On Tuesday, March 20th, close to 100 players gathered at The Main Event in Farmingdale for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island’s (BBBSLI) 2018 “Poker Night”. The event, presented by The Integrated, raised more than $20,000 in support of the mentoring agency’s programs across Long Island.
“Another fun and lively Poker Tournament in the books! Thanks to the generosity and support of our sponsors and event attendees, the funds raised tonight will allow our agency to provide more children across Long Island with quality mentoring services,” said BBBSLI Director of Development Meredith McCaslin.
Jim Kiley revealed the championship hand at the coveted final table. Jim Costa, Sr. and Ben Cooper finished in 2nd and 3rd Place, respectively. The top prize was a three-piece luggage set and $1,500 Travel Voucher to anywhere in the world. Second prize was an RCA 43” Smart TV, and the third-place winner took home an overnight East End Wine Tasting Getaway.
BBBSLI would like to express our appreciation to presenting sponsor The Integrated. Thank you to our Ace Sponsors: CHIPS Technology Group, Merrick Madmen and Red Hat as well as our Queen Sponsors: Statewide Roofing and Steve Madden.
We also want to recognize those companies and individuals who generously donated prizes; Hotel Indigo East End, Kristin Thorne, NYCB Live!, Skytop Lodge, Steve Madden, The Main Event, The Paramount, and WABC-TV.
To view more photos from the event click here
On Wednesday, February 28th, nearly 200 people packed Governor’s Comedy Club in Levittown to attend Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island’s (BBBSLI) annual Comedy Night, presented by VICOM Computer Services. The show included performances by five talented comedians who had guests laughing the entire night.
“Thank you to our 2018 Comedy Night Presenting Sponsor, VICOM Computer Services, our table sponsors and event attendees! This year’s event was a huge success and it was great to see so many people enjoying a night of laughter and comedy, in support of mentoring on Long Island,” said BBBSLI Director of Development, Meredith McCaslin.
Special thanks to the event’s table sponsors – CHIPS Technology Group, DYCON Enterprises, Executive Business Association, Network Long Island, Michael & Kelly Stanley, Wells Fargo and Col. E. David Woycik, Jr. (Ret.) Esq.
Some lucky guests went home with fantastic raffle prizes, including a Hotel Indigo Wine & Spirits Getaway for Two, an RCA 43″ Smart TV, a Black Hawk Imports Basket of Spirits and a Fitbit Charge 2 Health Tracker. Thank you to our generous raffle sponsors, Black Hawk Imports, Hotel Indigo, Mary’s Pizza and Pasta of Farmingdale, and Governor’s Comedy Club
We also want to express our appreciation to Andrea, James and the staff at Governor’s Comedy Club whose service and talent helped make the night a memorable one.
To view more photos from Comedy Night 2018 click here
Raising money for an already prevalent cause, like autism or breast cancer, is difficult enough. Raising money to prevent problems before they arise is a whole other challenge. “It’s like investing in your 401k,” said Mark Cox, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters Long Island. “You preach to somebody when they’re young, ‘Put money in and you’ll be better off in the long run’…Our biggest challenge is convincing people that investing now in the youth is going to save us money in the long run—less kids going into crime and jail.”
It doesn’t pull on the heart strings but non-profits are businesses, with bills and payrolls and bottom lines that need to be addressed. “You can’t continue to serve more kids unless you’re raising money because in order to provide the proper professional support that these matches need, you need more staff.” Fortunately, when BBBS hired Cox as CEO in 2013, they found exactly the business-minded leader needed.
Cox grew up in Massachusetts and played football and lacrosse at Hofstra. He landed a job with alumni relations before progressing to become the associate director of external affairs in the athletics department, overseeing development, marketing and corporate partnerships. In this role, Cox interacted with many of the school’s donors, one of whom was a board member of BBBS and mentioned an opening with the organization. Content where he was, Cox was reluctant. “I loved what I did at Hofstra and right away I said, ‘no.’ Then I went home, I thought about it, did some research on the organization and said ‘You know what? I’m going to go put an application in.’”
Cox joined as chief development officer and seven years later, in 2013, took the role of CEO. During his time, membership has grown to include more than 500 of Long Island’s youth, thanks in part to Cox’s business acumen. His predecessor began a clothing collection center to help raise money for BBBS. Cox implemented new strategies to claim a 300 percent increase in the center’s net profits. “I was able to use basic business skills to take a look at the expenses and the efficiencies. The biggest thing for us has been utilizing technology to take it to the next level.”
All the money goes back into BBBS, helping increase the number of youths the organization can mentor, a population that, contrary to common thinking, spans the spectrum of backgrounds. “The general public would probably like to think it’s a child coming from a low-income, broken home. It’s not that all the time. We have kids from great family structures, but may have a sibling who has a developmental disability like autism. That child takes up 100 percent of the focus in the home and the family has come to Big Brothers to enroll their other child…to get some guidance and have an adult to spend time with.” No matter their background, participants in the Long Island chapter are plagued by similar issues. “In this day and age there’s a lot of bullying going on and a lot of the areas we serve there’s gang and drug exposure.”
With those issues in mind, and roughly 500 children on BBBS Long Island’s wait list, there is no let down for Cox, who has his foot firmly on the pedal. “My goal in the future is really to continue the growth we’ve been experiencing the past four years that I’ve been here. I think we will continue to make a difference.”
On January 20th, in celebration of National Mentoring Month, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island (BBBSLI) hosted its annual Winter Blast match event presented by Geico at Dave & Busters in Islandia. Bigs and Littles all enjoyed a fun filled day of games, food and raffles. The event also included a book fair, sponsored by The Book Fairies, which allowed for every Little to leave the event with brand new books.
Each match received a Dave & Busters unlimited power play card and 25 raffle tickets to use for the Chinese auction. A variety of free giveaways were also distributed including, designer children’s shoes donated by BCNY Synclaire Brands, handmade hats & scarves donated by Care to Knit and winter coats donated by various Long Island schools.
“Winter Blast is always one of our favorite match events of the year. It is an incredible opportunity for our matches and the BBBSLI team to come together, socialize and have fun! We’re grateful for the donors and volunteers who help to make this possible,” said Nancy Farrell Travers, Director of Services for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island.
BBBSLI coordinates match events and activities throughout the year as part of its on-going professional support of our program’s mentoring relationships. The Winter Blast has become a highly anticipated event for both our Bigs and Littles. In addition to each match getting to enjoy a fun time together, events such as Winter Blast allow Bigs and Littles to socialize and interact with other matches and the BBBSLI staff which promotes unity and comradery with the agency.
Thank you to our presenting sponsor Geico for making this event possible. We also want to extend special thanks to the Estee Lauder Good Works volunteers who gave their time to help throughout the event.
Feeling the excitement in the room and seeing the enjoyment on the faces of our matches truly made this event a “blast” for everyone in attendance.
To view more photos from the event click here