“Wear gratitude like a cloak and it will feed every corner of your life.” ~Rumi
2020 has been tough, yet we find we have much to be grateful for.
We’ve lost dear ones, witnessed far too much suffering and seen our faith in humanity challenged in ways we never thought possible. At the same time, we’ve also witnessed determined survival, brave endeavors to stand up for what’s right, and incredible acts of loving kindness…often delivered by people who could have easily decided to give up.
As for our endeavor here to serve and celebrate those who care for art, science and the common good, while many of the big ideas and great plans we entered this year with had to take a back seat, we’ve been granted meaningful gifts of support and validation that, quit frankly, mean the world to us. Wonderful things are manifesting. We look forward to sharing them with you.
We are beyond grateful for the medical professionals, the first responders, the teachers and the essential workers of the world, We are also more thankful than ever for all those doing other really important work to serve our communities, and for every sponsor who continues to step up and support the organizations counting on them. We know so many are engaged in incredible acts of resilience and adaptation, and that just holding on can be something worthy of applause.
Thank you to all who are endeavoring to be a light in these uncertain times. We always love to hear from you, whatever you have going on, and welcome submissions to share!
We wish you a healthy and happy Thanksgiving, the courage and flexibility to switch things up for the better, and all the best in everything. Have a wonderful day!
If you’d like to support the Synchronicity Network Newsletter, you may do so here. This publication serves and celebrates folks who care for art, science and the common good on LI and beyond, aiming to increase the quantity and quality of community engagement. As always, we love to hear from you, and welcome your submissions and feedback.
Photo by Katheryn Laible
On Gratitude and Kindness
Thanksgiving…it’s a word that brings gratitude and kindness together. It’s a wonderful reminder to count our blessings, and pay them forward. We thought you might appreciate the following:
How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain — including really helping with depression and anxiety — from the “Greater Good Magazine: Science Based Insights for a Meaningful Life,” which is based out of UC Berkeley
Here are 14 Health Benefits of Gratitude According to Science from positivepsychology.com. We’re talking things like increased energy and reduction in inflammation, as well as simple happiness and psychological well being!
We love these 40 Simple Ways to Practice Gratitude by Lifehack.org
and this piece on Why Kindness Matters by Positive.News
Our friend Cindy Mardenfeld will remind us that November is kindness month and encourage us to do it loudly. This is not to be bragging at all, but to be a good role model and to spread good cheer. We are grateful for the sunshine she has continued to bring into our lives these past several months.
Another dear one, whose name we won’t mention, offers the sentiment in a another way that is perhaps more palatable to some: “This week, I am ensuring that I do one act of kindness daily in honor of Thanksgiving. I’m not going to post a picture. Not going to post a status other than this one. I just hope that some folks might do the same thing. It doesn’t take a lot but I can make people happy.”
Say it loudly, do it quietly, it’s all the same to us…Just please give it your best to appreciate the good and to make more of it. Always. Thanks!!!
Photo by James Darcy of the Firefly Artists
Please Shop Local!
It’s ALWAYS of tremendous benefit to our communities to shop local and to support the places that not only give our villages such character, but also tend to support an awful lot of good stuff in the greater community! Now? In 2020? PLEASE, PLEASE SUPPORT OUR SMALL BUSINESSES!
This 2018 video from the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce explains a lot of why it’s so important. Now, more than ever, our small businesses are counting on folks like us to appreciate them! We were thrilled to see LongIsland.com report on an Islandwide Contest to Highlight Importance of Shopping at Small Local Businesses
HERE’S OUR LIST of reader picks sharing their favorite small businesses. We will also post it on our Synchronicity Planning & Communication Facebook Page and will keep adding new ones in the comment section!
Go to these stores or catch them online. Follow these folks on Facebook. Buy gift cards from them. Give them a call. So many go way out of their way to serve our communities.
Let’s show them some love and help ourselves in the process! It’s more than worth it!!!
Photo of David Okorn (left) by Jim Lennon. Photo of Marian Conway by Chris Appoldt
Give Smart. Give Local. LI Needs YOU!!!
GivingTuesday is a global generosity movement unleashing the power of people and organizations to transform their communities and the world. To help you do such giving wisely, we offer the following:
“Foundations for the Common Good — A Call to Action” written with Executive Director David Okorn of the LI Community Foundation. This article from 2019 talks about growing holes in the LI safety net. Here, David also explains how the LI Community Foundation itself helps givers make the best use of their philanthropic dollars, as well as how it serves issues they’ve identified as critical directly.
If anyone tries to tell you that a not for profit organization should be judged primarily by the % going to admin and fundraising, please tell them to read this article we wrote last year with Marian Conway of the NY Community Bank Foundation: “Stop the Nonprofit Budget Fantasy. It’s Not Right!”
