M A R C H
Click on photos below to view biographies
Camille Orrichio Loccisano
Veronica L. Price
Frances T. Vella Marrone
Camille Orrichio Loccisano
Orrichio Loccisano is a resident of
Heights where she raised
three sons as a single mother.
Her oldest son, Frankie, lost his three-year battle
against osteosarcoma, a rare pediatric cancer, a few years
ago at the age of 17. Throughout the course of Frankie’s
illness, Camille never left his side. He dreamed that one
day he would be well enough “to give back and help sick
children." After his death, Camille dedicated herself to the
fulfillment of Frankie’s dream. She established The
Francesco Loccisano Memorial Foundation, a non-profit
organization whose mission is to assist the families of
children afflicted with cancer. Through Camille’s tireless
efforts, and with the help and support of its board of
directors and several distinguished honorary members, the
foundation has helped countless children and families since
its inception in 2008. Camille's exceptional service to her
children and her community is also evidenced in her response
to the severe autism with which her middle son, Nicholas,
was diagnosed at the age of 18 months. Camille left no stone
unturned in her search for appropriate resources and
programs to aid in Nicky’s development. And, once again,
Camille then reached out to help other needy families by
developing and presenting a workshop to share what she had
learned with the parents of autistic children in
Brooklyn’s Special Education District 75.
Camille's third and youngest son, Christopher, is currently
High School in Bay Ridge.
In addition to her invaluable work on behalf of The
Francesco Loccisano Memorial Foundation, Camille is employed
at The Child School, where she is now developing a culinary
arts program for learning disabled students.
Elaine Lindsey is an educator, mentor, and motivational
speaker who has touched the lives of many in her school and
in her community.
Elaine does not accept the word “can’t” and refuses
to settle for mediocrity.
She believes that educating young people is a
ministry and that it is her assignment to help others
achieve, especially young people, despite the often
insurmountable obstacles thrown in their path.
Her singular determination to help her students
achieve their goal of earning a high school diploma goes
above and beyond her job description. A product of the
New York City Public School system herself, Elaine obtained her
Bachelor’s degree from
College and two Master’s
degrees from CUNY.
In the last twenty years, Elaine has worked as a
teacher, a dean and an assistant administrator.
She currently serves as principal of
School, where she takes on the
challenge of working with at-risk students who are over-aged
Her mantra is “Excellence is our only Medium,” which
fuels the success of her school.
Elaine has received numerous awards for her
outstanding work as an administrator.
She is a catalyst for change and a true visionary who
empowers young people to look beyond their circumstances and
to see their own ability to achieve greatness.
began her civic involvement as a member of the PTA, where,
as her five children advanced through the
New York City
public school system, she rose through the PTA’s ranks to
become its president. Renée’s involvement in civic affairs
broadened when she was elected president of her
Sunset Park block association. In this capacity,
she developed a number of community projects, including a
"sister block” program that linked her
Park block to a block in Jerusalem and that
ultimately led to a visit by an Israeli diplomat. The
program was especially significant for Renée, whose parents
were survivors of the Holocaust. In 1997, leaders from the
business community asked Renée, who had been a 5th Avenue merchant back in 1975, to
take charge of the
Park 5th Avenue Business Improvement District
(BID). As the BID’s executive director, Renée has brought a
new vitality to Sunset
Street." She has raised funds to
Avenue's modern lighting fixtures
with historic lampposts. Eventually, other planned amenities
will be added, including illuminated
name signs, a public sidewalk clock, and other special
sidewalk treatments. To this day, Renée has not forgotten
the central motivation for her civic involvement, which has
been to help her family as well as the families of others.
When Renée is not at the BID office, she can often be
reached on her home phone late into the evening helping
family, friends and neighbors.
Tessa Garnes has been a tireless advocate for
women and children both here and abroad for over 12 years. A
graduate of Bowie State University, she earned her MSW from New York University
in 1999. Tessa went on to pursue a Post- Graduate
Certificate in Infant-Parent Studies from the Jewish Board
of Family and Children’s Services and is currently working
on her doctorate in social work from the Institute of Clinical Social
Illinois. Tessa’s experience
extends across multiple genres and areas. She served as a
mental health consultant for the Jewish Board of Family and
Children’s Services in Brooklyn, where she trained child
protective specialists who work for ACS on issues including
but not limited to mental health, cultural sensitivity,
sexual abuse, domestic violence and family dynamics. She
also served as a clinical social worker for both the Queen’s
Child Guidance Center
N.Y., and the Jewish Child Care Association in
Tessa’s dedication to human rights extends internationally.
