Category Page: Event Highlights

BBBSLI Kicks Off 2016 Poker & Networking Series with “Poker Night”

On Tuesday, March 8th, 100 players kicked off Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island’s (BBBSLI) 2016 Poker & Networking Series at “Poker Night”. The event, sponsored by Mineola Lions Club, was held at The Main Event in Farmingdale and raised more than $23,000. Proceeds from “Poker Night” directly support BBBSLI’s mentoring program and will assist the agency in its efforts to recruit more male volunteers for the 180 boys currently waiting for Big Brothers.

“The message tonight was that we’re laser-focused on recruiting big brothers.  We need big brothers because more than 180 families have raised their hands to say they want help for their sons, and they’re all waiting for big brothers,” said BBBSLI Director of Development Jamison Skala.  He explained to attendees, “These families have reached out to us because their sons are “at-risk”.  They’re at-risk of choosing alcohol/drugs over saying no.  They’re at-risk of choosing gang-life instead of sports or other extra-curricular activities.  They’re at-risk of choosing to drop out of high school rather than graduate.  But Big Brothers change the game.  Big Brothers help make those tough decisions easier.  Big Brothers change lives”. 

Chris Kane revealed the championship hand at the coveted final table. David Tan and Mateo Vila finished in 2nd and 3rd Place, respectively. The top PRIZE was a $2,500 Traveler’s Choice Voucher. Second prize was NY Knicks game tickets and the third place winner received a Wine & Spirits getaway for two at Hotel Indigo.

A very special thank you to the event’s presenting sponsor, Mineola Lions Club and our table sponsors which included: CHIPS Technology Group, Clair Bartholomew & Sons Funeral Home, Gerard Kane, KeyBank, Merrick Madmen, Mineola Lions Club, Organized Momentum and Steve Madden.

Thanks also goes to those companies and individuals who donated prizes for the tournament:, Courtyard Travel, Hotel Indigo, LI Picture Frame, PC Richards, Red Door Spa and Steve Madden.


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“LOL for Mentoring” 2nd Annual BBBSLI Comedy Night Supporting Mentoring on LI

On Wednesday, February 24th, nearly 200 people packed Governor’s Comedy Club of Levittown to attend Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island (BBBSLI) second annual Comedy Night, presented by Network Long Island (NLI).

The show included performances by five talented comedians who had guests laughing the entire night!  Before they took the stage, BBBSLI’s CEO, Mark Cox, spoke about the agency’s need for male volunteers to serve as Big Brothers for more than 180 boys on our waiting to be matched list.  He encouraged everyone to spread the word to men they know personally and professionally who might make a great mentor. Mr. Cox further explained how funds raised through Comedy Night will help the agency recruit male volunteers throughout the 40 Long Island towns where boys are waiting for Big Brothers to call their own.

“Mark talked about attending the funeral for the father of one of our good friends and corporate sponsors earlier today,” said BBBSLI Director of Development, Jamison Skala.  “His three sons all spoke about the fact that he instilled in them the same two things, the importance of giving back and laughter.  Ironic I’d say that so many people joined us to laugh out loud for mentoring and give back, providing the resources we need to make sure more Long Island children beat the odds that are stacked against them”.

Special thanks to the event’s presenting sponsor, Network Long Island (NLI), and to our table sponsors – Advantage Title, CHIPS Technology Group, DeFreitas & Minsky LLP, Executive Business Association (EBA), Scholastic Promotions Awards & More, Tri-Net, Wells Fargo, and Col E. Dave Woycik, Jr. (Ret.), Esq.

The night also included a Chinese Auction, sponsored by CHIPS Technology Group, giving attendees the opportunity to take home one of many great prizes including Billy Joel concert tickets, an East End wine & spirits getaway, and a David Wright & Yoenis Cespedes signed baseball bat.  Thank you to our raffle donors –  All Shows LLC, Harry Katz Carpet One Floor & Home, Hotel Indigo East End, Nastasi-Silver Group, PC Richards and Red Door Spa.

We also want to express our thanks to Ginny, Andrea, and the staff at Governor’s Comedy Club whose service and talent helped make the night a memorable one.

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“Big Night Out” Honors More Than 30 Bigs in Recognition of National Mentoring Month

On January 28th, BBBSLI’s President’s Council hosted “Big Night Out” presented by Vicom. Members of our President’s Council, Board of Directors, and supporters gathered at Parlay Gastropub in Rockville Centre to honor more than 30 Bigs in recognition of National Mentoring Month.

“Thanks goes out to our President’s Council for hatching the idea to host an event that would gather themselves, our Bigs, agency staff, sponsors, and our Board of Directors “, said Jamison Skala, Director of Development for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island. “Guests thanked each other for their volunteerism, leadership and financial support – the energy in the room was incredible.”

A special thank you to the night’s presenting sponsor, Vicom, as well as Friend Sponsors of the event including: A1 First Class Viking Moving & Storage, American Land Services, Greg Parisi/GNP Branded Gear, Koeppel Martone & Leistman, Michael Oliveri and SVAM International.

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240 Children and 115 Families Receive Gifts & Meals from BBBSLI Holiday for Kids’ Sake Program

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On December 20th, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island (BBBSLI) brought joy directly to the doorsteps of children and families across Long Island through its annual Holiday for Kids’ Sake program which delivers holiday gifts and meals to those in need. Nearly 50 volunteer drivers gathered at Arrow Transfer and Storage in Hicksville to collect and deliver plenty of presents and two boxes of food to the doorsteps of 240 children and 115 families.

