Director of Communications
OHEL Childrenâ€™s Home and Family Services
718-686-3333 direct | 347 920 0199 mobile | 718 851 2772 fax
OHEL Draws Capacity Crowd To Celebrate 42 Years of Strengthening Our CommunityÂ
High-ranking government and elected officials, Rabbinic and business leaders and more than 1,100 members of the community turned out to show their strong support and friendship at OHELâ€™s 42nd Annual Gala in NYC. It was a spectacular and memorable evening with tributes to the agencyâ€™s extraordinary honorees and the children and families OHEL serves.Â
More than 20 percent of OHELâ€™s budget comes from direct fundraising. With sharp and steady decreases in government funding, OHELâ€™s Annual Galaâ€”its most significant charitable event of the yearâ€”is more important than ever in helping OHEL provide programs and services to the increasing number of individuals and families who rely on OHEL every day of the year.
Â â€śCherish the Childrenâ€ť was the theme of the evening. The lives of thousands in the tri-state area are uplifted every day thanks to dedicated and diverse staff and volunteers who number nearly 2,000. OHEL began more than four decades ago with a single programâ€”Foster Care. Today, it operates more than 30 programs and 100 residences serving individuals throughout New York City, Nassau County, Northern New Jersey and South Florida.Â
To pay tribute to extraordinary individuals who help OHEL help our community, the Annual Gala celebrated special OHEL friends and contributors. This yearâ€™s Honored Guestsâ€”Philip and Lisa Baratz, David and Tzippora Baratz, Michael and Ellen Baratz and Sammy and Rachellie Baratz, in memory of their mother Rita Baratz Aâ€™â€™H; Dr. Patrick I. Borgen Humanitarian Award; Andrew H. Marks and Bruce Tindal of Bollinger Insurance Solutions Corporate Guests of Honor; and Assemblyman Gary S. Schaer Legislator of theÂ Year Awardeeâ€”are passionate about OHELâ€™s mission, tireless in their efforts on behalf of the community; and determined to bring OHELâ€™s mission and vision to the broader community. The leadership of OHEL is grateful for the many corporate sponsors, friends, supporters and partners who helped make the dinner a most memorable success.Â
An integral part of the evening was the installation of Mel Zachter as Co-President of OHEL Bais Ezra joining Moishe Helman. The installation was led by Melâ€™s close friend the Honorable Sheldon Silver, Speaker of the NYS Assembly. In his acceptance speech Mel said â€śFor 42 years OHEL has served neglected and abused children, people with disabilities, families in crisis, the everyday person with everyday problems, I am very proud to continue my strong involvement with OHEL and join my dear friend and leader Moishe Hellman as Co-President.â€ť
Mel and his wife Phyllis are long-time OHEL friends and supporters who have displayed extraordinary leadership to the organization and commitment to the community. Mr. Zachter has served on OHELâ€™s Board of Directors with distinction as chairman of its Executive Committee and chairman of the Finance Committee.
The gala fundraiser was attended by key political and government officials, including Senator Charles E. Schumer, Senator Robert Menendez, Congressman Jerrold Nadler, Congressman Bob Turner, NYS Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, Comptroller John Liu, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Assemblyman David Weprin, Assemblywoman Rhoda Jacobs, Councilman Lew Fidler and many others. Many spoke of their close association with OHEL and acknowledged its exemplary work. Many said, as well, that it was humbling to see a capacity crowd during such challenging financial times. Support for OHELâ€™s critical contributions to our community is especially important at this time.
The crowd was moved by the Miller family, who flew in from Milwaukee to be a part of the gala. Shira Miller, a child with Downsâ€™s syndrome was a camper in Camp Kaylie last summer. Terry, Shiraâ€™s mother, spoke of her experience visiting the camp with husband Todd and seeing firsthand her daughterâ€™s integration and acceptance with the other campers. As a special surprise, Shiraâ€™s best friend from camp, Adina Fischer, was in attendance at the gala, where they were able to enjoy an emotional reunion. CampÂ Kaylie, the Dr. Joe Silver Campus, is especially grateful to Harvey and Gloria Kaylie, Speaker Sheldon Silver and to Elly and Brochie Kleinman.
â€śSupport for our work is as importantâ€”if not more importantâ€”now than it was when we first began forty two years ago,â€ť said OHELâ€™s Co-President, Moishe Hellman, â€śOn behalf of every life that has been elevated during the last 42 years, and every life we will elevate in the years to come, we want to express our profound pride and gratitude to our generous partners and friends.â€ťÂ