This is the season of giving, when people tend to think more about the needs of others. One particular organization in the community is devoted to giving to others throughout the year, though they do appreciate and rely on the generosity of others during the holidays. The Guardian Angel Family Crisis Center in Sea Cliff is devoted to helping women and children on a daily basis, and the needs of those they serve often become amplified this time of year.
Last month, the center extended its thrift store space and opened a holiday boutique, where children’s toys and clothing are displayed for purchase, as well as holiday decorations. Women's clothing is also for sale, and the space now has a dressing room. A special aspect of this holiday boutique is the Giving Tree, where those who wish to purchase a gift for a child in need can take a name from the tree to ensure the child’s Christmas wish is fulfilled.
Founder Barbara Costello runs the place and is clearly committed to her job - a job that, like a mother’s, is 24 hours a day, seven days a week. She develops a bond with each of the women and children in crisis who she helps through the program, and is personally there for them to babysit, give a ride or bring food in emergency situations.
“We help them, but they have to help themselves...they have to do the work but when you’re in crisis, it’s tough, you need support. Nobody can do it alone.” She strives to give the women the tools to be self-sufficient and she also stresses the importance of community support.
The mission of Guardian Angel, founded in 2004, is to help women and children overcome weaknesses and nurture their strengths, helping them to become “vital members of the community.” Costello and the board have strict criteria for those they help, and part of their service is the thrift store where families can find clothing, toys and other necessities for their children. The organization goes beyond giving just the essentials, though, and offers medical care and helps provide shelter, when necessary.
She feels its important to have local support on a personal level, and has numerous volunteers from the community who help with the families.
“A lot of people want to give but they don’t know how. I ask them what their passion is and what they think they could bring to the table...everybody has a gift.” Somehow, she says, things work out. A lot of people know that they can donate gently used clothing, toys and baby gear to the shop and sometimes they want to give more.
“It’s about helping your community. You might think, I want to help my neighbor but I don’t know what my neighbor needs, so I’ll give it to Barbara and she’ll figure it out,” notes Costello.
While of course she looks ahead, Costello says she mainly goes on a day by day basis of assessing needs.
“Every morning I pray that I will have the resources to fulfill the needs for whatever comes up that day,” she says. It might mean stepping in to babysit if the sitter is sick, or driving a woman in labor to the hospital.
“Things come up, and I’m there for them.”
One thing Costello says she would like to see this season is more “open hearts” in the community; a volunteer shared a story of how a stranger helped her pay for her groceries in a pinch, without passing judgment or asking questions.
“The situation could've went the other way, but that person had an open heart,” says Costello. “I’d love to see more of that.”
To learn how you can help visit www.gafcc.org.
Saturday, 01 March 2014 00:00
The second meeting of the Powers Chemco property site at Glen Cove City Hall last Thursday night focused on health concerns in the surrounding area. Spokesmen from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), Department of Health (DOH) and other environmental experts discussed the extent of the contaminated soil and water at the site. It was a continued discussion on the proposed clean-up of the State Superfund site, which was formerly occupied by the Columbia Ribbon and Carbon
Manufacturing Company, and now located within the 15-acre Konica Minolta property.
“After careful studies, we found that the contaminated soil and water table poses no threat to nearby residences,” said Nathan Epler, a hydrogeologist from the environmental consulting and management firm Roux Associates.
Friday, 28 February 2014 00:00
The Glen Cove Council of PTAs will be holding its Annual Community Scholarship Fund Event at the Swan Club on Sunday, March 9, at 11:30 a.m. The Glen Cove Community Scholarship Fund was founded in 1958, and it annually administers funds in the form of scholarships to deserving Glen Cove High School seniors. All proceeds from this event will be donated to this fund. The event will feature a performance by the High School Jazz Band and a basket raffle. This year’s honorees are Nomi Rosen, Dr. Michael Israel, Rosemarie Sekelsky, Brittney Frank Rifkind, Suzanne Anderson and Mary Murphy.
Thursday, 27 February 2014 00:00
The North Shore High School swimming team completed its season with high honors this year. Both the men’s and women’s teams have qualified individual athletes for all-conference and all-county championship competitions.
Coach Samara Weitz has also been honored with the Nassau County Coach of the Year award—motivating many of her athletes to succeed throughout the season, including senior Kristen Stanis.
“She made sure I was working hard, but also having fun,” Stanis said. “She taught me how to balance work and play and how it’s important to maintain it.”
Thursday, 20 February 2014 00:00
It was all fun and games at the fourth annual Winter Classic Hockey tournament at the Town of Oyster Bay Ice Skating Center in Bethpage on Saturday, Feb. 8. Young adults and kids of all ages from the Long Island Blues Hockey team faced off against three other teams in the event that gives individuals with special needs the opportunity to play ice hockey in an accommodating setting.
Michael Russo, founder of the Long Island Blues team, said he started the program 10 years ago so his son, Nicholas, who has autism, could play hockey.