Written by Dr. Cynthia Paulis, email@example.com Thursday, 04 September 2014 00:00
As school begins, the question first asked is always, 'What did you do this summer?' For tenth-graders Isabella Molinari of Laurel Hollow and Connor Lynn of Lloyd Harbor, the answer was simple: they helped other kids in a big way.
For 10 years the Lynn family has hosted children from the Fresh Air Fund, when 50 students are bussed out of the five boroughs for one week and have a chance to stay with a host family on Long Island.
“I learned to be very thankful for what I have; some of the things I take for granted these children never had,” said Connor.
Connor and Isabella were hoping to encourage other families to do the same and in April gave a presentation to other families at their school, but there was no interest. Not getting discouraged, they decided to raise money to send five kids to the Fresh Air Fund Camps in upstate New York.
It costs $500 to sponsor a child for a week, so their goal was to raise $2,500. They invited about 100 neighbors to the Lynn’s home one evening to shop for items from three companies, planning to donate a portion of the merchandise sold for the Fresh Air Fund.
The evening proved to be a huge success. “Thirty minutes into our fundraiser, we passed $2,500. We were so thrilled because there were so many possibilities once we raised so much money,” said Connor.
They raised $11,000 in two hours. With this windfall of cash they sent 10 children to camp, sponsored a night at Adventureland in Farmingdale for the 50 visiting children and their families, provided dinner and also provided meals for a night of bowling.
But Connor and Isabella still had money left over. “School is very important to me and I thought it would be a great idea for the kids to start off the school year organized and with the proper supplies they needed to have a successful year. I thought if they had all the supplies in a backpack then maybe they would be more interested and do very well in school.”
Connor contacted LL Bean and told them what they wanted to do. When the company heard what these teens were doing, they gave them a huge discount on the 50 backpacks and monogrammed each child’s name for free. Then they went to Staples and the company also gave them a big discount. Each backpack was filled with 17 school items by Connor and Isabella.
Before the children boarded the bus for their trip home, Connor and Isabella distributed the backpacks to the children and Connor gave a little speech. They wanted to give them something that would help them get organized. He discussed the importance of school and being prepared.
“I felt it was important that they went into the year with all of the supplies they needed in order to succeed and I hoped they would do so. I wanted to give them something that was unique to them so I thought having their names of them would be really special. When they got them, so many of them were so amazed, they had never seen any of that before. I was so happy to see them so excited. The kids ran up and hugged us. Some of the kids told me they never even had a backpack before. Once I heard that, I was so thrilled that I was able to give that to them and we were glad that we were able to help them out.”
Isabella explained what they chose to put into the backpacks: “Since most of the kids are in elementary school we decided to put pencils, pens, crayons, folders, scissors and things like that they would need. We made a list of what we needed and headed to Staples. It was really great to see how happy they all were because they didn’t know they were getting the backpacks. They were overjoyed. It was just great to see how happy it made all of the kids and how much they appreciated the work we put into it. It made me appreciate what I have.”
Their good work did not go unnoticed. Both Assemblyman Michael Montesano (Glen Head) and Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci (Huntington Station) awarded
each teen with an official NYS Citation congratulating them for outstanding work.
Assemblyman Montesano invited both teens and their moms into his conference room as they had a chance to tell their story. He in turn explained what he does as an assemblyman and joked that he would like to hire them for his fundraiser upon hearing how much they raised. He praised them for their idea of the backpacks.
“We just take for granted that people can afford buy these things but there are a lot of kids who go to school without the basic essentials,” Montesano said.
He also complimented the moms for doing a great job raising their kids. “You deserve to be congratulated also because they were raised because of your influence upon them.”
After discussing what the teens wanted to do in the future, he explained to them his career path as to how he became an assemblyman and what they do for the community. He congratulated them on their extraordinary achievement and awarded them their certificates. Then it was on to Assemblyman Chad Lupinacci’s office to receive their second award.
Assemblyman Lupinacci wanted to know how they became involved with the Fresh Air Fund and what they did with the money they raised. He wanted to know what the kid’s reaction was when they received the back packs. He then shared with the students how he became involved in politics going from being a teacher, lawyer and now politician. He congratulated them for their accomplishments and awarded them both certificates and also a NYS assembly gold pin. “These pins have our state seal on it and say, “Always rising, always achieving. We want to thank you for all of your hard work, especially at such a young age. You have already done great things and we know that you are going to do other great things. You impressed those children you affected and gave them an excellent summer.”
Isabella said, “It was really cool to be able to talk to them and get this award. It was a good experience overall knowing how many people we helped.”
Connor added, “I am glad we had this opportunity to do this so early in our lives and hopefully we can do it later in our lives too. It was exciting to receive two awards.
Both moms, beaming with pride, had words of praise for their children.
Mary Lynn said, “I am really proud of both Connor and Bella. I think they put a lot of time and effort into a very worthwhile cause.”
Lisa Molinari said, “I am very proud of them. I know they are on the start of a beautiful road of helping the community and doing the best they can and always putting their best effort forward.”
Saturday, 18 October 2014 00:00
Some people deserve a long obituary: in a way, it is a tribute to the number of people’s lives they have touched, so for Dottie Brandt, it is a given. A long line of mourners stretched down the street from the Francis P. DeVine Funeral Home, in Oyster Bay, where Dorothy R. Brandt, known to everyone as “Dottie,” was laid to rest, soon after her death on Friday, Sept. 12.
Dottie was a beautiful woman that age couldn’t change. When your warmth, spirit and love come from the inside, it keeps the outside looking bright and fresh. Dottie was always smiling, full of energy and always willing to help people.
Friday, 17 October 2014 00:00
The music was rocking and everybody was dancing on Friday, Oct. 3 in the St. Dominic High School gymnasium as the school hosted its Fall Ball dance. The event included gregarious kids from St. Dominic’s dancing and socializing with 20 disadvantaged children from St. Christopher-Ottilie Family of Services in Sea Cliff.
“St. Dom’s is very active with St. Christopher-Ottilie during the school year,” said Janice Seaman, who was the party coordinator and one of many volunteers at the dance, which ran from 7 to 10 p.m. “This was the first time, though, that St. Dom’s invited the kids from St. Christopher-Ottilie to their school for a dance and it is a great way to bring some normalcy into these children’s lives and show them what a school function is like.”
Thursday, 16 October 2014 08:58
5- and 6-year-old Peanuts
The Little Generals (Peanuts) stepped out into the cold Sunday morning ready to give the home crowd a show as they battled the Bellmore Braves, and that’s just what they did as the Generals beat the Braves 14-7. The teams battled to a first half tie as the Generals’ touchdown came on a 26-yard run by Kody Gehnrich, thanks to great blocks by John (Jack) Grace and Jack Symanski.
In the second half, where the Generals are usually at their best, the defense shut out the Braves as Rodney Hill, Jr. and Brandon Babel stepped in on the defense line to create a great push to allow Francesco Allocca to make eight tackles. The offense got a big boost with Allocca being allowed to play RB after playing QB the past two games, and boy did he respond behind great lead blocking from Luca Granito. Allocca carried the ball nine times for 60 yards and a TD coming on the last play of the game.
Thursday, 16 October 2014 09:00
The Diane Whipple Foundation with the cooperation of Manhasset PAL, Manhasset School District and St. Mary’s High School Athletic program has announced a premier College Division I Women’s Lacrosse Scrimmage day on Saturday, Oct. 18.
Competing in this great event will be Columbia, Fairfield, Michigan, Sacred Heart, Stonybrook, UCONN, UMASS, and USC.