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Woodside nonprofit plans gala in order to help children

The Child Center of NY is holding a gala at which it will honor (from l.) Roslyn Savings Bank President Jack Bransfield with wife Chris, Victoria Cruises Chairman James Pi (c.) and attorney Greg Shufro. Photos courtesy Child Center
TimesLedger Newspapers

Woodside’s The Child Center of NY will be holding a $550-a-plate fund-raiser gala April 18 at Gustavino’s in Manhattan.

Laura Schenone, spokeswoman for the center, said the gala will help raise funds for the at-risk children in Queens the center serves, but also enable it to grow its operations further beyond the borough.

“We want to expand our reach, but we’re still committed to Queens,” Schenone said.

The Child Center’s central office is at 60-02 Queens Blvd., but, after beginning in 1953 as a mental health counseling center, the organization now works out of 70 locations throughout the borough and a high school in Brooklyn, offering programs in early childhood education, counseling for individuals and families, child abuse prevention and youth development.

These programs can include anything from child care to parenting classes to substance abuse treatment to college and job preparation. The center, which has a staff that speaks 35 languages collectively, serves about 17,000 Queens kids every year.

“Our mission today is to help at-risk children and youth succeed in life,” Schenone said.

The gala, which will be at 409 E. 59th St. in Manhattan April 18, will help the center fund its programs, celebrate the center’s 60th anniversary and honor three men who have done exceptional work for at-risk children.

“To be an honoree, their commitment to the community and their commitment to the Child Center of NY is the big thing,” Schenone said.

Manhattan attorney Greg Shufro, who sits on the center’s board and has volunteered for several legal organizations on behalf of children, will be receiving the center’s Impact Award.

Shufro said after receiving the award, he was planning to step up and try to get more resources for the center. He said he was doing this because he understands the value of the services they offer, knows the toll the recession has taken on the organization in the form of cutbacks and wants to set a good example for his children, teaching them that success means greater responsibility to the community.

“It’s a great organization and I’ve been working with them for about three years on the board and I see the impact they have on the community,” Shufro said of the center.

The Impact Award will also be given to Roslyn Savings Bank President Jack Bransfield, who is a part of many nonprofits. The honor is given to those who have brought both innovation to business and service to disadvantaged kids.

James Pi, chairman of Chinese cruise company Victoria Cruises and a supporter of many philanthropic organizations, will be given the Generation One Award. This award goes to people who act as entrepreneurial and giving role models to young people.

The gala begins at 6 p.m. with a cocktail hour and will include a silent auction, dinner and an awards ceremony.

Schenone said the center is committed to expanding in the slow-to-recover economy.

“Over the next 60 years, we hope to be the strongest possible safety net for even more children, especially those at high risk,” Sandra Hagan, the center’s executive director, said in a statement. “We know that our interventions save lives. That’s why we are so committed to doing what we do.”

Purchase tickets for the gala at childcenterny.org/events-gala2012.html.

Reach reporter Rebecca Henely by e-mail at rhenely@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4564.

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