Gilda’s Club Helps Students and Teachers Deal With Cancer By Marci Garson
November 22, 2017 Here’s a sad fact: 90 percent of students in our area know someone who has been impacted by cancer. Here’s the silver lining: Gilda’s Club Westchester offers these children and teens a place to come together to get and give support and even have fun.
Gilda’s offers a hands-on program for teens to get involved. Nearly 30 students from Westchester, Greenwich and lower Fairfield counties are on the Youth Committee. They meet monthly planning school events, assemblies and other activities to help raise awareness and support for Gilda’s Club Westchester.
“It empowers them,” explains Jen Scully director of Program Administration. “They feel like they are doing something…they are not powerless.” One volunteer explains, “It’s a really special way to give back. It’s not something you should be scared of. Everyone is here because they want to be here.”
Because cancer can be prevalent in the classroom, whether it is a sick child or a child who has a family member living with cancer, Gilda’s Club has resources to help teachers and students. Gilda’s Class, an online school based program, offers factual information on cancer that teachers can use to educate and empower students. Gilda’s Club Westchester staff also visit schools to explain what it can mean to live with cancer. Since its’ inception in 2007, Gilda’s Class has provided support and education to more than 75 schools including over 7,000 students and 1,000 school professionals.
The role of schools in supporting children whose lives are touched by cancer cannot be stressed enough. “Children need to feel safe…having the structure, care and support that school offers is critical,” according to Laura Moore, the Children, Teens and Family Program Manager at GCW.
This December 6, Gilda’s Club will bring Cancer in the Classroom to the clubhouse at 80 Maple Avenue in White Plains. This is the 7th annual Symposium and in the past the room has been packed with teachers, school nurses, guidance counselors, school psychologists and administrators. It provides an education to the educators to help them respond to the child who is sick or has a family member who has been diagnosed with cancer. There will be interactive presentations and workshops, including what has proven to be very emotional and honest discussions with teens and parents whose lives have been invaded by cancer. A fifth grade teacher who attended the symposium last year insisted that she left that afternoon “empowered with ideas for activities and discussions that are meaningful and lasting, and support our entire community.”
GCW not only provides children and teen support and bereavement groups, there are also Family Adventure Afternoons one Sunday a month when families are encouraged to come to the clubhouse and just have fun. “Once you walk through those doors,” one club member promises, ”you can’t wait to come back!”
All of the people who come through the doors, children, teens, families and adults, find themselves in the same place - Gilda’s - a safe place; a “Club” you didn’t want to belong to, but are so grateful to have. A unique club with NO membership fees. Every service at Gilda’s is free of charge. And if you can’t walk through that door, you can pick up the phone and get help.
The clubhouse is filled with comfy couches and chairs, serene artwork, a beautiful library, a kitchen for nutrition classes and a large yoga studio.
And last but not least, there is a large children’s playroom called “Noogieland” in honor of the noogies Gilda Radner’s nerdy character Lisa Loopner would endure from her equally nerdy boyfriend, Todd (actor Bill Murray). “That’s sooooo funny,” Lisa would grimace, “I forgot to laugh!”
Boy did she make us laugh and through Gilda’s Club America’s comedic sweetheart is still lifting our spirits.
To register for the symposium or receive information on any of the programs call or email: Manager of Children, Teens and Family Programs Laura Moore at 914-644-8844 X 104, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A Safe, Happy Halloween For All Kids
Halloween is a day that should be fun for children, when they get to dress up and go trick-or-treating. However, for families with food allergies, diabetes and celiacs, it’s a day that parents dread because when their children pick a treat, they could find something that can be a serious threat to their health.
For the past few years, Armonk parents have come together to ensure that all children can have a fun and safe Halloween. Through the national Teal Pumpkin Project, which has been locally organized by Armonk parents Michelle Isban and Rachel Nozad, thousands of non-food treats have been collected so all children can safely experience the joy and traditions of trick-or-treating.
A safe and happy halloween can be had by all thanks to the collaborative efforts of parents, local businesses and organizations. A special thanks goes to the Byram Hills Preschool Association, the Daisy Troops, Houlihan Lawrence, Jagger and Jade, Town Center Pharmacy, and CVS Pharmacy.
On Halloween day donated treats will be distributed in teal bags from the homes on Wampus and Glendale Avenues. “If your child requires a safe Halloween treat, be sure to look for these teal bags,” says Isban.
Never Forget 9/11
August 11, 2017 Volunteer New York 9/11 is a way to serve and to remember the service provided by many first-responders, blood donors and volunteers who were present after the tragic attacks of September 11, 2011.
