It was an inspirational week on many levels from hearing former Ohio Governor John Kasich speak at Molloy College; to seeing the Metropolitan Opera Company’s majestic production of “Don Giovanni,” and enjoying dinner on the plaza of Lincoln Center overlooking the Opera House; to a remarkable fundraiser where young people played basketball for the “Alley Oop for Autism” tournament.
All the proceeds from the tournament went to Life’s WORC/The Family Center for Autism in Garden City. A true testament to Acts of Kindness in our community!
My friend Joan McNaughton is on the board of Madison Theatre at Molloy College and arranged for me to get tickets to hear former Governor Kasich, The New York Times best-selling author, CNN commentator and former Fox News contributor who ran for president in 2016, speak.
After a decades-long distinguished career in public service, it was a treat to see him in person. It turns out he was a renegade from his high school years.
I loved hearing his fearless approach to life, relentlessly going after what he wanted. But his most profound statement during his disarmingly honest 90 minute talk was his belief that change in our country doesn’t come from the top down but from the bottom up. Community activists, he said, make a profound difference in our country and communities.
I’ve seen how right he is, having lived through a crisis in my life when the care of my daughter Lara was in jeopardy. I marched and picketed with my Life’s WORC members fighting for the needs of my Lara and the 5,400 other people at Willowbrook State School. The protests and winning the federal class action lawsuit resulted in its eventual closing. The Staten Island facility is now the CUNY College of Staten Island. Grassroots efforts did help make a difference.
As a community newspaper publisher, I see everyday the passions of people in their neighborhoods fighting to make them better. Kasich certainly knows of what he speaks!
Then, Friday night, I saw my favorite Mozart opera “Don Giovanni,” which was first performed in 1787 and has survived for a reason. The beautiful, legendary music accompanies a compelling, timeless story of a philanderer who left behind him a flood of heartbroken women but is finally found out and “punished.”
The music and setting are spectacular, and there is something magical too about the Metropolitan Opera House’s enormity and its elaborate productions.
Before the opera, I enjoyed dinner at “Lincoln,” a restaurant housed in a glass dining room overlooking the Lincoln Center Plaza. They offer a delectable prix-fixe dinner of one, two or three courses, depending on the time needed to get to the show! The warm night allowed me to dine al fresco while watching and enjoying the scene of people of every age passing by and the food.
The unique dining experience and then the magical opera made it a night to cherish and hold in my memory bank!
The next day, I delightedly went to Jericho High School to thank the fabulous Justin Reznick who 14 years ago, while a student at the school, decided to create a basketball tournament to raise money for children in the autism spectrum. His passion and his family and friends have exponentially grown the event in the years since.
There is no better example of Acts of Kindness than this. I was privileged to see the families helping because they cared and did something to make a difference. How powerful!