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Harrison 8th grader Kevin Enright helped make this September special for a group of Yonkers students

Written by Zach Oliva  September 16, 2011

More than 600 brand new backpacks were delivered to a group of excited Yonkers students this month, and a Harrison student played a big part in making their back-to-school dream a reality.

Kevin Enright, 12, spent his summer seeking donations for the Heavenly Productions Foundation, which pledged 500 brand new backpacks to Yonkers elementary school students this fall. Kevin called area businesses, friends and corporations, building a donation base to help students at Yonkers Public School #23.

  

Working with Dr. Kathy Reilly Fallon of Heavenly Productions and five other young volunteers, Kevin garnered enough donations for a whopping 606 backpacks. Every student in the school from pre-school to 8th grade was given a new backpack for the school year.

Kevin, along with James Fallon of Armonk and Tyler Cermele, Michael Cermele and John Nolletti of Pleasantville, were honored on Sept. 2 by Fallon and Bernard Pierorazio, superintendent of Yonkers Public Schools.

On Sept. 9, the students delivered the backpacks and other supplies to the Yonkers elementary school, where they were thanked by grateful students along with school principal Christine Montero.

 

Written by Kevin Cook, Director of Development, ANDRUS

 

andruscuttingribbon

May 2, 2012:  Heavy clouds chased the ceremony indoors on Thursday, April 26, but didn’t dampen the spirit of the crowd of 75 gathered for the ribbon cutting at the ANDRUS Early Learning Center (AELC).

The successor to the former Eastchester Child Development Center (ECDC), founded in 1967 by the late Judge J. Rockhill Gray and Mrs. Emily Corry, both of Bronxville, as a program of Family & Community Services Inc. (FCS), this new operation is handsomely housed on the entire third floor and a portion of the first at the Tuckahoe Village Hall.  Mayor Steve Ecklondwelcomed the crowd and shared the giant scissors with ANDRUS president and CEO Nancy Woodruff Ment.

Prominent in the audience were FCS and ANDRUS supporters from Bronxville, includingPeg and John Cady, Bumpty McGrath, Susan Guma, Emily and John Corry, Sharlyn Carter, and JoAnn LoFriscorepresenting Hudson Valley Bank.

The tour following the ceremony elicited gasps of delight at the creative and bright renovation of the former Rollins Agency office complex.  The Carter Arts Wing and its spacious children’s theatre and adjacent art studio, The Emily McKnight Corry Toy Library (the first in Westchester County!), large classrooms, an indoor play space, new kitchen and café for healthy meals and snacks, and more were all admired.

The AELC provides superior full- and half-day care and early childhood education for children up to the age of five.  In this new space, ANDRUS is adding an infant care program for children as early as six months of age, a boon to working parents.

Westchester County Legislator Sheila Marcotte of Tuckahoe brought greetings from her colleagues and Rob Astorino, the county executive.  Kathleen Suss and Heather Petrie of Concordia Conservatory of Music & Art led a group of AELC children in singing an exuberant welcome to the guests.  The conservatory provides weekly music lessons at AELC as part of its significant community service offerings.  The crowd included many local supporters, including Philip Raffiani, the Tuckahoe Lions Club, and members of the local chambers of commerce.

On Saturday, the ANDRUS Kick-off for Kids introduced the new center to local children and families. Sarah Lawrence College interns shared their “pop-up gym”; Junior League volunteers, organized by Community VP Sonja Gaffney, read stories and shared gently used books with all comers and led family yoga and healthy snacking; and members of the Masonic Lodge in Tuckahoe provided an important child ID program for interested families.

Bob’s Discount Furniture, the national retailer, provided a clown and face painting, along with the talent of Kathy Fallon, a songstress who performed several sets of lullabies, accompanied by the gift of a gorgeous picture book and CD of lullabies for each child.  Bright skies ensured a large crowd and the excitement to lead into Monday, April 30, the first day of class in our little friends’ new home.

 

Pictured here:  At the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new ANDRUS Early Learning Center: L to R are President Nancy Ment, Tuckahoe Mayor Steve Ecklond, County Legislator Sheila Marcotte, and the “Three Ladies of FCS,” Sharlyn Carter, Emily Corry, and Peg Cady, all of Bronxville.

