utica’s children with developmental disabilities.  We would like to extend our sincere thanks to the many local restaurants and businesses whose generous donations make the Gala a successful event each year.  We encourage everyone to come and join us for a wonderful evening.”

Dr. Michael Kelberman stated, “As the parent of a son on the autism spectrum, I can personally attest to the long-term benefits of early intervention and supports. At The Kelberman Center, we believe everyone should have access to early screenings which can greatly improve the ability to achieve the best possible outcome in the future. We are incredibly grateful to the Mayor’s office and the always-generous Utica community for helping us make this screening program a reality. Community support has been the foundation which allows The Kelberman Center to create programs with a standard of excellence that become models for providers across the nation. As a non-profit that relies on such support, and on behalf of hundreds of local families, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

We thank you for your partnership in making a positive difference in our community.


Robert M. Palmieri &  Susan A. Palmieri
Mayor                       Honorary Chairperson
City of Utica              Mayor’s Benefit Gala