The following information is via RISSA;

The Rhode Island Social Skills Academy (RISSA) will be hosting a fundraising event this Sunday, February 6, 2022, from 4 PM-7 PM at the Newport Irish American Athletic Club (IA), located at 642 Thames St. Newport, RI. All proceeds from the event will directly support the RISSA. 

RISSA is a newly created program for young adults with disabilities transitioning from school into the next chapter of their lives, taking on new jobs and, possibly, new living arrangements. This program helps these adults gain experience, knowledge, confidence, skills, and awareness so as to be successful in their daily lives within the community. Social and life skills gained by attending RISSA include but are not limited to Communication Independent Living Skills (grocery shopping, food prep, housing, money management, job responsibilities), Navigating the Community, Problem Solving, Self-Awareness, Leisure Activities, Self-Advocacy, Mobility, & Safety.

The 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Organization chose this location for the fundraiser because one of its participants, Joey Ertmann currently works at the Irish American Club. IA General Manager James Moran said “I met Joey when his mom Sabrina and him were regulars at Winner Winner. Joey was looking to work and I was lucky enough to find him a gig at Castle Hill Inn where we became coworkers for the first time. When I took over as GM of the Irish American, I knew my first order of business would be bringing Joey in to help tend the bar. Now he pours the best Guinness in town and is a vital part of the IA.” Helping prepare participants to find and retain employment is a focus of the program, so it is extremely special to see Joey’s success working with Moran and the IA.

Since 2018, RISSA has experienced great successes and growth, excited to continue the positive impact made throughout the program’s brief history. As with many non-profit organizations, COVID-19 significantly affected RISSA. Already heavily dependent on fundraising efforts, RISSA was unable to host events fundraisers from February 2020 until now, jeopardizing the program’s future. 

“It has been an interesting road, to say the least.” Added RISSA Board President Denise Patsos, whose son Derek is one of the program’s participants. She continued, “We have been able to achieve some great feats despite all that has transpired these past few years and are excited for folks to join us on Sunday to see what the program is all about and enjoy a great event for a great cause.”

On February 6, RISSA graciously invites all to come to support this wonderful program and to learn more about the individuals that have benefitted from its creation, as well as how RISSA can make an even greater influence on this population. 

A $20.00 admission fee will be charged for entrance into the Newport Irish American Athletic Club, where 

beverages will be served by guest bartenders, light fare will be offered, and auction items will be made available, in which proceeds will directly benefit RISSA. 

Donations from local small businesses will make up the raffle items and the IA is opening their pool table, dartboard, and other games free of charge throughout the fundraiser as well as donating a percentage of profits to RISSA. Some familiar faces will be behind the bar helping raise additional funds for the organization as a local realtor and longtime Newport bartender Tyler Bernadyn, Karl Magner from the Award-Winning Bit Players Comedy Troupe, and Rooms Manager as The Chanler Hotel Jimmy Oca will be volunteering to pour drinks throughout the event. Rhode Island-based disaster restoration company CRDN has also pitched in as the fundraiser’s presenting sponsor. 

The RISSA Board of Directors are extremely excited to be able to share in a fun evening at the Newport Irish 

American Club. Please contact the Board at rissa1.newport@gmail.com if you would like to support but cannot attend or would like to donate a raffle prize. Your generosity is greatly appreciated!

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