Photo courtesy Kevin Cook, Director of Development, ANDRUS

Dr. Kathleen Reilly Fallon, a Board Certified Wound Care Specialist and Foot & Ankle Specialist, has been elected by unanimous vote to the Board of Trustees of the New York College of Podiatric Medicine at the most recent meeting of the Board. Dr. Reilly obtained her DPM degree in 1994 from the New York College of Podiatric Medicine, and went on for further medical studies at New York Medical College.

                                                                

                                                                      Dr. Kathleen Reilly Fallon

Fallon has worked at the Midtown Health Center in New York City for the last 16 years. For over 10 years, she worked at St. Vincent’s Midtown Hospital and the St. Vincent’s Family Health Center as a Doctor/Surgeon specializing in Foot and Ankle surgery. She has authored several medical journal articles and published two books.  She is also an executive board member of the March of Dimes, and the Founder and Chairwoman of the Heavenly Productions Foundation.

By Bob Dotson

TODAY.com contributor
updated 9/7/2011 9:31:41 AM ET

 

Even for believers, what happened on Sept. 11, 2001, seemed unbelievable. On that day of snowing dirt, a little chapel survived the hell that leveled skyscrapers of concrete and steel.

On that terrible day terrorists crashed planes into the World Trade Center, I was standing outside St. Paul’s Chapel, one block from Ground Zero. A dozen modern buildings toppled all around, but St. Paul’s — pieced together with brick and timber — stood without so much as a broken window.

The Rev. Daniel Matthews, rector of the parish of Trinity Church, walked with me through the church’s graveyard, which was covered in ash. The dust of the dead had settled in the chapel cemetery.

Matthews stopped to dust off a headstone. “You know what everyone in the neighborhood is calling St. Paul’s, don’t you? The Little Chapel That Stood.” He looked up and smiled.

“The most astounding thing for me was not the soot and the dust, but the paper,” he continued. “There must have been 10 million pieces. Everybody’s desk wound up flying out the window.”

Some 460,000 tons of debris from the Twin Towers alone had landed nearby — enough concrete to build a 5-foot sidewalk from New York to Washington, D.C.  Enough steel to build 20 Eiffel Towers. Sixteen acres of rubble, some of it nine stories deep. 

Matthews figured St. Paul’s Chapel was spared to shelter those who were not spared. “It is a symbol of where we have been and where we are going and what we have to do in the future.”

 

Saving soles 

The little church is the oldest in Manhattan. It opened in 1766, a decade before the Declaration of Independence. Most every president has prayed here, beginning with George Washington; he came to St. Paul’s after this country’s first inauguration. Guess what Kathy Fallon was doing in the president’s pew the day I showed up?

“I’m sitting where George Washington and his family used to gather for church, fixing feet.” Fallon said with a smile. She was running a foot clinic.

“It’s appropriate to be in a church,” another volunteer put in with a grin, “because, in a way, we’re saving soles.”

St. Paul’s was a place where Ground Zero workers could rest; get a foot or back rub, a quick meal, and a kind word. “It’s like a M.A.S.H. unit for the soul,” Matthews said. “These volunteers did a great job.”

A thousand of them served 12-hour shifts. They came from all over. On 9/11, foot doctor Fallon drove two and a half hours from her home in Armonk, N.Y. En route, she realized she would miss a celebration: Her husband, Jim, would have to blow out the 42 candles on his birthday cake without her.

Then she had another realization: “Oh my God, my baby is four months today!” The day the towers came crashing down and she rushed to Ground Zero.

“I need to be here,” Fallon insisted. “When my son, James Edward, grows up, he’ll understand what happened on Sept. 11. I think he’ll appreciate that his mom was down here, trying to help out.”

 

‘They lost; we won’ 
We all tell our kids, “I’ll be right back.” After 9/11, some children didn’t believe that. Victoria Alonso’s mother, Janet, went to work at the World Trade Center that morning and never returned. Her dad was left to care for a 2-year-old daughter and a baby boy with Down syndrome.

“If I was to tell you I did this by myself, I’d be a liar; I’d be a flat-out liar,” Robert said. “I got my mom, my aunt, my pop to help.”

