There is no doubt that the pandemic will continue to cause issues for children in hospitals. As we approach the second month of 2021, organizations like enCourage Kids are getting ready to share love with these special little folks for the upcoming Valentine’s Day holiday.
We recently sat down with President and CEO, Michele Hall Duncan, for an interview to reflect on the mission of the organization and what more can be done.
Your great work continues with the enCourage Kids Foundation. Tell us about the success of the Virtual Serving Up Smiles event hosted by Justin Hartley a few weeks back.
Yes, our Virtual Serving Up Smiles event on December 2nd was amazing! For the past few years, we have held an in-person tasting event in the fall. After having to cancel our Annual Gala, our largest fundraiser of the year, which was supposed to take place last March, we were hoping to be able to move forward with our annual fall event. Since an indoor event wasn’t possible, we decided to combine elements of both the Gala and the tasting event and produced the event virtually with Revel Spirits Brand as the presenting sponsor. Hosted by actor and entrepreneur Justin Hartley from This Is Us, the event was attended by nearly 300 guests and consisted of cooking demonstrations from top chefs including our event Culinary Chair Chef Ralph Scamardella from TAO Group, mixology demos, wine and beer tastings, live entertainment, a silent auction and special entertainment in our virtual VIP Lounge. We also had special celebrity appearances by Kate Burton, Rolanda Watts, and Katrina Jackson. Ben & Jack’s Steakhouse in NYC served as our one location where we broadcast live with WABC-TV Sports Anchor Ryan Field serving as emcee and NY Giants Super Bowl Champions Howard Cross and Luke Petitgout and NFL legend Tony Richardson in attendance.
I was also particularly excited to be able to honor one of our long-time medical partners and a woman who has made an invaluable contribution to the medical community, Dr. Kusum Viswanathan, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at Brookdale Hospital Medical Center, to whom we presented our Healthcare Leadership Award. We also honored Rob Turner of Eastdil Secured and Cory Elbaum of Angelo Gordon with our Jeffrey Gural Leadership Award, not only in recognition of their contributions to their respective fields, but also for their devotion to philanthropy and 100% support of enCourage Kids’ mission.
It was a tremendous challenge to produce a virtual event of this magnitude, but it was an unforgettable evening that raised over $100,000 in support of our programs!
Next month is Valentine’s Day. Are you planning a virtual event around this? Please share with us.
Yes! I’m very excited to share that our enCourage Kids Young Professionals Board (YPB) is hosting a Virtual Wine Tasting on Thursday, February 11th! The YPB is a dynamic group of professionals dedicated to finding new, fun ways to raise awareness and funds to support enCourage Kids’ programs inside and outside of the hospital. Tickets to this event will include three bottles of wine and a box of chocolates delivered directly to your home in time to enjoy a wine class led by an incredible sommelier. To learn more and get your ticket, please visit www.encourage-kids.org/virtual-wine.
What makes the work you do so necessary especially given today’s climate?
With everything that has happened in the world this year and all that’s happening in the United States right now politically, socially and medically, it’s easy to get caught up in the frenzy and lose sight of the everyday challenges individuals face. It’s easy to forget that there are millions of children being treated in hospitals every day for reasons that have nothing to do with COVID-19. Children are still getting sick, they are still getting injured, they are still being diagnosed with serious illnesses, they are still struggling with disabilities—all of which impact not just the children but their caregivers and families. That’s where enCourage Kids comes in. It’s our mission to support them and to support the hospital workers who care for them. They need our help now more than ever especially in communities where there are large health disparities and fewer resources. And the needs are sometimes diverse and surprising. For example, in Queens, one of the NYC boroughs hardest hit by the pandemic, one of our hospital partners reached out with an unusual request. We learned that pregnant mothers who had lost their spouses and other key family members were going home alone with their newborn babies feeling alone, afraid and without needed resources. enCourage Kids stepped in and provided supplies for those new moms like diapers, wipes, newborn outfits, blankets and other essentials. Our programs benefit all children, yet we seek to ensure that hospitals with fewer resources are always given priority consideration.