She spent fours years as a Children’s Ministry Leader at
Caribbean Grace in
Haiti, where she
implemented service programs, individual crisis counseling,
facilitated teen groups, and co-directed a feeding program
which fed over 600 malnourished children and young adults
three times a week. Currently, she supervises both the
Social Work and Family Preservation Departments at Dwa Fanm
(“Women’s Rights” in Haitian Creole).
Phillipa Morrish began her impressive teaching career in
her post-high school years when she spent time in the
jungles of Guyana
with the Macushi tribe.
Through the Ministry of Education, she taught general
education subjects to the children during the day, but
independently created a women’s group to teach their mothers
social and religious subjects one evening per week.
She encouraged them to find their voices, insist on
community respect, write letters to address issues and also
discuss religious views.
Phillipa immigrated to the
in 1982 and quickly realized that her academic education,
though excellent, did not automatically translate into the
social skills needed for success.
She attended the
Ophelia DeVore School of Charm, New York City, and later,
Minding Manners, a protocol school in London.
Today, Phillipa is a
certified Protocol Consultant who has taught business and
social protocol programs to adults and teens since 1999.
She is the founder of Etiquette Training
International, a finishing school program dedicated to
promoting 21st century social education skills in
the U.S. and abroad.
Phillipa has taught
courses in manners to high school seniors at
Academy and Fontbonne Hall
Academy in Bay Ridge.
She has conducted workshops for Federal Correction
Officers, for private groups such as the Ladies Hibernians
in Bay Ridge, and for members of the military at the Fort
Hamilton Army base.
She created “The Chrysalis Project,” a certificate course
which targets women in half-way houses and those who have
six months or less left on a prison sentence.
This course teaches the vital skills necessary to
enable these women to re-enter the work force and revive
long lost dreams. Her international 2010 schedule took her
to Guyana and Jamaica, where she successfully
taught Finishing School courses to teens and Social Protocol
courses to professional men and women.
She has raised scholarship funds for Guyanese
students, solicited books to create a school library for her
alma mater, and continues her book drive on behalf of the
Veronica L. Price
The eldest of
sixteen children, Veronica L. Price was born in
Camden, New Jersey.
She was raised by her grandparents, Jessie and Zella
Stephens, whom she loved and admired. Veronica credits them
with her healthy respect and regard for a good work ethic,
values and compassion. As her siblings grew in number,
Veronica’s responsibilities increased and she became a
master at multi-tasking.
As a young girl, she worked odd jobs, always sharing
with her siblings in an effort to enhance their lives.
At twelve she was a domestic worker, and knew at that
age that she wanted to become a nurse.
She graduated from Martland Hospital Unit School of
Nursing as the Salutatorian in 1970, and went on to get her
Bachelor’s and two Masters’ Degrees.
Throughout her career, she has held various
positions, i.e. NYC Board of Education Instructor; Emergency
Room Nurse; ICU Nurse; Operating Room Nurse, Home Care
Nurse, Supervisor, Director, Vice President and
Administrator; Community Outreach Director and Professor of
has cared for thousands of patients and their families, has
taught untold numbers of nursing students and mentored
others. Veronica had been a member of Bridge
since 1995. There, she served as a member of the Gospel
Chorus, Foley Harmonettes and the Praise Ensemble. She is
currently a member of the Brooklyn Community
Church where the Reverend
Dr. Fred A. Lucas is the Pastor. Veronica believes
wholeheartedly that her music ministry contributes
significantly to her spiritual growth. She recorded a CD in
2005 entitled, “I’m So Glad.”
Veronica is the proud
mother of Jason and
grandmother of Demier.
Born in 1936, Arline Richardson has lived her entire life
within a two-block radius between Decatur Street and Bainbridge Street, just off Saratoga Avenue in Brownsville.
She attended Brooklyn public schools and Franklin K. Lane High School
As a child growing up in the borough, Arline and her
siblings enjoyed trips to Coney Island, local parades,
parks, plays and movies at now long-shuttered theaters.
In 1956 Arline married her husband, Arthur, and they
went on to have seven children.
Arline’s husband, a long-haul trucker, was on the
road much of the time, leaving the task of raising the kids
to Arline. She
shepherded her children through a neighborhood plagued by
many problems – gangs, drugs, racial tensions, crime and
violence were never far from her doorstep.
