2016 Annual Gala Was an Evening of Memories and Emotions


We are delighted to report that our 2016 Annual Gala, on March 18,  was a great success, both as a memorable night out for our guests and as a prolific fundraiser for the Society.  Honors went to our extraordinary President and Chief Executive Officer Fern Zagor,  who received the Distinguished Leadership Award, and Melissa Rabinovich, Executive Editor at Time Warner Cable NY1 News, who received the Community Service Award. Both honorees accepted their awards with gracious words and heartfelt emotions.

The Hilton’s beautiful Above Ballroom was crowded with our generous friends, volunteers and supporters, who danced to the music of Sound Explosion, enjoyed a sumptuous cocktail hour and dinner, and applauded our talented Children’s Theatre performers, who entertained with several musical numbers. Our guests also reached generously into their pockets and purses to buy raffles, bid on baskets stuffed with valuable goodies, and participated in spirited auctions, including a holiday for two in Palm Beach, Fla., Yankees tickets, Mets tickets, framed artwork and even puppies.

In presenting Ms. Zagor with her award,  Board of Directors Chair John Tapinis noted that, “She has been at the helm of the Society through several years of sweeping changes in the way mental health services are delivered and financed. Her strong and fearless leadership has kept the Society in the forefront of this shift, while maintaining our status as the Island’s go-to agency for children’s mental health/behavioral health services.”

Gala Committee Chair and Board member Victoria Drumbakis, who introduced Ms. Rabinovich, explained that, “Under her direction, New York 1 has kept the public informed about the Society’s important programs and has shone a light on the activities of our hard-working volunteers. She has truly done the community a service by making sure that the value and availability of our services are publicized.”

Proceeds of the Gala will support the Society’s high-quality and comprehensive mental health, substance abuse, developmental disability, early childhood education, and other related community-based services for Staten Island children and their families, including those who have been impacted by the epidemic of opiods and other substances, as well as those suffering from PTSD.  Last year these programs served more than 5,000 children.

Assisting Ms. Drumbakis on the Gala Committee were Gala Journal Co-Chairs Robert Cutrona, Sr. and Mr. Tapinis, as well as Robert De Gennaro, Arlene Donovan, Al Lambert, Robin Lefkowitz, Hugh Maxwell, Elizabeth Palagiano, Bernadette Paulo, Ms. Rabinovich, Andrea Zurlo and Ralph Zurlo.

Plans are already underway for next year’s Gala. Stay tuned to this website for further details.

For more photos, visit simhspictures.shutterfly.com