About The Staten Island Development Disabilities Council

Approaching 50 years, the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council (SIDDC) was established in 1969 to assist in the planning, promotion, and development of supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families throughout their lifespan.

The SIDDC works in an effort to ensure the best possible quality of life for Staten Islanders with special needs through advocacy and providing individuals with relevant information. Members include self-advocates, their parents/family, friends, and service providers.

General Council monthly meetings are held both mornings and evenings, which sometimes include presentations by guest speakers keeping members informed about current issues. At these meetings, each of the SIDDC committees provide monthly reports, describing their work and advocacy efforts on the latest issues and trends impacting individuals with developmental disabilities. These committees are comprised of parents, self-advocates, advocates and professionals who have extensive knowledge in the field.

The SIDDC communicates the needs of families to public and elected officials using various media outlets, legislative information exchanges and through an annual Community Breakfast to ensure that the concerns and needs of the people represented are received and addressed. The SIDDC offers numerous events throughout the year to support our members including; a Family Resource and Transition Fair, Celebrating Achievements, Direct Support Professional (DSP) Awards Ceremony, Educational forums, Adult Transitioning forums and various events that are relevant to the mission of the Staten Island Developmental Disabilities Council.

SIDDC Executive Board Officers

cRis marchioNNe - Chair

cRis marchioNNe, Chairperson: is the Founder and CEO of Person Centered Care Services, Inc. cRis has a Master’s degree in Disability Studies and over 25 years of experience working with and for people with an intellectual/developmental disability. cRis is a conspirator for social justice and takes pride in speaking at many local and statewide events to point out the need for social change – the need for a more equitable society filled with opportunities for all human beings; supporting and respecting the choices of people with an intellectual/developmental disability when it comes to education, employment, intimate romantic relationships and who they choose to love, who they choose to have friendships with and where they choose to live.

Irene Cavanagh - First Vice-Chair
Dr. Cavanagh has been with Eden II Programs since 2004 and is the Associate Executive Director for NYC OPWDD Services.  The OPWDD services that she oversees include the Day Habilitation Programs, Residential Programs, and Family Support Services Programs.  
She began her career at the Guild for Exceptional Children, Brooklyn, NY in 1983 within the residential program. She holds a master’s degree from Long Island University in Special Education and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Concordia University. Dr. Cavanagh has been an adjunct lecturer at Brooklyn College since 2005, and presents locally on topics related to the field of autism, special education, and organizational behavior.
Diane Peruggia - Second Vice-Chair

Diane Peruggia’s career of advocacy, leadership, and charity started at a young age. As a teen she was appointed liturgical leader for her local parish, volunteered at nursing homes, taught CCD, and participated in many charity events within her community.

While pregnant with her second child, Michael, her two year old daughter, Alexa, was diagnosed with Autism. In August of 2000, Diane and a group of others came together to form The Grace Foundation to support and offer services for families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders. Diane spearheaded the creation of the Grace Foundation’s social skills classes and Applied Behavior Analysis training for college students, who could aid parents with at-home services. She has chaired National Autism Conferences featuring various speakers and experts in the field, and has advocated in Albany and Washington D.C. to secure necessary funding for the disabled. Diane served as Vice Chairman for the Grace Foundation for 7 years and is currently the Chairman of their Strategic Planning Committee.

 

In 2010 Diane was appointed by former Borough President James P Molinaro to the NYC Department of Education’s Panel for Education Policy. During her four-year term, she participated and voted on policy issues and resolutions for the DOE. She was also assigned to the Contracts Committee and served as a trustee for the DOE retirement system.

Diane also holds leadership positions with the Staten Island Disability Council, the Family Support Services Advisory Council, the Seton Foundation for Learning, The James Cancer Fund, HealthCare Associates in Medicine, and Staten Island Community Board Three.

Diane, her husband, and their two children currently reside in Huguenot and are owners of Great Escapes Travel.

Lisa Serate - Treasurer

Ms. Lisa E. Seraté, MSW is the new Treasurer for the SIDDC formally the Recording Secretary. She has been affiliated with A Very Special Place, Inc. since 2002 and is currently the Director of Staff Development and Training. She has also been affiliated with Eden II Programs since 2013 where she is one of the supervisors for the Family Services department.

Ms. Seraté career began in 1997 at the Jewish Guild for the Blind within the adult day program and early intervention department. She holds a master’s degree in Social Work from New York University. Over the years she has become certified as an instructor for CPR, First Aid, Strategies for Crisis Intervention and Prevention (SCIP-R) and Seminar In Field Instruction (SIFI) for Bachelor and Master level Social Work interns.

Ms. Seraté prides herself on the twenty plus year’s she has professionally in the field of developmental disabilities. With the combined experience of social work, administration, and training she is able to continuously assist individuals, families, and staff in valuable ways. She supports the Person-Centered philosophies that OPWDD regulates and plans to continue to be an active advocate in the field of developmental disabilities for a long time.

Jacqueline Tripodi - Recording Secretary

Jackie has been a member of the SIDDC since 1995 and a co-chair of the Adult Services Committee since 2016. Jackie is married to her husband Joe for over 25 years and they are proud parents of three. In 1993, following the premature birth of her twins (Dani & Joey) Jackie has been an advocate for individuals that are unable to advocate for themselves. Joey was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy and he has been a primary focus for all that Jackie has done over the years. In 2010 she adopted her niece Teresa at the age of 14 and has since been dedicated to providing a good quality of life for all three.