Community Activism for Autism

Benefit for The Anderson Center for Autism hosted by Gail and David Siller in honor of their son, Danny who attends the Center. Table photo: Danny Siller

There is nothing more special than when a close-knit community rallies together for a friend or neighbor. That’s what happened last night on New York City’s Upper East Side (UES), where the local restaurant offered it’s space to UES residents and regulars Gail and David Siller benefiting autism — more specifically — The Anderson Center for Autism, on behalf of their 18-year-old son, Danny.

Left to right: Gail and David Siller

Over 40 attendees from all aspects of the Sillers’ life — social, professional and from the autism community — came out to the intimate benefit in support. At posting time, the total funds raised were not yet complete, but it’s safe to say the evening was a smashing success!

Left to right: David Siller and Sojourn owner Sammy Musovic

Giving back to the community where you do business is not a novel concept, but it is good business and a win-win for all parties. Sojourn owner, Sammy Musovic is no stranger to giving back, as he frequently offers up his restaurant space for charities, and provides a generous portion of the dining profits to the charity or cause.

Here’s a recap of community activism at its best on the Upper East Side.

What: The Siller’s 18-year-old autistic son, Danny, attends the Anderson Center, where he is thriving. The Sillers wanted to show their appreciation in the best way they knew how — by raising needed funds for the Center — so they hosted a wine dinner benefit.

The Place: Sojourn Restaurant & Wine Bar at 244 East 79th Street, NYC (UES)

The Hosts: Gail and David Siller

The Beneficiary: The Anderson Center For Autism

The Donation: $100 per person

The Food and Wine: Exceptional! Sojourn owner Sammy Musovic and his top flight chef and staff pulled out all the stops for the Benefit; pairing each dish with hand selected wines including bringing in my favorite drink of choice — a French champagne just for this occasion!

L-R: Members of Deep C Revival: Vin Cimino, Gus Fafalios and Evan Kremin

At 10:00pm, as is the usual practice on Monday and Tuesday evenings at Sojourn, live music was on the menu with the Tuesday mainstay regular NYC classic rock and soul band, Deep C Revival. Playing to a packed house last night were Founder Gus Fafalios on guitar, Vin Cimino on drums and vocalist/guitarist Evan Kremin plus special guests: guitarist Andy Clayburn and harp player Connor Frontera.

All in all, I’d say that community love and community activism were definitely in the house!

It should be noted that for Sammy Musovic, giving back to the community extends beyond the UES. He has currently made an offer to purchase the famed Carnegie Deli, in the hopes of saving this NYC cultural institution from closing forever. — Abbe Sparks, twitter: @asparks01

Tags: #NYC, #Autism, #Community #UES #Sojourn

Abbe Sparks is the Founder and Chief Igniter of Abbe Sparks Media Group, a boutique marketing communications firm that specializes in social media, content, brand strategy and advocacy for entertainment, nonprofit, cultural arts and start-up tech organizations. @asparks01

Originally published at on October 19, 2016.

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