Jessica Militello


UJA Legislative Reception Honors Those Fighting Opioid Crisis

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone spoke at the The UJA-Federation of New York e Long Island Legislative Reception at the Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center in East Hills on Friday, March 6, 2020.

The UJA-Federation of New York hosted the Long Island Legislative Reception at the Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center in East Hills to recognize local officials who have been combating the opioid crisis. 

Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder, the reception’s keynote speaker, said key to his mission is working along with Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Executive Director Steve Chassman and Family and Children’s Association President and CEO Jeffrey Reynolds in programs focused on approach, education, awareness, enforcement, and treatment.  

“I don’t need to speak up here, I need to speak to those young kids and get the message to them and understand what they’re doing when they go down that path,” Ryder said programs such as Wrestling Takes Down Drugs and Basketball Slam Dunks Drugs, to name a few.

Approximately 130 Americans lose their lives to an opioid overdose daily, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 

While detailing his struggle of nearly a decade in dealing with a heroin addiction, Benjamin Litchman, the chief creative officer of The T’shuvah Center, a Brooklyn-based residential Jewish recovery home and community for addicts, noted the epidemic affects Americans of all ages and backgrounds.

“We want the people who are forgotten about that are suffering on the street,” said Litchman, “because I am your son, I am your daughter, I’m the lawyer, I’m the legislator, I’m on Park Avenue, I’m on the park bench. This does not discriminate and it’s taking lives. At the end of the day, when everything clears, this is about saving lives and that’s what we’re doing.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone praised the efforts of all of the individuals in the room in working together to combat addiction.

“It’s all about partnership,” said Bellone. “The opioid crisis has been a focus here and we’ve made tremendous progress on what has been a devastating issue for us not only in the region, but all across the country.”

Long Island Advocates Warn of Muslim Genocide Occurring in Asia

Kutupalong Refugee Camp in Bangladesh in 2017 is inhabited mostly by Rohingya refugees. (Photo by John Owens-VOA)

Despite vows to never again allow the atrocities of the Holocaust reoccur, Muslims are subject to ethnic cleansing in several Asian nations — and many Americans are unaware, Long Island advocates warn.

Sounding the alarm are leaders of the Islamic Center of Long Island (ICLI) in Westbury and Glen Cove-based Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County (HMTC), which opened a joint exhibit Sunday called Never Again is Happening Again: The Persecution of Muslims in Asia.

“What is going on in Western China, India, Kashmir, and Myanmar — where there is state-sponsored genocide, racial purity laws, concentration camps, and exclusion of people from society, their jobs, their livelihood, and schools simply because they are Muslim — is no different than what the Jews experienced in Germany and other parts of Europe during [World War II],” said Steven Markowitz, chairman of HMTC. “We will not be silent and we will not allow the world to be silent again.”

At least 1 million Uighurs — an ethnic minority in China — and other Muslim minorities are being held in deceptively named Vocational Education and Training Centers, which human rights observers say are actually forced labor camps, in China’s northwestern Xinjiang province. Experts say at least 100,000 Muslims have been killed in what experts term a genocide in the Indian territory of Kashmir. And human rights observers say more than 10,000 Muslims have been killed in the Rohingya genocide that has displaced about 1 million people in Myanmar.

“We have to be not discouraged, but inspired to work together to try and educate people,” said U.S. Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-Glen Cove), who was among those in attendance for a presentation at the exhibits debut. “I can guarantee that 90 percent of the people in the country, maybe more, don’t even know this is happening.”

The program’s keynote speaker, scholar Dr. Imam Malik Mujahid, presented satellite images documenting the genocide in Kashmir and described concentration camps in Burma. His presentation was followed by eyewitness accounts from Dr. Mumtaz Mir and Habeeb Ahmed. 

“We cannot ignore the lessons we learned from the Holocaust, and if we ignore that, then we are rewriting history,” said ICLI President Isma Chaudhry. “We don’t want to be those unfortunate people who were part of history at that time and they chose to be indifferent. Indifference is a sin and that’s what we have to remind each other and ourselves.”

