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UJAFedScarsdaleplattusMore than 100 guests gathered on Thursday, June 16, 2011, to celebrate UJA-Federation of New York’s Scarsdale community, its contributions to the organization’s 2011 Annual Campaign, and the vital work of UJA-Federation.

UJA-Federation raises funds that sustain the activities of more than 100 health, human-service, educational, and community-building agencies. These community-based organizations provide services that combat poverty, help the elderly age with dignity, promote Jewish identity and renewal, strengthen children and families, and open doors to those with disabilities and special needs.

During the Scarsdale Couples Event, the successful completion of a special initiative by UJA-Federation’s Scarsdale Women’s Philanthropy also was announced. This effort raised funds for Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS) Senior Program

The WJCS Senior Program, which offers 250 older adults a critical lifeline that connects them to others and to their community, was facing a major financial crisis. Scarsdale Women’s Philanthropy committed to raising $50,000 to close its budget shortfall. Once that goal was reached, an anonymous donor committed to contributing an additional $25,000.

“We’re a strong community, committed to making a difference where we can,” said Scarsdale Divisional Chair Caryl Orlando. “We

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Caryl Orlando, Robin Silk, Pam Frankel-Stein, Rochelle Waldman, Loryn Kass, and Stephanie Hurwitz
saw how critical this program is to the seniors who see it as a reason to get up in the morning, and we knew we could help ensure its vitality for another year. We dedicated ourselves to this effort, and we succeeded.”

Tizmoret, Queens College Hillel’s a cappella group, performed at the event. UJA-Federation funds 12 local Hillels through Hillel: The Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, including the Hillel at Queens College.

Trisanne Berger, Pam Frankel-Stein, Robin Gottlieb, Stephanie Hurwitz, and Stephanie Tessler serve as Scarsdale area chairs.

About UJA-Federation of New York

UJA-Federation of New York, the world’s largest community-based philanthropy, raises funds that sustain the activities of more than 100 health, human-service, educational, and community-building agencies. Every day, these community-based organizations provide a multitude of services that combat poverty, help the elderly age with dignity, promote Jewish identity and renewal, strengthen children and families, and open doors to those with disabilities and special needs. With a reach that spans New York, Israel, and 60 countries around the globe, we touch the lives of 4.5 million people every year, fulfilling a mission to care for people in need, inspire a passion for Jewish life and learning, and strengthen Jewish communities. For more information, please visit www.ujafedny.org.

Pictured at Top: Susan Goldenberg, Nina Ross, and Linda Plattus

Photos supplied by UJA-Federation of New York

 

 

dannymaxbernsteinHere is the story of an ambitious effort being undertaken by a group of Scarsdale residents to raise $200,000 to save Amazing Afternoons, an after-school program in Mt. Vernon that is run by Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS).

Due to state budget cuts that take effect next September, the 125 children enrolled in Amazing Afternoons at Mt. Vernon’s Edward Williams Elementary School won’t have a place to go for homework help, recreation and mentoring. Lack of funding for Amazing Afternoons, which is administered by Westchester Jewish Community Services (WJCS), threatens to discontinue free after-school enrichment and academic support for the Mt. Vernon students, many who will go unsupervised in the afternoons. Nearly 90% of the children at the school qualify for free or reduced price lunch; most come from single-parent homes; and many live in homeless shelters. The demise of the program will also leave working families without affordable childcare in the after-school period.

That’s where their neighbors in Scarsdale come enter the picture -- The Edward Williams Fundraising Group -- many of whom are long-time volunteers at Amazing Afternoons, have set a goal to raise $200,000 so that the young program participants will continue to have “amazing afternoons” and their parents will have peace of mind knowing they are in a safe, nurturing environment.

Spearheaded by Scarsdale residents Danny Bernstein, Judy and Len Corlin, Rita Friedman, Helene Getz and Stan Josephson, as well as students Ali Schnitzer and Graham Winston of the Edward Williams Club at Scarsdale High School, the group is soliciting donations to keep Amazing Afternoons viable for the 2011-2012 school year. Many of these volunteers are congregants of Westchester Reform Temple (WRT), which adopted Amazing Afternoons years ago, providing a corps of adult and teen volunteers who offer a range of enrichment opportunities including ballet, chess, basketball, chorus, poetry and much more. A special bond developed between the WRT volunteers and the Edward Williams students – each group sharing experiences, learning valuable life lessons from the other and growing from their participation in the program.

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Program Director Figueroa and Mt. Vernon Councilman Yuhanna Edwards
This is not the first time that the Scarsdale community has come together to help Amazing Afternoons. For the past four years, the temple volunteers and music conductor Justin Bischoff of St. James the Less Church, also in Scarsdale, have teamed up with congregation members to raise funds to send many of the Amazing Afternoons youngsters to summer camp. The concerts have raised nearly $250,000, to support day camp scholarships for some 200 children served by WJCS programs. These efforts underscore the tremendous value of neighbors helping neighbors and the benefit that everyone derives from kindness and generosity in times of need.

