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(Queens, NY)—HeartShare hosted its 25th Annual Education Services Dinner Dance at Russo’s on the Bay on Thursday, May 22, 2014. Over 325 HeartShare board members, long-time donors and education employees attended the event, which celebrated over 30 years of HeartShare education and benefited HeartShare’s programs for preschool and school-aged children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism.
Joseph Aiello, New York District Governor of Kiwanis International, received the inaugural Children’s Champion Award, which is presented to an individual or group which has demonstrated a loving concern for and sincere commitment to the care, educational and personal development, and well-being of the children entrusted to the dedicated professionals of HeartShare’s Education Services programs. “Even when I am no longer in this position, I hope to ensure that Kiwanis is a friend and supporter of special needs children,” Mr. Aiello said. NYS Senator Joseph Addabbo Jr. issued a proclamation honoring Mr. Aiello, recognizing his dedication to special needs children and to organizations serving them, including HeartShare.
HeartShare Vice President of Education Services Carol Verdi also proudly announced the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Accreditation of the Dolly and Frank Russo, Sr. First Step Early Childhood Center in Richmond Hill. “This is a very prestigious accreditation and one that requires significant additional work and dedication to achieve,” Ms. Verdi noted.
During the evening, guests also viewed a music video featuring HeartShare students inviting Tonight Show’s Jimmy Fallon and The Roots to HeartShare’s Centennial Anniversary “Block Party” on Saturday, July 12, 2014. Jonathan, a HeartShare student and drummist in the video, took the stage to describe how much he enjoys working with one of HeartShare’s music therapists. The video can be accessed on Youtube.
Two students from Xavier High School, who also are HeartShare volunteers, began the evening festivities with a JROTC presentation. Stan Wade’s Trammps, known for their Grammy-winning song “Disco Inferno,” heated up the dance floor. The evening also featured a silent auction, including an Asphalt Green $200 swim class, Thermage Skincare valued at $2,500, Bruno’s Ristorante $100 gift certificate and a one-week vacation stay in St. Augustine Beach, Florida.
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