For the 22nd year, The Rallye Motor Company teamed with the Roslyn Union Free School District to benefit about 80 economically disadvantaged kids in the neighborhood by holding a holiday party Thursday at the Rallye Motors dealership in Roslyn.
At the party, children from first through fifth grade who were nominated by Roslyn Public Schools from East Hills School, Harbor Hill School and Heights School, had a great time. The danced while a DJ played music and they got to mingle with Rallye employees dressed as Donald Duck, Elmo, Mickey and Minnie Mouse.
Then, as the icing on the cake, Santa Claus (actually Rallye sales representative Victor Cosme) arrived on a fire truck, entered the building and presented the kids with bicycles, musical instruments, dolls, tablets, video games and other presents. Cosme, who has worked for Rallye since 2003 and been playing Santa at these annual Christmas parties for the past 12 years, is the father of eight-year-old twins.
“I grew up very poor,” he told the Press, noting he was born in the Dominican Republic 36 years ago, migrated to the U.S. at the age of 15, and has been living in Uniondale ever since. He enjoys playing Santa because of “the joy that I bring” to the kids, he said, pointing to the happy “look in their faces when they get that gift that they have been expecting.”
For the most part, children are given their first choice of gift, which Rallye purchases for them, according to Tanya Fernandez, a social worker for Roslyn Public Schools.
“This is my 16th year” taking part in the program with Rallye, she said.
Recalling the start of the Rallye kids’ party, Juliana Curran Terian, the company’s president and CEO, told attendees that her husband, Peter, who ran Rallye until his death in 2002, “wasn’t really a children guy.”
However, she remembered, “when I became pregnant, all of a sudden, he loved every child he ever saw” and decided he wanted to hold a Christmas party for local kids. She pointed out that Dennis Mallon, who worked with her husband, “orchestrated the first party.”
The first party was designed “to give back to the community” and also served as a way to get Rallye employees in sales and service to work together, Mallon told the Press. Kids always wanted bikes as gifts back then and Rallye service employees would assemble them for the kids, he said.
The annual party continues to be a way for Rallye employees to work together to help the local kids, Terian pointed out. “Everybody volunteers for this,” she said, adding they wrap all the gifts, start planning the event in September and “it comes off without a hitch every year.”
Helping to celebrate with the kids this time were guests including Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and East Hills Mayor Michael Koblenz.