On Tuesday, April 12th, Big Brothers Big Sister of Long Island (BBBSLI) celebrated their volunteer mentors (Bigs) at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Reception, presented by Darby Dental Supply. Volunteers along with their family members, board members and supporters of BBBSLI gathered at Crest Hollow Country Club to celebrate our Bigs for the time and energy they spend positively impacting the lives of children on Long Island. This celebratory reception was held during National Volunteer Week.
“The Volunteer Appreciation Reception is one of our most important events, we get to celebrate our Bigs for all they do for the agency and for their Littles and we also get to introduce the 2016 Scholarship Recipients”, said Nancy Travers, Director of Services for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Long Island.
The evening’s program recognized all of the Bigs for the many ways they give of themselves to positively impact the lives of their Littles. Also acknowledged were the 2016 scholarship award recipients. Scholarships are awarded to high school seniors pursuing higher education this fall, who have achieved academic excellence and demonstrate high levels of motivation, responsibility and resiliency in their everyday lives. These scholarships are made possible by supporters of BBBSLI; the families of the late Jeff Grant, Glenn Trovato, and Michael J. Weisbrod, and in honor of Dorothy & John Talotta, who recently established a new endowed scholarship.
The evening concluded with a few lucky Bigs taking home great raffle prizes including a 40” Philips LED LCD TV, a Hotel Indigo East End Wine & Spirits Getaway for Two, and a Samsung Galaxy Tablet.
Thank you to Darby Dental their sponsorship of this special event to honor our Bigs for all they do. Thanks also goes to those who donated raffle prizes including: Black Hawk Imports, @Hotel Indigo Long Island – East End, Huntington Learning Center, and P.C. Richard & Son.
Last but certainly not least, BBBSLI would like to express our deepest appreciation to all of our volunteer mentors. It is your commitment and dedication that makes it possible for our agency to make the positive impact we continue to have on the lives of young people across Long Island.
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BBBSLI recently teamed up with Hofstra Men’s Basketball to host “A Little Match Up” event sponsored by Col E. David Woycik Jr., (Ret) Esq. The match and mentor recruitment event included speeches from 2015 BBBSLI “Man of the Year” award winner and Hofstra Men’s Head Basketball Coach, Joe Mihalich and former NBA Champion and Hofstra Men’s Basketball Assistant Coach Craig “Speedy” Claxton. They spoke to mentors, mentees, family members and guests about the importance of youth mentorship.
After the speeches, players from Hofstra men’s basketball team led the group in a series of warm up exercises and drills followed by a series of 1-on-1 match up basketball games.
In addition to serving as a fun match activity for Bigs and Littles, the event was an opportunity for potential volunteers and families to learn more about BBBSLI’s mentoring programs.
BBBSLI would like to express our appreciation to Head Coach Joe Mihalich, Assistant Coach Craig “Speedy” Claxton, Assistant Coach Jason Posser and the Hofstra Men’s Basketball players for giving of your time to make this event so much fun for all in attendance. Thanks also to David Woycik for your sponsorship. Huge thanks goes to Hofstra Graduate students David Salomon and Jessica Avenia Gamba for coming up with the idea for this event and for all you did to help us organize it.
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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: Allshows.com, Courtyard Travel, Hotel Indigo, LI Picture Frame, PC Richards, Red Door Spa and Steve Madden.
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.
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.
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.