Written by Christy Hinko Friday, 20 January 2012 00:00
On Wednesday, Jan. 4, Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Center (KPTC) held its annual meeting at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Manhasset. They received a welcome surprise from Levittown Kiwanian Ann Torcivia, who spent weeks gathering support for her project to present a Sparky the Dog costume to KPTC at North Shore LIJ Hospital.
Just several weeks before the gift presentation to KPTC, Torcivia set up a craft booth at Tri-County Flea market to sell jewelry and trinkets during the regular holiday bazaar in Levittown. The booth space was donated by Alan Finchley of Nassau County Craft Shows and Grant Donnely of Tri-County Flea Markets. Both men were honored by Kiwanis for their generous support toward Torcivia’s costume goal.
Torcivia was able to then dedicate more of the proceeds from her sales to the Sparky the Dog costume, which also comes with a robotic voice changer, helpful when delivering the special fire safety presentations to young children.
In addition to Torcivia’s gift booth, she received special help from former Jets running back John Nitti who turned out to meet fans and sign autographs to benefit the Joey Foundation. Nitti said, “Ann does so much for disabled and/or sick children on Long Island. Any assistance I can give her seems trivial compared to her extraordinary efforts.” Torcivia and Nitti had known each other previously from another fundraising effort to benefit children in need.
Earlier this year, Torcivia raised enough money through the Joey Foundation to custom order a “Joey Bike” that was also donated to KPTC for the purpose of teaching children about bicycle safety. The Joey Bike is a great treat to kids, and adults, alike, who are amazed with the robotics and capabilities of the puppet.
Through the Joey’s Jewels for Charity drive at the holiday bazaar, the Joey Foundation raised more than $3,000 to be able to cover the cost of Sparky.
Torcivia said the craft bazaar was a great source for raising funds for the project that she plans to continue for upcoming projects. She credited Finchley and Donnely being able to reach her goal quicker and hopes to join with them again for upcoming projects.
Now that Torcivia has presented Sparky to the Safe Kids Committee for KPTC, she said, “We are looking forward to helping local children’s programs. I started this organization [Joey Foundation] to impact the lives of children; I have been very grateful that we have been going strong for over a year now and look forward to a future of helping children.”
Torcivia continues the mission of the Joey Foundation with more energy each year, for the last 10 years, as a way to honor the memory of her son, Joey. Joey suffered from A-plastic anemia and spent an extensive amount of time undergoing treatments. She said, “I know my son would be very proud of this, as he helped kids before he passed away.”
For more information about the Joey Foundation, contact Ann Torcivia at (516) 822-5966. For more information about the Kiwanis Pediatric Trauma Center (KPTC) Foundation visit: http://kiwanispediatric traumacenter.org.