July 13, 2024
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OHEL’s 50th Annual Gala: Giant Leaps Taken, Bold Steps Forward

(Courtesy of OHEL) OHEL Children’s Home & Family Services held its 50th annual gala at the New York Marriott Marquis on Sunday evening, November 24, commemorating five decades of providing safety and support to over 120,000 vulnerable children, adults and families while strengthening our communities. Aaron Jungreis, Annette Rubin and David Brecher were Honorary Gala Co-Chairs.

In 1969, OHEL, like Apollo 11, made history. Fifty years later, OHEL took another giant leap with an innovative gala program that communicated its work with individuals and families in a way it had never been told before.

The more than 1,000 guests at this milestone celebration were mesmerized by a multimedia presentation, narrated by Brett Culp, an award-winning documentary filmmaker. Through “Illustrating the Invisible,” Brett took the audience through OHEL’s multi-faceted breadth and depth of services. The room came alive with visuals and powerful videos and a live presentation of the “Faces of OHEL.” These faces included individuals that were once placed in OHEL’s foster care program who have grown into successful adults. Also featured were two married couples living in OHEL-supported housing and a survivor of domestic violence who lived in an OHEL shelter. All of the individuals representing the “Faces of OHEL” have taken their own personal bold steps and giant leaps with the assistance of OHEL professionals.

Meridian Capital Group was the gala guest of honor in recognition of its creation of the Meridian Capital Group Volunteer Program at OHEL in 2004. Ralph Herzka, chairman and CEO of Meridian, accepted the award, along with members of his leadership team, from Moishe Hellman, OHEL’s ombudsman and president emeritus. The program encourages everyone, from adolescents to the elderly, to be involved in helping others, whether it be one-on-one, with foster children, adults with disabilities in day programs, or by providing respite for parents on a holiday trip.

The other honorees included Steven Bush, president and CEO of Apple Bank, receiving the Kaylie Community Impact Award from Gloria Kaylie and Alicia Yacoby; Tsippy & Stuart Nussbaum; Judith Goldberg-Ness and Dr. Seth Nes;, and David and Susan Mandel.

Mel Zachter and Jay Kestenbaum, OHEL’s co-presidents, commenting on the awe-inspiring evening, said “Tonight, while OHEL looks back in celebration of 50 years of service to the local community via its array of services, and nationally through Camp Kaylie, as well as its work in trauma, it also looks forward.”

OHEL remains positioned to continue to serve all in need. There is a great focus today on anxiety, depression, suicidal ideation, loneliness and isolation and autism spectrum disorder — all areas of specialty at OHEL.

The energy of the evening was palpable, as the inspirational program celebrated some of the 1,300 employees, volunteers, and leaders of this gold standard organization which elevates and transforms the lives of countless individuals, all under the same tent that is OHEL.

The entire program can be viewed at http://www.ohelfamily.org/?q=content/ohel-gala-2019-0

OHEL Children’s Home & Family Services offers a breadth of services that meet the everyday needs of individuals and families. To access more information or services, please call 1-800-603-OHEL, email [email protected], or visit www.ohelfamily.org.

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