The exhibit, Never Again is Happening Again: The Persecution of Muslims in Asia, is on display at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, located at Welwyn Preserve, 100 Crescent Beach Road, Glen Cove. For more information, visit hmtcli.org

Bloomberg Campaign Office Debuts in Mineola

L. to R.: New York State Assemblymember Judy Griffin, New York State Senator John Brooks, Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone, Mike Bloomberg 2020 New York State Director John Calvelli, New York State Senator Todd Kaminsky, Nassau County Regional Officer Director Skye Ostreicher.

Dozens of supporters turned out Saturday for the grand opening of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign office in Mineola — his first outside of New York City.

Campaign staffers, volunteers, and local elected officials packed the office at 210 Old Country Road and took turns sharing why they’re backing the 77-year-old billionaire who announced his candidacy in November.

“I’ve known Mike Bloomberg for 25 years,” said John Calvelli, the New York State director of the Bloomberg campaign. “My confidence comes from knowing his leadership and what he can do. He has excelled as a businessman, a philanthropist, and a politician, and I think the United States deserves someone of his caliber.”

The campaign is planning to open 15 field offices statewide to build support ahead of New York’s presidential primary on April 28.

Supporters who stopped by had the opportunity to acquire lawn signs, buttons, and t-shirts as well as sign up to volunteer for canvassing, phone calls, and voter outreach for Bloomberg.

According to a poll conducted from January 27 to February 2 by Morning Consult, Democratic support for Bloomberg is at 14 percent, ranking him third among the nine candidates in the party.

Despite moving up in the polls, the presidential hopeful has faced some criticism for some of his policies while he was the city’s mayor, such as the stop-and frisk policy, which primarily targeted communities of color. Bloomberg has since apologized for the policy and has gradually moved up in approval in the polls, garnering support from Long Island elected officials like New York State Sen. Todd Kaminsky (D-Long Beach).

“I’m ready for leadership that actually plans for our future,” said Kaminsky. “So in the next few weeks, we all have to do our best to fight for Mike.”

Some of Bloomberg’s campaign promises include investing in local communities to create more jobs, supporting programs focused on improving the climate, and addressing gun safety with more effective background checks, as well as banning assault weapons.

Personally invested in supporting Bloomberg is Shenee Johnson, a community activist who has volunteered with Moms Demand Action since her 17-year old son was shot and killed just two weeks before his high school graduation in 2010. She spoke of how then-mayor Bloomberg personally spoke with her at the time of her son’s death.

“One day I was invited to an event with Mayor Bloomberg at the time,” said Johnson. “And before [the event] started, I told him my story and I felt like he really heard me. He didn’t run away from something controversial and he stood up to the pressure and the NRA because he knew it was the right thing to do.” 

Volunteers Pack 30,000 Meals For The Hungry at MLK Day Event

Volunteers package meals for the hungry at the Sid Jacobson JCC in East Hills on Jan. 20, 2020. Photo by Jessica Militello

For many people, Martin Luther King Jr. Day is usually a day off from work, but 200 volunteers at Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center in East Hills decided the nonprofit’s MLK Day initiative was a good way to help fight hungry in the community while keeping in the spirit of the holiday.

The Sid Jacobson JCC commemorated the day by partnering with the international hunger relief organization Rise Against Hunger to package 30,000 meals for those in need. The center was full of volunteers of all ages packaging rice meals to do their part to reach the goal of ending world hunger by the year 2030.

“We like to call this a day on instead of a day off,” said Susan Berman, the director of community engagement at SJJCC. “But if you’re around [the area] you have the opportunity to do something in Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy to try to improve the world, and that’s what we’re trying to do. So every year we have some type of service project to try to engage as many people as possible.”  

MLK Day is part of a larger effort that takes place across the New York metropolitan area with the UJA Federation that involves more than 5,000 volunteers who spend the day helping those in need. 

At Sid Jacobson JCC, the day’s activities included a complimentary breakfast and coloring activities for children before the meal packaging, which began at noon and lasted until about 2 p.m. People of all ages and backgrounds participated in the event, which involved an assembly line that took a team effort among each table making the proper serving size of each rice meal, bagging it, and passing it down to be weighed to ensure each meal is the same size and weight.

One of the volunteers at the meal packaging event, Cindy Kaplan, is also a regular at many of the center’s volunteering events. Kaplan worked as a pre-k teacher for about 23 years and feels particularly compelled to ensure that everyone, especially children, do not go without regular meals for any reason.