But he never returned to work at the pizza place he owned in Stony Point, New York. His family substituted for him. “I owe it to my children to be around,” Robert explained. “If I buried my grief in work, my kids would lose both their parents.”

He no longer put off anything that brought them joy. “If we’re lying on the floor and all of a sudden Victoria says, ‘Daddy, I want to go to the park,’ I’m like, ‘Oh, I don’t want to go to the park.’ That’s what I’m thinking, but I say, ‘Let’s go. We’re going to the park.’ ”

Robert shouted “Hang on, guys!” as the kids squealed with laughter. They were riding in a grocery cart, careening across the lot toward dad’s big SUV. “Why should I deprive my children from going shopping?” Robert said. “I see all the other mothers going shopping with their kids.  Why can’t I do it?”

He raced alongside the grocery cart, jumped on its rear axle and pushed with a powerful leg.  The children exploded with laughter again. “When my kids smile, the terrorists lose,” Robert said with a grin. “The people who killed Janet wanted to destroy our happy lives. They lost. We won.”

Since 9/11 Robert has taught his children to treat every moment like an unopened gift. “I don’t want to be the rain cloud in my family,” he said. “I want to give my kids the incentive to do things and go forward.”

He coached Victoria’s softball team to the New York State championship the year she turned 12. “We all went out and bought rounds of Lipitor,” Robert chuckled.

And toasted his son Robby, too. The 10-year-old learned to walk and read before most kids with Down syndrome because his dad played with him every day.

Robert waited a long time for his family. He and Janet tried to conceive a child for 10 years, then gave up. Two months later, she was pregnant. They considered it a victory, so they named their daughter Victoria.

These days, when Victoria looks in the mirror, she sees her mother. “She was special to me,” Victoria said, even though she can barely remember her mom. “I love her.” She paused. Her eyes welled with tears. “People need to know that.”

The two are much alike. Victoria is an honor student; Janet studied nights and weekends for years and graduated from college in her late 30s. She worked as an email manager on the 97th floor of the World Trade Center. On the day of the attacks, she had just gone back to her job at Marsh & McLennan after staying home to take care of her second baby, Robby.

Janet’s body was found seven months after 9/11, on her son’s first birthday. “God works in funny ways,” Robert sighed. “Hearing the knock on the door and the news that Janet’s body had been recovered from Ground Zero, that was the most difficult. It really knocked me out. It was like September 11 all over again.”

I visited the Alonsos on the first Mother’s Day after 9/11. Robert scooped up his kids and carried them out on the deck in back. “Come on,” he said, “let’s say hello to mommy in the stars.” It was his 13th wedding anniversary.

As Victoria neared her 13th birthday, I asked her, “If your mom were sitting here today, what would you ask her?”

Victoria stared across her backyard in thought, then turned to me. “I’d ask her, ‘What would she want to do with me today?’ ”

Video: After 9/11, daughter thinks about life if mom lived

Good times keep bad memories at bay. The Alonsos spent that 9/11 in the park, near a memorial that their neighbors built to Janet and all the other parents from their New York City suburb who went to work that day but never came home.

Robby wandered to a wall filled with names as his father and sister played catch nearby. “Right here,” he said, pointing to Janet Alonso’s name etched in marble. “This was my mommy.”

The little boy leaned over and scraped his fingers back and forth across his mother’s name. His father watched, then rubbed his own hands together, as if he could scour away painful thoughts.

Robby drew his fingers to his mouth, kissed them and gently pressed them on his mother’s name. “Mama,” he whispered.

We all think about 9/11 once a year. The Alonsos live it every day.

Know someone who would make a great American Story with Bob Dotson? Drop a note in my mailbox by clicking here .

If you would like to contact the subjects of this American Story with Bob Dotson, drop Bob a note and he’ll pass it along: bob.dotson@nbcuni.com

© 2012 MSNBC Interactive.  Reprints

 

 

Armonk Charity Gives Backpacks to Yonkers Students

Dr. Kathy Fallon (left) stands alongside students of PS. 23 who had just been given new backpacks.

ARMONK, N.Y. – Dr. Kathy Reilly Fallon, of Armonk, is a physician in Manhattan and she loves her job, but her real passion is her charitable organization called Heavenly Productions Foundation, which donated over 600 backpacks to Public School #23 in Yonkers Friday, September, 9.

