Boys and Girls Club Honors Leslie Cecil at Annual Humanitarian Award Dinner

More than 520 community supporters, area corporations, and board members recently gathered at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Westchester’s 13th annual Humanitarian Award Dinner.

Leslie Cecil of Mount Kisco, NY, was honored as the Humanitarian of the Year, the highest honor given to one of the Club’s supporters. Club Board President Bonnie Trotta and her husband, Tom Trotta, were the Diamond Sponsors of this year’s record-breaking gala on June 9, 2007 at The Saw Mill Club in Mount Kisco. This year’s Humanitarian Award Dinner far surpassed both expectations and past collections by raising roughly $1.1 million for "The Positive Place for Kids."

The annual dinner is the Club’s signature fund-raising event. All proceeds go directly to providing scholarships for children in need and developing support programs for the 5,000 youths at the Club’s locations in Mount Kisco, Tarrytown, and Yorktown. The traditional gala was accompanied by an online auction, which lasted May 2 through June 4, and featured over 150 items ranging from private acting lessons with Glenn Close to an opportunity to sing live with the Beach Boys. Actor Billy Baldwin ("Backdraft," "Flatliners," and upcoming ABC pilot "Dirty Sexy Money") served as Master of Ceremonies, and Joseph Stasko, Senior Vice President of Christie’s, was the volunteer professional auctioneer for the event.

Bonnie Trotta presented Leslie Cecil with the Club’s highly regarded Humanitarian Award. Cecil has been an active member of the Board of Directors for eleven years. She also participates in the Club’s Executive Committee and serves as chair of the Program Committee. During her service on the Tarrytown Center Advisory Board, Cecil successfully pioneered the campaign to subjugate the Center’s impending June 2006 closure.

"When the tremendous need for a Club in Tarrytown was brought to the Board’s attention, Leslie personally dedicated herself to securing the necessary funds. She is truly a champion for the children in our community, and we are proud to honor her for her many years of unwavering dedication to the Club," said Brian Skanes, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northern Westchester.

Other awards were presented. Club member Melissa Melendez, a junior at Sleepy Hollow High School, received the Youth of the Year Award, the highest honor the Club gives to one of its youth members who demonstrates exemplary character, superior leadership skills, academic achievement, and outstanding service to Boys and Girls Clubs. The formerly homeless honoree has contributed over 1,000 hours in community service to the Club, all while maintaining schoolwork and three part-time jobs to help support her household and disabled mother.

Board Vice President Seema Boesky presented the John Beach Charity Award to Westchester County Executive Andrew J. Spano. He was instrumental in securing the support of the county to save the Club’s program in Tarrytown when it was on the verge of closing last summer. 17 year-old Danielle DePass, a member of the Mt. Kisco Center Club since fourth grade, accepted the Chris Cutri Memorial Award for her positive attitude and integrity.

The 2007 Humanitarian Award Dinner event gained major support from a total of 36 individuals and corporations.

"We are incredibly grateful for our generous sponsors," Skanes said. "Their contributions made this year’s Humanitarian Awards Dinner our largest and most successful fundraiser yet."

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