All community members are encouraged to participate in Volunteer New York 9/11, including families, individuals, and business groups on Saturday September 9 through Monday September 11.
Registration is required for the many volunteer opportunities throughout Westchester County, including some nearby.
As part of the hunger relief corps program, volunteers are needed at Hillside Church’s Food Pack Night on Friday September 8 from 7:00pm to 8:00pm.
Help support Furniture Sharehouse—Westchester’s furniture bank—on Saturday from 9:30am to 11:30am. Volunteers are needed to organize the warehouse, arrange the lamp department, art department, and bonus area.
Take a bite out of hunger at Mount Kisco’s Interfaith Food Pantry on Saturday September 9 when volunteers at Stop & Shop will encourage customers to donate food to the pantry.
Every Dog Deserves to Find a Home Adopt-A-Dog Participates in Clear the Shelters
August 8, 2017 Adopt-A-Dog in Armonk will be participating in this year’s nationwide adoption event – Clear the Shelters on Saturday, August 19. This year we hope to bring the community together and find homes for as many dogs possible.
"Adopt-A-Dog is excited to announce that we will be participating in NBC and Telemundo's Clear the Shelters nationwide event for the third time on August 19. Clear the Shelters is a fantastic opportunity to save a homeless animal's life by adopting and hopefully "clearing" the shelters to help save more lives.” Adoptions Coordinator, Kelly Duggan says. “Please join us August 19 from 10:00am to 4:00pm at the shelter at 23 Cox Avenue, Armonk. All adoption fees will be waived that day.”
Clear the Shelters is an amazing event that NBC 4 New York / WNBC and Telemundo 47 / WNJU partnered up together for to find homeless pets a forever home. Adopt-A-Dog’s mission is to save, socialize and secure loving homes for unwanted or abandoned dogs. Clear the Shelters helps them accomplish this mission.
Much Needed Holiday Hugs for Our Troops
November 16, 2016 Operation Support Our Troops is gearing up for the holidays to support 500 service men and women and they need help. Once again, founders Judi Hefferon and Peg Lee and crew, will send stuffed Christmas stockings and Chanukah gift bags to deployed armed forces who will not be home for the holidays. "These packages mean a great deal to our brave men and women overseas," says Hefferon. This year is especially personal and close to home as one of the units to receive the packages will be Chris Cioffoletti’s, Byram Hillls Class of 2010, unit.
In order to make sure the goodies are delivered in time, they are asking for donations to be dropped off by Sunday December 4, at the latest. The drop location is 2 Leisure Farm Drive, Armonk, or email email@example.com if you need your donation picked up.
Guidelines for stocking and gift bag assembly are as follows:
Buy a standard 18-19 inch size Christmas stocking/gift bag and fill with the following suggestions: Stuff the toe with a big bag of M&M’s, hand towel, or a nice pair of socks (this will help keep the toe part of the stocking open). Continue to stuff the stocking/bag with the suggested items below. Close the top with safety pins. Label the stocking for male or female.
Great items to stuff the stocking /gift bag with are: Beef Jerky; power bars; trail mix; dried fruit; nuts; tuna/salmon in foil bags, M&M’s, cough drops, Mach 3 or Fusion razors with replacement blades (dry shaving with a disposable razor hurts); shaving cream; toothbrush; toothpaste; deodorant; small package of wipes; gloves; hand/foot warmers; puzzle books; and NEW magazines.
Don’t forget a To/From sticker or holiday care addressed to Dear Hero or Soldier, with your email or snail mail address--maybe you will receive a thank you note.
If you would rather make a monetary donation, Operation Support Our Troop will shop and stuff for you. Each “Holiday Hug” costs approximately $25 per soldier. Checks made out to Operation Support Our Troop, Inc. are 100% tax deductible.
Hefferon and Lee conclude that "OSOT will continue to send packages until all of our troops are home."
White Plains Chapter Celebrates with Service
October 24, 2016 White Plains – In honor of the founding of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, the members of the White Plains Chapter brought pruners, shovels, rakes, and gloves and cleaned-up the Old Washington Oak Tree Garden located at the North Broadway and Virginia Road intersection.
October 11 is the National DAR Day of Service. On that day, and the days surrounding it, chapters throughout the country and around the world give back to their communities through volunteer service. White Plains Daughters honored their American heritage by demonstrating their commitment to North White Plains on the anniversary of the DAR's founding.
