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Feeling Grateful In Oyster Bay

Members of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich School district are feeling full of gratitude these days. The inspiration to think, feel and act with more gratitude stems from last month’s Special Education Parent Teacher Association (SEPTA) meeting in which Jeffrey J. Froh, PsyD presented his research findings in the field of gratitude.

SEPTA President and special education teacher Kevin McCarthy says, “Dr. Froh’s presentation on his newest book, Making Grateful Kids: The Science of Building Character, was a reaffirmation of how important being grateful as individuals can be. Dr. Froh was able to show, through his research, that the power of being grateful, and more importantly, teaching your children how to be grateful, can lead to a more positive, productive and fulfilling life. It was a wonderful topic that was well received by over 125 attendees. Our Special Education Parent Teacher Association was proud to present the program.”

Several attendees said the talk inspired them to make changes in their own lives. Parent Danielle Gangamella Taylor of Oyster Bay said, “it’s changed my life in so many ways. I made a point to make a gratitude visit after the talk. I think as parents we are always so hard on ourselves and I now think it’s important to take the time to appreciate our children and all the things we are doing well.”

School social worker Dr. Carole Brown said she shared the information from the talk with many of her students and had her leadership groups write a gratitude letter.  On a more personal note, she shared that after getting caught in a downpour and becoming completely drenched running from her car to her office she thought to herself, “I am so grateful I didn’t have to take the bus.”

Froh is an associate professor of psychology at Hofstra University and has been given a grant from The John Templeton Foundation to study gratitude in children and adolescents. His findings are astounding. He says, “Grateful teens are happier and more likely to give social and emotional support to others, are more satisfied with their lives, are physically healthier and tend to have higher GPAs.” Additionally, he says, “Gratitude and social integration create an upward spiral.” Because grateful teens are more likely to give social and emotional support to others, they tend to foster better relationships, therefore receiving more support and becoming more socially integrated.

Based on his research, Froh states, “Gratitude is accessible to anyone at anytime.”

Helping teens to become more grateful can be as simple as asking them to keep a gratitude journal. Students who kept gratitude journals saw an increase in happiness even months after stopping the writing.  

Lorraine Miller of Port Washington is the author of the journal From Gratitude to Bliss. She shared, “Gratitude is an essential ingredient for life success and the work that Jeff and his team are doing is vital to the health and happiness of our children.”

With young children, Froh recommends cultivating gratitude by encouraging them to share what was the best part of their day, foster an appreciation for nature and modeling, modeling, modeling. He says, “Empathy is the building block of gratitude,” therefore modeling empathy in the way that we treat others is imperative in raising grateful kids.

News

“Visitation is up 300 percent,” said Harriet Gerard Clark, Raynham Hall Museum director.

“Two-thirds of them come because of reading the book by Brian Kilmeade, George Washington’s Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved The American Revolution, and seeing the series ‘Turn’ on A&E,” added Tom Valentine, docent, who keeps the list of visitors. Soon the series will include the story of Robert Townsend of Oyster Bay who was known as Culper, Jr. when he was a spy for George Washington.

Alex Sutherland, director of education, nailed his definition. “He was the most important spy for George Washington because he had the perfect cover. He was pretending to be a Loyalist and writing for a Loyalist newspaper and befriending British officers at his coffee shop in downtown New York while secretly collecting information.

As a fitness coach and a mother, Melissa Monteforte of Locust Valley knows how important it is to stay healthy, and how difficult it can be for women to make themselves, and their health, a priority. Wanting to help women take charge and feel more in control, she organized the Fit & Healthy Mamas Annual 5K run, now in its third year, which will take place on Saturday, Sept. 13 from 8:30 a.m. to noon at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

“I felt like running was the best outlet when I became a mother; it’s such a great way to get fit and feel healthy and I wanted to share that with other moms,” says Monteforte, 31. “I wanted women to feel celebrated, no matter their fitness level, and to put their health first.”


Sports

Hard work paid off for local athletes Christine Grippo of Locust Valley, Kelly Pickard of Oyster Bay, Bernadette Winnubst of Locust Valley, Steven Quigley of Bayville, Catherine Soler of Oyster Bay, Maria Elinger of Oyster Bay, and Armand D’Amato of Oyster Bay Cove, each of whom won awards in a field of some of the best triathletes from all of Long Island and beyond in the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon, held in and around Oyster Bay’s Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park on Saturday morning, Aug. 23.

Grippo earned top honors in the women’s 30-34 age group with a time of 1 hour, 17 minutes, 36 seconds. Pickard (1:17:39) scored first among the women in the 35-39 age group. Winnubst scored in 1:38:48 to earn third place honors in the Masters Athena Weight Division. Quigley earned the second place award in the Masters Clydesdale Weight Division in 1:23:23. Soler (1:29:12) scored 5th among the women in the 20-24 age group. Ehlinger (1:39:23) was the 4th place award winner in the women’s 55-59 age group. D’Amato (1:42:44) earned top honors in the 70-74 age group.

Ice Dreams, an Olympic Ice Show starring 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist Jason Brown and aspiring local skaters, is coming to Twin Rinks Ice Center at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow on Sept. 20.

Isabella Skvarla, 13, Julia Tauter, 12, and Chiara Vlacich, 12, all of Oyster Bay, Julia Forte, 12, of Locust Valley and Riley Stein, 11, of Bayville will be skating in the world class show to celebrate the opening of the best figure skating facility Long Island has ever seen.


Calendar

Art In A Meadow

Saturday, Sept. 13

Bayville Oktoberfest

Saturday, Sept. 13 - Sunday, Sept. 14

Hurricane Preparedness

Tuesday, Sept. 16



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