Fundraiser For LEAD – Saturday, May 4
This is the type of story that is a pleasure to write. It’s about people giving of themselves just because it is the right thing to do. It’s about people doing so much with so little. These are not the type of people that have the time to write press releases or pose for photo op’s. If they reach out for PR, it’s only to help the kids they serve. These are the silent heroes that give from the heart simply because they believe that they can make a difference in the lives of others. Here’s their story.
It all started several years ago, when a community was focused on the violence in Huntington Station near the Jack Abrams School. A group of woman decided they would do something to combat the violence and find long term solutions. They originally met in PLI (Parent Leadership Iniative). What initially inspired them was what Corrections Officer Jill Porter said when she addressed their group, “If girls didn’t date gang members, there wouldn’t be gang members.”
They decided to come up with a way to reach out to young girls in the community. L.E.A.D. (Live Empowered And Dance ) Mentoring, Inc. group was formed in December 2011. When they first started, they met at TRI-CYA in Huntington Station. The founders include Sheila Flythe, Edie Cafiero, Shelly Chambers, Dena Maldon, Michele King– Elder, and Cathy Ribando. Local resident Lisa Moskowitz has also been supporting the group since its inception. Also helping are Marisa Comple and Shana Armstrong.
The group now meets every Wednesday evening from 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm at JAM Dance Studio at 15 E Deer Park Road in Dix Hills. The first hour is spent mentoring the girls and it is followed by a dance class led by a professional dance instructor. The girls are between 9 and 13 years old.
Michele Cuccaro was inspired to help the organization after reading about their efforts last year. She runs JAM Dance Studio in Dix Hills and offered the space and the instructor, all free of charge. The instructor, Emily Goldman, is fantastic with the kids, according to the groups founders. She also has various students from the school volunteer their time and assist with the class. Lisa Milberg, from the organization “From Our Hearts to Your Toes,” donated costumes for the girls to perform in the JAM dance recital on May 19 at Commack Middle School.
They are in the process of incorporating as a 501c3 not-for-profit corporation. They will be holding their first fundraiser this Saturday. Up until now, the group has been functioning with hardly any money. A local social worker told us that many more girls could benefit from this program and would love to participate, but transportation is a problem.
One of the founders Sheila Flyth expressed that she envisions finding a location in Huntington Station where they can offer many more classes and serve more girls.
The mentoring group will be having its first fundraising event at Applebee’s at 360 Walt Whitman Road in Huntington Station. It is a Flapjack breakfast to be held Saturday, May 4 from 8:00 am to 10:00 am. The cost is $10 per ticket and includes a full breakfast. There will be great gift basket raffles. Consider coming out and giving support. (Or, if you cannot make it there, please consider buying a ticket anyway.)
The monies raised at this event will assist in the fees necessary to incorporate, gain liability insurance, and will go directly to the girls for their programs. All participants are volunteers.
Attending an Applebees fundraiser is a great way to support a worthwhile organization like this one. You can stop in for a quick breakfast or stay the entire time.
For more information call Sheila Flyth at 516-702-6171.
We hope to see you there.