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Hance Family Foundation Holds 5K Run, Family Fun Day

Third annual community celebration to help raise funds for children’s educational initiatives

It’s the most talked about day of the year in Floral Park and on Saturday, May 19, thousands of Long Islanders will be participating in the Hance Family Foundation’s 3rd Annual 5K Run/Walk, in conjunction with the Floral Park Youth Council, and Family Fun Day to support children’s endeavors across Long Island and the greater New York area.

A nonprofit organization, the Hance Family Foundation (HFF) was founded by Warren and Jackie Hance of Floral Park to honor the memories of their three daughters, Emma, 8, Alyson, 7, and Kate, 5, who died in a tragic car accident on the Taconic Parkway, on July 26, 2009. 

Last year’s Family Fun Day was an overwhelming success with more than 1,500 participants signing up for the race and approximately $120,000 in monies raised for the foundation. This year’s event promises to exceed that amount. The HFF has already received an outpouring of support from many local vendors who are donating food and prizes, as well as entertainers and hundreds of volunteers offering their time.

The goal of the event is to raise enough monies to continue HFF’s educational missions over the course of the next year, according to its Executive Director Bernadette Smith. “We do just this one event every year because we try really hard to make sure we are not picking the pockets of people all year long. So we ask them to come out and do this one thing and really support us and spread the word about the foundation everywhere as far as we can,” Smith explained.

In its two and a half years, the Floral Park-based HFF has already made great strides in fulfilling their mission of helping thousands of children through its various charitable endeavors, giveback initiatives and its creation of educational programs for young women.

Many of the donations from Family Fun Day will fund several of HFF’s educational programs, including its most popular program, ‘Beautiful Me’ — the Emily, Alyson and Kate Project (EAK). The comprehensive program was developed to help enhance and develop the confidence and self-esteem of all children. Beginning in pre-K and continuing through teenage years, EAK is designed to give all children a greater sense of self and community using a variety of age-appropriate materials and strategies.

While it started with one small initial group, the program quickly grew in popularity among mothers who wanted their daughters to participate. “It basically is a way to give a little extra support to the children who had been affected by  this tragedy in our neighborhood. There was a tremendous sense of loss within the town and we wanted to make sure these children were supported.

“In another way it was helping deal with the loss of Alyson, Emma and Kate in a positive way rather than crawling under their bed and crying or whatever the case may be,” Smith added.

Through word of mouth and via its website, the “Beautiful Me” program began in Floral Park school districts and now is being taught in many school districts across Long Island and plans to take it all over the country are under way. “We have been all over Long Island. We have expanded into different states; we’ve made it into New Jersey and Pennsylvania…we’re in talks with San Francisco,” Smith said.

The Family Fun Day Race/Walk begins at 9 a.m. with a Pee Wee Run, followed at 9:15 a.m. by Emma’s One Mile Race and the 5K Run/Walk at 9:45 a.m. All races start at the Floral Park Centennial Gardens, rain or shine. The races are followed later on by Family Fun Day. This event begins at 1 p.m. (rain date May 20) and brings the community together for some old-fashioned family fun at the beautiful Floral Park Centennial Gardens.  

The day features children’s activities, barbeque, bouncy rides, a mudslide, live bands and auction items are available. This community celebration also provides unique recognition opportunities for individual and corporate sponsorships.  

To learn more about the Hance Family Foundation or to make a donation, visit www.hancefamilyfoundation.org.

News

At the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, residents and community members joined with the Floral Park American Legion to honor veterans at the annual Veteran’s Day ceremonies at Memorial Park, following a march down Tulip Avenue to the park with the members of the veterans of the Legion post, American Legion Auxiliary members, Sons of the American Legion, Boy and Cub Scouts from Troops 482 and 678 and local officials.

During the ceremony, a plaque was dedicated in memory of General Kazimierz Pulaski and others of Polish heritage who have served in the U.S. military. The plaque dedication was led by members of the Polish American Congress, Long Island Division, President Grzegorz Worma and Honorary President Richard Brzozowski. An invocation was delivered by Father Peter Rozek of St. Hedwig Church, followed by a POW-MIA ceremony by Post 334 Vice Commander Matthew Cacciatore.

While parking around Long Island Rail Road train stations is typically a challenge, even on a regular work day, the holidays create more of a struggle for commuters in search of parking spots. LIRR spokesman Salvatore Arena said that ridership between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day increases by at least 10 percent; last year it was by 12 percent. Though the MTA is adding more trains to the schedule, that doesn’t ease the parking situation, which is operated not by the LIRR, but by individual municipalities in each town.

“Every station is different,” Arena said. “A good part of our parking is in the hands of the locality. They set the rules essentially.”


Calendar

Floral Park Memorial PTSA Fall Fest Fundraiser

Friday, November 21

Buy A Meal, Wag A Tail

Saturday, November 22

Hanging of the Greens and Potluck Luncheon

Sunday, November 23



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