"This was a great opportunity for the Chapter to commemorate its past and to make a difference in our community," said Brook Hanna, Regent. "The garden was neglected and was impeding drivers’ line of sight, it needed an overhaul and the White Plains Chapter stepped up to tackle the overgrowth."
The White Plains Chapter has a long history with this garden. On October 28, 1921, the Chapter dedicated a monument at the site of the Historic Old Oak Tree. The inscription on the stone reads, "Near the spot where the old historic white oak stood which was a "line" tree to the Indians and which sheltered Washington and his troops." Then again on March 20, 1928, the Chapter placed an iron and bronze marker bearing an oak tree, hung from a design of a gun with bayonet pointing to Washington's headquarters.
The NSDAR is open to all women, ages 18 and older, who have a direct line to a Patriot who served in the American Revolution. Genealogists are available to help those seeking membership with their applications.
For more information about the White Plains Chapter, their activities and membership please email the Chapter Regent: Brook Hanna at firstname.lastname@example.org or call: (914) 400-9343.
St. Stephen’s Handicap Ramp Built as Eagle Scout Project
September 17, 2016 For his Eagle Scout project, Michael Ramsey rebuilt the handicap ramp at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. A lifelong member of the church, Ramsey said, “When I started thinking about doing my Eagle Scout project, the ramp was shut down. The older members of this church relied on the ramp, so I took it upon myself to fix it up completely so that everyone can use it.”
The Byram Hills senior said it took three years from first thinking about building the ramp to its dedication on September 11.
Volunteer work was done by boy scouts, his parents and brothers, and anyone else who wanted to help out. By word of mouth they raised $10,000. He sent out postcards and followed up with handwritten notes to the congregation members asking for support of the project. “Michael went and shook hands and people were generous,” said Kathy Ramsey, his mother.
The Episcopal Parish of St. Stephen’s was first formed in 1842. In the mid-eighteen hundreds, the congregants of St. Stephen’s Church subdivided and sold a large parcel of its land. The property was developed as the first residential sub-division in the hamlet of Armonk. The church, its cemetery, and the homes built on the property adjacent to the church along Bedford Road are recognized as a national historic district. From October 2016 to October 2017, the congregation plans to celebrate their 175th Anniversary.
As part of the Sunday September 11 church service, St. Stephen’s opened its doors after a complete renovation of the interior sanctuary. During the service Ramsey blessed the ramp and all who use it.
He said because of the age of the church, when planning the project they looked for materials that would be long lasting and required low maintenance. The ramp measures over four feet wide, and approximately 90 feet long with a switchback. The solid white hand railing is made of plastic, which Ramsey said will not rot. The decking is ipe, a hard Brazilian wood that has the same fire safety rating as concrete.
The Reverend Nils Chittenden of St. Stephen's Church said he is delighted that they are able to offer the handicap ramp to the community. “I want to thank Michael Ramsey and his family, some of the kids from the church, as well as others in the scout troop that helped make this happen. They have done a fantastic job. They reconstructed the ramp to the highest standard. Everyone in the parish and the community owes them a debt of gratitude for what they have done.”
Ambassador Gregg Meets Cub Scouts By Paul Lashmat
September 13, 2016 Donald P. Gregg, Chairman of the Pacific Century Institute and former Ambassador to South Korea, National Security Adviser to Vice President H. W. Bush, and CIA Chief of Station throughout Asia met with the 3rd grade Cub Scouts of Pack 94 in Armonk, NY.
As you can imagine, there was a lot to talk about. The boys were thoroughly engaged, asking lots of questions and providing their points of view.
Ambassador Gregg shared his experience working with the U.S. Presidents and other world leaders, giving insight into their personalities. The conversation also included an appreciation of Native American culture and its contribution to our society along with stories that were handed down from his father and grandfather that brought American History to life.
As a testament to the event’s success, many of the boys stayed after the meeting ended in order to continue the conversation. Global leadership, service to one’s country, and local community engagement are no longer abstract concepts to these 3rd graders.
A special thanks also goes to the North Castle Historical Society for hosting this meeting in the one room schoolhouse at Smith’s Tavern education complex, dating back to the 1800s. The setting was very conducive to an educational and intimate event.
Northern Westchester Hospital and local town governments have joined forces to make it easier to sign up as an organ donor.
While New Yorkers rank third in the country for people who wait for organ donors, they rank 50th out of 50 states in the percentage of residents who are registered as organ donors, according to Longliveny.org.
On Thursday October 6 North Castle’s NC4 will have staff a table at Armonk Square from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to encourage people to sign up, rain or shine.
