Being a community newspaper publisher, I’ve always believed we should be proactive in meeting the needs of the neighborhoods we serve, both by covering their news and serving on various boards. Some of these groups have taken to honoring me and my son Josh, knowing we will help them with publicity and support. And this week through our new Brooklyn chain of newspapers, the Bay Ridge Boy Scouts recognized me for our contributions to the community. I get it that it’s not about me or Josh, but rather our newspapers and relationships. It’s really our honor to help the many powerful groups doing so much for so many in the neighborhoods we serve in Brooklyn and Queens.
Josh serves on the board of the Parker Jewish Institute for Health Care and Rehabilitaion, the American Cancer Society and the Arthritis Foundation, to name a few. I’m proud to have founded Life’s WORC, now in its 40th year of serving people with developmental disabilities and autism by providing group homes and day programs. I love being a part of the Queens Museum, the South Queens Boys & Girls Club, the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning and committees of the Queens Chamber of Commerce and American Heart Association.
Now that I’m in Brooklyn I will be serving on the board of the Guild for Exceptional Children.
What I’ve learned is that giving back gives me so much through the great people I meet and the wonderful, full-hearted feeling of helping.
In Brooklyn I’ve been blessed to be befriended by Zoe Koutsoupakis of Marathon Bank, who is a one-woman wonder, helping so many groups and individuals in her beloved Bay Ridge. It was she who greeted me and began me on my journey to knowing the leaders of this very special community. I’m in awe of the Bay Ridge Community Council, which counts over 75 different groups who are helping this neighborhood at the foot of the Verrazano Bridge. It looks so much like Bayside and Whitestone, where the Throggs Neck and Whitestone Bridges enhance those communities.
The Boy Scouts of Bay Ridge honored four other people: President Stephen Cherpelis of the Archdiocesan Cathedral of Holy Trinity Board of Directors; Chief of Staff for the Brooklyn Borough President Carlo Scissura; Michelle Tampakis, an instructor at The Institute of Culinary Education; and President James Tampakis of Marine Spares International. It was my privilege to stand beside them.
It was great to see Borough President Marty Markowitz once again welcoming me and Josh to Brooklyn. I shared with the well-filled hall at the Bay Ridge Manor that I was really returning home because I grew up in Brooklyn, went to James Madison High School and got my masters degree from Brooklyn College.
I do believe my parents would approve of my returning home.
A sad note
I would like to extend my deepest condolences to the families of Rose and Dominick Ciampa on the loss of their daughter-in-law Justine and of Managing Editor Tonia N. Cimino on the loss of her grandmother.