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Star of Queens: Vita Leone, P.S./M.S. 207 PTA vice president


| mhayes@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of Vita Leone

COMMUNITY SERVICE: As vice president of P.S./M.S. 207’s PTA in Howard Beach, Leone is always working on a project. She has helped put together various events such as the school’s kindergarten graduation, blood drive, health fair, fundraisers and more. This holiday season, she helped with a new project, “Cookies with Santa.” She also puts together the fall carnival, complete with rides and games for the students and neighborhood.

BACKGROUND: Leone, a Queens native, was born in Astoria but moved to Howard Beach when she was in the third grade. She went to St. Helen’s, then graduated to St. John’s Prep in Astoria. Leone is also very proud of her Italian heritage and travels to the homeland every summer. She met her now-husband in Italy, and the pair will celebrate 23 years together this May. Together, they have a 20-year-old son who went to P.S. 207 but now is at the John Jay School of Criminal Justice studying criminal law, and an 11-year-old daughter who is in the sixth grade at the Howard Beach school.

FAVORITE MEMORY: During her time on the PTA, Leone said her favorite memory was the first year they did the fall carnival, two days before Sandy hit.

“It was one of the best feelings,” she said. “I was so happy the kids had Halloween and could go home with goody bags.”

The students each had a free 45-minute period to go out and enjoy the fall carnival, where they could play carnival games, go on rides and play in inflatable play structures.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: For the PTA Vice President, her biggest challenge has yet to come. Once her sixth grader graduates, Leone doesn’t want to have to leave the school of which she has “made part of her life.” When her daughter leaves, Leone said she still wants to be involved with the school, whether it’s as a volunteer or as a full-time employee.

INSPIRATION: Leone’s biggest inspiration in doing all of the work she does for the school lies within a love to help people and give back.

“It makes me happy when I accomplish something and when I see those kids’ smiles,” she said. “That’s my high of the day.”

 

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Star of Queens: Anna Marie Neubauer


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of Anna Marie Neubauer

Anna Marie Neubauer
Volunteer

Dancing Dreams

Community Involvement:

Seventeen-year-old Anna Marie Neubauer has been a volunteer at Dancing Dreams, an organization that helps little girls with developmental disabilities learn to dance, for six years.

“It’s just something I love to do,” said Neubauer, who acts as a “helper” for an 11-year-old Dancing Dreams participant named Monica. Every week, Neubauer attends dance sessions with Monica where she assists her with twirls, bends and lifts. Dancing Dreams was started by Joann Ferrara, a physical therapist who created the program after a young patient expressed desire to become a dancer.

Personal:

Neubauer is a senior at Archbishop Molloy High School. She lives in Whitestone with her parents and older brother, a student at Loyola University in Maryland. When she is not at school, Neubauer enjoys spending time with her friends and going skiing. Neubauer did not have any dancing experience prior to Dancing Dreams.

Challenge:

Neubauer feels that volunteering has no challenges, just rewards. “I enjoy [participating in Dancing Dreams]” said Neubauer. “It’s helped me grow a lot, and it fulfills me to see how just a little bit of help can help these girls.”

Favorite Memory:

The recitals are Neubauer’s favorite part of Dancing Dreams. “I love seeing the looks on the girls’ faces when their dreams are coming true,” said Naubauer, who also said that her dancer, Monica, has made volunteering for Dancing Dreams a wonderful experience.

Inspiration:

Neubauer first discovered Dancing Dreams when she was a patient of Ferrara’s, and has been volunteering ever since. Her main inspiration, however, comes from the girls themselves. “[The girls] are my inspiration,” said Neubauer. “To see their hard work – they look so beautiful doing it.”

Star of Queens: Christian Ramirez


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Christian Ramirez, Kiwanis Recipient Award 2011w

Community Involvement: Christian Ramirez, 15, volunteers at the Clubhouse, where the WORKS Little League baseball teams play.  There, he helps clean up the equipment and set it up for next season. Aside from that, he helps clean up Victory Field Park every year prior to the season. Ramirez also helps with the Challenger Division of the league, where he acts as a buddy to children with autism, helping them at bat and around the bases.

For his work with them, he received a plaque from the Astoria/LIC Kiwanis Club.  He became involved with WORKS because of his father, who is on the board.

Personal: Born and raised in Woodhaven, Ramirez is a junior at Christ the King Regional High School. An only child, he enjoys spending time with his cousins, two of whom play in the league.  A member of the school’s bowling team, Ramirez loves playing after school on Mondays and Wednesdays in Whitestone.

Challenges: Ramirez has been fortunate enough to not face any challenges so far.

Inspiration: “It occupies my time and gives me something to do when I don’t have anything else. I really enjoy it.”

Favorite Memory: “My first season with WORKS in 2001. Everyone really enjoyed it. Next season is my last year.”

Star of Queens: Princy Ann Abraham


| mchan@queenscourier.com

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Volunteer at St. Nick’s Men’s Shelter

Community Involvement: Through Campus Ministry at St. John’s University, Princy Ann Abraham discovered St. Nick’s Men’s Shelter in Jamaica, where homeless men around the city are brought for dinner and overnight accommodation. Abraham works with other volunteers to cook complete dinners for small groups of men. After cooking, she sits down to enjoy dinner and conversations with the individuals.
Personal: Abraham was born and raised in Rockland County, New York. She currently lives in Queens, where she is an active student at St. John’s. During her free time, she loves to kick box and enjoys trying different forms of dance, including two Indian forms – bharatanatyam and bhangra. She feels that maintaining as much physical activity as possible is the best way for her to release any negative energy.

Occupation: A full time undergraduate student studying legal studies, philosophy and government & politics, she will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in May and plans on going to law school shortly after. She also works on campus with the Department of Student Development to serve as a liaison between first year students and the university.

Biggest Challenge: “Sometimes it is difficult to make the individuals as comfortable as possible at the shelter. We try to keep dietary restrictions in mind when we cook each meal. We also limit ourselves from sensitive topics to make sure the men are in a positive and supportive atmosphere. I do my very best to assure the men that they can talk to us about anything, but sometimes they do not converse with us.”

Favorite Memory: “One day the meal we made (tacos and rice) was completely devoured in a matter of minutes. I am still learning how to cook, so this made me very happy.”

Inspiration: “My inspiration to volunteer is knowing that I am capable of making a difference in the lives of individuals no matter how great or small. In the future, I want to have the knowledge and resources available to address women’s issues and ethical dilemmas. I think it is important to humble yourself and understand the predicaments others are going through.”