Meet Yoland Vitulli, Founder/CEO of Tender Care Human Service, Inc.
Ms. Vitulli is also President of Heart & Home Enterprises.
This article was written by Annette Scalise, LMSW, Director of Development & Public Relations, Tender Care Human Services.
Charity is always in fashion, at Heart & Home Thrift Store. At the center of that charitable giving, is the cause of autism, and a mother/entrepreneur on a mission.
Eleven years ago, Yolanda Vitulli, the mother of an autistic son, and CEO of Tender Care Human Services, founded this non-profit organization to help others with autism and developmental disabilities. When giving was down, for one of the agency’s programs – the Laura Vitolo Pastina Music and Art Therapy program – Yolanda decided to do something about it. She decided to merge her passion for fashion, with her passion for the cause of autism and founded Heart & Home Thrift Store. Located next door to the non-profit organization in Jamaica, Queens, the store contributes to funding music and art therapy for autistic children.
“We are able to help keep the music alive, for the children, thanks to the help that we are getting from the Thrift Store,” Yolanda said. “In order to keep this happening, we need help by keeping a steady stream of merchandise in the store.”
The Thrift Store meets the needs of a predominately low to moderate income population of shoppers, by selling high quality clothing at affordable prices. The store is constantly seeking merchandise donations: gently used, men, women and children’s clothing (all sizes) as well as shoes and accessories. Donors receive a tax deductible receipt for all donations to the store.
“I know firsthand, about the value of music therapy, because of my autistic son’s experience of first learning to speak, through the sounds of music,” Yolanda said. “It’s a dream come true, to be able to keep the music alive, for other autistic children. Many cannot speak, yet they clap their hands, to the music. I have seen children who can barely walk, yet they stumble to join the others who are sitting in a circle, listening to songs.”
“Some of the families have a difficult enough time putting food on the table, and would not be able to afford music and art classes for their loved ones with disabilities, which we offer, free of charge,” Yolanda said.
TCHS holds yearly fall fundraisers such as fashions shows and casino nights, to help contribute to the Laura Vitolo Pastina Music and Art Therapy program. However, TCHS, like other non-profits across the board, struggle to maintain donations in tough economic times. The steady stream of income provided by the Thrift Store has helped to carry the music and art program, during those difficult times.
Donations may be made to support the Laura Vitolo Pastina Music and Art Therapy program, directly through the agency’s website: www.tendercareny.org