There will be six locations in the area to register to enroll as an organ donor.
Other locations and hours are as follows:
Northern Westchester Hospital: 9am-5pm, 400 East Main St, Mt. Kisco Bedford: 12pm-4pm, Bedford Fire Department 34 Village Green, Bedford Village Chappaqua: 11am-4pm, 26 South Greeley Ave. Mt. Kisco: 8:30am-4:30pm, Village Hall,104 Main St. Pound Ridge: 12pm-4pm, Scotts Corners, 55 Westchester Ave. Somers: Town Hall, 335 Route 202 and The Library, 80 Primrose Route 139
Donate to Students Serving Soldiers
December 2, 2015 Please help with the Byram Hills High School’s Students Serving Soldiers Care Package Drive. At DeCicco & Sons Market on Friday and Saturday December 5 and 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. students will be available to collect the following suggested donations: travel-size toiletries; non-perishable foods (easy mac and cheese, noodles, etc.); beef jerky; candy (no chocolate); powdered drink mixes; DVD games; cards; books; outdoor activities such as frisbee and football; international calling cards; socks; sunglasses; and written letters. Please avoid aerosol or glass items.
For the holiday season, the club will ship all the donated items to United States military men and women serving overseas.
Community Invited to Mitzvah Project at CBY
March 17, 2015 Isabella Yallof invites the community to her Mitzvah project that will be held on Wednesday March 18 from 4:30 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. at Congregation B’nai Yisreal (CBY).
Isabella, a 7th grade student, will host a multimedia event to raise awareness for depression and mental illness.
“It’s sad for me to think about two recent young peoples’ lives which ended too soon,” said Isabella. She was referring to Miles Applebaum, a passionate 21 year-old young musician, who took his own life in October and Madison Holleran, a freshman at an ivy league university, who committed suicide due to school pressures. Isabella said she was also one of the millions of people in the world who suffered from depression. “Thankfully, I received the help I needed to win this battle.”
Teens from Byram Hills will express themselves through different mediums in the arts; playing instruments, singing, dancing and poetry, added Shari Applebaum, Miles’s mother and Isabella’s Culture teacher at Congregation B’nai Yisrael.
Guest speakers will include Dr. Jennifer Powell-Lunder, a speaker from CBY’s Caring Committee and Shari Applebaum. Dr. Powell-Lunder is a clinical psychologist who specializes in work with tweens, teens, young adults and their families. CBY’s Caring and Social Action Committee provides direction and resources for people who are in need from Armonk, Westchester and beyond. Shari will speak from her personal experience and from a mom’s perspective. This promises to be educational and entertaining, said Shari.
Sprinting at Windmill Races
September 4, 2016 Saturday morning was a day of races at the Windmill Club. Forty adults raced in the 12th annual Windmill Triathlon, followed by dozens of boys and girls who raced in age-group biathlons and triathlon.
Many people came out to cheer and volunteer. The event would not be possible without the volunteers who stood at every turn of the adult 14-mile bike course to give directions on the rolling hills through neighboring towns.
Although the competition is friendly, triathletes push themselves to perform their very best. In the younger boys biathlon the first biker came to a sliding stop at the transition with one knee on the pavement. His parents ran to him. They grabbed his bike, helmet, and the crowd cheered. He was fine as he ran off for one lap around the lake.
Many triathletes are returning participants who look forward to the race year after year. The course is fun the adults, some of whom are known as weekend warriors. The distance of the sprint triathlon is 1/3-mile swim, 14-mile bike, and 5K run. The finish times vary from one to two hours and the racers always end with a pounding heart beat.
Thanks to all the volunteers and community businesses that supported a good cause where the proceeds are donated to the Pleasantville Cottage School.
High School Supports Mental Illness
June 6, 2016 The Byram Hills community showed a strong presence on June 4 to bring awareness and eliminate the stigma of mental illness at the second annual Run for Daniel. Despite the Sunday morning rain, they had a great turnout, said Ann Laitman. As a teenager, Daniel, her son, was diagnosed with schizophrenia.
Honored guests in attendance were State Senator David Carlucci; State Assemblyman David Buchwald; marathoner Bill Rodger; and inspirational speaker Hakeem Rahim. Both outgoing Byram Hills High School principal Chris Borsari and incoming principal Chris Walsh were also there to support the event.