With her eagle-eye, Arline watched, not only her own
children, but looked after all the other kids on the block
as well, letting them know when they were doing fine, but
quick to report them to their parents when they were at risk
of misbehaving. In
1980, Arline’s husband died, leaving her to raise her large
family on her own. With
the guidance and support of her brother, a New York City
police officer, Arline saw her son, Kevin, graduate from law
school and go on to become an Assistant District Attorney.
She also has two grandchildren and a nephew who
contribute to the Office’s mission.
Now retired after a career with AT&T/Verizon, Arline
still lives on Decatur Street and continues to watch over
the neighborhood children.
Known affectionately as “Mom,” Arline provides
guidance, counsel and a good meal when needed for her
Marianne Nicolosi, a lifelong resident of
Brooklyn, has dedicated her life to a career in
public service as a mental health professional and
non-profit administrator. For many years, Marianne has
served as an advocate for Brooklyn’s
most valuable, and indeed, most vulnerable population – the
elderly. In addition to her full-time employment, Marianne
has provided training assistance to the Alzheimer’s
Foundation of America. Several months ago, Marianne took on
a large and exciting new challenge: She became the first
full-time employee and executive director of the recently
established non-profit, Brooklyn Community Pride Center
(BCPC). BCPC was formed to provide much needed services and
a safe haven for members of Brooklyn’s
LGBTQ community. As executive director of BCPC, Marianne is
serving one of New York City’s most diverse populations and
helping to shape the vision of an organization that is
destined to meet the needs of this population for
generations to come.
Sue Wolfe has
lived in Boerum Hill for over thirty-five years and has
devoted much of that time to civic service. Sue served as
the president of the Boerum Hill Association for six years.
She has been involved in the Atlantic Avenue LDC and the
annual Atlantic Antic events for many more years. Sue is
also on the board of Boerum Hill's Mary McDowell School,
which serves children with dyslexia and related learning
disorders. Sue is currently spearheading a campaign to
improve Brooklyn's Thomas Greene
Park, and she also serves
as president of the Friends of Douglass/Greene Park. During
last year's very hot summer, when the local municipal pool
was scheduled to be closed because of budget cuts, Sue and
others rallied their neighbors and succeeded in convincing
City Hall to open the pool. It was a great relief to the
nearby residents. Sue also participates in the greening
efforts of the Hoyt Street Association's Annual Plant Sale,
neighborhood caroling each winter, and beautification
Atlantic Avenue. For these and
many other reasons, Sue Wolfe truly deserves to be honored
as an Extraordinary Women.
works tirelessly to create social change in the
Heights community. She has
clear vision for her actions, is exceedingly skilled at
building consensus around key community issues, and is an
inspiration to those in her own workplace and the community
at large. Under her leadership as the director of the
Crown Heights Community
for the past eight years, the Center has become one of the
most credible and trusted community institutions in a
neighborhood which has been challenged by a history of
racial and religious conflict. With limited means, Amy has
guided the Center into an institution that is mutually
respected by a widely diverse set of community stakeholders:
Jewish religious leaders and West Indian block association
presidents alike view Amy as an advocate for safety and
peace in their community. Amy’s strong relationships with
local police precincts, the Kings County District Attorney’s
office, the religious community and elected leaders make her
a go-to person when an act of gun violence or a bias-related
incident occurs. As Amy has helped empower community members
to work through their own problems, she has played the roles
of social worker, community organizer, project planner,
troubleshooter, manager, grant writer, fund-raiser, and
researcher for the
Heights neighborhood. Her
many involvements often require her to work late into the
evening, as well as on weekends. But for Amy, the results
are what count.
Frances T. Vella-Marrone
Fran Vella-Marrone is a lifelong resident of the Dyker
Heights/Bay Ridge community and has dedicated over a quarter
century to civic service.
She is a graduate of St. Patrick’s Grammar School,
Bishop Kearney High School
and she earned her B.S. from
Fran’s career reflects extensive experience in both
the public and private sectors.
She served as president of the Dyker Heights Civic
Association for nearly two decades.
She is also past president of the Bay Ridge Business
and Professional Women’s Club.
She is currently a member of the 68th
Precinct Council, Community Board Ten, serving as past
chairwoman of the Nominating Committee and Environmental
Committee; a founding member and
past president of
the McKinley/Leif Ericson Park Alliance;
a member of the
Cathedral Club; a
delegate to the Bay Ridge Community Council;
a co-organizer of
the Dyker Military Package Fund; and she served as a member
of both Senator
Golden’s and the former Congressman Fosella’s Zoning Task
Fran is presently employed as a legal assistant at the law
firm of Connors & Sullivan.
