The Spirit Endures: The Jarrett Engelhardt Pagano Scholarship Fund

Photo of Jarrett Engelhardt Pagano provided by Nancy Engelhardt

Photo of Jarrett Engelhardt Pagano provided by Nancy Engelhardt

I recently shared how lovely the Pal-O-Mine Winter Wonderland was. It was one of those days that most would call miserable, but there, it was just fine. Warm and cozy if not outright sunny. 

I was glad to run into dear Nancy Engelhardt. She’s the reason I know what Pal-O-Mine is. We were all connected through Leadership Huntington and she introduced me. She’s been a board member herself there for 12 years now. 

I wrote a long, beautiful story about Nancy, herself, years ago for The Corridor: Long Island’s Journal for Strategic Alliances. It seemed like a full and accomplished life then. What she’s done since is remarkable. That’s for another day, tho. In this moment, I hugged and told her I loved her.

Her son, Jarrett, recently passed. As her eyes held volumes more, Nancy smiled, speaking of the faith that is never far from her lips and how she is grateful to feel him still, especially here. She asked if I’d seen the video of Pal-O-Mine Founder Lisa Gatti at his services. 

There, Lisa shared her story of the handsome, charming young man who came to volunteer at 17 and became a fundamental part of this healing place. She smiled, recounting his passion for the horses and the day a boy with autism whom he worked with spoke for the first time.

I told her I had.

The Jarrett Engelhardt Pagano Scholarship Fund

Lisa had emphasized the indelible mark Jarrett Engelhardt Pagano had left on the farm and how his spirit would live on through all he’d touched there. Nancy was grateful to say that friends had come together to establish a Pal-o-Mine scholarship fund in his honor as a way he might keep serving all he loved there.

If you’d like to join them in keeping his spirit alive and give the gift of equine healing, you may do so here.

It’s a deeply meaningful, uplifting way to give.

Photo of Jarrett and a young Pal-O-Mine student many years ago. Image provided by Pal-O-Mine Equestrian
Photo of Jarrett and a young Pal-O-Mine student many years ago. Image provided by Pal-O-Mine Equestrian

Feed the Hungry, Get a Raffle Ticket and up to $20 Off at the Firefly

Island Harvest Logo

Island Harvest Food Drive at the Firefly

The fact is, 1 in 11 children and so many others on Long Island live with food insecurity. Gratefully, our Fireflies are committed to doing what they can to help. Please bring non-perishable food or hygiene items to The Firefly Artists, 90 Main St, Northport, between now and New Year’s Eve.

There are 10 days left in our food drive, which is part of the Island Harvest Turkey & Trimmings Campaign. We’d really love to fill this box we have in the gallery, and hope you will help! It’s easy, especially as we are in one of the best places for last minute gift shopping, and we and at least a few neighbors will be open late to better serve your needs! Cash donations to Island Harvest are also welcome.

In thanks for your donation, you’ll get a raffle ticket to win a matted print or “Red” by Katheryn Laible or “Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn” by Steve Caputo. We’ll also give you $20 off any single purchase over $200.

Thank you for all you do to support our communities!

Left; Manhattan Bridge from Brooklyn by Steve Caputo. Right: Red by Katheryn Laible

Pal-O-Mine’s “Winter Wonderland”: A Thoughtful Program, a Holiday Wish List, Deep Appreciation

Pal-O-Mine crafts these unique, family-oriented events in deep gratitude for its community. The precious time and money folks give enables the farm and its life-changing programming to be. They are honored to get to know other folks who care, and appreciate all they bring.

Continue reading

2023 Smart Growth Summit

For more than 25 years, Vision Long Island has made a huge difference in our communities, connecting great people and generally helping all sorts of folks wrap their heads around the challenges and opportunities to improve our built environment on LI. Their 2023 Smart Growth Summit is happening Friday, December 1, 2023 from 8am-4pm.
 