“I grew up in Yonkers originally,” Fallon said. “I just felt like I was done writing checks to these organizations and not knowing where the funds were going. It was great to physically collect the backpacks and go to the school so we knew that these kids were reaping the benefits of what we were doing.”

Fallon, along with sixth youth helpers – including her son James, collected backpacks and donations from friends, family members and businesses so that they could provide each student from pre-kindergarten to eighth grade with a new backpack.

“I was really eager to help out,” James Fallon said. “It was really nice and the experience was great.”

Youths Tyler Cermele, Michael Cermele and John Nolletti, of Pleasantville, and Kevin Enright, of Harrison, along with James Fallon, were awarded by Dr. Fallon and Yonkers Superintendent of Schools Bernard Pierorazio for their generous actions.

Pleasantville resident Sheryl Nolletti, Armonk’s Dr. Laura Cannistracci Carthy,  and Harrison’s Patrick Enright, also helped Dr. Fallon in organizing, packing all of the donations, and delivering everything to Yonkers Public School #23.

Along with the backpacks, Heavenly Productions donated books, school supplies, and hand sanitizer/wipes.

Dr. Fallon said she’d never seen kids so happy to receive school supplies before in her life than the students at Yonkers PS. 23.

“The principal stressed to me that most of those kids were not prepared to come to school for the first week,” Dr. Fallon said. “They had no pencils and no school supplies and a lot didn’t have backpacks, and the one’s that had them, they were old and worn out.”

3dbe4435da009a99b75c8dcb27ab1f93New sneakers, jeans and school supplies are all part of going back to school every fall for children throughout Westchester County.

Unfortunately, for some nearby families, back-to-school can be a stressful time as parents struggle to buy even the required supplies for their kids every year.

It’s that contrast that has drawn Harrison 8th grader Kevin Enright to spend this summer seeking donations for the Heavenly Productions Foundation, which has pledged 500 brand new backpacks to Yonkers elementary school students this fall.

Kevin, 12, will send e-mails to area corporations as well as friends and family asking them to help the cause. After only one week he has already gathered $900 and hopes to supply about 150 backpacks by the start of the school year.

After volunteering this spring with a local church as part of his obligations for confirmation, Kevin said he was happy to continue his volunteer work with the backpack program this summer.

“Helping out was good, it was fun,” he said. “They liked it so much—they were happy we helped out—so I decided I wanted to do more.”

Kevin’s mother, Nancy Enright, is a childhood friend of the foundation’s founder Kathy Fallon. Fallon has been working with Kevin as well as her son James to fundraise this summer.

“I was very proud, I was surprised and proud,” said Nancy Enright of her son’s decision to volunteer. “I think it’s very important because they actually see first hand something he can take for granted and other children can’t.”

The financial problems for some Yonkers families have been made worse in recent years. Fallon, who is from the Yonkers area, said she was surprised by how many backpacks are needed in just one school. Her foundation has also helped fundraise for children left orphaned after 9/11 and for the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, but said this summer she was drawn to Yonkers.

“They really need it, from what Mayor (Phil) Amicone told me, they’re not doing well,” she said. “A lot of the families are not doing well.”

James, Fallon’s son, is also pursuing donations in the northern Westchester communities of Armonk, Chappaqua, Pleasantville and Bedford. The two will combine whatever donations they are able to garner before giving them away. The specific Yonkers school is being kept a secret until the week before classes start this fall.

If all goes well with the backpacks, Fallon is hoping to use leftover money to fill them with pencils, notebooks and other supplies.

“It’s nice for them to realize that there’s unfortunate children and that they want to help these kids,” Fallon said.

By Zach Oliva

Reposted from: The Daily Armonk

Anne Reilly, grandson James E. Fallon of Armonk, Adjudicator Martin Feeney, and Kathy Reilly Fallon of Armonk were recognized.
Photo credit: Courtesy of Kathy Fallon

ROCKLAND COUNTY, N.Y. – Armonk’s James E. Fallon received honors alongside his mother and grandmother last week at a Rockland County Irish Feis on Sunday, July 17. Fallon’s Bronxville grandmother Anne Reilly and her daughter Kathy Reilly Fallon of Armonk were recognized in various areas including Irish arts, Irish soda bread, and Irish singing.