Gail Singer was born in
Although her family moved to Long Island, she never forgot the borough that she loved
than 30 years later, she returned to the place of her youth
and decided that it was important to give something back to
the borough she loved and of which she was so proud.
She volunteered in many homeless shelters.
She organized toy drives for disabled children.
She organized food drives for City Harvest and
through her synagogue she helped send care packages to our
troops in Iraq
Gail is a proud Brooklynite and she will continue to
volunteer her time for this great borough. Gail is not only
an advocate for Brooklyn, but she also represents all that
is great about Brooklyn.
Rozena Raja is
one of seven Brooklyn-born children of Pakistani immigrants
who came here more than forty years ago to carve out a
dignified existence for themselves and their family.
Rozena attended Stuyvesant High School
and received her Bachelor’s in English Education from Brooklyn College.
She is currently working towards her Master’s Degree with an
eye towards pursuing a Doctorate. She is in her second year
as Coach of Al-Noor School’s Debate Team. This impressive
team has been debating in tournaments throughout the
area and the students are consistently ranked in the top
three. Rozena motivates her students to love the
thrill of competition and connect with students from other
schools and backgrounds, all of whom share a love of debate.
Rozena believes that debate is a critical skill, one which
allows her students to engage in civic discourse about
issues of ethics and morality. Currently, her students
are debating the topic of treatment of juveniles charged
with violent felonies as adults in the criminal justice
system. Rozena has taught within the private school
system for the past ten years, and she enjoys the freedom
that small schools afford. She started a Public
Speaking course specifically for seniors at Al-Noor, which
is now in its third year. Last year Rozena spoke at a
CUNY-wide Symposium - “Muslim Professional Women” - hosted
by the Muslim Women’s Educational Initiative in
collaboration with the Women’s Studies Department of
Brooklyn College. She has served as Local
Secretary of Islamic Circle of North America’s (ICNA) Young
Muslims, Vice-President of Brooklyn College’s Muslim
Students Association, and currently serves as the New York
Representative for the American Learning Institute for
Muslims – a nationally recognized organization dedicated to
empowering Muslims through critically meaningful discourse,
and intellectual and spiritual development.
Wade created her successful non-profit organization,
Community Partners Commission Assoc., Inc., she served New York City as the
Department of Probation’s Chief for Community Affairs and
Community Service. During her 24-year career with the
Department of Probation, she served as a supervisor in
Family Court, Alternative to Detention, Foster Care and
Adoption. The crowning glories of her career were her
positions as City-Wide Chief of Community Service and
Community Affairs. There, she used her natural abilities to
draw people together and build partnerships, creating a
graffiti task force and community service work crews to
cover the City of New York. She is known for
her power to build relationships among community residents,
organizations and political officials, ultimately enhancing
the quality of life for the community at large. Dedra’s
not-for-profit organization, Community Partners Commission
Assoc., Inc., served as a vehicle for her natural and
predictable evolution from the public servant to community
leader. During her city-wide duties with Probation,
Dedra developed a passion and commitment to East New York
The commitment became the drive to start her nonprofit and
the flagship program, CPCA, Inc. Community Enrichment
Center. Today, thousands of community residents and
colleagues know the organization and rely on its staff and
members to do what their mission professes: “create
partnerships that change lives and enhance communities”
Florette Henry Vassall is a first-generation American, born
of a Cuban father and a Panamanian mother.
A lifelong music lover, she studied voice at four and
piano at six, and she played violin in her high school
orchestra. As a
freshman in college, she joined the National Association for
the Advancement of Modern Jazz and went on to produce two
international jazz concerts.
In 1974, Florette created the Annual New York “EVVY”
Fashion Awards in order to recognize
New York City
as a world fashion leader, and she founded the EVVY Cultural
Interchange, a nonprofit organization.
For over 35 years,
Florette made donations to support
New York City’s foster children from
profits from her EVVY Awards programs as a gesture of
appreciation - she herself had been placed in foster care
with her brother and sister for many years.
has included work as a high-fashion model, a writer, a
reporter and a poet.
She is tri-lingual and has taught language in schools
as far away as Acapulco and Berlin.
She has also taught
Spanish and French to seventh and eighth graders at
St. Jerome’s School in
She is the widow of EMMY-award winning NBC television
director Sid Vassall and the proud grandmother of a 14 year
old grandson and a 9 year old grand-daughter.
