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At The End Of Their Rope

Descending the outside of a building 13-stories tall may seem like a scary task, but more than 60 people found the courage to rappel to the ground for an organization called Shatterproof that helps raise funds in order to fight drug and alcohol addiction.

Last month, participants in the Shatterproof Challenge went down the side of the Administrative Tower building at Nassau Community College.

Shatterproof travels all across the United States to host rappelling events that raise funds for their cause. The event had a $25 registration fee and Shatterproof also asked participants to help raise $1,000 in donations.

Supervising the Shatterproof Challenge were experienced rappellers from Over the Edge, a company that partners with non-profits that wish to hold rappelling fundraisers. Those participating were first outfitted in safety gear including a helmet and a harness. They were then sent to a training station where they learned to use the devices before rappelling down 13-stories.

Two participants who wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to rappel down a building were HIcksville’s Julia Height and Nikki Sclair.

“Aside from the chance to jump off a building, it was for a good cause,” said Height. “We’ve had a few friends who have died from heroin overdose.”

Like Sclair and Height, most of the people who participated in the event have known someone who has suffered from addiction.

There are millions of people in America who are currently addicted to drugs and alcohol and 350 people in this country who die every day due to addiction, according to founder and Shatterproof CEO Gary Mendell.

To Mendell, Shatterproof is a promise to help end addiction. “We need to begin to raise awareness and funding for the disease of addiction and to end the stigma,” he said.

After Mendell lost his son, Brian, in 2011, he founded Shatterproof to help others become “Stronger Than Addiction,” which is now the foundation’s slogan.

Since Shatterproof began in 2012, it has been steadily growing larger and larger. In just the past six months, Shatterproof raised $7.5 million to help fight addiction.

The reason behind Shatterproof holding rappelling events is that they like the visibility that it brings, according to Associate Director of Special Events Jere Keys.

Rappelling is out in the open, and people can watch it and understand what it is about right away, which is what Shatterproof aims to accomplish. It is Shatterproof’s goal to do these high-profile events in order to get information about addiction to the public and get people to realize that it is a disease.    

“One of the core values of the organization is breaking down the stigma around addiction,” said Keys. “So much of the addiction community is centered around anonymity and we think that is harmful.”

Shatterproof is currently advocating the states to have health insurance cover intervention programs for teens. This will allow the states to intervene with the teens before they become addicted and these programs will able to be covered by health insurance.

Shatterproof wants to help anyone whose life has been shattered by addiction. They want to make America shatterproof.

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News

Vastra boutique finds a niche

in hand-embroidered dresses

Who says a bride has to wear white on her wedding day? For South Asian brides, no color is off limits including brilliant reds, blues and golds. For the past 17 years, Vastra in Hicksville has been helping brides from New York and across the country find the perfect dress for their special day.

There’s no lack of Indian sari boutiques in Hicksville but according to Marketing Director Prachi Jain, what sets Vastra apart from the others is its emphasis on one of a kind, hand-embroidered Indian dresses.

Many would consider it rude to play with your food. That is unless, you’re participating in the Long Island Potato Festival. The event, which was held in Cutchogue, NY, included a mashed potato sculpting contest which was dominated by Hicksville’s Sarah Tsang, who won first place in the youth division.

Contestants were allowed to use any tools and materials to help bring their creation to life. Sculptures were left on display throughout the day and voted on by festival goers.


Sports

Somehow LSA, the Levittown Swimming Association, has always been a part of our Hicksville summers. My family’s introduction to the organization in 1975 began when our two older daughters tried out for the Parkway Swim Team, one of the nine teams that competed through July and most of August.

It was no small task for the younger girl, swimming her first full lap in the deep end of the pool to qualify at age six, but both girls made the team and donned the coveted gray tee shirts as the trees cast their shadows over the pool water at the end of practice.

I’m convinced that the soul and the center of Hicksville is Cantiague Park. And why not? Every weekend it’s a beehive of activity ranging from tennis matches, hand ball games, basketball and baseball games, swimming, hockey and of course ‘the beautiful game’ called soccer. Cantiague has two professional soccer fields that are perfectly manicured and begging to be played on. And they were. This weekend was the finals of the East Meadow Soccer Tournament which is one of the largest youth soccer tournaments in the nation, sponsored by the US Soccer Federation. There were 18 boys and girls teams in the finals and a large staff of referees.

Two of the refs were Steven Orozco and Randy Vogt who told me how soccer had been growing and has now become the second most popular participation sport in America with 25 million of us watching this year’s World Cup.  I also met and interviewed Joe Codispoti who along with Tim Bradbury is the head coach of Rockville Centre United, a U16 boys club.  This U16 team has a group of standout players led by  Jack Graziano, AJ Codispoti and Pat Basile who have been playing together for six years.


Calendar

Close Encounters with Benevolent ETs and Ascended Masters

August 29

Adventures in Genealogy

September 4

Greek Festival

September 5-7



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com