“We are proud to share that 100% of the children and families enrolled in the Holiday for Kids’ Sake program were sponsored, which means every single one of them received multiple items specifically requested on their holiday wish list,” said CEO Mark Cox.

The BBBSLI staff sorted through hundreds of brand new, unwrapped gift donations and gift cards generously donated by supporters of the agency, and hand-picked gifts for the children of those families served by the agency’s mentoring program.

Thanks to the generous donations and support BBBSLI received from 50 businesses, individuals and families, Holiday for Kids’ Sake was able to provide children with that ‘something special’ that they otherwise would not have received. Having presents and a full meal with all the trimmings delivered to their door also helped to alleviate some of the stress on the families, making this a joyful and promising holiday season.

“I thank you from the bottom of my heart,” said one grandmother of a child in our program. “I did not expect all this. I am so thankful for this program.”

Each contribution played a part in helping to make this a magical holiday season for so many families and children in need! A very special thank you from BBBSLI to those companies who went above and beyond this year with number of children they sponsored including: BJ’s of Islandia – 55 children, Federated Group – 40 children, OpenLink – 32 children and Nixon Peabody – 24 children.

BBBSLI would like to thank all of the companies, families and individuals who sponsored children, hosted gift drives, made financial donations and gave their time to make this season a bit brighter for so many families and children in need!

Direct Child Sponsorship: Bachman Family, BJ’s – Islandia, Brown Family, Jennifer Cavalieri, Al Diemer, Federated Group, Garden City Group, Gerard Kane, Paula Kinsella, Maryann McGuiness, Meyers Family, National Association of Professional Women, Nixon Peabody, Open Link, Paquette Family, Ross Family, Dan Schmidt, Dan Sedman, Voula Serres and Stephanie Spooner.

Food Sponsor: Dantona Industries

General Program Sponsors: Arrow Transportation & Storage, Advantage Group, Castle Premium, Certilman Balin Adler & Hyman, LLP, Cox Family, Executive Business Association, Hofstra University, Long Island Business Group, NY Auto Giant, PETSMART, Phyllis Cassell – Care to Knit, Smolinsky Family, Sports Authority, Stop and Shop, John Theissen Children’s Foundation, Wells Fargo Advisors and the Whitmore Group.

Financial Sponsors: Rachel Barrett, Clare Freidlander Foundation, Dantona Industries, Krasner Family, MSC, National Grid – Lamp Lighters, Open Link, Rasa Family, Steel Equities and John Sullivan.


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BBBSLI Hosts ‘All In’ Poker Tournament

On Tuesday, November 17th, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island (BBBSLI) presented its annual ‘All In’ Poker Tournament as part of its Poker & Networking event series. 150 players competed in the sold-out event, sponsored by Steve Madden, held at The Main Event Restaurant & Sports Bar in Farmingdale. The event raised nearly $30,000 in support of quality mentoring on Long Island.

“Tonight, five of our case managers spread out across the room to try their hand at Texas Hold’em (many for the first time) and share their stories of our Big Brothers and Big Sisters changing children’s lives daily,” said BBBSLI Director of Development Jamison Skala.  “It’s my hope that many of the players with us tonight leave with a deeper understanding of the work we do and a greater appreciation for the thousands of hours our volunteers spend mentoring their Little Brothers and Little Sisters.”

Joseph Pennachio revealed the championship hand at the coveted final table. Chris Angotta and Chris Kane finished in 2nd and 3rd Place, respectively. The top prize was a $2,500 Traveler’s Choice Voucher. Second prize was a Reunion Resorts and Golf Getaway and the third place winner received a 50” JVC Smart HDTV.

BBBSLI would like to express its appreciation to the events presenting sponsor Steve Madden. Special thanks to the night’s table sponsors: Aflac, AmericanLand, BFCU, CHIPS, Claimfox, Clair Bartholomew & Sons, Inc., EBA, Fat Guy Media, NLI, PSEG and The Whitmore Group

Additional thanks to those companies and individuals who donated prizes for the tournament including: GNP, Hotel Indigo, NY Jets and Ryan England, PC Richards, Pete Maniscalco, Reunion Resorts- Steve Cohen, Rob Salvatico and Steve Madden.


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Crucial Experiment Defends Title – Crowned 2015 battle of the Bands Champions


Farmingdale, NY (Nov 2015) – Crucial Experiment defended their 2014 title and was crowned Champion of the 3rd Annual Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island Battle of the Bands. The event brought together 100 guests who rocked it out at The Nutty Irishman in Farmingdale in support of mentoring on Long Island.

Contenders included The Lost Souls, Megaweapon, and Crucial Experiment who was back to defend their 2014 title. Crucial Experiment was the first performance of the evening, winning over the judging panel with their mix of alternative rock and original music.

Crucial Experiment has performed together for more than 11 years and includes band members Chris Fahey (Drums & Vocals), Phil Zirkuli (Keyboard & Vocals), Jason DeVore (Lead Guitar), Sean Michel (Guitar), Tom Fogarty (Bass & Vocals) and Jeff Pollack (Percussion).

“I would like to extend a special thank you to our sponsors, guests and talented musicians who made this event a great success,” said BBBSLI Director of Development, Jamison Skala. “We all look forward to Crucial Experiment going for a three-peat at our 2016 Battle of the Bands.”

BBBSLI would like to express its appreciation to the band sponsors: Molloy College, Arrow Transfer & Storage and Rosenthal & Rosenthal as well as the night’s award sponsor Meyer Suozzi English & Klein. Additional thanks to the Nutty Irishman Staff, WBAB Street Team, Greg Parisi, Judges, Volunteers and Staff.


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