“I don’t think any child should go hungry in this rich country that we have,” said Kaplan. “[The event] is fun but the purpose is to get as many meals out there as we can. We should be able to provide meals around the world.”

The event surpassed its goal and were able to package more than 30,000 meals in just two hours. A first-time volunteer to the event, Marianna Wohlgemuth, like many of the others helping out that day, was just happy to be helping out for a great cause. 

“I’m a volunteer at the crocheting, knitting, and sewing group and that’s how I learned about this event,” said Wohlgemuth, “and we consider it a privilege to be able to participate today.”

Long Islanders Show Solidarity in March Against Anti-Semitism in Mineola

More than 2,000 people marched at a rally to protest Anti-Semitism. Photo by Joe Abate.

More than 2,500 Long Islanders from an array of backgrounds filled the streets of Mineola for the March Against Anti-Semitism to show solidarity following a recent spate of hate crimes targeting the Jewish community.

Marchers holding signs denouncing hatred started at the corner of County Seat Drive and 11th Street and ended on the steps of the Theodore Roosevelt Executive & Legislative Building, where local leaders spoke out against anti-Semitism.

“What history has taught us is this,” said U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY), who recalled his family’s persecution at the hands of Nazis in Ukraine in 1941. “If we speak out, we will prevail. Let us continue to speak out, to march, and to act together.”

The march was organized by the Islandwide Task Force Against Anti-Semitism and Symbols of Hate, a coalition formed last month in response to the rise in hate crimes. According to the Anti-Defamation League, 1,879 incidents of Anti-Semitism were reported nationwide in 2018 and in the past year anti-Semitic crimes have increased by 21 percent in New York City. 

Related Story: Long Islanders Push Back Against Hate Amid Anti-Semitism Crisis

Recent local incidents include a spate of anti-Semitic assaults in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community, a suspect allegedly stabbing five people at a rabbi’s house during a Hanukkah party in surburban Rockland County, and racist graffiti and swastikas found at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County in Glen Cove.

“It’s important that we know our history,” said New York State Attorney General Leticia James, adding that her office is forming a coalition between the African American and Jewish communities. “It was Jewish storekeepers who allowed black people not to go to the back door, but through the front door, and it was the blood of Jewish people that died for my freedom and your freedom. We stand together in love and recognizing that hate will not be tolerated in Long Island or anywhere in the states.”

Many of the marchers were local residents, such as married couple Susan and Charlie Deutsch, who grew up in Mineola. 

“Anti-Semitism is becoming rampant and we have to speak up,” Charlie said. “If you don’t say anything it’s just going to continue.” 

Rabbi Perl Anchelle, director of the Chabad of Mineola, emphasized the urgency of the march.

“It’s crucial that we all stand up to hate, no matter where it occurs,” said Rabbi Perl. “It’s an urgent task to build bridges with our fellow citizens to support them when they are in need and call on allies to help us when our communities are targeted. Sending a united front against hate, we can send the message that anti-Semitism, bigotry, and hate symbols of all kinds have no place in our community.”

Local leaders spoke at the march against anti-Semitism in Mineola on Sunday. Photo by Joe Abate.

Holocaust Survivor Photo Exhibit Inspires and Educates

L. to R.,: Dinah Kramer, Danny Weiss, and Werner Reich at the Survivor Exhibit opening on Jan. 4, 2020. Photo by Ed Shin.

Three years ago, photographer Danny Weiss listened to Irving Roth speak to a group of 12 year olds at a pre-bar mitzvah lecture to tell his story of the atrocities which he witnessed and experienced as a survivor of the Holocaust. Weiss was so moved by Roth’s strength, courage, and passion it inspired Weiss to embark on a project to show the world the faces of 18 survivors and their resiliency 80 years later.

The project culminated in the Survivor Exhibit, the opening of which was held Saturday at the Port Washington Public Library. The exhibit features portraits along with quotes from survivors that surround the photos. The quotes were not specifically attributed to the people in the portraits, a creative move on Weiss’ behalf to create an “overall feeling” throughout the exhibit. 

“When I started, I had a preconceived notion of what I thought the imagery should look like,” said Weiss. “It failed miserably in the first shoots. Over the process of three years, I went more in the direction of an organic experience, allowing the person to be seen.” 

