Kid at Heart Celebration Honors Volunteers
MORE THAN 130 GUESTS packed into the grand event space Life: The Place to Be in Ardsley, New York on October 28 to relive the magic and playfulness of youth and celebrate the contributions of local volunteer troupe the Rivertown Heroes and author DeLauné Michel at the Abbott House “Kid at Heart” celebration.
Guests sampled an array of delectable hors d’oeuvres and a sumptuous dinner prepared by Abigail Kirsch Caterers while indulging their inner child by engaging in an array of fun diversions including video games, bowling and arts and crafts.
“Abbott House is lucky to have such a dedicated group of friends and supporters,” said Abbott House President and CEO Claude B. Meyers. “It’s the contributions of DeLauné Michel, the Rivertown Heroes and the many mentors and volunteers who selflessly give of themselves that help us serve more than 1,300 children in need each year. ”
Rivertown Heroes founder Jennifer Monness accepted the Caring Hearts Award on behalf of the troupe after a moving speech from her son, Jack, in which the 14-year-old relayed how much he loved his mother for her selflessness in founding the organization, and Meyers announced that Abbott House coordinated with the Village of Irvington to plant a tree at the Irvington waterfront in the spring as a lasting reminder of the Rivertown Heroes’ contributions to the community.
DeLauné Michel, the Irvington author whose “Spoken Interludes: Next” program inspires youth in the Abbott House Group Homes program to awaken their imaginations with the power of creative writing, was presented the Theodore A. Wilson Award for Outstanding Community Service in memory of the recent and tragic passing of the longtime Abbott House Board of Directors member from whom the honor takes its name.
“My son asked me why I help children from Abbott House,” Michel said in her acceptance speech. “I told him it’s because I want the boys there to be happy—and I do. But the deeper reason is something my father used to say: life isn’t fair. I never knew how true that was until I became a mother. I want to make a difference in the lives of these boys. That’s why I do this. ”
“These are challenging times for not-for-profits, but the work of Abbott House has never been more important or necessary than it is now,” Abbott House Board of Directors Chairman Joseph M. Pastore remarked. “Thanks to the selfless volunteers who give their time, talents and support to us, our agency will continue to be a beacon of hope to New York families in need.”
Self-Advocacy Day in Albany a “Capital” Success
CELEBRATING INDIVIDUALITY and personal dignity is a driving force behind Abbott House programming for the developmentally disabled, and in September our consumers celebrated in grand fashion at Self-Advocacy Day in Albany.
A total of 28 consumers from Pine Court, Dalton Road, Hill Avenue, Shrub Oak, Elmsford, Barry House, Wood Street, Murphy House and Port Chester group residences took a road trip to the state capital to make their voices heard, share their challenges and make new friends with consumers from other agencies. Our consumers were accompanied by 16 members of the Abbott House staff to ensure their safety, comfort and enjoyment for the duration of the two-day excursion.
Shortly after arriving on the afternoon of September 29, consumers took part in a festive Halloween Ball in which they donned costumes and danced the night away with more than 800 developmentally disabled individuals from across the state.
On the morning of September 30, consumers gathered for a march to commemorate the passage of legislation supporting the rights of the disabled, after which they listened attentively to a succession of leaders speaking about the role of self-advocacy in improving the quality of life for all consumers and discussed their own initiatives and ideas such as the recent Abbott House Self-Advocacy bake sale benefiting the New Rochelle Humane Society.
“Our consumers always look forward to Self-Advocacy Day in Albany,” said Assistant Director of Services for the Developmentally Disabled Noreen O’Connor. “Engaging with members of the greater community and other consumers sharing in their own challenges and opportunities bolsters their confidence, broadens their horizons and makes them aware of their value as contributing members of society.”
Your financial support allows Abbott House to provide the direct-care staff required for Abbott House consumers to enjoy Self-Advocacy Day and an array of empowering activities. Thank you for your generosity.
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