She currently works
as the Executive Producer of the Cablevision series “EVVY”
Cultural Interchange, which can be seen on Brooklyn’s Community Access Television channels. Florette
resides in the Flatbush section of
Brooklyn, where she remains very active in her
community and is currently finishing a novel and working on
Ms. Mathylde Frontus is the founder and
executive director of Urban Neighborhood Services, a
non-profit organization located in Coney Island,
Brooklyn which makes a difference in people’s
lives. The eldest child of Haitian immigrant parents,
Mathylde was born and raised in
Brooklyn, where during her youth she developed
an affinity for helping others. At the age of 12 as a
student at Edward R. Murrow High School, she quickly assumed
a leadership role by engaging in a number of volunteer and
community service projects that earned her two prestigious
awards during her senior year: the
New York Daily News
“Principals’ Pride of the Yankees Award for Outstanding
Achievement” and the “Progress Through Justice Award for
Outstanding Leadership, Character, and Community Service,”
given by Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes. As
a college student at New York University, Mathylde continued
her work in a number of community service projects which
provided assistance to the homeless, pre-schoolers, teen
mothers, GED students, and others, and which twice earned
her the New York University “President’s Service Award for
Volunteerism and Community Service.” After college, Mathylde
proudly returned to her Coney Island
community to realize her dream of opening a neighborhood
organization that would help transform people’s lives.
Founded in 2004, Urban Neighborhood Services offers an array
of programs and services to residents throughout
New York City
and helps empower the residents of
on a daily basis. The organization’s activities include
financial literacy, health education, veterans outreach,
youth leadership, college preparation, “going green”
education, legal assistance, and much more. Urban
Neighborhood Services is the culmination of not only
Mathylde’s dreams, but also her longstanding and impressive
record of service to others.
Kate D’Emic has always put others and her community before
herself. Kate is a lifelong Bay Ridge resident who is
currently a special education teacher at P.S. 222 in
Kate’s work at P.S. 222 has been exceptional. She has
taught 3rd, 4th and 5th grade special education classes for
students with severe disabilities, including mental
retardation, autism and cerebral palsy. In 2007, Kate won
first place for a Brooklyn
environmental project and received an award from State
Senator Martin Golden. In 2008, to supplement supplies for
her classes, Kate applied for a grant from Donor’s Choose
and received an easel and other teaching tools for her
classroom. More recently, Kate had her students knit winter
hats for the infants and toddlers of families seeking help
at Brooklyn’s Family Justice Center.
The hats were presented at a ceremony that was held at the
District Attorney’s Office in February.
Ola Akinmowo is
a dedicated pillar of the Bedford Stuyvesant community. She
is a set designer for film, music, video, commercials and
television; the owner and manager of “So Hum Yoga Studio”
and a bed and breakfast called "Brooklyn Cozy," all located
in her home in Bedford Stuyvesant. Most of Ola’s
volunteer work is centered on health and the healing
arts. She is dedicated to the Weeksville Farmer's Market,
which provides low income people with easy access to an
array of healthy food choices, where she organizes cooking
demonstrations with healthy recipes with chefs from various
Brooklyn communities. She also
provides opportunities for high school students to get
community service credit for volunteering at the market. She
teaches food science classes, as well as gardening and how
to be eco-friendly to elementary and high school students.
Ola is also an active member of the Malcom X Grassroots Food
Justice Committee which advocates for better food choices in
communities of color. When she is not running the market,
she offers another invaluable service to the community - low
to no cost yoga at So Hum Studio. Additionally, she
has also formed a teen yoga group that assists teens with
balancing their emotional well being specifically focusing
on anxiety and trauma.
Darma V. Diaz-Munoz was born in Brooklyn, New York
during the late 1960’s. Her parents are from
Puerto Rico. She decided to become a social
worker after having volunteered in the Cypress Hills
community from the age of seven onwards. For many years,
Darma has been an advocate and voice for the people of
Cypress Hills, and she currently serves on numerous boards,
committees and community groups in the Cypress Hills area.
One of Darma’s most memorable accomplishments was the
construction of the Cesiah
School, a new elementary school
in Cypress Hills. For almost 20 years, Darma struggled and
worked with many high ranking officials to ensure that the
school was built. In addition, she assisted in the school’s
design. Darma is also an advocate for a community youth
organization that aims to train youth to become advocates
themselves. Darma’s untiring efforts have also helped ensure
that a 25-year-old Latino community event – Little
Christmas/Dia De los Rejes – will continue into the future.
The event is held in honor of Darma’s mentor, Cesiah
Toro-Mullane, and this year 700 toys were given away to
needy children. Darma currently works at Over Coming Love
Ministries, a 25-year-old organization that focuses on
serving the underserved. She is employed by Highland Park
Community Development Corp., where she is a voice and
catalyst for families and youth who are too often forgotten.