For more information on how you too can get involved and help children during this difficult time please visit here.
Adrienne Warren To Perform At DIFFA’s 40th Anniversary Gala
DIFFA is excited to announce its highly anticipated 40th Anniversary Gala on Thursday, March 28, 2024 at the Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers in NYC. It will feature a star-studded lineup of entertainment including Tony Award-winner Adrienne Warren (Tina –The Tina Turner Musical), vocalist and trumpeter Brian Newman and celebrity DJ Michaelangelo L’Acqua. The Gala will commemorate a remarkable legacy—forty years of impactful DIFFA initiatives — and raise critical funds to further support vital causes. Tickets and more details are available here.
The announcement comes on the heels of an incredibly successful Après Ski event held earlier this month, which raised over $100,000 for DIFFA grantees. Established in 1984 in response to the HIV/AIDS crisis, DIFFA has since expanded its mission to encompass broader community challenges such as homelessness and mental wellness.
“What started as a group of designers and manufacturer’s gathering in an NYC basement to raise money to help support their ailing friends and co-workers’ doctor’s visits and living expenses, has grown into a catalyst for change. Since our founding, we’ve granted more than $55 million to organizations which provide direct care to those most in need of assistance,” remarks Dawn Roberson, Executive Director of DIFFA.
“DIFFA has been a cause very close to my heart for more than 30 years. I’ve seen first-hand how the organization has galvanized the design community to rally our talents, resources, and creativity in the face of some of the most intractable social and healthcare challenges of our era. I’m so proud to celebrate 40 years of giving back and am excited about DIFFA’s next chapter,” said David Rockwell, who currently serves as Chair Emeritus of DIFFA.
“Serving as a rallying point for the design community, the Gala event will allow us to continue DIFFA’s legacy of giving. An opportunity for brands and individuals to demonstrate their solidarity, it will also pay tribute to those pioneering individuals who were champions of the cause and instrumental in making a DIFFA-rence—from the 1980s when AIDS was a mysterious illness with little hope for a cure, to DIFFA’s work today in line with its expanded mission,” adds current Board Chair Thomas Polucci.
The gala will feature an award ceremony and special video segment highlighting an honoree from each decade of DIFFA’s history. Fern Mallis and Steven Cole of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) are among those offering video tributes to former DIFFA chairs Cindy Allen, David Rockwell, and George Slowik, and former executive director David Sheppard. The event will also recognize the incredible work of DIFFA’s grantees, including organizations such as Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Housing Works, God’s Love We Deliver, Bailey House, SAGE, Health, Hetrick-Martin Institute, and Callen-Lorde Community Health Center. These grantees provide direct care through several different initiatives—from funding pantry bag meals to supporting outreach programs for underserved and disenfranchised LGBTQ homeless and street-involved youth.
Thoughtfully designed installations by students at FIT, SVA, Pratt, and NYSID will provide an inspiring backdrop to the evening’s festivities. Each imaginative vignette will illustrate a different decade in DIFFA’s rich history. Guests will be treated to performances by Tony-award-winning actress Adrienne Warren, who recently played Tina Turner in TINA – The Tina Turner Musical on Broadway, as well as the dynamic sounds of DJ Michaelangelo L’Acqua.
DIFFA is deeply grateful to Benjamin Moore, presenting sponsor of the 40th Anniversary Gala, as well as gold sponsors Empire Office with Steelcase, EvensonBest, HOK, MillerKnoll, Rockwell Group, and Shaw Contract.
The DIFFA gala is just one in several 40th anniversary fundraising events. Lip Sync for Life—a drag event originally founded by DIFFA Chicago—is scheduled for the last week of June in conjunction with PRIDE festivities.
For more information on DIFFA and the full list of grantees, visit diffa.org.
DIFFA: grants funds to organizations providing treatment, assistance, and access to healthcare for a diverse group of people affected by HIV/AIDS, food & housing insecurities, and mental health issues. For four decades, DIFFA has created legendary programs and events that highlight a cause that has impacted the industry. As times change and we face a new set of challenges, DIFFA answers the community’s needs by expanding our mission to include funding for those with food and housing insecurities and to support mental wellbeing.