Marian’s run a foundation for years and in one way or another served and studied countless organizations. She literally has a Ph.D awarded for her dissertation on “What are the general operating expenses for nonprofits and who pays them.” She knows what she’s talking about. Please listen to her!!!
Those articles were written well before a global pandemic made the current fashion of asking nonprofits to somehow be profitable in order to support their service to our communities largely untenable….while seriously upping the dire importance of so much of their work..
While we look forward to catching up with these folks when they finally get a breath, if you care about anything that doesn’t directly monetarily profit individuals — the environment, human services, the arts, sciences, education and infinite specific issues under those and other headings — PLEASE check these pieces out and consider giving directly to local organizations focused on whatever it is you value.
A Few Good Places to Give
A few years ago, Jeff Reynolds of the Family & Children’s Association shared his experience of what works and what’s needed on Long Island. For all his positivity, it was a very sober assessment of a human services sector in crisis…and that was before the pandemic.
Long Island needs more people to give to local organizations addressing our local challenges. Please consider:
The Long Island Community Foundation continues their COVID-19 Philanthropic response fund to aid nonprofit service providers meeting emergent and critical needs affecting our local region. They have so far granted out over $1M to struggling nonprofits — More is needed!
The United Way of LI is highlighting their Project Warmth, which helps keep homes heated, Safe at Home for Seniors, focused on folks who must shelter in place, and YouthBuild, which provides a skilled vocational path for at-risk youth while addressing core issues facing low-income communities: housing, education, employment, crime prevention, and leadership development.
Housing Help provides a wealth of information for folks in financial crisis and with other human service needs.
Long Island Cares and Island Harvest are major entities addressing hunger on Long Island. The INN helps feed people, too and additionally focuses on homelessness. We also encourage you to check out your own local churches and other organizations, some of whom have really deep ties in their specific communities.
The Safe Center offers free, confidential resources for those suffering abuse.
The Family & Children’s Association serves those in need of human services in Nassau County. The Family Service League similarly serves Suffolk. Again, many smaller organizations, like the Tri-CYA do incredible work on a very local level. At the other end, the Health & Welfare Council of LI serves as an umbrella organization, serving individuals, myriad human service organizations and a whole bunch of folks in between.
Of course, human service organizations get a lot of attention right now — rightfully so! Still, if you are passionate about the environment, art, science, animal rescue, preservation, good governance, anything else — including favorite mom & pop shops! — PLEASE FOCUS YOUR GIVING THERE, especially on LOCAL organizations dedicated to serving our Island. Please check out our archives for a wealth of organizations and look around to see who else is serving YOUR community!
Like those serving Veterans: We are grateful to all the VSOs who are giving it their best to stay connected and to keep serving both fellow veterans and the broader community. We continue to follow Patchogue VFW Commander Dave Rogers, who is providing all sorts of information. We also deeply appreciate Lonnie Sherman and his General Needs which focuses on helping the 5000+ homeless Long Island Veterans and their families by providing basic necessities through your charitable donations and support.
Many organizations are terrible at asking for money at times like this because they are worried about taking from other groups. PLEASE DON’T WAIT FOR A GROUP YOU VALUE TO ASK, ESPECIALLY IF YOU VALUE THEIR HUMILITY
Vision LI Smart Growth Summit
For years, the Smart Growth Summit has brought together thousands of civic members, chambers, community-minded developers, environmentalists, design professionals, labor, academics, seniors, young people, minority owned businesses and others, along with a full range of elected officials from Long Island and the region.
They require your continued energy and participation to help shape recovery efforts so many years of progress made in our local communities is not lost!
In a time of social distancing and being unable to meet in person, the 19th Annual Summit takes on even more importance as the organization seeks to assist local communities through economic recovery guided by placemaking principles.
This virtual program will feature workshops, technical worksessions and plenary sessions on regional and local issues facing downtown redevelopment, complete streets projects, infrastructure investment, regulatory relief and economic recovery through the Coronavirus.
When: December 2nd through 4th
For More Info and to Register: Visit their Eventbrite page
They’ve just announced their incredible lineup of speakers.
BTW….Vision Long Island has also been doing some incredible interviews with local leaders. We really love this one with Roger Blackmore of Genesis Church, a fairly non-traditional organization that has been serving LI for nearly 20 years. They’ve been doing some incredible work to help our communities weather the COVID storm. Check it out.
Photo of Troop 205 Members Kyle Montagni, Christian Arroyo and Max Laible by Katheryn Laible
Support Your Local Scout Troop!
Katie’s own son, Max, is the Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 205 in Syosset. Above, you can see him with some fellow Scouts gathering food for those in need last summer.
Like many local groups, Scout Troops are finding it increasingly difficult to raise money to support their endeavors, even as they are continuing to go out of their way to serve our communities and develop into the responsible leaders of tomorrow. If you donate directly to a Troop, it stays with that Troop. Please consider doing so!!!