To learn more, contact Janet Younkin of Westchester Jewish Community Services at 914-761-0600 x 204 or jyounkin@wjcs.com.

Pictured at top: Scarsdale resident Danny Bernstein and his son Max, at the recent fundraising kickoff.

 

KilloranSenior Options is a time for Scarsdale High School seniors to get out of the classroom and experience something new… and that’s just what six Scarsdale seniors did when they ventured into the world of volunteering and joined the Habitat for Humanity of Westchester team. Over the course of their five-week internship at Habitat, the group of seniors; Katie Wheeler, Alex Kowalczuk, Alex Wess, Jason Samwick, Constantinos Vissas, and Paolo Torres— dubbed “the CSI team” (Community Scarsdale Internship)—discovered the responsibilities, challenges, and rewards that accompany volunteering.

“The CSI team is great,” stated Jim Killoran, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity of Westchester. “I call them that because they come in at a time that is busy, and we have a long relationship with Scarsdale High School with a strong Habitat club there as well as seniors like these who come and end their four years at Scarsdale in service with Habitat. No better way to culminate four years of Scarsdale education than with service with Habitat.”

The seniors were each assigned their own job in working at Habitat. Wess, Samwick, and Vissas were in charge of deliveries and pick-ups for Habitat’s ReStore, which sells used and surplus household items at a small fraction of retail prices. After coordinating with donators and clients, the trio created a fully functional schedule and executed many of the deliveries and pick-ups themselves. Kowalczuk and Torres were the leaders of Habitat’s green initiative, which strives not only to make Habitat’s office and homes more environmentally friendly, but also to implement environmentally friendly practices in the community at large. The two worked to acquire and locally intersperse composters, recycling bins, and bike racks. And because of their work, Habitat is on its way to building a wind turbine and roof garden for its main office. Wheeler was head of social media and was able to update Habitat’s website and various Facebook pages, which include “Habitat for Veterans, Veterans for Habitat,” “Bike Mount Vernon,” and “Bike Yonkers.” She created flyers explaining Habitat’s initiative to help and involve veterans and the Habitat-hosted biking expedition in celebration of Earth Day.

While the seniors each had their own individual responsibilities, they most enjoyed the ability to work together. Their favorite day was MasterCard Day, an event for which over 100 MasterCard employees came out to help clean up and beautify a Yonkers neighborhood. Wheeler teamed up with Riverside High School students to design a mural for the face of an abandoned building on Ashburton Avenue. The mural, which read, “Go green, go clean with Habitat,” emphasized Habitat’s mission to create environmentally friendly housing and practices throughout Westchester County. The seniors were truly amazed at what they had accomplished in a single day—vacant lots had been converted into community gardens, trash was picked up, walkways were cleared, and progress on Habitat’s house on Orchard Street was furthered. “We really had fun together and got a lot accomplished,” reflected Kowalczuk. “This is God’s work!” cheered Wess, Samwick, and Vissas in unison.

Habitat for Humanity of Westchester engages more than 40 high schools and all the colleges in the county to help students realize that giving is part of success. All summer long it offers a Builders Camp in which students can learn to build. For more information visit www.habitatwc.org, call 914-636-8335, or see Habitat for Humanity of Westchester’s Facebook page.

Contributed by Scarsdale High School senior Katie Wheeler

grayston1Greyston Foundation is pleased to announce that over $300,000 was raised at the Greyston Annual Benefit held at X2O Xaviars on the Hudson. B-Lab Co-Founder, Andrew Kassoy, and Greyston Board Member and Bakery Volunteer, Ruth Suzman, were honored at the event for their exceptional service and dedication.

“It was a spectacular evening,” said Edward Falkenberg, Chair of the Board of Directors. “This was our biggest turnout in years with over 300 people in attendance. We are extremely grateful to the community for their ongoing support for the Foundation.”

A highlight of the evening was the dedication of the Greyston Bakery’s PathMaking Center to Ruth Suzman. In honor of her long-standing and valued commitment to Greyston, the new Greyston PathMaking Center will be renamed, “Ruth Suzman PathMaking Center” and will feature a library, meeting rooms and computer work stations. The PathMaking Center will be a safe, confidential and high-tech environment for individuals who turn to Greyston for personal assistance.

