March 2021 Youths of the Month!

Every month we celebrate Kids who show active participation in programs, positive attitude and behavior, and helping others.

For the month of March, we are pleased to announce the following Youths of the Month! 

Valentina C. is our March 2021 Teen Youth of the MonthValentina is 12 years old and in the 7th grade at Finley Middle School. Valentina has been a Club member for 4 years and enjoys many of the programs offered including SMART Girls, Torch Club (of which she is the President), and Power Hour. Through Torch, she most recently led  a supply drive for the Youth Homeless Shelter sponsored by Family and Children’s Association. At school, Valentina very much enjoys going to Chorus and she has aspirations to be a professional singer. In her free time, she expresses herself through art and anime. According to our Teen Director, Stephanie Urio, when asked why Valentina was nominated for Youth of the Month, she shares “Valentina did a great job getting her homework completed every day and was a big part of the success of the supply drive to help kids her age that are experiencing homelessness.” In Valentina’s own words,  “I like that the Club helps me and others improve in school work so that we can do better. I also like that we have the opportunity where we can help others and make a difference.”

Samantha R. is our March 2021 Bayville Youth of the Month. Sammy is ten years old and in the 5th grade at Bayville Intermediate School. Sammy has been a Club member for three years and enjoys Kids in the Kitchen, Art and Triple Play.  She also enjoys taking walks and photos along the way. According to her group leader Mr. Matt, “Sammy is respectful, always kind and ready to try new things.” She wants to become a teacher when she grows up. According to Sammy, she likes the Club because “It’s a fun place to be with friends, and everyone is nice here.”  

Jasmine T. is our March 2021 Locust Valley Youth of the Month. Jasmine is nine years old and in the 4th grade at Locust Valley Intermediate School. Jasmine has been a Club member since she was in kindergarten and especially enjoys our Game Night program. She excels in Social Studies at school, and in her free time, she enjoys  playing soccer with her mom, but also really loves to dance! According to her group leader Mr. Will, “Jasmine is a sweet young lady who is a positive role model for her peers.  Just like Sammy, Jasmine too wants to be a teacher when she grows up.  When asked what she likes about the Club, Jasmine responds, “The staff! I like the Club because my favorite staff are there to help me.” 

Jasmine

Valentina

Samantha

Chip In to Make a Difference!

Chip In to make a difference at the Club’s Alumni and Friends Golf and Tennis Outing on Monday, May 10th at the Glen Head Country Club.

This year, the Club is proud to honor Stu Lubow, President of Dime Community Bank.  A longtime friend and supporter of the Club, Lou has demonstrated a strong commitment to making his community a better place.   

Although the golf portion of the event is Sold Out there are still opportunities to support one of our largest fundraisers by registering for tennis, participating as an underwriter, joining us for cocktails and dinner or purchasing a raffle ticket for two fabulous prizes, an Unaccompanied Foursome at Sebonack Golf Course and/or a Peloton Bike+.  The Peloton Bike+ was generously underwritten by Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty-Locust Family Office, The Finnerty Family, The Hanes Family, and Patrick Mackay.   

Leading the charge this year are Committee Members Eric Brook, Suzanne Brook, John Campbell, Susan Carusi, Anthony Core, Robert Deans, Lis Finnerty, Mario Gallo, Kathy Gelfand, Rich Hagner, Heather London, Colin O’Donnell, Joseph Savasta, Lori Souther, and Sean Simensky.  

The Alumni and Friends Golf and Tennis tournament is a fun-filled day that begins with breakfast, followed by golf or tennis.  Lunch is on the course and there are several contests and wonderful prizes for our winners.  Thank you to Land Rover of Glen Cove and Van Buren Buick GMC for sponsoring our Hole in One Contests.  The evening ends with cocktails, dinner, an awards celebration as well as a live and silent auction.   

Proceeds from the Alumni and Friends Golf and Tennis Outing are especially critical this year, in the wake of COVID-19.  The funds raised will help us to continue to provide incredible programs and services for more than 1,200 children and teens.   

To register or learn more about this safe and fun-filled event please visit www.gbbgc.org or contact Christine Thomaides at (516) 759-5437 ext. 211 or christine.thomaides@gbbgc.org. 

 

Blast from the Past: Meet Judge Colin O’Donnell,1979 Youth of the Year

If there was any doubt about how meaningful it is to earn the title of Youth of the Year and be a Club alum, one need only to ask Judge Colin O’DonnellColin joined Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club when he was seven years old. Since the age of seven, he immersed himself in every aspect of the Club: sportsCanadian Camp, and Camp Small Fry. He also took part in a number of community efforts.  Ultimately, his dedication

Colin receiving his Youth of the Year Award in 1979

 to the Club, his compassion for others, and his academic success earned him the title of New York State Youth of the Year in 1979 And while that may have seemed a capstone achievement at the time, it was just the beginning. Colin would go on to serve as a camp counselor, coach, and even join the Board of Directors in 1988 — a role he continues to play to this very day.  

