His assisting palm raises money, spirits

March 23, 2018 - garden totes

Keith Caputo points to a aphorism forged in timber on a list outward his office, creation certain a caller doesn’t disremember it.

The aphorism reads: “There is no dis in my ability.”

Caputo, 37, who has Down syndrome, has been proof this strictly given 2015, when he founded Helping Makes U Happy, a nonprofit classification formed in Center Moriches.

Through activities that support hundreds of people, Caputo is on a goal to denote how any tellurian is able of creation a disproportion in his or her community, desiring that doing good not usually enhances a life of a reduction advantageous people they help, though also their possess life as well.

“I adore helping,” pronounced Caputo. “It creates me happy, and it creates a people we assistance happy.”

As he speaks, his face is wreathed in a grin reflected in lemon-yellow smiley faces with dual thumbs adult emblazoned on donated colored hoodies that he sells as one of his many fundraising efforts. Since a launch, a nonprofit has lifted some-more than $100,000.

Caputo — assisted by volunteers and his clinging mother, Cassy Caputo, with whom he lives in Center Moriches — provides funds, food, comfortable wardrobe and personal equipment for families who are hungry, homeless or influenced by sudden, harmful illness. He gives comfort cases with blankets and toys for children distant from their families since of neglect. Free scarves, hats and gloves can be picked adult during food pantries he supports.

Through projects he funded, Stony Brook University Hospital perceived caring bags with activity books, crayons, gum, a sweeping and other equipment for use by children with cancer. Mothers of beforehand infants got thermal totes. Annual $1,000 scholarships are given to 4 graduating seniors from area high schools who perform 50 to 100 hours of village service.

Caputo cooks and serves a Memorial Day breakfast for veterans during VFW Post 414 in Center Moriches and distributes pillows and towels during a Veterans Home in Yaphank.

To frustrate bullying and foster friendship, his classification donated “Buddy Benches” during several schools. “If a tyro is feeling waste or picked on, he or she can lay on a bench,” pronounced Caputo. “It encourages kids to be wakeful of how their peers are feeling.”

Caputo — whose genetic commotion causes developmental changes and affects one of any 700 babies innate in a United States, according to a Mayo Clinic — could good be noticed as Center Moriches’ many obvious and dear resident.

His mom competence be his biggest fan. “When we have a child and he has Down [syndrome] and he’s your first, we contend he’s never going to be president, though afterwards we comprehend he’s so many more,” pronounced Cassy Caputo. “He’s helped hundreds and hundreds. When people contend he has Down syndrome, we cruise he has ‘up’ syndrome.”

Inspired by his unselfish and unrelenting service, and by renouned acclaim, a Center Moriches Chamber of Commerce house of directors unanimously voted to make him grand organise of a annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade, that was hold Mar 11. “And well-deserving,” pronounced Gerry Sapanaro, a parade’s vice-chair.

Caputo donned a green-and-white kilt, black coupler and tip shawl and waved and threw kisses as spectators along a march track cheered him. “You’re a best community,” he told them.

On Feb. 28, a Center Moriches Fire Department finished Caputo an titular member. His firefighter’s black coupler and helmet are prominently displayed during a opening to a rented 2,200-square-foot building that houses his nonprofit’s operations.

“Keith is always unequivocally understanding of a glow department, observant how unapproachable he is to live in a village where members put in a lot of time and effort,” pronounced Ian Foley, a department’s initial partner chief. “We’re happy to have him as an titular member. The whole city upheld it.”

‘Happy in a happy, assisting way’

Caputo is a oldest of three. He finished his BOCES, core and high propagandize special-education and eccentric vital programs and works during Smile Farms, a hothouse in Moriches. Despite a fun he gets from assisting others, it was a tragedy — a conspicuous genocide of his mentor, Anthony Parlato III, during age 44 — that served as a matter for Caputo’s volunteerism.

Parlato believed in assisting people, Cassy Caputo said. At Parlato’s invitation, for 6 years, her son participated in his stay activities for girl and his basketball coaching and gym activities. “He would let him blow a alarm or call a foul,” Cassy Caputo said. “Keith desired that.”

Caputo was sad and sad when Parlato died in 2013.

“I was crying, my mom was crying, my dog [Lily, a Chihuahua] was beating divided a tears,” Caputo recalled.

His mom remembers her son’s suspense well.