Co-Chairs of the 2011 Greyston Annual Benefit include Carolyn Bess (Manhattan), Cheryl Dorsey (Manhattan), Patricia and Edward

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Michelle Friedman and Gregg Lerner
Falkenberg (Scarsdale), Sara Horowitz (Brooklyn), Caryl and John Orlando (Scarsdale) and Suzanne and Andrew Yearley (Scarsdale). The Honorary Chair was United States Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

All funds raised at the event will support Greyston Foundation’s community development efforts, which it utilizes as a means of achieving personal and community transformation. Well-known for its Bakery, Greyston also provides jobs, affordable housing for disadvantaged individuals, medical and holistic care to adults living with HIV, high-quality child care, and teaches adolescents valuable life skills, engages public school children in hands-on environment education and supplies employment and training to the formerly homeless and previously incarcerated.

For more information about Greyston Foundation, please contact Jonathan Greengrass at 914-376-3900 ext. 295, visit www.greyston.org or email jonathang@greyston.org .

Pictured at top: Andrew Kassoy, Ruth Suzman and Steven Brown: Photos by Michael Priest

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Marc Greenwald and Darren Friedman
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Edward Falkenberg and Patrick James

 

 

sustainability_panelThe Scarsdale Forum had a very full agenda for their June 2nd annual meeting. In addition to honoring Barbara Kemp and Linda Chayes who just completed six years on the School Board, the Forum also elected their new leadership and welcomed BK Munguia as President, Dan Hochvert as First Vice President, Robert Berg as Secretary and Robert Tucker as treasurer.

The Forum’s Sustainability Committee invited an expert group of panelists to discuss Greening Our Way to Good Health. The three women who spoke offered a wealth of ideas on how to make your home safer and greener and provided useful information on the dangers of the foods we commonly eat and cleaning products we use everyday.

Steve Frantz introduced the panelists, who are all leaders of non-profits with the goal of sustainability. At the table were Megan Klein of Earthjustice, Patricia Wood of Grassroots Environmental Education and Nancy Alderman of Environment and Human Health Incorporated. They each pointed out how individuals can make subtle changes in their lives that together will go a long way to safeguarding our health and our environment.

Klein advised that we consider the distance our food travels before it is eaten, saying that on average food travels 1,500 – 2,500 miles. She advocated buying locally grown and produced foods despite the fact that goods might cost more at the local farmer’s market.

She provided some additional tips to keep in mind for your own health and the good of the planet:

  • Shop at farmers markets and join a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)
  • Eat what’s in season
  • Don’t buy bottled water or soda
  • Buy organic meat
  • Eat vegetarian one day per week
  • Don’t take the bag when you buy lunch
  • Don’t consume high fructose corn syrup
  • Buy organic goods in the supermarket
  • Don’t eat any packaged foods with more than five ingredients

Patricia Wood addressed many of the environmental hazards that are common in our homes. She made recommendations on which products are safe to use for cleaning, how to care for your lawn and what to look for on labels when buying so called “green products.”

Among her recommendations were:

  • Use an organic lawn care service – you can visit grassrootsinfo.org to find organic lawn care people in our area
  • Compost yard waste and kitchen scraps
  • Avoid pressure treated wood on playground equipment and decks as it contains arsenic.
  • In schools, urge administrators not to use pesticides and toxic cleaning products --and prevent buses from idling.
  • Inside your home, Wood claimed that Wifi is radioactive and suggested that you turn off your Wifi at night to reduce exposure
  • For cleaning, she recommended usage of bio-based, non-petroleum products without fragrances
  • Rather than use anti-bacterials that create antibiotic resistant strains, she recommended using thyme oil or grapefruit seed extract instead
  • For personal care, Wood advocated the use of bio based personal care products that are derived from plant or marine materials.
  • Last, she said that even the paint on our walls can be toxic and recommended the use of the Natura line of paints from Benjamin Moore, which are no-VOC paints.

Nancy Alderman also revealed more disturbing facts about toxic products and their effects.

She reported the following:

  • The largest exposures come from vehicle exhaust and cleaning products we use at home. A study by the CDC found that over 90% of participants had chemicals in their bodies, which can be passed onto embryos via the umbilical cord that carries chemicals and pollutants to the fetus.
  • Asthma rates have rising continually for the past 30 years and the incidence of peanut allergies has tripled in the past decade.
  • Contributing to toxins in the environment are air fresheners that contain toxic chemicals.
  • Fire retardants that are present in carpet, household fabrics and sleepwear are another environmental hazard.

Together, the three women made a very convincing case for rethinking your buying and eating habits. You can learn more at www.grassrootsinfo.org and at www.sustainable.org. Thanks to the Scarsdale Forum and the Sustainability Committee for putting together this enlightening session.

Pictured at top: (top row from left ) Bruce Wells, Steve Frantz, Dan Hochvert
(bottom row from left) Megan Klein, Patricia Wood, Nancy Alderman

 

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