Principal Borsari said, "I was happy to see the turnout we had despite the weather, our prom the night before, and the Autism Walk which occurred the same day. Raising awareness and reducing the stigma associated with mental health issues has been a focus of BHHS for the last several years and the Run for Hope is just one method to keep the message at the forefront of people's minds. We are especially grateful to the Laitman Family and Team Daniel for their collaboration and support of our efforts."
Live entertainment at the high school track was performed by the Lagond Music School's three bands. Laitman family members Rachel Laitman and her Fine Young Fellows played in the gym and Daniel Laitman presented a comedy act.
"We had a terrific turnout by Byram Hills students and alumni and their families, people from our community and many others," added Laitman. Almost 230 who attended, including volunteers from the Byram Hills High School Track Team, the Student Wellness Action Committee, as well as North Castle Town Board member Josè Berra.
The nearly $15,000 that was raised goes toward organizations involved in treatment, research, and support of mental illness. There were representatives from several mental illness foundations: Mental Health Association of Westchester; Brain and Behavior Research Foundation; The Harris Project; American Foundation for Suicide Prevention; NAMI Westchester; and NAMI NYS.
North Castle Citizen Corps Council By Jackson Harrower
June 12, 2016 The North Castle Citizen Corps Council (NC4), facilitates an opportunity for every town resident to participate in the town’s Emergency Preparedness Plan through education, training and/or volunteer services. The group is organized under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Americorps Program, administered under the New York State Emergency Management Office, and in partnership with the American Red Cross.
The group springs into action whenever trouble strikes North Castle to assist in any way possible. Day to day, the organization helps with public events and educates the town on preparedness and safety. Dave Bauer is the chairman of NC4. He says, “NC4 is a great opportunity to get involved in the community. It’s a fulfilling experience and all the residents of North Castle are encouraged to participate.”
North Castle Volunteers Give Back at Fol De Rol & Zero Waste Day
July 6, 2016
Local volunteer groups are the epitome of John F. Kennedy’s call to public service. In his inaugural address in 1961, President John F. Kennedy urged Americans to participate in public service. “My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
Volunteers of Armonk’s two most recent charity events--Armonk Lions’ Fol De Rol and North Castle’s Recycling Committee’s Zero Waste Day--are inspiring examples of community service. Not only do these non-profit organizations strengthen the camaraderie among our community, these strong volunteer groups set an example for the younger generation to give back in the form of community service.
The Fol De Rol has welcomed the spring season to Armonk for 42 years. Over the June 6 weekend, Wampus Park was brimming with live entertainment as children enjoyed the carnival rides and games, and families meandered through the market.
This traditional weekend is made possible by a team of Fol De Rol volunteers who are members of the Armonk Lions Club. Their major fundraiser event is led by co-chairs Anthony Baratta and Anita Cozza. The money the Armonk Lions raise over the four-day event is donated back to the community in multiple ways, as well as county, national and international projects. They are looking for new people to be involved to help make the Fol De Rol an even better and more successful community event in the future.
North Castle’s Recycling Committee dedicated two days of events this year: on April 30 Zero Waste Day provided the community with the opportunity to drop-off waste to be recycled and reused; May 1 was a town-wide cleanup day.
The North Castle Recycling Committee co-chairs Linda Trummer Napolitano and Beth Pollack oversee a dedicated group of volunteers who are spread across many community entities that help conduct the successful events. They are also looking for new members to join the committee.
The numbers for the 2016 Zero Waste Day were:
• 684 cars participated • $1,800 of donations supported recycling initiatives • 1,700 pounds of clothing collected • 43 bikes donated • a van full of dog and cat items • 160 pieces of furniture were collected for reuse • 7,600 pounds of scrap metal • 40 gallons of cooking oil
From the 2015 Zero Waste Day, there was an increase in the collection of:
• over 20,000 pounds of e-waste • over 1,300 pounds of shredded material • 1,800 pounds of bulk waste, which was up by 1,700 pounds
The town-wide cleanup day was overseen by Malorie Lipstein, who is a Byram Hills High School student. Twenty-five groups of 40 volunteers collected 30 bags of trash and 22 bags of recycling material--a total of 52 bags were filled from around town.
Next year, cleanup day will be held on Earth Day, Saturday April 22. On that day, paper shredding will also be available and Byram Hills High School students plan to clean up outside the school.
As a reminder, the town also collects e-waste and scrap metal every first Saturday of the month between 9:00 a.m and 1:00 p.m.—except when the first Saturday falls on a holiday, and then the following Saturday is usually the collection day. Please check the recycling calendar for exact dates. Drop-off is behind Town Hall on Bedford Road, Armonk, near the North Castle Highway Department.