It will feature over 1,000 local community, business and government, downtown revitalization and community development leaders. There will be nearly 20 workshops, 100 speakers, a trade show, and a concurrent Youth Summit. The breakfast “State of the Towns and Villages” session and luncheon alone are worth the program price. 
 
This is a great way to get an in depth, inside scoop on important local issues, including infrastructure, redevelopment, energy, human needs, small business, walkability, transportation and many others.
 
The LI Smart Growth movement generally attracts great people who care about the future of our communities. For an idea of the quality of folks who attend, check out these in-depth interviews hosted by Eric Alexander featuring a broad range of local leaders. You can also check out Vision’s YouTube channel to see important discussions they’ve hosted in the past, as well as people, projects and policies that they have highlighted. 
 
It’s really valuable stuff. Best to come check out what they’re talking about now!
 
Check out their website for details and get on their email list!

Pal-O-Mine Hay Drive Ends 5/15 – Donate Today!

Pal-O-Mine Logo
Pal-O-Mine’s very important Hay Drive is coming to a close. Please them fill the remaining gap!

Read this article we wrote with Pal-O-Mine. Visit their website to learn even more about this amazing healing place. Then help them raise the $20,000 needed to feed these amazing horses!

This webpage explains everything about the Hay Drive. You can give online or send a check made payable to “Pal-O-Mine Equestrian” to 829 Old Nichols Rd, Islandia, NY 11749.
 
Bottom line: $15 buys a bale. As of this writing, they’ve raised $15,635 through 114 donors. Thank you to all who are helping them fill that loft! 

April is Autism Awareness Month – Were you aware of Northport’s Mikey Brannigan?

April is Autism Awareness Month – Were you aware of Northport’s Mikey Brannigan? I sure wasn’t!!!

Photo of Mikey Brannigan and Sonja Robinson above provided by Fritz Garrecht

 

I like to think I’ve got a pretty good handle on the inspiring people of Long Island, especially in the Huntington area. I literally make it my business to know these things.

The best part about that? Realizing, no matter how hard I try, I will never begin to grasp it all.

First I learned "The Little Prince" was Written in Asharoken

For one. I was recently amazed to learn that “The Little Prince” (which I was blessed to be introduced to when a dear child handed it to me in grave seriousness many years ago), was written in Northport’s close neighbor, Asharoken. On one hand, given the gorgeous statue in the Northport-East Northport Library, I’m kind of surprised I didn’t learn earlier. However, on the other hand, given that the whole library there is an incredible, artistic ode to literature and more, I can see why I perhaps thought he was just one more aspect of that celebration.

BTW, they just celebrated the 80th birthday of that classic tale written by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry at the Northport Historical Society. I strongly recommend you check out all the other amazing things they have going on there!!!

Then I Learned About Mikey Brannigan - WOW!

The other gem – a “Pink Diamond” that was recently held up to sparkle at me is much more current. Frankly, my missing it surprises me even more: Mikey Brannigan.

Did you know that the first Paralympic athlete to ever break a 4-minute mile, and who has in fact run two miles in under nine minutes was born and raised in Northport? Yessir!

New York State record holder Mikey Brannigan graduated from Northport High School in 2015 a local hero and, despite the huge setback that was COVID, has great hopes for the future.

This Guy is Golden

Mikey’s been compared to Forrest Gump, but faster and perhaps even wiser despite having an IQ below 75. He has won the Paralympic Gold, broken three T-20 world records, was named the Sports Illustrated High School Athlete of the Month in 2015, and in 2017 he was named Team USA’s Male Paralympic Athlete of the Year.

He is charming, ever uplifting, and currently taking college-level public speaking classes and more in addition to his rigorous work schedule.

The Mikey Mile and More to Come...

There is movement to name the route he regularly took around Crab Meadow the “Mikey Mile,” and to reengage the Village of Northport – especially its young people — in this man’s remarkable story.

