Written by Observer Staff, email@example.com Thursday, 13 February 2014 00:00
After more than a year of assisting residents affected by Hurricane Sandy, Project Hope crisis counselors will soon hang up their logo-adorned blue fleece vests. Before they do, they will work with local agencies to ensure a smooth transition of services for those who continue to struggle.
“People had their lives turned upside down by Hurricane Sandy, and getting back to living their life, instead of focusing solely on recovering it, takes time,” said Project Hope Director Ken Gnirke. “For some people, that time can be counted in months. For others, it can take much longer, so we are working to ensure there is continuity of concern as Project Hope phases down and our program ends.”The phase-down of will be completed by Feb. 28, and by then, the program is expected to ensure that local agencies understand the unique needs of those still suffering, and that those who need help know where to turn.
“Our goal as we phase down is to leave survivors with practical coping strategies, resource materials and strengthened community linkages,” Gnirke said.
Officials estimate that the crisis counseling program reached 400,000 people state-wide.
At a recent ceremony, Nassau County Executive Edward P. Mangano thanked employees and volunteers from YES Community Counseling Center of Massapequa for the work they performed as part of Project Hope.
“Through Project Hope, you helped 51,000 people in need, and met with an additional 27,000 people during group sessions,” said Mangano. “You went to the people—into their homes, or what was left of them. You listened to their heartache, you spoke with their children, and you counseled them on ways that they could move forward. I know, from speaking with many Sandy victims myself over the last 16 months, that that was no easy task. Today, we officially say farewell to Project Hope and thank all who were involved in this successful venture.”
Project Hope began with a FEMA grant that the county applied for two weeks after Hurricane Sandy struck. The funding allowed the county to fund counselors who helped storm victims with the emotional effects of the storm. Project Hope was overseen by the Nassau County Office of Mental Health & Chemical Dependency.
“It has been a difficult but gratifying year,” said Gnirke who came out of retirement from the New York State Office of Mental Health to serve as program director for the crisis counseling program. “Very simply put, a lot of good work has been done to help a lot of good people.”
Project Hope counselors provided one-to-one or group counseling in homes, schools, offices, community centers, places of worship and wherever else they were needed.
Though Hurricane Sandy was more than a year ago, Project Hope Coordinator Stephanie Tipping said that people were still coming to Project Hope for support and help. Counselors helped people work through emotional issues related to Sandy, and also pointed them toward helpful resources such as support groups. All services were free and confidential.
“We’re all about outreach, so much of what we do is out in the community,” said Tipping. “We go wherever we can to ensure that the community knows we’re available. And for families that are struggling, it makes a huge difference.”
Saturday, 08 March 2014 00:00
With kids today obsessed with all the latest electronic gaming gadgets — the Playstation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo 3DS, and the like — you’d think that the comparatively antiquated concept of pushing a piece of plastic along a sheet of cardboard would be eschewed by your average teenager; however, judging by the crowd of kids at the Massapequa Public Library’s Board Game Café, this actually may not be the case.
Young Adult Services librarian Peter Cirona, who created the Board Game Café at the library’s Central Avenue branch (in addition to a whole host of other young adult programs), said that it’s a great way for kids to socialize and play some classic board games in a fun and friendly environment.
Friday, 07 March 2014 00:00
On Feb. 27, parents in the Levittown, East Meadow, Massapequa and Farmingdale school districts came together for an informal pannel discussion on the New York State Education Department and the implementation of the state Common Core Learning Standards. Panelists included New York State Assemblyman Thomas McKevitt, Jeanette Deutermann of the Long Island Opt Out Facebook page, and former public school teacher David Greene, who came to the Farmingdale Public Library to talk with local parents about key concerns and questions with the curriculum.
Outspoken parent and founder of the Long Island Opt Out movement, Deutermann, delved into some of the factors behind what led to the state’s adoption of the Common Core, and how the state education department cites High School graduation rates as its reasoning behind the curriculum.
Thursday, 06 March 2014 09:47
One of Major League Soccer’s top front office executives has many fond memories of growing up in the Long Island Junior Soccer League (LIJSL). Bill Manning, the President of Western Conference champion Real Salt Lake and the club’s field, Rio Tinto Stadium, played for the LIJSL Select Team from 1979 to ‘83 as well as the Massapequa Soccer Club from 1972 to ‘83.
Manning’s Massapequa teams had virtually the same players from Under-10 to Under-19, but kept changing their name depending on who their coach was. He played for the Massapequa Flying Dutchmen (coached by Kurt Knoblauch), the Massapequa Bugs (Dick Roche), the Massapequa Cosmos (Jerry Lyons) and the Massapequa Bulls (coached by his father, also named Bill Manning). The Bulls might have lost in the Eastern New York Youth Soccer Association (ENYYSA) State Open Cup finals to B/W Gottschee in overtime in 1983, but his teams won the LIJSL division championship in 1974, ‘76 and ‘79 plus the Long Island Cup in 1980 and ‘83.
Thursday, 27 February 2014 10:58
If the games were played on paper, Massapequa would’ve had no shot. The Chiefs faced a tall order last week playing Elmont, which boasted a 12-3 record and four premier scorers. They gave a tremendous effort, but ultimately had their season cut short, 69-62, despite Alex Cosenza leading the scoring with 29 points.
“I can’t ask for anything else from these guys,” said Head Coach Matt Voigt. “I am so proud of them. I applaud their efforts,”