Nassan’s Place set to host annual Community Appreciation Gala

KENILWORTH, NJ — The Nassan’s Place Autism Awareness nonprofit organization will be hosting its annual Community Appreciation Gala on Thursday, Oct. 4, at 6 p.m., at the Galloping Hills Golf Club in Kenilworth.

“We will be honoring some amazing and extraordinary individuals, organizations and corporations that are helping us enrich and make a difference in the lives of children and families affected by autism in and around underserved inner-city communities,” said Nadine Wright-Arbubakrr, who founded the organization with her husband, Hassan, on Tuesday, Oct. 2. “Our honorees this year include Vinnie Brown and Keir Gist of the Grammy Award-winning group Naughty by Nature; John Westervelt, chief executive officer of the Catholic Charities, archdiocese of Newark; the Montclair Drifters; Cheryl and Nate Parris, who opened a furniture store, CNP Treasures in West Orange, to hire and train individuals with autism and other intellectual disabilities; the Rev Lloyd and Margurite Carter Terrell, who opened up their church doors and offered a sensory-friendly church service for families affected by autism; and Geri Woods Coles. Previous honorees have included Assemblyman Thomas Giblin; Newark City Council President Mildred Crump; actress and autism advocate Holly Robinson-Peete; and Debbie Duhaime, just to name a few.”

Wright-Arbubakrr said she’s very excited to have singer Leah Jenea headlining this year’s Community Appreciation Gala.

“We will also have a special performance by Newark native Leah Jenea, who was recently a finalist on the Fox hit show ‘The Four’ with P. Diddy, DJ Khaled and Meghan Trainor. And she is managed by Vinnie Brown and Kay Gee of Naughty by Nature and Illtown Sluggaz,” Wright-Arbubakrr said. “Leah will be performing an amazing and inspirational song titled ‘Perfectly Imperfect.’ The video for the single was taped at our Nassan’s Place fifth annual Nassan 5K Walk for Autism on April 14 at Elmwood Park in East Orange and features our families affected by autism. A portion of the proceeds from the single will be donated to Nassan’s Place.”

Aside from the financial support garnered for Nassan’s Place from any success of Jenea’s song “Perfectly Imperfect,” Wright-Arbubakrr said it would always be a hit with her and Hassan, because it really speaks to the essence of why they do what they do as autism awareness activists and advocates and the parents of an autistic child.

“This song will also bring more awareness to autism and the need for more support and acceptance from the public and private sector for families affected by autism. I believe that a ZIP code should not be the reason any child affected by autism goes without needed resources that will help them reach their full potential and become productive citizens in their communities,” said Wright-Arbubakrr.

“Nassan’s Place will also be honoring a few autism dads at the gala and will be presenting a special award to the city of East Orange and Mayor Ted R. Green for providing, for the first time ever in the city of East Orange, a four-week full-day Autism Summer Camp, with aftercare for children affected by autism. The camp was under the direction of Nassan’s Place and families with children affected by autism received the same type of programs as other children in the community.”

For more information about Nassan’s Place or the Community Appreciation Gala, visit or call 973-424-7781.