Weiss asked his subjects questions like what the first song was that they heard on the radio when they made it to America, or what their favorite food was when they came here. The result created a varied and living human experience that moves and inspires its viewers. 

The project initially got started after Weiss teamed up with project producer Dinah Kramer, who works with Roth, the project’s initial inspiration, at the Holocaust Research Center in Temple Judea in Manhasset, which is where Weiss first heard Roth speaking. Kramer frequently volunteers and helps out and was quickly sought out for her assistance in the project. 

“I’m a daughter of Holocaust survivors,” said Kramer. “My mother’s picture is [here] and so I know a bunch of survivors. We started this project with no real idea of where we were going with it, but in these times with the uptick in anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial, we wanted to show the world these people are here and even though they were children and teens during the time of the Holocaust, they are stronger and they rebuilt their lives.”

North Hempstead Town Supervisor Judi Bosworth, whose parents were also Holocaust survivors, reflected on her family during the opening. 

“I’d like to think if my mom was still alive that she would have been number 19 of the portraits because she was a woman of great fortitude, always optimistic,” said Bosworth. “I would always say my mom’s a real pip, and she was.” 

Bosworth’s mother is also the reason she went into public service. 

“My mother would always say to me this is such a great country; if it weren’t for the United States of America, we wouldn’t have survived,” she recalled. 

But aside from the great energy and tenacity of the survivors in the portraits, it was just as important for the exhibit to be a source of education. To Roth, that has certainly been a pillar throughout his life and career as he speaks frequently to audiences on his experiences. 

“Humans are capable of heinous crimes but we’re also capable of great heights,” said Roth. “The question is, how would you achieve the great heights? By educating with a moral compass. I’ve seen the worst of humanity but I’ve also seen the most beautiful parts. As long as you retain your moral compass, there is a light.”

WNBC’S Matt Brickman and Dave Price Teach Weather Lesson at Oceanside School

WNBC meteorologists Matt Brickman and Dave Price visited Oaks Elementary School No. 3 in Oceanside on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2019.

WNBC meteorologists Matt Brickman and Dave Price treated students Wednesday at Oaks Elementary School No. 3 in Oceanside to a presentation called Weather Kids that showed students how fun learning about the weather can be.

Brickman and Price used fun demonstrations for a group of third graders to explain the elements that comprise the weather, how clouds are formed, and what makes up a tornado. The demonstrations included using shaving cream to show different kinds of clouds and blowing a beach ball with a leaf blower to show how wind and air pressure work. 

“The whole idea was to get kids excited about science and the weather and present it in an approachable way,” said Brickman. “A lot of the stuff that we do on TV is for mom and dad to plan what they’re going to wear and that sort of stuff, but it isn’t super exciting for [the kids]. So, the shaving cream, and the leaf blower and the air cannon, there’s some element of fun and that’s the design.”

WNBC first began its Weather Kids demonstration in 2017 as part of a community outreach program in order to get kids excited about science and the weather in a way that is both interactive and educational. 

“We used to talk more about weather safety and this year we changed it to add more experiments to make it a little more interactive,” said Alexandra Trochanowski, WNBC’s manager of community and communications.

Throughout the year the group tries to visit one school a week across the tri-state area. On average they aim for at least two to three visits a month. The network gets thousands of requests.

One of the Oceanside school’s teachers, Michele Reilly, said the presentation fit perfectly into the school year’s science lessons.

“It’s really important for [the students] because it’s a great hands-on way to learn,” she said. “And it’s part of the curriculum that we’re teaching them this year, so this is a great enrichment program for all of them.”

To Price, it’s not just about doing their jobs as meteorologists and presenting fun experiments for the kids to see, but also exposing young people to science in a way that inspires them to want to keep learning more and for some, perhaps one day become a meteorologist or scientist.

“Going out and speaking to children and sparking even just the slightest bit of interest in the sciences is something that we love to do,” said Price. “It does two things: it gets us out in the community, but now more than ever, we need to develop the next generation of scientists and meteorologists, and people to keep watch on our climate. This is our way of safeguarding the future … To have a child say, ‘I want to learn more about this,’ that’s magic.”

Nursing Home Care Will Decline Under NY’s Looming Medicaid Cuts, Critics Warn

Officials called on New York State to restore $250 million cuts in Medicaid funding to nursing homes during a news conference on Oct. 24, 2019.

