By Phil Corso
After teeing off for the first time last year, a group of Bay Terrace residents will once again rally in support of neighbors, past and present.
Last summer former Bay Terrace native Leslie Montali, now a Florida resident, joined with family and old neighbors to host a golf tournament to benefit Montali’s 8-year-old daughter Ashtyn, who lives with cerebral palsy. By the event’s end, the group had raised more than $23,000 for the family.
This year the golf tournament returns with an even greater mission.
According to Montali, the tournament expanded for 2012 to include a greater goal of helping more children with disabilities and to bring awareness about the need to help. The tournament will benefit both Ashtyn Montali’s therapy and fellow 4-year-old Baysider Grant Cloutier, who needs a service therapy dog.
Proceeds will also go toward the purchase of therapy equipment for Abi’s Place, a nonprofit school for children with special needs in southern Florida where Ashtyn attends.
“It really was a grassroots type of situation last year,” Leslie Montali said. “Everyone on the committee last year has come back and it is so wonderful to have everyone reaching out in this way.”
The 2012 golf tournament is scheduled for July 20 at the 202-12 Willets Point Blvd. Clearview Golf Course at noon. There is a $600 donation for an entire foursome, which includes golf, dinner, drinks and an auction. There will also be prizes for the lowest foursome score, longest drive and closest to the pin as well as a $10,000 hole-in-one prize.
Brian Yankelevitz, of Bay Terrace, helped generate the idea of a golf tournament to help raise money. The idea snowballed into a full-fledged committee of friends and family to produce Butterfly Dreams, dedicated to helping children with special needs and their families.
“This was an idea that I knew the people of Bayside would rally around,” Yankelevitz said.
Montali said she still considers Bay Terrace home and keeps in touch with her former neighbors. Once known as Leslie Kohut, she moved to Bay Terrace from Howard Beach in 1986 and attended IS 25, where she met soon-to-be husband Adam Montali. The couple moved to the Boca Raton area soon after their 2001 wedding, bought a house and had one son.
Ashtyn was born June 14, 2003, after a traumatic birth and was soon diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
After her daughter arrived, Leslie Montali had to quit her job to completely devote herself to Ashtyn with 24/7 care. She said her whole life changed the day Ashtyn was born, and she has since made it her mission to help her daughter reach her fullest potential and also to help other children with disabilities reach their dreams.
“We hope to grow in the future and help more kids and more facilities,” Leslie Montali said.
Reach reporter Phil Corso by e-mail at [email protected] or by phone at 718-260-4573.