Kathy Peterson, RN, MSN, CEN is the Executive Director of
Nursing for the Emergency Department at
Center. The emergency room at
Maimonides is one of the busiest and most crowded in the
nation. In 2010, 110,000 adults and children were treated
and comforted there. Over 26,000 of these patients required
hospital admission. Kathy’s outstanding clinical skills,
leadership acumen and dedication have enabled her to lead a
staff of over 350 nurses and ancillary staff that deliver
quality health services to one of the most diverse patient
populations in the country. Her tireless, compassionate care
for all of Maimonides’s patients, families and visitors has
been recognized by both internal and external constituents,
including an award citation from Bikur Cholim (Borough Park).
In addition to her primary clinical responsibilities, Kathy
has become a force in improving services for victims of
child abuse, domestic violence, and sexual assault. Kathy
has partnered with the Kings County District Attorney’s
Office and the
Brooklyn Family Justice Center,
the New York City Department of Health, and the New York
Alliance Against Sexual Assault to address these complex
issues. Under Kathy’s leadership, awareness of these issues
has increased throughout the Maimonides community. Kathy
Peterson is a lifelong resident of Brooklyn and resides in Marine
Park. She was educated in
Brooklyn and earned her Bachelor and Master
degrees from local universities. Kathy and her husband,
Harry, are active in their community, and have successfully
raised two fine sons. Kathy spends much of her time tending
to stray animals in her neighborhood, often getting them
medical care and subsequent adoption at her own expense.
Rose-Marie Whitelaw is a volunteer for Brooklyn Animal
Action, a non-profit organization whose mission is to trap,
neuter, rehabilitate, and adopt out stray cats and other
animals to loving homes. Since 2005, Rose-Marie has trapped,
spayed, and neutered over 1,000 stray, feral, and bodega
cats in Brooklyn. Using her own basement, as well as the houses of
many other volunteers and foster families, she has helped to
rescue cats from many areas in Park Slope, Gowanus,
Greenwood Heights, Sunset Park, Prospect Heights, Crown
Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Kensington, Midwood, and Red
Hook. In addition, she has delivered kittens and cats to the
ASPCA Mobile Spay/Neuter Unit and has rescued cats and
kittens from Animal Care & Control of
New York City
that are destined for euthanization. Throughout this time,
she has rehabilitated, socialized, vetted, and adopted out
over 500 kittens and friendly stray cats, placing them in
loving homes, and thereby preventing the unwanted births of
many thousands of stray kittens. She also tutors other
Brooklynites to trap, spay, and neuter their own stray and
feral colonies that roam in their yards and streets.
Rose-Marie, with the help of other volunteers from Brooklyn
Animal Action as well as from sister groups, and with the
support of the ASPCA Mobile Clinics, works tirelessly to
reduce stray and feral births and therefore the suffering of
stray and feral cats throughout
Rosia Wyche has been a resident of
Coney Island for 35 years and has made many
invaluable contributions to her neighborhood during that
Hospital began 31 years
ago, and she has served in many roles at that institution
including as an EKG technician; a licensed phlebotomist; an
HMO outreach coordinator; and administrator, a position in
which she served for over 20 years until her retirement in
2003. Rosia has
been a long-time advocate for the New York City Housing
Authority (NYCHA), where she served as a Tenant Association
President and a Tenant Association Patrol Supervisor.
She currently serves as a Member of the Resident
Advisory Board, Chairperson of the Brooklyn South Council of
Presidents, Member of the Citywide Council of Presidents,
and President of the Coney Island Houses Residents
She recently created the African-American Senior Club, open
to all nationalities, which operates out of
In 2008, she was elected as 2nd Vice
President of the NYCHA Citywide Council of Presidents.
Rosia is a member of Community Board #13, where she
has sat on numerous committees.
She is a member of the grass roots organization,
Friends of the Boardwalk.
Rosia is a longstanding member of the Coney Island
Cathedral of Deliverance, where she has served as a choir
member and press secretary to the Bishop.
Her favorite roles have been
devoted mother to son Dominic, and
“Grandma” to Heaven Dominique and Mars Isaiah.
On October, 29,
1969 Dr. Laila Farhat left her country of
to go to
Spain. In 1988 she
graduated High School and went on to study medicine. In
1994, Dr. Farhat came to
America where she completed her
residency in 1999 at Brooklyn Hospital.
