2017 Children's Medical Fund Luncheon Raises $450,000
Grants Totaling $253,700 Awarded at Luncheon; Remaining Funds Will be Disbursed at Convention 2018
On a glorious, crisp, autumn day in New Jersey, the National Philoptochos Board joined the Metropolis of New Jersey Philoptochos Board and Philoptochos stewards from across the United States to
Rejoice and Embrace the Children
The temperature was unseasonably chilly, but at the Sixteenth National Philoptochos Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon, hearts were warm and spirits were high.
The Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon is the principal fundraising event of the National Philoptochos Society, and since its inception in 1989, the biennial luncheon has raised over $3.7 million for children’s hospitals and research programs, as well as special programs that serve the needs of ill and fragile children, along with assistance to individuals and their families throughout the United States and in other parts of the world.
On November 11, 2017, over 750 guests gathered at The Venetian in Garfield, New Jersey to support the Fund. Under the inspirational leadership of Metropolis of New Jersey Philoptochos President Anastasia Michals, luncheon chair, and her co-chairs, Eleni Constantinides, Alexis Limberakis and Evellyn Tsiadis, the event was a resounding success. During the luncheon, grants totaling $253,700 were awarded to 15 programs located in New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and the Philadelphia metropolitan area, all part of the Metropolis of New Jersey. The balance of the funds raised in association with this year’s event will be disbursed to cover the medical expenses of needy children throughout the United States during the interim period until the next luncheon as well as to fund children’s medical programs and projects at our National Philoptochos Conventions.
National President Maria Logus praised the work of Anastasia Michals and her entire committee and thanked the Metropolis of New Jersey for hosting the luncheon. Special thanks go to the many Sponsors of the 2017 Children’s Medical Fund, without whose generosity the event could not have been successful. Anastasia Michals expressed her heartfelt appreciation to Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey for his support and Mr. Demetrios Kourgelis, owner of The Venetian, for his extraordinary generosity.
Laura Evans Manatos, award-winning journalist and Master of Ceremonies for the afternoon delighted the audience with her humor and charm, and students from Westminster Choir College from Princeton, New Jersey entertained the guests with a musical interlude including the liturgical hymn, Ti Ipermacho (Mighty Defender), sung in the original Greek. Frances Levas, Luncheon Chair of the 2015 Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon, was the 2017 Honoree.
The luncheon program featured the inspiring remarks of His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America, and a warm welcome from His Eminence Metropolitan Evangelos of New Jersey. Maria Vinci Savetierre, Esq., Executive Director of Deirdre’s House, the Center for Morris County’s Child Victims of Abuse and Neglect, one of the grant recipients, provided an impactful, realistic picture of the issue of child abuse and emphasized that the children need not only medical and physical, but also emotional and spiritual care. Anita Baglaneas Devlin, an advocate for addiction recovery, delivered a moving keynote address on the national epidemic of opioid addiction. Ms. Devlin’s compelling story demonstrates that no one is immune from addiction and there is ‘no room for judgment and shame because we are all God’s children.’
As a society we have no greater responsibility than the protection, health and welfare of our children. True to the theme of this glorious and sometimes emotional afternoon, the National Philoptochos embraced our most vulnerable children by shining a spotlight on the many challenges that affect their well-being, and we rejoiced in the generous contributions of our many supporters that will allow us to continue both life saving and life changing support for these children with critical needs. With warm hearts, the record number of attendees left the 2017 Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon newly inspired by the work we do and the difference we make through this most important Philoptochos ministry.
The National Philoptochos Board recognizes and expresses its heartfelt thanks to the
2017 Children’s Medical Fund Luncheon Committees,
without whose hard work the event would not have been possible:
Children’s Medical Fund Helps Give Babies
With Hearing Loss A Sound Start
By: Ann Ryan
Program Development - Sound Start Babies Foundation - Mountain Lakes, NJ
The Sound Start Babies Program is an early intervention program that provides educational assistance to babies with hearing loss during their most critical years of brain development, birth to age 3. If this critical time period is missed, irreversible delays in speech and learning can occur. The Sound Start Babies Foundation’s mission is to support these babies regardless of their financial status with identification, evaluation, therapeutic intervention and education. Our teachers and therapists educate families so their children can listen and speak on a level comparable to their hearing peers.
Our program starts with in-home therapies as soon as the baby is diagnosed with hearing loss. Additionally, we have a full-day nursery program available to children who are 18 months old to age 3. Our babies, whether receiving in-home services or attending our nursery program, have access to a unique range of specialists - our team of professionals include a pediatric audiologist, speech language pathologists with auditory-verbal therapist certification, occupational therapist, physical therapist, social worker, and a psychologist. Our three nursery classrooms provide optimal listening environments where children with hearing loss learn together with hearing peers. This special environment allows children to hear speech clearly so they can develop language and speech without distracting noise.
We are so thankful to the Children’s Medical Fund for supporting our organization and helping to provide the necessary funds to support three of the 50-60 babies in our program annually. Public funding only covers approximately 1/3 of the Sound Start Babies Program’s costs, making grants an absolute necessity to our organization. The Sound Start Babies Foundation is committed to maintaining a financial reserve to ensure that any child who begins the program as an infant will be covered until they reach their third birthday, when the New Jersey Department of Education funding becomes available to them.
Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Virginia
Extends Kindness and Works a Little Magic for Those Who Need It Most
By: Anna Semonco, Executive Director
The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Virginia (RMHC of SW VA) keeps families close when they need it the most. Since 1984, the Ronald McDonald House has kept families close to their hospitalized children and to needed resources by providing a home-away-from-home. It's home for a family whose baby has been born too early or whose child has been in a traumatic accident or diagnosed with a life-threatening illness. For many of the 700 or so families we serve each year, that can mean leaving their own homes for months at a time.
The Children’s Medical Fund Grant for the Magic Room will help add a little joy to their stay at the House. The Magic Room will resemble a toy store with bright colors and encased shelving filled from floor to ceiling with toys. For a child getting ready to undergo treatment, it's a place where he or she can choose whatever toy (or two) they want. The Magic Room is for a mother who hasn’t had time to shop for a birthday present for the sibling who might be feeling a bit neglected. It’s for the dad who wants to give his premature baby a ridiculously large stuffed animal.
Families who stay together at the Ronald McDonald House say they believe it significantly improves their psychological well-being and their child’s recovery. In addition, they report higher levels of involvement in their child’s care and a more positive hospital experience.
A family recently wrote to us, “It means the world to us to have such kindness extended our way in the midst of a hard time."
On behalf of the Staff, Board of Directors, Volunteers, and especially the Families of Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwest Virginia, thank you for enabling us to extend this kindness and work a little magic for those who need it most.