“Nothing strike him as tough as Anthony’s passing,” pronounced Cassy Caputo, who late in 2012 as executive of purchasing for a Town of Brookhaven. “He was devastated. He would say, ‘Mom, Mom, why?’ He would arise adult during night crying. At slightest 3 months he was crying. Watching ‘The Ellen DeGeneres Show’ was a usually thing that brought him joy. She always had something on her uncover that helped people.”

A special-needs clergyman told her that her son missed assisting others a approach he did with Parlato.

“He told me to go behind to my activities and do some-more helping,” Caputo said. “I felt better. . . . The thought of Helping Makes U Happy sprang from that. we am a improved person, happy in a happy, assisting way. we feel that a best thing in my life is my community. Everyone comes together like a family; we get a pursuit done. This we do perpetually in my heart and in my guts.”

That loyalty to use endears Caputo to his community. Children during Clayton Huey Elementary School chose him as their favourite as partial of a propagandize module compelling positivity. One second-grader wrote: “He is generous, he helps everybody in city for no income or anything. He is good and courageous.”

Individuals and organizations minister to Caputo’s efforts. His classification filled a shelves of internal food pantries as a outcome of a monthlong food expostulate conducted by a Suffolk Federal Credit Union. Nearly 40 families referred by a internal propagandize perceived giveaway or reduced-cost breakfast and lunch during a summer to reinstate a dishes offering during a propagandize year.

He helped a high propagandize tyro lift income to buy a use dog for his autistic cousin. A tyro collected $173 in pennies that was used to buy 70 backpacks for families in need who were referred by propagandize amicable workers.

Eileen O’Brien, module coordinator of Smile Farms, that helps Caputo with fundraising, said, “Keith has a heart of gold; he’s only driven to assistance people. He’s a many amatory chairman in a world.”

Place mats on tables during a Moriches Bay Diner yield information about Caputo and his nonprofit. Spiro Nikolopoulos, a diner’s owner, said, “I adore that kid; he’s a best. He treats any day of his life as if he can conquer a world. He doesn’t see his incapacity as a deficit; he sets a fashion for everyone. When he walks in a diner, everybody lights up. His mom should get a lot of credit. The universe needs some-more people like them.”

Whole families proffer to assistance Caputo. Kayla Kelly, 8, her mother, Tara, and her father, Ed, assistance him arrange donated food, clothes, H2O and other equipment and make deliveries. The family schooled about Helping Makes U Happy by Facebook and started donating food for Thanksgiving.

“Keith is like a city mayor; we can’t live here and not know who Keith is,” Tara Kelly said. “I cruise it’s critical for kids to know a work he does so they turn adults and do things for a community.”

Her father points out that Caputo always wears a smile. “He has such a good disposition,” Ed Kelly said. “Every day, he’s doing something. He doesn’t stop. That’s a kind of chairman he is.”

Emily Ferguson, 14, a Girl Scout and ninth-grader during Center Moriches High School, helps ready caring packages for children in need. “I’d been conference about what he does and wanted to get involved,” she said. “Helping unequivocally creates me feel happy to make a disproportion in my village and see a disproportion happening.”

Stepping Stone Support, an Eastport-based nonprofit that helps Long Islanders battling cancer — including by a Survivor’s Helper Program that provides winter wardrobe for adult patients, their children and caregivers and dishes and holiday selling in Dec — is one of a organizations Caputo assists. “He unequivocally is remarkable,” pronounced a group’s owner and president, Renee Lynn Scott, who is also a cancer survivor and studious advocate. “He is a gift. He brings out a best in everybody.”

Inspired ideas for assisting others

Caputo gleans ideas for assisting from amicable media and television, and has many artistic approaches of his own. A Super Bowl raffle brings dual winners all from appetizers to dessert for 12 to 15 people and is delivered on Super Bowl night.

The esteem for a “Name a Giraffe” competition was 4 tickets to a Bronx Zoo. The winning tickets were donated behind to Caputo and were used to buy a child’s basket with crayons, chalk, froth and a break that was a esteem in a organization’s annual fundraiser that is a multiple auction and raffle. The Oct fundraiser brought in $32,000. It is Caputo’s favorite event, his mom said, since he solicits supports from businesses himself and “meets and greets everyone” who attends a auction. For a guest cook night, Caputo donned chef’s attire, prepared a dish from a Westhampton restaurant’s menu and served it to patrons. An annual village yard sale final tumble lifted some-more than $2,400. At a Madison Square Garden event, a New York Knicks donated $2,000.

“That warmed me right up,” Caputo said. “I sloping my shawl to everyone.”

Despite a slight debate impediment, Caputo promotes his classification during Long Island schools, chambers of commerce and Rotary clubs.