An anticipated $250 million cut in Medicaid assistance that the New York State Department of Health provides to nursing homes statewide may seriously deteriorate the care provided to vulnerable residents, officials say.

Healthcare advocates, nursing home industry leaders, and lawmakers are sounding the alarm that the cuts could lead to mass layoffs of healthcare workers, a decline in quality of life and care for residents, and put some financially troubled nursing homes in danger of closing. 

“Nursing homes, residents, and their staff are under attack,” Luis Valenzuela, an advocate with the Long Island Healthcare Education Project, told reporters during a news conference Thursday  at Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitation in New Hyde Park. “We do a disservice to folks who should be valued and invested in for our communities and thanking them for the work that they’ve done. What we say is stop these cuts and consider the stakeholders recommendations and move forward from there.”

The cuts, which are expected to go into effect on Nov. 6 — and include retroactive cuts through July 1 — will affect more than 600 nursing homes in the state. The cash crunch comes as The Empire State, which spends a third of its budget on Medicaid — more than $60 billion annually, second only to California — tries to stem Medicaid spending overruns. The nursing home funding issue hinges on the state recently changing how it calculates what’s known as the case-mix index (CMI) to reimburse such facilities. 

“The department does not expect this change to result in any disruption to nursing home residents and the care they receive,” the agency said in a statement.

But critics say a state health department taskforce erred when it recommended the change and the department needs to restore the cuts.

“The taskforce had no representation from the nursing home community and they’re on the frontlines providing healthcare and service to all of our constituents,” said State Assemblyman David Weprin (D-Queens). “We’re asking the commissioner to reopen the task force to make these restorations.”

Jacquelle Pinnock, a healthcare worker who has been with the Parker Jewish Institute for almost seven years, said nursing homes need more funding, not less.

“We need to continue to meet quality long-term care options,” she said. “Instead of cutting payments and services for this population, we should be making investments necessary to meet their needs today and into the future.” 

With a week before these cuts are slated to go into effect, nursing home care providers said they will continue to lobby the state to reverse its decision.

“We will not tolerate this and we will be proud on behalf of our team for the care we deliver only for one reason,” said  Parker Jewish Institute President and CEO Michael Rosenblut. “Because we have an awesome team of care members upstairs right now taking care of the residents.”

Family and Children’s Association Celebrates 135 Years of Service

The Family Children's Association marked its 135th anniversary on Friday, Sept. 13, 2019. (Long Island Press photo)

The nonprofit Family and Children’s Association celebrated its 135th anniversary Friday at the Mineola Athletic Association Baseball Fields, the site of FCA’s original children’s home that debuted in 1884.  

Members of the FCA, Mineola residents, and elected officials joined together to commemorate and reflect on the group’s fight against substance abuse, homelessness, barriers to education, and economic security. 

“One hundred and thirty five years ago folks much like all of us made a promise to the Long Island community to take care of people who really need help,” said FCA President and CEO Jeff Reynolds. “We’re going to make sure that Nassau County and Long Island as a whole is as strong and healthy as it can be, because we know when our community is strong that everybody does better. And we’ve kept our promise 135 years later.”

CA was originally founded when The Temporary Home for Children was built to provide shelter for orphaned and mistreated children in the area. The institution went on to include a school and a children’s hospital staying true to the idea that no child should go without proper care and compassion. 

Today, FCA continues to better the community for families and children on Long Island, but that work is not done without the help of the nonprofit’s many supporters.

Some of the event’s sponsors included the Mineola Fire Department, the Mineola Historical Society, and the Willow Interfaith Women’s Choir, who opened the event in song as guests made their entrance. 

Lessing’s Hospitality served corn muffins and cinnamon raisin tea biscuits that were recreated from a recipe book from the 1800s that was discovered when the shelter was still standing called The Home Helper.

“It’s fun to be able to get the chefs together and make the goods that were in that book,” said Lessing’s Hospitality President Michael Lessing. “To have an organization as great as the FCA, you have to celebrate every milestone because it helps what they are doing for the community. Being a family-run business, we get it, so it’s our pleasure to be part of it.”

