Brushstrokes: UCP of Long Island program gives adults with disabilities a chance to paint

The men and women at a Hauppauge studio say they achieve relaxation by painting.

The men and women at a Hauppauge studio say they achieve relaxation by painting. (3/29/17)

HAUPPAUGE - A warming sunrise, a simple red rose or a soothing beach scene.

The men and women at a Hauppauge studio say they achieve relaxation by painting.

Rolph Walter is one of the founding members of the Brushstrokes program at the United Cerebral Palsy Association of Long Island in Hauppauge.

"I wanted to learn how to paint. They put the paint brush in my hand and the rest is history," says Walter.

Every day about two dozen men and women living with disabilities have the chance to put paint to paper, canvas, and even glass to create whatever they like.

Amanda Levine, 24, says she has visited the studio almost every day for the past two years because it makes her feel happy.

Stephen Friedman, the president and CEO of UCP of Long Island, says Brushstrokes helps people express themselves while building self-esteem and social skills.

"Whether it's painting or music or singing - it gives them the ability to relax and enjoy themselves.  It's not any different for somebody with a disability," says Friedman.

Four to five times a year UCP of Long Island holds events where these works of art are sold at auction. Organizers say some of the proceeds go to the association, but the majority of the money goes to the artists themselves.

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