He and his mom — who lifted Caputo and his siblings by herself — are a team. They contend “I adore you” to any other and cuddle a lot. “Introducing her, we say: ‘This is my mom. She’s my PR person, my secretary, my taxi,’ ” Caputo said.

When his mom says “the universe needs some-more happy,” Caputo’s response is: “The universe needs some-more mothers like you.”

Caputo has perceived many honors over a years, including a Humble and Kind Certificate from a South Manor PTA; an endowment from a Town of Brookhaven for ardent use to youth; and a Center Moriches Teachers Association’s Community Spirit award.

His possess prerogative is simple:

“If only one chairman looks during what we do and says, ‘Well, if he can do it we can too,’ afterwards we can contend maybe I’ve finished a difference,” Caputo said.


Like only about everybody else in Center Moriches, Jacob Sigerson is happy assisting Keith Caputo in his debate to widespread happiness.

Living only opposite a travel from Caputo’s home in a hamlet, Sigerson frankly creates himself accessible to batch shelves with donated equipment and assistance with yard sales, an auction/raffle and other fundraisers.

“Whatever he needs,” pronounced Sigerson, 16, who infrequently volunteers twice a week. “I’ve famous him all my life, and I’ve been assisting with his classification for as prolonged as I’ve famous him. It’s been a good experience.”

Sigerson has a twin brother, Matthew; and an comparison brother, Zachary, and a sister, Ashley, who are twins. “We all help,” Sigerson said. As an Eagle Scout project, he built a shelves during a nonprofit’s headquarters.

Sigerson, an 11th-grader during Center Moriches High School, pronounced that he is desirous saying Caputo’s efforts in a village and that a whole family lends a hand.

“I suffer doing anything that Keith wants me to do,” Sigerson said. “It creates me happy to assistance Keith in whatever he does. My mom, Tracy, and my dad, James, assistance too.

“I cruise it’s unequivocally good that he’s promulgation that summary that everybody can do something to help. As prolonged as he needs me, I’ll be there for him.”

— Merle English

Sign me up

Volunteers who pointer adult to support Helping Makes U Happy will be assisting a classification lift out a goal to uncover how everybody can make a disproportion in their community.

“We are always looking for immature village members who are in hunt of ways to give behind to their community,” pronounced Cassy Caputo, a house member, president of a classification and mom of a founder, Keith Caputo. “It is a inexhaustible donations of time and income that capacitate us to do what we do.”

Graduating high propagandize seniors who have 50 to 100 hours of village use and who best report in an letter what volunteering means to them can acquire village use points.

“We inspire volunteers of all ages to get concerned with a organisation and make a disproportion in your life and a life of those around you,” Cassy Caputo said. “Students can acquire credits by volunteering during a events,” and volunteers can emanate their possess event, she added. “We are always open to new ideas.”

For some-more information, or to volunteer, call 631-878-1978 or send an email to helpingmakesuhappy@gmail.com, and embody your name, age, chateau and hit information.

You competence cruise . . .

The Long Island Volunteer Enterprise, or LIVE, that promotes corporate volunteerism on Long Island. LIVE organizes teams of volunteers from a corporate, educational and nonprofit sectors to finish a one-day plan that will significantly urge a peculiarity of life for many who live and work on Long Island, according to a website. More than 400 companies have adopted LIVE projects.

Contact: 212-436-3058, liveli.org

Long Island Cares, that is looking for volunteers for a National Nutrition Month Food Drive with grocer ShopRite. Volunteers will set adult tables outward ShopRite stores in Bay Shore and Massapequa and pass out lists of indispensable equipment to business as they enter a store and collect donations as they leave. Four to 6 volunteers, 9 years aged or older, are indispensable for a 3 to 6 p.m. change Mar 25 in Massapequa; and 12:30 to 3 p.m. and 3 to 6 p.m. shifts Mar 31 in Bay Shore. Some tortuous and assuage lifting is involved.

Contact: Sign adult during LIcares.org

For some-more proffer opportunities, hit a LONG ISLAND VOLUNTEER CENTER during 516-564-5482; longislandvolunteercenter.org

NOTE: The Center is seeking new and kindly used promenade and bridesmaid dresses, florid shoes, dusk bags and other accessories for a 24th annual Prom Boutique Collection that is concurrent with Nassau Community College. The drop-off deadline is Mar 25. Donations go to thousands of immature women on Long Island who can't means a losses compared with proms, graduation and endowment ceremonies. For a list of collection sites and drop-off dates and times in Nassau and Suffolk, call a core or revisit a website.

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