This was an exciting time for her; because it was here that
she met and married her husband Dr. Kamel Taoube. Dr. Farhat
has 5 children besides being a working mom, wife and doctor,
she still finds time to serve her community. She is
passionate in helping Arab American women register to vote
and teaching the importance of voting. She is the a proud
supporter of the Arab American Women's Committee Mother's
Day dinner where over 140 women were invited to attend and
treated like they were Queens for the day. She is also a
proud supporter of the Arab American Association of NY. Dr.
Farhat has been known to give charity for women who other
wise would not have gone to a doctor. She came to America as a single Muslim woman and
her struggles were not easy, but that did not stop her from
her dreams of being a doctor, wife, mother and community
leader in Bay Ridge.
Dianne Amato has served as a member of
the Bensonhurst Volunteer Ambulance Service since 1984 and
loves volunteering with this fine organization of young men
and women who answer emergency medical calls within their
Dianne was first trained as a dispatcher and soon
became involved in the administrative side of the
She rose to the level of Assistant Chief Dispatcher,
training new dispatchers and teaching dispatching classes.
She served as Corporate Secretary from 1989-1991, sat
on the Board of Directors and was responsible for sending
out a monthly newsletter, as well as corporate
correspondence and thank you letters to the community.
In 1992, Dianne was elected to the position of Vice
President, a position she held until 2000.
In that capacity, she served on numerous committees
and planned many events, including bucket drives, bake sales
and flea markets to help raise funds for the Service.
In 2001, Dianne was diagnosed with breast cancer and
was granted a leave of absence.
Soon after her diagnosis she read a pamphlet about
Padre Pio, and she started going Saturday morning novena to
Today, she still attends the novena mass at Regina
Dianne returned to work at the Service until another
unexpected illness required yet another leave of absence. ,
and still enjoys coming in every Monday to dispatch and work
with the crews.
She continues to attend the monthly membership
Diane Ng spent 19 years as
recording secretary of the Parent’s Association at P.S. 277.
While there she created and assisted with fund raisers and
boutiques, as well as organized the teacher’s luncheon for
years. Every year she helped the graduating classes put
together their yearbooks, decorate and run their prom, and
assisted during graduation. She has also volunteered
at the Bay
Academy, Intermediate School 98.
After their Parent’s Association was disbanded for some
time, she restarted it and served from 1998-2001, and
again from 2005-2008. Diane has always been involved with
the improvement of schools. She served on the School
Leadership teams for P.S. 277 and I.S. 98, and currently
High School, Intermediate School
278. Additionally, she has served on C-30 committees.
Diane has also dedicated much of her time and effort to her
community where she is always helping those in need. For
years she and her four children have cooked and fed the
homeless in Saint Mark’s Parish’s Kitchen until they closed.
She still cooks for the homeless once a month, as well as
donates clothing whenever she can. She was also a Girl Scout
leader for two years and a Boy Scout aide for five years.
Throughout those years she spread her ideas of caring for
others and working hard to achieve greatness to all her
scouts. She now runs Resurrection Church’s
card party after assisting for two years. She is a mother
of four and a role model to all.
Rivkah Brikman is co-director of Chabad
by the Ocean which services the communities of Sea Gate and
Coney Island in Brooklyn.
A mother of three, she has also acted as a mother to
anyone in need.
For 20 years, she has been influential in drawing people
together to do acts of goodness and kindness.
Rivkah has been instrumental in starting and
directing the following innovative organizations and
projects: SOS (Smile on seniors) which pairs teenagers with
a senior; Chabad Teen Club, which offers teenagers
recreation, and many worthwhile projects in Sea Gate and
Coney Island; JKC (Jewish Kids Club) an educational group
for young children to learn through crafts, games and more;
and JLI (Jewish Learning Institute) which offers adult
Rivkah’s deep commitment to the community includes visiting
the sick in hospitals throughout New York City and advising
and referring individuals and families to appropriate social
Sixty-one years ago
Dorothy Shields moved from South
to Red Hook, Brooklyn.
She is a mother of six children, and was a teacher for
twenty years at P.S. 27 until she retired in 1984.
After her retirement she wanted to give back to the Red Hook
community and became a Community Service Aide at the New
York City Housing Authority. She has been the
President of The Red Hook Tenant Association since 1970, and
facilitated in bringing many enterprises to Red Hook such as
Food First Supermarket, Royal Farms Supermarket, Big R
Hook Justice Center,
Fairway and IKEA. She helps seniors and tenants with
many problems such as senior care, food, employment, and
carfare, to name a few. She began “Family Day in Red
Hook” fourteen years ago which is still going strong.
