NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – As Black Enterprise TV anchor Caroline Clarke emceed the Family Services of Westchester’s 2012 STAR Gala on Wednesday, she emphasized a common theme.
“We’re family,” said Clarke, pointing out that everyone is the same no matter what struggle, issue or dilemma they are going through. The gala was held at the Glen Island Harbor Club in New Rochelle.
Family Services of Westchester, based in Port Chester, provides social services and mental health programs to strengthen and support families, children and individuals, from infancy to adulthood. More than 30,000 people are served annually through more than 50 programs, including Head Start, Big Brothers Big Sisters, AmeriCorps and residential facilities for adolescents and older adults.
Global reinsurer Swiss Re, which has offices in Armonk, received the corporate citizenship award for its volunteer work, including running a food drive each year to provide more than 1,200 people in need with all the fixings of a Thanksgiving dinner.
“It’s a privilege. It’s humbling for us,” Swiss Re Vice President of Human Resources Deborah Bernard said. “We work in offices, and we have food. There are those people that don’t.”
Tony Lembeck and his family of Goldens Bridge were honored with the STAR Award for their work with Camp Viva, which they have been running for the past 19 years to help families affected by HIV/AIDS.
“The campers come back every year,” he said. Lembeck's friend and shoe businessman Steve Madden was also in attendance.
Tony Award-winner LaChanze capped the evening with a selection of songs from early in her career and from Broadway, accompanied by pianist Carlton Jones. LaChanze, a Mount Vernon resident, won a Tony Award for her role as Celie in "The Color Purple" and appeared in the movie "The Help."
Her mother, Rosalie Hines, works with Family Service’s job and employment division FSWorks, an employee training and referral program for adults over 40.
Family Services of Westchester also raised $34,625 for its HOPE fund.