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John & Ellen's Wedding » John & Ellen's Wedding

John & Ellen's Wedding

John and Ellen are getting married

Six years ago, a few St. John's students decided to take a long walk for Developmental Disabilities Institute. The St. John's crew had the crazy idea to walk from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Montauk Lighthouse, over 130 miles in 7 days, to raise funds for DDI.


John Kenny and Ellen McBurney were two of the walkers, and they've kept things up over the years, making the Brooklyn to Eastern Long Island trek three times and hiking a couple of snowy mountains, too.  To date, the St. John's walkers have raised over $75,000 for DDI.


Now, John and Ellen are getting married in November 2018 and have requested donations be made to DDI instead of other wedding gifts.  All funds raised will go to purchase of Google Expeditions.


The impact of your gift

We have an exciting initiative here at DDI in our Adult Services program.  We live by our mission to help the people we serve experience personal growth and fulfillment we are always looking for ways to improve and enhance experiences and opportunities available. 


Google Expeditions is an immersive education app that allows teachers and students to explore the world through over 800 virtual-reality (VR) and 100 augmented-reality (AR) tours. You can swim with sharks, visit outer space, turn the classroom into a museum, and more without leaving the classroom.


We serve over 500 people in our Adult Day Services programs and currently have one Google Expedition Kit (ten headsets), which are a great start but certainly not enough to meet the need. Research indicates that people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are at an increased risk for anxiety and other co-occurring conditions as well as challenges with transitions to new and unpredictable environments. 


With this technology, we believe that it will offer great possibilities for the individuals supported at DDI to experience new places and adventures, adjust to environments that once were overwhelming, and inform developers at Google how this technology can best support people with ASD.

   A Note of Gratitude from John and Ellen

We are so grateful and blessed to have you all in our lives. As most of you know, we started a relationship with Developmental Disabilities Institute (DDI) six years ago, right around the time we started our relationship with each other.


DDI does incredible work providing services, homes, and high-quality, supportive education to children and adults with developmental disabilities. From visiting schools and families over the years, we are inspired by the DDI community and so lucky to count ourselves a part of it.


We'd be so happy if you consider donating to DDI instead of a physical wedding gift. For us, our wedding is a celebration of the love we have for each other and our friends and family. What better way to show love than to help DDI do their great work.


All funds raised will support the purchase of Google Expeditions kits.  Your gift will provide the individuals supported by DDI the opportunity to experience learning and adventures that otherwise would not be possible.



Checks may be mailed to:
99 Hollywood Drive
Smithtown, NY 11787
Attn: Jean Smith