His coach and caretaker Sonja Robinson is a precious gem herself. She has been compared to Helen Keller’s Anne Sullivan. In this case though, it’s running rather than running water that she uses as her medium to reach Mikey, and to guide him in realizing his fantastic potential.

There is so much to talk about regarding them, about running, about coaching, about our society, about life as a special needs individual both in sports and academia … I’ve only just begun to scratch the surface, there is so much to learn! I look forward to sharing more…

…Soon…

Synchronicity Open Doors Reception Featuring Dr. Jeff Reynolds

Flyer for Open Doors Reception

Join us for our next “Open Doors Reception”

This will be an evening of networking, light refreshments and music, focused on celebrating health and humans services professionals. We will also offer a taste of the healing power of art. It will be held at The Firefly Artists Gallery in the beautiful historic village of Northport, home of the Engeman Theater, excellent restaurants, lovely shops and a gorgeous park and harbor.

The shops mostly close around 6pm but a few of us, like our neighbors at Artisan House, like to stay open.

 

What: Synchronicity Open Doors Reception
Honoring: Dr. Jeffrey Reynolds of The Family & Children’s Association
When: Tuesday, April 18th at 6pm
Where: The Firefly Artists, 90 Main St., Northport
Please RSVP: to katelaible@gmail.com Space is limited!
 

A Little Bit About Jeff


“I’ve got more than 30 years worth of public service experience and currently serve as the President and Chief Executive Officer of Family and Children’s Association, based in Garden City, NY. Since it began as an orphanage 139 years ago, Family and Children’s Association (FCA) has been committed to caring for Long Island’s vulnerable children, youth and families while helping them prepare for successful futures. We offer community-based programs for struggling families, at-risk adolescents, vulnerable seniors, and adults challenged by substance abuse. Today, FCA is one of Long Island’s largest health and human organizations with an annual budget of $25 million, 360 staff, 200 volunteers and 40+ programs. FCA has consistently been named one of Long Island’s top places to work.”

His full bio on the Family and Children’s Association reads thus:

“An experienced, dynamic and committed public health professional, Dr. Jeffrey L. Reynolds is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Family and Children’s Association (FCA), based in Garden City, NY. Since it began as an orphanage in 1884, Family and Children’s Association (FCA) has been committed to caring for Long Island’s vulnerable children, youth, seniors and families while helping them prepare for successful futures. The organization offers community-based programs for struggling families, at-risk adolescents, vulnerable seniors, and adults with substance use disorders. Today, FCA is one of Long Island’s largest health and human services organizations with an annual budget of $24 million, 360 staff, 200 volunteers and 40+ programs. Since arriving at FCA, Dr. Reynolds has helped secure more than $18 million in new funding and launched several innovative services, including three new recovery centers. He also re-branded and modernized the agency’s identity and during COVID, spearheaded a move to a new 30,000 square foot headquarters.

From 2009-2014, Dr. Reynolds served as Executive Director of the Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (LICADD), an organization that provides substance abuse screenings, brief interventions and referrals to addiction treatment, as well as professionally-facilitated family interventions and anger management services to adults and adolescents. Under Dr. Reynolds’ leadership, LICADD pioneered evidence-based K-12 substance abuse prevention programs in several Long Island schools, initiated a new mentoring program for children of incarcerated parents and expanded LICADD’s Employee Assistance Program. During his tenure, LICADD’s revenues tripled, and the number of families served per month increased nine-fold.

Prior to joining LICADD, Dr. Reynolds worked for the Long Island Association for AIDS Care for 19 years, where he started out doing case management and finished his tenure as Vice President for Public Affairs, responsible for government relations, resource development, strategic marketing, and communications. In 1997, he co-founded BiasHELP of Long Island, an organization dedicated to assisting victims of hate crimes and their families. As BiasHELP’s Chief Operating Officer, Dr. Reynolds secured federal, state and local grants and launched a wide array of crime victim assistance services and school-based violence prevention
programs.