Harnessing the design industry’s resources and creativity to respond to critical health issues and build a healthier, robust, and inclusive community. Making a DIFFA-rence!
DIFFA is one of the largest funders of HIV/AIDS service and education programs in the United States. Mobilizing the immense resources and creativity of the design community, DIFFA has granted more than $55 million to hundreds of HIV/AIDS organizations nationwide. Including Gay Men’s Health Crisis, Housing Works, God’s Love We Deliver, Bailey House, SAGE, Health, Hetrick-Martin Institute, Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, among many others. www.diffa.org.
Iconic New York City Restaurant Serendipity3 Celebrates The City and “The Notebook”on Broadway, Opening in March
Though I’ve lived in New York for many years, a stop at Serendipity3, the decades-old restaurant on East 60th Street, eluded me. Until now. Thanks to a recent connection with the romantic musical The Notebook — in previews on Broadway — a new dessert specially designed to celebrate Valentine’s Day and the show was unveiled. And I got to sample it in all its super sweet glory.
The Notebook Hot Chocolate Affogato Sundae features a marshmallow rimmed Serendipity goblet filled with two towering scoops of vanilla ice cream, a giant pillow of creamy whipped cream, romantic Valentine’s sprinkles. Once the server pours a carafe of super-rich and thick hot chocolate (made with semisweet and bitter-sweet chocolates, rich cocoas, heavy cream, Maldon sea salt and Madagascar vanilla paste) over the ice cream, it’s ready for consumption. The dessert is also topped off with a dusting of iridescent edible glitter, an edible frosting-sheet with The Notebook logo, as well as a field of edible butterflies and flowers. Available at the restaurant for $24.95, it became my introduction to this glittery and iridescent palace of pop culture.
Like The Notebook — first experienced as Nicholas Sparks debut novel and then as feature film starring Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams — Serendipity3 is a quintessential piece of 21st century pop culture. Not only does it offer classic restaurant fare such as sumptuous hamburgers and salads but many, many desserts especially sundaes.
When Serendipity3 added The Notebook to their list of Broadway collaborations, it was hardly the first. The restaurant is known for bringing extravagant desserts and world-record-breaking menu items to the table. These menu items have captivated a worldwide audience and a celebrity following for decades.
Founded in 1954, it is one of the city’s unique dining experiences. The home of decadent desserts such as the Frrrozen Hot Chocolate, Serendipity has been captivating millions of patrons since its inception. It’s a quirky place where artists got their inspiration and actors fulfilled their cravings. Beginning with Marilyn Monroe, Andy Warhol, Grace Kelly and Cary Grant in the ‘50s, continuing with a celebrity following that includes Cher, Candice Bergen, Melanie Griffith and Ron Howard, the restaurant continues to attract celebrities such as Beyoncé, Ryan Reynolds, Selena Gomez and Kim Kardashian. In addition, the restaurant has been the setting of three major Hollywood productions, “One Fine Day” (1996) with George Clooney and Michelle Pfeiffer, Serendipity (2001) with John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale, and Trust The Man (2005) with Julianne Moore and David Duchovny.
Produced by Kevin McCollum and Kurt Deutsch, “The Notebook” features music and lyrics by multi-platinum singer-songwriter Ingrid Michaelson and a book by playwright Bekah Brunstetter (writer and producer on NBC’s “This Is Us,” The Cake). The production is directed by Michael Greif (Dear Evan Hansen, Next to Normal) and Schele Williams (Aida, The Wiz), with choreography by Katie Spelman (Associate Choreographer on Moulin Rouge! The Musical).
