Posts Tagged ‘Damian Buzzerio’

Dinner Theatre Morphs into Magic

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Dennis Scimone, Director of Residential Services for Beacon of Hope House with Denise Bauer Director, Beacon of Hope House

By Alice Kenny

Hosted by and for consumers with mental illness, the Catholic Charities Beacon of Hope annual talent show and dinner theatre– now in its twenty-eighth year — is always packed with creativity, comedy and fun.

But this year’s show held at the Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Center in Harlem on May 1 went over the top thanks to a last-minute rendition of “God Bless America” belted out by the Harlem Alumni Boys and Girls Choir.

Catholic Charities Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. Center is always a hopping place.  Dance classes, music, theatre and social service programs fill this central Harlem meeting spot day in and day out from its basement to its top floor.

Sometimes the synergy morphs into magic, as it did on Talent Show night.

Ninety consumers along with family and friends from Beacon of Hope residential programs and its vocational club house had already feasted at the dinner theatre event as fellow consumers emceed and regaled them with a fashion show, songs, dances, original poetry, and outstanding music played on the guitar, drums and harmonica.

A special night like this, however, seemed to need something extra, said Damian Buzzerio, who helped coordinate a team of five volunteers that helped at the event.  That’s when the Harlem Alumni Boys and Girls Choir that had been training in their usual rehearsal room, made their surprise appearance.  As their special gift to this special group, the choir trooped on stage and belted out God Bless America.

“It is becoming more and more difficult to find such a special and safe place for events such as these to flourish,” says Debbie Ciraolo, an American Sign Language interpreter with Beacon of Hope who assisted with the show.  “I cherish this experience.”

Join us to find a “special, safe place” that recognizes your talents and creativity.

 Click here to find a volunteer opportunity tailored just for you.

Providing Help and Creating Hope One House at a Time

Monday, December 31st, 2012

Damaged homes by Hurricane Sandy on Patterson Avenue Staten Island NYBy Alice Kenny

Catholic Charities volunteers Jim and Deborah Deats know firsthand of the destruction Sandy caused throughout New York.

While Deborah’s house is on a hill in Concord and escaped undamaged, when she witnessed the devastation across the island, she knew she had to do something. Immediately after the storm, she traveled by car to friends and families to offer help.

Deborah said she drove around “giving hugs, smiles, anything we could, just to tell these people that we’re here for them—that there is hope, that there’s light at the end of the tunnel.”

Deborah’s father, Jim Deats, was in Florida at the time of the hurricane, but he drove up as soon as he could to offer help to the community on his native Staten Island. Teaming up with his daughter, he started volunteering with Catholic Charities to clean up houses on the island that had nearly been destroyed in the storm.

Working with Catholic Charities’ Staci Bruce and Damian Buzzerio, along with over 100 generous and devoted volunteers, Jim and Deborah have now cleaned up nine houses. After assessing what work needs to be done, Jim provides instructions for the volunteers, making sure everyone has a specific job. In addition to mucking out the houses, Deborah also visits with the residents and offers emotional support.

“One house at a time, one family at a time, we’ll get through it together,”Deborah said.

To hear more on how Catholic Charities volunteers give hope and strength to people who are rebuilding after Sandy, listen to Deborah and Jim Deats’ conversation with Monsignor Kevin Sullivan on JustLove.

Volunteers and Staff Ignore Rotting Debris to Help Hurricane Victims Rebuild

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

By Alice Kenny

Donning face masks, work gloves and sheer determination, Catholic Charities staff worked with 24 volunteers it had mobilized to remove sheetrock, flooring and furniture in Midland Beach Staten Island homes destroyed by the super storm.

They ignored smells of rotting food and sewage, said Damian Buzzerio, one of the Catholic Charities staff members who joined the crew, to stuff garbage bags with debris left from the Hurricane’s destruction.

Catholic Charities Staten Island staff identified homeowners who needed help to recover from the hurricane.

Click here to watch a video of their efforts.