Dr. Reynolds currently serves on New York’s Heroin and Opioid Task Force, the Executive Committee of the Nassau County Heroin Prevention Task Force, Suffolk County’s Heroin/Opiate Epidemic Advisory Panel, the board of the New York State Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, Nassau’s Family Violence Task Force, Suffolk County’s Welfare-to-Work Commission and he co-chairs the Huntington Town Opioid Task Force. He serves as a board member and treasurer of Lightning Warriors, a youth
triathlon team, and serves on the board of the Long Island Association (LIA).

Dr. Reynolds is Vice Chair and remains the longest serving member of the NYS AIDS Advisory Council, first appointed by the NYS Senate Majority Leader in 1994 and reappointed five times since then. Dr. Reynolds has also served on the NYS Governor’s Recreational Marijuana Task Force, been chair of Nassau County’s Youth Board, co-chaired Nassau County Comptroller’s Non-Profit Steering Committee and served on the transition teams for County Executives Laura Curran (D) and Bruce Blakeman (R).

Dr. Reynolds has served as a consultant and grant reviewer for the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services  Administration (SAMHSA) and is a frequent presenter and keynote speaker at statewide and national health and human service conferences. He has authored more than 250 news and op-ed articles that have appeared in a wide variety of publications and is consistently used as an expert source for substance use, addiction, HIV/AIDS and human/civil rights information by local and national radio, television, online and print outlets. Dr. Reynolds has received numerous awards for his community service and leadership and was named one of the “most influential Long Islanders” each year 2010-2022 by the Long Island Press. Dr. Reynolds has received leadership awards and honors from the Simple Hope Foundation, Caron Treatment Centers, Strong Youth, Inc., the Long Island Recovery Association, Mainstream House, LICADD, Long Island Business News (Long Island Business Hall of Fame, 2021) and Herald Newspapers (Top Business Leaders in Nassau County, 2021). Dr. Reynolds is also a graduate of Energeia, a regional stewardship program spearheaded by Molloy College. In 2022, he received a Long Island Excellence in Healthcare Award from Herald Newspapers and a “Hero of Hope” award from CN Guidance and Counseling Services. 

Dr. Reynolds holds a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Dowling College (1988), a Masters in Public Administration (MPA) with a specialization in health administration from Long Island University (1997) and a doctorate from Stony Brook University’s School of Social Welfare (2007). Dr. Reynolds’ doctoral dissertation was on “Using the Transtheoretical Model of Behavior Change to Explore Substance Use Patterns and HIV Risk Behaviors in a Suburban Sample.” He has been a Certified Employee Assistance Professional since 2011.

A lifelong Long Islander and cancer survivor, Dr. Reynolds is an avid marathon runner having completed 15 marathons and is also an Ironman triathlete, a passion he’s used to raise much-needed funds for FCA, LICADD, United Way of Long Island and other local/national charities.”

———

Basically, we’re lucky to have this guy.

Pal-O-Mine Stable Spirits Art Show & Auction Fundraiser

Pal-O-Mine Logo
Pal-O-Mine Stable Spirits Art Show and Auction: A fun way to support an amazing healing organization!
 
Read this article we wrote with Pal-O-Mine, visit their website to learn even more, and then join them for a fabulous evening as they transform their barn into an art gallery and creative space. Guests will enjoy art by local artists along with wines paired with delicious small bites. Attendees will participate in the creation of a themed mural to be hung in the on-site Occupational Therapy in Motion and Speech Language Pathology in Motion Location.
 
What: Pal-O-Mine Stable Spirits Art Show & Auction
Where: 829 Old Nichols Rd, Islandia
When: May 4th, 5:30-8:30pm
Details: $60 tax deductible ticket includes 4 wine tastings, paired small bites, door prize ticket, interactive mural painting with Splashes of Hope
Contact: 631-348-1389, www.pal-o-mine.org
 
Please note: Tickets MUST be purchased in advance and will NOT be available at the door.