The show tells of Allie and Noah, both from different worlds, sharing a lifetime of love despite the forces that threaten to pull them apart, in a deeply moving portrait of love’s enduring power. The cast features Tony Award®-winner Maryann Plunkett as Older Allie, Dorian Harewood as Older Noah, Joy Woods as Middle Allie, Ryan Vasquez as Middle Noah, Jordan Tyson as Younger Allie, John Cardoza as Younger Noah, Andréa Burns as Mother/Nurse Lori. Playing various roles are Yassmin Alers, Alex Benoit, Chase Del Rey, Hillary Fisher, Jerome Harmann-Hardeman, Dorcas Leung, Happy McPartlin, Juliette Ojeda, Kim Onah, Carson Stewart, Charles E. Wallace and Charlie Webb.
With a book that has sold millions of copies worldwide and a film that’s one of the highest-grossing romantic dramas of all-time, the musical adaptation of The Notebook comes to Broadway following a critically acclaimed world premiere engagement at Chicago Shakespeare Theater in the fall of 2022.
As for Broadway’s The Notebook, it’s now in previews at the Schoenfeld Theatre (236 W. 45th Street, NYC) and opens Thursday, March 14th.
For tickets and more info, visit www.NotebookMusical.com.
225 E 60th Street
Open seven days a week from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. EST
For more information or to book a reservation, visit www.serendipity3.com
Jose Verdugo: Guardianship/ Conservatorship and What You Need To Know Part 3
Sabrina E. Morrissey, Credit: Facebook
Just released, Wendy Williams’ guardian has been accused of a scheme to rob her client in a $30 million lawsuit while controlling Wendy Williams’ finances and countless others. The U.S. Sun exclusively revealed that Wendy’s guardian, Sabrina Morrissey, her firm Morrissey & Morrissey LLP, and about 10 other attorneys have been named as defendants in another lawsuit.
If you remember from yesterday’s story these are the same individuals that were and are involved in Errol Rapports mother’s case and Libra Max with her father the artist Peter Max.
The case Morrissey and the attorneys are accused in, is for Jose Verdugo, who had won $5.5 million in a personal injury claim. For more than a decade, the defendants imprisoned Verdugo in a humiliating and oppressive guardianship by manipulating and serially deceiving him, as well as New York Supreme Court and the Appellate Division. The fraudulently-based attorney and guardian fees, plundered Verdugo’s multi-million dollar personal injury recovery.
Your Inner Dialogue: Positive Affirmations for Addiction Recovery
Positive affirmations are of help to many people working to recover from an addiction. The uplifting messages, when repeated regularly, train the brain to think positively. They focus on the present and future, providing motivation and inspiration to continue on the road to recovery.
How Affirmations Work
The brain is a malleable organ. Affirmations help take advantage of the brain’s neuroplasticity by repeating positive messages about ourselves or our goals. Each time we verbalise the affirmation, that statement fires along certain neural pathways in support of the affirmed idea or belief. Repeated over and over, affirmations strengthen those supportive pathways until, with enough repetition, the affirmation becomes the default outlook programmed into our brains. As a result, drug rehab programs in texas often make affirmations a priority.
Creating Effective Affirmations
Telling yourself “I no longer crave drugs” likely rings hollow in early recovery. More realistic affirmations like “If a craving comes, I can get through it” set reasonable expectations. Over time, as these affirmations prove true, they can lay the groundwork for more ambitious statements. By starting small with positive, solution-focused affirmations, we can start retraining our brains with helpful messaging. Repeated regularly, effective affirmations help cement the attitudes and behaviours that allow people in recovery to cope with challenges and continue healing.
Integrating Affirmations into Daily Life
To fully benefit from affirmations, they must be put into consistent practice. Simply thinking about them from time to time is not enough for real change. Affirmations should become ingrained into one’s daily routine.
Ways to effectively integrate affirmations include:
Writing Them Down
Writing affirmations by hand helps imprint them into the mind. Keep a running list of affirmations to review regularly. Also, keep individual affirmations in multiple places, such as on sticky notes around the home, the car dashboard, and more. These little reminders help facilitate the repetition of positive phrases throughout the day.
