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'Set Sail' Fundraiser

The Youth and Family Counseling Agency of Oyster Bay-East Norwich celebrates 45 years of community service this year. On Saturday night, April 26, YFCA’s spring fundraiser “Set Sail” got underway at the Sagamore Yacht Club with more than 100 supporters in attendance. Guests were there to honor Abby and George O’Neill, founding members of YFCA. The O’Neills were unable to be there, but two of their six children, daughters Grace O’Neill Caulkins and Wendy O’Neill, were there to represent them.

“They have been so wonderful through the years, and their philanthropy is really an example to aspire to,” said YFCA Executive Director Barbara Rakusin. “It’s wonderful to see all of Oyster Bay and East Norwich supporting our organization. Abby and George will be very happy.”

She explained that the elder O’Neills couldn’t be there as they are getting older, but that Abby had prepared a statement that she recorded.

NYS Senator Carl Marcellino was there to support YFCA and said, “To coin a cliché, the O’Neills have truly been pillars of our community. They have held this community together, and kept it alive and thriving for everyone who lives here.”

In lieu of a silent auction, the committee held a Silent Sponsor challenge. Guests had the opportunity to sponsor enrichment programs including: Experience on the Water, Local Sports, Camp, Music and Art, Technical Enrichment, Life Skills, Leap of Faith, and Parent Child Home Program.

Robin Senior, president of the YFCA, spoke about the organization that Abby and George O’Neill founded. “Abby and George O’Neill moved to Oyster Bay in the 1950s and almost immediately saw there were unmet needs in the community. There were parents who couldn’t afford to buy their children Christmas presents, and others who needed money for food or to pay their gas bills.”

Senior continued, “So, 45 years ago YFCA was born and since then has been helping people lead healthier lives through counseling and a myriad of other programs including substance abuse, emergency services, teen mentoring and a pre-school preparation program known as the Parent Child Home Program.”

Senior praised the organization’s founders, dedicated workforce, and supporters, pointing out that the staff treats everyone equally, with dignity and respect, and helps nearly 200 children and families each year.

“Forty years ago, Abby, who was always interested in children—by then she and George had six of their own—learned of the national Parent Child Home Program, designed to reduce the number of high school dropouts by building a language and literacy-rich home environment,” said Senior. “Abby brought the first such program to Long Island.”

In the past year YFCA facilitated the placement of six children into private pre-K programs when the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School District’s program was filled.

Senior closed her remarks by saying, “Finally you should know that no one is ever turned away because of an inability to pay, and with the growing Hispanic community all our services are now offered in both English and Spanish. However, none of the good the Youth and Family Counseling Agency does would be possible without Abby and George’s foresight and generosity. Unfortunately, they could not be with us tonight. We do, however, have two of their daughters, Gail O’Neill Caulkins and Wendy O’Neill, to accept this small token of our appreciation.”

Senior presented Gail and Wendy with a planter made of pieces of birch trees filled with red geraniums.

“Mom and Dad have always been part of the solution to these sorts of problems. They worked hard to create YFCA, and they are proud to be a part of this organization,” said Gail.

Abby O’Neill’s taped presentation, just a minute or so long, was played. She thanked everyone and talked a bit about the early years of the YFCA. “In 1969 the YFCA was founded by a group of us who recognized there were citizens who needed assistance…We hope the YFCA will continue to thrive for many years to come.”

The O'Neills were presented with a Proclamation from the State Senate from Sen. Marcellino and citations from Nassau County Legislator Don McKenzie and Maggie Martinez Malito, Executive Director of the Nassau County Youth Board.

For more information, visit www.yfcaoysterbay.org.

News

This year you can expect to see the Freedom Schooner Amistad, Connecticut’s flagship, tied up on the Western Waterfront Pier at the Oyster Festival on Oct. 18 and 19. The ship is a Baltimore Clipper that is 129 feet in length and weighs 96 tons. Its home port is New Haven, Conn.

The tall ship visits ports worldwide, as an ambassador for friendship. It serves as a floating classroom, icon and monument to many souls that were broken or lost as the result of the transatlantic slave trade.

The original Amistad, which means friendship in Spanish, was made famous in 1839 when 53 African captives (men, women and children) transported from Havana revolted against their captors. The captives gained control of the ship under the leadership of Sengbe Pieh, later known as Joseph Cinque, who commanded the ship’s navigator to return them to Sierra Leone. Instead, the ship headed north, landing in Long Island, and was taken into custody by the United States Navy.

Diamond Fitness held its grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 6. Members of the Historic Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce came out to meet Wendy Goldstein, her staff and her re-invented gym at 138 South St.

Goldstein said she was touched by the warmth of the people who came into the gym to welcome her, even before the official opening. “People came in to say hello, saying they had heard that the gym had changed hands. It warms my heart,” she said.

Goldstein attended a chamber meeting and is now a member. Nassau County Legislator Donald McKenzie helped Goldstein cut the red ribbon as chamber members Walter Imperatore and Michele Browner cheered the opening along with staff members and friends.


Sports

Football season is here and the Oyster Bay-Bayville Generals  held their opening day games on Sept. 14. Here are the results:

5 & 6 Peanuts:

The Peanuts opened the season vs. the Seaford Broncos and came out on the losing end of a hard fought game. The Lil Generals opened the game on offense and quarterback Rodney Hill, Jr. marched the offense down the field and completed the drive with a touchdown pass to Francesco Allocca. Yes, the Peanuts have a potent air attack with Hill Jr. going two for two for 26 yards. The defense played strong with Allocca leading the team in tackles with help on the defensive line from first-year players Dean Wolfe and Anthony Pelchuck.  

Former football coach and NFL player Bill Curry recently brought a wealth of experience, knowledge and history to a wide audience of student-athletes and coaches at Hofstra University for a lesson on diversity, tolerance and respect in high school athletics.

 

Director of the NYS PHSAA Sportsmanship Committee and Manhasset High School Athletic Director Jim Amen Jr. established the summit and invited Curry as keynote speaker.

Amen Jr. and Section VIII Executive Director Nina Van Erk introduced Curry to a crowd representing more than 37 local high schools.


Calendar

Movie: Godzilla

Thursday, Sept. 25

Bayville Car Show

Friday, Sept. 26

Plein Art Competition

Saturday, Sept. 27



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