Colin O’Donnell began his 52-year connection to Grenville Baker Boys Club when he received his welcome letter from Woody Lewis in 1969 at the age of seven.  New to Locust Valley and with two hard working immigrant parents, the Grenville Baker Boys Club became Colin’s second home.  There wasn’t one athletic or recreational activity that Colin wasn’t a part of — whether it was playing flag football, baseball, basketball, joining the bowling league, woodshop, rifle range or just playing games and socializing — Colin was determined to be a part of it all.    

For several years, Colin attended Camp Small Fry, the Boys’ Club day camp, where he was not only Camper of the Week but eventually a counselor.  He has fond memories of overnight trips to Gettysburg, Montauk and Tobay Beach where the campers slept under the stars.  He also went on to spend time as a Canadian Camper.  It was one of the greatest camping experiences he had as a teenager.  Under the ever-watchful eye of 

Executive Director, Woody Lewis and the rest of the counselors, Colin learned how to fish, do his own laundry and water ski on Holmes Lake. His experience at the Club’s camps was so positive that when he was eligible   — Colin became a Camp Small Fry Counselor and learned his first lesson in paying taxes — when Woody took FICA out of his $15 per week paycheck!  He was a counselor and summer employee for five years and became the Club’s and the Boys Club of America’s New York State Youth of the Year in 1979.   

Colin went on to Bucknell University on a partial Club scholarship — then Seton Hall law school and in 1988, during his first year in the Nassau County District Attorney’s office, he was asked by Woody to join Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club’s Board of Directors.  He continued to remain active in the Club participating in the Alumni Association as president, coaching and refereeing baseball, soccer and basketball.  He also initiated the Teen Tour travel Camp and chaperoned ski and snowboard trips.   

Currently, Colin resides in Bayville and is an elected Judge of the Nassau County District Court.  Colin is the first Club member to be elected President of the Board of Directors. During his tenure he oversaw the successful building campaign and construction of the new gymnasium and the increase of the Club’s endowment portfolio. Having been active in all aspects of the Club’s activities and volunteer governance he feels that it is important to give back and provide opportunities to our communities’ youth.  

Today, Colin is an elected Judge of the Nassau County District Court

Colin’s Essay for his Youth of the Year application was reprinted in The Leader

Joe Valli Named 2021 Youth of the Year!

Joe Valli always knew that Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club would be a big part of his life. As his family home shares a fence with the Club, an afternoon

Joe Valli – 2021 Youth of the Year!

of fun, playing sports, and spending time with friends was just a 30second walk away. And so, his journey with the Club began when Joe was just six years old. Today, 12 years later, Joe has been involved in just about everything the Club has to offer. He fondly recalls learning to play ping pong in the gamesroom (something he still enjoys) and developing his love for sports on our fields and in the gyms. 

As he grew older, Joe became involved in the Torch and Keystone Clubs, where he developed a passion for helping others. Through these groups, Joe and his peers spent time with veterans, played baseball with developmentally-challenged kids, helped in soup kitchens, and took part in a Habitat for the Humanity project. His commitment to community service, compassion, and his leadership skills did not go unnoticed as Joe was elected President of Keystone Club last year. 

Even while Joe was deeply involved in our Club through the years, he found time to develop outside interests and skills. For instance, since he was a little boy, Joe has been a Boy Scout, and last year he became an Eagle Scout – another high honor! He also does well in school, plays JV soccer, and finds time to help others.  

Joe truly embodies the qualities of a Youth of the Year. He is someone who embraces the values of the Boys & Girls Club movement through leadership skills, service to community and family, academic performance, spiritual values, life goals, and public speaking abilities. 

About our other Amazing Youth 

The designation of Youth of the Year is one that is highly coveted. While there can only be one Youth of the Year, without fail, each year we have a number of wonderful kids who also deserve to be recognized for their academic and athletic endeavors, dedication to community service, and commitment to upholding the values of the Boys & Girls Club movement.  

This year, eight young people applied for this award. Each of them had a story to share and a journey of which we are all proud. We are pleased to acknowledge the admirable accomplishments of: 

Carlos Arana, Darlin Canales, Stephanie Flores, Brian Graham, Bertha Hernandez, Emerson Ronquillo, and Edgar Vasquez