Reciting Them Out Loud
Vocalising the affirmations is powerful too, engaging more of the brain through auditory pathways. Set reminders to repeat affirmations out loud at certain times, such as morning and evening. Doing them in front of a mirror can also help increase effectiveness. Making Them Digital
Digital applications provide another way to practise daily affirmations. Apps will send daily reminders to view inspiring quotes and phrases. Some affirmation apps allow users to select or create their affirmations as well. Viewing these positive messages right on a frequently-checked device helps reinforce them.
Affirmations Take Practice
Keep in mind that integrating affirmations into one’s mindset requires consistency and practice. At first, the concepts expressed may feel silly or untrue. However, with routine use, their effects become cumulatively powerful in supporting continued recovery. Affirmations lay the groundwork for emotional and spiritual growth that sustains people through challenges on their journey.
Affirmations are a simple yet powerful technique that can lead to profound changes for those in addiction recovery. By overriding negative thought patterns and activating motivation centres of the brain, affirmations promote personal growth and healthy decision-making. When consistently integrated into one’s daily routine through written, vocal, and digital practice, affirmations retrain the mind to be more supportive of recovery goals. Maintaining focus each day on positive visions of self-worth, forgiveness, strength, and hope builds the emotional resilience needed for the lifelong journey of recovery. Though challenging at first, committing to regular affirmations lays the groundwork for lasting transformation one phrase at a time.
What’s Best for Diamond Rings – Gold or Sterling Silver?
Diamond rings are the very embodiment of grace and cherished remembrance. However, selecting the most suitable metal – either gold or sterling silver – to match these precious stones may not be a walk in the park because of several variables. Each metal has its unique attributes and considerations. To settle this matter, let us talk about what gold and sterling silver offer when it comes to diamond rings for women.
The Classic Elegance of Gold
For quite some time now, gold has remained an unrivaled favorite in the world of diamond rings. Its inherent enchantment makes it a natural choice.
Durability and Patina
Gold is naturally soft but usually alloyed with metals such as copper, silver, or zinc in order to increase its resilience. This results in differing karat counts in gold jewelry, whereby 14k and 18k are commonly used for diamond rings because they offer a balance between long-lastingness and quantity of gold. With time, gold develops a rich patina, which many owners find attractive.
Gold comes in yellow, white, and rose options, each with special appeal. Yellow gold adds warmth while providing brilliant contrast against the crisp brilliance of a diamond. On the other hand, white gold plated with rhodium improves the sparkle of diamonds, making them appear larger, whereas rose gold brings out the charm of a piece.
Gold has a luxury that comes with a higher price compared to sterling silver. Nevertheless, gold diamond rings can be a good investment, considering their durability, lifetime value, and inherent worth.
Sterling Silver: The Modern Muse
Despite gold’s dominance, sterling silver has trumped gold as an option for those who want understated elegance when it comes to diamond rings.
The modern, sleek look of sterling silver makes it such a good match with diamonds. It glimmers beneath the shine of the diamond stones and gives them life through its bright, cool undertone. This attribute makes it perfect for people who prefer contemporary jewelry designs.
92.5% pure silver mixed with 7.5% of other metals (most commonly copper) forms a very tough sterling silver alloy that can withstand everyday use. Sometimes, though, when subjected to air and moisture, sterling silver may react by changing color, but this does not mean that it cannot be cleaned or polished back into its former glory.
For budget-conscious jewelry fans, sterling silver is a relatively low-cost alternative that lets them own beautiful diamond rings without breaking the bank.
Choosing Between Gold and Sterling Silver
The right metal for your diamond ring ultimately depends on personal preferences, budget, and how much work you are ready to put into its maintenance. For example, if you have classic taste and don’t mind splurging some money on gold, invest in gold diamond rings.
On the contrary, if you prefer fashion-forward styles or want to spend less on purchasing your engagement ring, buying sterling silver will be the right move.
The Final Take
Ultimately, the choice of metal is a function of how the ring resonates individually. More often than not, diamond rings represent love and commitment, and this has much more value. However, gold and sterling silver diamond rings would be excellent keepsakes for any jewelry box.
Considering their peculiarities and thinking about your style and financial resources will make it easier to decide which metal will make your diamond ring sparkle the most.
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