Written by Vilma Sceusa, email@example.com Friday, 11 July 2014 00:00
In recognition of the superior care her daughter Marjorie Levine received, the late Elsie Levine, formerly of Great Neck, has bequeathed $100,000 to Life’s WORC. The recently deceased Levine was an ardent advocate for those suffering from developmental disabilities. According to her daughter Cathy Levine, Elsie Levine turned her grief and pain into action and this gift demonstrates the gratitude and peace of mind Life’s WORC provided for her entire family.
“My mother had overwhelmingly positive feelings about the care my sister received through Life’s WORC,” added Cathy Levine. “Life’s WORC represented the dawn of giving those with special needs a life and an opportunity to reach their potential.”
Life’s WORC, headquartered in Garden City, was established 44 years ago as a non-profit organization to improve the lives of special needs people by providing services that facilitate an independent and productive life experience. They developed a network of 36 group residences (and 14 treatment programs) throughout Nassau County, eastern Queens and western Suffolk.
In many ways the Levine family witnessed the evolution of the treatment of those born with developmental disabilities. The public was outraged when the atrocities of Willowbrook, a state-supported institution for children with intellectual disabilities, were uncovered, but for the Levine family it was personal. Typical of women in her generation, Elsie Levine, who gave birth in 1947 to Marjorie who was severely disabled, was provided with limited options and a bleak prognosis for her child. Doctors urged Levine to place her daughter in Willowbrook on Staten Island. It was common during that era for the disabled to be warehoused in government institutions like Willowbrook.
Marjorie was placed in Willowbrook at 18 months old. Marjorie’s sister, Cathy Levine, recalls her mother saying that “Marjorie stopped smiling at Willowbrook.” “Back then, my parents knew of no alternatives to hospitalization for children like Marjorie with severe developmental disabilities.” shared Cathy Levine. “Most people had very little knowledge about mental retardation, developmental disabilities and related conditions. And there was little advocacy.”
Ultimately Marjorie was placed in another institution, and fortunately missed the worst years at Willowbrook. In 1993 Marjorie became a resident, where she still lives today, of the Antonelli Home in Albertson, which is owned and operated by Life’s WORC. Marjorie’s placement was a blessing for the Levine family. The Levines’ story demonstrates the vast progress made in the field of mental retardation, where care and training has been vastly improved over the past 50 years.
“It meant so much for my mother to make the short trip from Great Neck to Albertson regularly for visits with Marjorie and the other Antonelli House residents,” said Cathy Levine. “My mother never felt more confident that Marjorie was given the best care available by a loving staff with a life filled with activities.”
According to Matthew Zebatto, assistant executive director of Development & Public Affairs for Life’s WORC, Elsie Levine’s donation is indicative of the quality of life provided for Marjorie at Life’s WORC.
“This gift represents a substantial portion of Mrs. Levine’s estate, which speaks volumes of their appreciation,” added Zebatto. “This is a very loud statement regarding the quality and support Marjorie continues to receive through Life’s WORC. This money will be used to help offset significant reductions by New York State in funding Life’s WORC, as part of cutbacks that have been made against most non-profit developmental disabilities agencies.”
On July 11, Cathy Levine will present her mother’s gift of $100,000; she will visit Life’s WORC in Garden City and the Antonelli Home. It’s no doubt that Elsie Levine will be there in spirit. Elsie Levine earned a Master’s in Special Education and became a tireless volunteer who never stopped searching for a better life for her daughter. Perhaps the most telling symbol of her success is Marjorie’s happiness at Life’s WORC where she was able to smile once again. Through this gift, she continues to give back.
Wednesday, 20 August 2014 00:00
The Stewart Manor Board of Trustees began its most recent meeting in high spirits, presiding from the newly-renovated, cherrywood justice’s bench in village hall.
Mayor Tangredi offered up thanks to the court system for providing the grant that paid for the improved bench. Trustee John R. Egan also was in fine fettle in his return after missing previous meetings due to health issues.
Saturday, 16 August 2014 00:00
The Garden City Public Library’s Board of Trustees and Library Director Lisa Paulo are dedicated to continuing the patron-friendly atmosphere in the library. It is an experienced and dedicated panel, who with a knowledgeable staff under the direction of Library Director Lisa Paulo, will continue to develop interesting innovations. The trustees anticipate many productive years ahead.
The library’s successful focus groups will continue in 2014. All patrons are invited to attend. The board, however, is reaching out to parents of school-age children to round out the participants. Anyone interested in contributing their time and experience is welcome. Please call the library at 516-742-8405 x210 and leave your name and telephone and/or email address.
Gloria Weinrich is the vice chair of the Garden City Library Board of Trustees
Thursday, 14 August 2014 00:00
The FLG 2018 girls have established themselves as one of FLG’s premier teams of the summer. Garden City’s Julia Kavan and Anna Mandaro at the midfield and Megan Sprotte and Ann Sullivan defensively led their team to three championships this summer. The girls “really started to gel and play as a unit,” said Coach McGinty, successfully executing new plays, transitioning well and crashing on defense. With the improvements across the board, the team hasn’t lost a game since the first tournament of the summer. These girls were leaders on and off the field and are taking FLG Girls Lacrosse to the next level.
Thursday, 07 August 2014 09:11
The other day I woke up to this text from my Garden City friend, Claire LoRusso: “I need help. I am running a half marathon in October. I have not run in years. Where do I start? Miss you.” I got giddy, in a dorky way, because I always get excited when someone wants to run.
In this case, however, it was more of a “Welcome back, Claire.”