Another treat from the event involved the showing of the FCA’s Safe and Warm Quilt Initiative, which was started in 2017 as a nod to the organization’s history and includes involvement from various schools, libraries, scout troops, as well as families and staff. The various quilts were put side by side on the baseball field and showed a great display of solidarity and a message of hope to the community that everyone can come together and support each other’s success and empowerment.

FCA officials noted that despite the progress made, there is still more work to be done. 

“The agency has really given birth to a value and a principle that I know we all stand for,” said former FCA President and CEO Dr. Richard Dina. “This organization has persisted because of its commitments for kids, their health, their welfare, as well as their families. But what makes it viable, it seems to me is that the organization has always been built upon teamwork.” 

Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds, FCA President & CEO, with Michael Lessing, Lessing’s Hospitality President & CEO
Dr. Jeffrey Reynold’s with the staff and children of FCA’s Lynn Vanderhall Nursery Co-Op
The children and staff of FCA’s Lynn Vanderhall Nursery Co-Op sing Happy Birthday to FCA

How To Find Scholarships That Will Ease Tuition

As the summer draws to an end, many students have already started applying for classes for the fall semester. But the search to ease tuition expenses through financial aid and scholarships can be just as stressful if you don’t know where to look for these opportunities. 

Most colleges offer a myriad of scholarships based on merit, talent, and financial need, but there are many more available on a national and local level that can often go overlooked by students who could otherwise qualify for these opportunities. Colleges can assist you even more so in finding the perfect scholarship opportunities.

“There are a plethora of people and organizations willing to help their peers by giving them an opportunity to get a decent education,” said Marcel Roberts, an assistant professor in the department of Sciences at City of New York (CUNY) John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Potential and current students should contact their academic advisement centers to find out about all of the scholarships available.” 

Common misconceptions on eligibility surround when exactly in a student’s academic career that they should begin looking into scholarships and who qualifies for them. Oftentimes it is perceived that scholarships only apply to students who are either at the top of their class or are star athletes in their school, but financial opportunities for college money go well beyond these limited criteria. 

Before scoping out your prospects, sit down with a trusted peer or mentor and list strengths, talents, and interests that you have. This can apply to any extracurricular activity you participate in or hobbies, including art, sports, martial arts, dance, writing, and more. It is also important to note that you can apply for as many scholarships as you desire if you find you meet the criteria.

Local and community organizations are a great place to start searching for scholarships. There are nonprofit groups and initiatives focused on empowering the community, like the “Stay on Long Island” campaign, which offers scholarships for academically inclined graduates of Suffolk County Community College to ensure graduates continue their education by transferring to a four-year school on Long Island. 

Other scholarships from the area pertain to personal interests and hobbies, like The Long Island Caddie Scholarship Fund, which was founded in 1962 and has awarded more than $4.3 million to young men and women from Long Island who work in service to golf for a need-based scholarship. Individuals must work a minimum of two years in service golf and be in good standing with the club. 

According to Johanna Gavin, the Senior Director of Caddie Scholarship Funds, the scholarship enforces a good work ethic and a chance to learn about the integrity of golf.

“Our applicants are caddies who as young adults learn about the importance of networking and meeting new people,” said Gavin. “It demonstrates hard work and perseverance because you’re not always guaranteed work [as a caddie], so you have to stick to it and become responsible along the way.”


James Metzger, the founder, chairman, and CEO of Whitmore, a leading insurance brokerage on Long Island, offers his professional advice for students seeking scholarships. He is a major contributor to academic and athletic programs in high schools and colleges such as Hofstra University, Half Hollow Hills, and St. Anthony’s High School. Metzger has dedicated himself to helping student athletes better their college experience and their education through his efforts.

What inspires you to continue to be so involved in helping to fund education? I see giving back as a responsibility and a privilege. Helping others is something my parents instilled in me.When I see the looks of gratitude from families that get support, it’s all worth it.

Do you have any advice for students who are looking for scholarships? There are numerous angles to pursue to find scholarships. It requires preparation, dedication and hard work. I’d suggest encouraging families to start thinking about developing a history and record of achievement as you are leaving grade school.

How can students stand out in their applications? Scholarship applications help school administrators identify a potential student’s character, academics, and extracurricular achievement. Character is a keyword. How you demonstrate these things will differentiate you from your peers. Being able to work with others, leadership, and community service are game changers.