Anne Reilly received first place in Irish arts for knitting and second place for her Irish soda bread. James E. Fallon of the Wampus School in Armonk received second place in Irish arts for oil on canvas and second place in Celtic sketch. Kathy Reilly received second place in Irish singing.

Follow The Daily Armonk onFacebook and Twitter.

E-mail town reporter Phil Corso atPCorso@TheDailyArmonk.com.

justin_jordanOn May 6, 2011, Dr. Kathy Reilly Fallon presented a copy of “Heavenly Skies & Lullabies Book & Cd” to Justin Jordan, a 4 year old boy from Bronx, NY who lost his Dad, a US Soldier serving our Country in Iraq.

Holiday Weekend Event with Hospital’s Music Therapy Department to Deliver Books and Music to Children

(Manchester, CT) April 21, 2011 – Bob’s Discount Furniture, with 40 retail store locations throughout New England, New Jersey and New York, announces today that it has partnered with the Heavenly Productions Foundation to donate 100 copies of Heavenly Skies and Lullabies to children at the Maria Fareri Hospital this Friday, April 22nd.

Earlier this year Bob’s collaborated with Dr. Kathy Reilly Fallon, founder of Heavenly Productions Foundation, to create 1,000 copies of the special Bob’s Discount Furniture edition of Heavenly Skies and Lullabies which were delivered to the Pajama Program, an organization committed to providing warm pajamas and books to kids around the country, many of whom are waiting for a home. This book, which includes a CD of the lullabies, was originally written by Dr. Fallon to comfort children affected by tragic events such as September 11th, Hurricane Katrina and the earthquake in Haiti.

“I’ve always thought that the true value of our existence as humans is determined by how we help others,” said Dr. Fallon.  “I am thrilled to be doing something with such a wonderful program. I was so happy that Bob’s had the connection with the Pajama Program to allow us all to partner together. Everything comes full circle in life, especially when you’re trying to help people.”

On the 22nd, Cathy Poulin, Public Relations Director of Bob’s Discount Furniture and Dr. Kathy Fallon will visit the hospital’s music therapy department to deliver the books sponsored by Bob’s to children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit & the Pediatric Unit. Together, Kathy and Cathy will also spend some time singing lullabies from  the Heavenly Skies and Lullabies CD and celebrating the holiday weekend, spreading Easter and Passover cheer with the children and their families.

“We are very excited to be able to share this book with even more children,” said Poulin. “Dr. Fallon wrote Heavenly Skies and Lullabies to bring comfort to children who are experiencing difficult times in their lives, and we’re honored to be a part of this initiative.”

For more information about Bob’s Discount Furniture and its ongoing charitable contributions, please visit www.mybobs.com/charity.

About Bob’s Discount Furniture
Named the 2008 Furniture Retailer of the Year, with 40 stores located throughout New England, New Jersey and New York, Bob’s Discount Furniture has built strong brand awareness and customer loyalty by providing quality furniture at everyday low prices, combined with a unique and enjoyable shopping experience. First-time visitors are pleasantly surprised by the comfortable atmosphere and vast selection of fashionable and affordable furniture that surpasses their “discount” expectations. As a part of the overall shopping experience, all stores feature a complimentary café with gourmet coffee, ice cream, fresh baked cookies and candy. For more information, visit www.mybobs.com.

About Bob’s Discount Furniture Charitable Foundation
Through the Bob’s Discount Furniture Charitable Foundation and Bob’s Outreach program, Bob Kaufman, Cathy Poulin and all of Bob’s Discount Furniture employees support hundreds of nonprofit organizations with sponsorships and charitable contributions.  For over 15 years Bobs Discount Furniture has partnered with the American Red Cross in New England and has through direct in store blood drives raised over 21,000 productive units and over 15,000 units through a blood mobile donated in 2006.  Among the many other supported charities are Nutmeg Big Brothers Big Sisters, Easter Seals, The Jimmy Fund, American Cancer Society, March of Dimes, National Conference for Community Justice, The Johan Santana Foundation, The Andrus Children Center , Connecticut Children’s Medical Center and Special Olympics.  For more information about the foundation and Bob’s Discount Furniture, visit www.mybobs.com/charity.