Garden City, N.Y., November 16, 2022 -One of Nassau County’s oldest and largest nonprofit health and human services organizations, FCA provides critical support and services to more than 30,000 Long Islanders annually. Recently, FCA hosted its 2022 Fall Harvest Celebration at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City and raised more than $180,000 to support services for needy children, seniors and families on Long Island.
Honored this year was gun safety activist Linda Beigel Schulman, the mother of Scott J. Beigel, the teacher and cross-country coach who sacrificed his life to save the lives of 31 of his students at the 2018 Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre in Parkland, Florida.
FCA also recognized Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick J. Ryder for his life-saving programs and initiatives which have helped ensure officer and public safety and helped bring crime in Nassau County to historic lows. Nassau Community College professor and FCA Board member Donna T. Bacon, Ph.D., was also honored for her deep dedication to the education, empowerment and health promotion of underserved individuals and communities on Long Island.
Addressing those in attendance, Jeffrey L. Reynolds, Ph.D., President and CEO of FCA acknowledged the societal challenges exacerbated by the events of the last several years. “Covid-19 put a giant spotlight on the preexisting disparities and inequalities that exist among Long Island communities. Mental health issues came to the forefront, with an increase in suicide, attempted suicide and fatal overdoses, after several years of gaining headway. People are struggling with the cost of childcare, medication, fuel.”
“In spite of these considerable challenges,” Reynolds continued, “We are confident we can help fill many of those gaps by rolling up our sleeves and reaching into our hearts. We do hard things at FCA and we tackle these problems. We see miracles every day.”
Reynolds firmly holds to the notion of lived experience to help those in crisis. While acknowledging the importance of FCA’s highly trained professionals, he added that “We believe that the folks closest to our vexing problems are often the closest to the solutions. We hire people with lived experience, who have walked the road themselves, and come out the other side to want to help those on the road behind them.”
Ryan Kiser, program manager for the THRIVE Recovery Center in Westbury spoke to the audience about his long-term recovery. “Six years ago, I didn’t think I was worthy of a real life. Substances ruled my life; I was in despair and suffering. Thankfully, at the age of 32, homeless and living in car, I finally heard the voices that had been telling me that I was worthy and gave it another try. I found freedom and liberation from 20 years of addiction. I stopped sticking in the past and started connecting with people, and now I get to do that every day in my job at THRIVE. Seeing lives and families change for the better is priceless and keeps me in sound mind and body.”
Attendees included local government and business leaders, donors, beneficiaries, and friends. All proceeds from the Fall Harvest Celebration will help to enhance FCA’s programs and services for Long Island’s most vulnerable children, families, seniors and communities. For more information or to make a donation, please contact Chief Development Officer & Vice President of Strategic Advancement Paige O’Brien at POBrien@fcali.org or visit www.fcali.org/donate.
FCA is a not-for-profit agency helping more than 30,000 Long Islanders each year. For the last 138 years, the organization has worked to protect and strengthen vulnerable children, seniors, families and communities on Long Island.
FCA believes in the potential of Long Island – a place where no child, senior, family or community is left to struggle alone with barriers to health care, education, employment or economic prosperity. Long Island continues to be one of the greatest place in the world to live and raise a family for many; FCA exists to ensure that be the case for all.
For more information about FCA, visit FCALI.org