She also sponsored the 2010 Summer Camp at Micco Community Center,
and gives scholarships to help kids with college.
Education is Dorothy’s passion which helped her bring two
charter schools to Red Hook – Red Hook Pave Academy
and Summit Academy.
Medge-Lee Noel Ajani
Medge-Lee Noel Ajani, a Haitian American,
has always loved children.
At the early age of seven she took care of her eleven
loved taking care of people and she knew that her future
would involve helping people.
She graduated from Clara
High School with a Pre-med
and Pre-law degree and proceeded to college to pursue her
dream to become a doctor or lawyer.
That all changed on September 11, 2001, when she was
a direct victim of the tragic events that occurred on that
day. It was
after these events that Medge-Lee decided to return to what
she loved most - taking care of children.
She became a regular substitute teacher and taught
Special Education and General Education at the High School of Telecommunications for two years.
She started the schools’ first award winning Step and
Dance teams. She became the Group Teacher at John Coker Day
Care Center where she was also the Scholastic Book Fair
She got involved in community events for kids by
volunteering at the Holy Cross Summer Camp.
She was a member of the Community Action Project (now
Brooklyn Congregations United) where she is also the
secretary of their Executive Board working on issues such as
education, health, employment, housing and immigration.
She has also volunteered as a translator for the
Haitian Community, especially concerning issues of
Medge-Lee is the proud mother of three children and she is
Otelia Peele (“T” to her friends) was
born in the small town of Windsor, North Carolina, the fourth of thirteen
Otelia first came to New York City at nineteen and settled in
with one of her sisters.
After residing briefly in
Connecticut with another sister, Otelia married
her high school sweetheart, and the two set out to make a
life for themselves in Brooklyn.
Over the years,
Otelia took on many jobs to make ends meet as she raised her
three young boys. She
worked as a housekeeper, a child-care worker and a home care
was always a willing volunteer at her boys’ schools when
they were young. Otelia has always been active in her
church, often cooking for church members and happy to donate
her time, money and labor to give back to others.
Every Sunday morning, Otelia cooks breakfast for
members of her church – she says that’s her gift to them.
Word of Otelia’s delicious southern cooking has
spread and the result is “T”licious.
Otelia caters parties for friends and church members
alike, often doing it just for the sheer love of it.
Otelia is an exemplary friend and neighbor, never
hesitating to respond to anyone in need. Otelia has raised
three wonderful sons and they have given her five beautiful
Otelia is truly an extraordinary woman.
Judith Daly was born and raised in Red
Retired after 37 years with the DOE.
A former member of Community Board 6 and Vice
President of the Tenants Association.
She is a member of the Carroll Gardens Neighborhood
Association and the Red Hook Initiative.
Judith enjoys working with the children
and seniors of her community.
Once a month on Friday’s she teaches art to young
adults who in turn take this knowledge to work on art
projects with the developmentally disabled adults of
Visitation Mercy Home.
Judith works very closely with neighborhood senior
center residents on fundraising ideas, planning activities
and their monthly menus.
is an exceptionally strong, vibrant and intelligent woman
who works tirelessly to inspire and motivate members of the
New York City Police Department (NYPD). Through her
invaluable activism, she undoubtedly keeps the memory of her
late husband, Detective 1st Grade Dillon Stewart, alive.
Dillon Stewart, who was a member of Brooklyn’s 70 Precinct in the Brooklyn South command, was
killed in the line of duty on November 28, 2005. Like other
police officers who have been slain while performing their
duties, Dillon lost his own life while protecting the lives
of others. Since Dillon’s death, Leslyn has devoted her time
to speaking with police officers from other Brooklyn South
commands about her experience as well as the importance of
ensuring their own safety, while at the same time protecting
the public, so they can return to their families unharmed at
the end of their work day. She also reminds them about the
value of sharing their work experiences with their families
so that those experiences can become integrated into the
lives of their families as a whole. Since Dillon’s death,
Leslyn has also been active in various non-profit
organizations, including the New York Police and Fire Widows
and Children’s Fund. In addition, Leslyn is an active member
of the organization C.O.P.S. (Concerns of Police Survivors),
which helps the families of slain police officers rebuild
their shattered lives. Leslyn serves as a resource and
mentor for the families. Since Dillon’s passing, Leslyn has
continued to do what Dillon himself had started to do years
ago. She is without a doubt a credit to her husband’s memory
and her family, a credit to Brooklyn,
and a beloved and important role model for her two
daughters, Alexis and Samantha.