Below is a reflection from a fellow Scout, Matthew Gavieta who earned the rank of Eagle in 2018. We think he did a great job of capturing the Scout experience, and why we think these kids are such valuable assets to our communities:
I remember my first ever Boy Scout outing — I started off hiking in the middle of the pack. Like everyone else around me, I held very little responsibility, following the patrol leaders and slowly passing by checkpoints on the map. It was exhausting. In a tent I helped pitch, I woke up writhing in blisters the next day as I looked at my ill-fitting boots.
That was the end of the first journey, with many more to come. I brought better boots next time.
I ranked up and went on longer trips. I learned what to pack, and most importantly, what to leave behind. I sorted out which camping advice to remember and which habits to let go of. Time would pass, and I would volunteer at Eagle Scout projects: building flower beds, benches, signposts and renovating farms.
Eventually, I would become a Patrol Leader, directing younger scouts — learning trails, orienteering, taking inventory of equipment, and most importantly, becoming responsible.
The lessons learned from every trip have holistically changed the way I plan. In the forest, I always need to be prepared — I have to know which bridges to cross, which trails to skip, which obstacles might hinder our way.
Fast forward to June 2017 — my Eagle Scout project proposal was approved. This time, however, I found myself on an unfamiliar path. I was Project Manager, shouldering the weight of accountability. I decided to construct a greenhouse for the Cornell Cooperative Extension located in East Meadow, NY. aiming to assist local farmers and their endeavors for off-season planting. It turned out to be an expensive project with a wide scope.
Immediately, I was thrust into a world where being optimistic and hoping for the best is not enough. At times during this path, I felt lost, suddenly navigating without a map. A faulty instruction manual compromised the first workday. The parts I was requested to purchase did not match the online guide. I overcame this by writing my own instructions. I studied it for hours, putting parts together in my house to streamline workdays. Between organizing fundraisers and managing money to purchase all the miscellaneous materials, I was constantly coordinating dates with adults and volunteers. It took two hundred fifty hours to complete this project.
The challenges I encountered doing my Eagle Scout project taught me to collaborate, the value of teamwork based on the number of volunteers and Scout leaders who helped me, to be diligent, to organize with objectives and to Lead.
There are kids doing this all across Long Island, achieving by their 18th birthday things many never do in a lifetime. What are the Eagles-to-be and the troops they lead and educate doing in your backyard? Look around, and send them a donation if you will!!!
Clockwise from top left: RBG masks by Beth Atkinson and studs by Kate Sydney; Ann Fox and her clever collage; Pottery and paintings by Wendy Andersen, Painting by Jonathan Van Brunt.
Our community-oriented gallery created by local artists continues to be a light in our lives. Our main Firefly Artists gallery at 162 Main St, Northport is open Tuesday through Thursday 11am-6pm (closed for Thanksgiving), Fri and Sat 11am-8pm and Sunday 11-5pm. Send Katie an email if you’d like to meet up down there!
Salon des Refusees: In Good Company
Our first Major Special Exhibition in our new upstairs “Darcy Center for the Arts” will have it’s final showing on Saturday November 28th from 5:30-8pm.
Featured works showcase prominent Long Island Artists: Mary Ahern, Beth Atkinson, Hillary Broder, Mary Brodersen, John Cino, Anthony Klinger-Cooley, Lisa Federici, Ann Fox, Jan Guarino, Heather Heckel, Stephanie Jacobsen, John Lazzaro, E. Craig Marcin, Craig Mateyunas, Margaret Minardi, Drigo Morin, Rosemary Sloggatt, Jan Tozzo and Dan Welden
The theme — “Salon des Refusees” has historic roots in a famous exhibition in Paris, France ordered by Napoleon III in 1863 to display paintings rejected by the selection committee of the Paris Salon. The Salon was the official annual showcase of French art, arguably the greatest annual or biennial art event in the Western world, and a singular opportunity for artists. The alternative show drew thousands, legitimizing works outside that official mold.
It’s a warm-hearted and spirited reminder: Rejection does not equate to inferior quality. The inevitable letters of refusal received by the artist who dares put themself out there, may put them in very good company indeed.
Up Next! Out of Isolation
Out of Isolation celebrates the creative spirit and how we, as artists, can adapt to turbulent circumstances. In a world turned upside down, we have sheltered in our homes and expressed our feelings with creativity. The Firefly Artists are thrilled to present this incredible selection of works created in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The show will be going up this weekend! There is an Open House Reception planned for January 8-10. Come see!
Artistic Samples from Rachel Kalina (left), and Andy Evansen provided by The Firefly Artists
ZOOM Landscape Watercolor with Andy Evansen. Firefly Jan Guarino is bringing in artists she appreciates learning from to teach YOU! This course is suitable for all but the most novice beginner. Says Jan, “Andy is a master at understanding large values and expressing them in a very unique way.” Come learn with us, Wednesday, Dec 9th from 10:30am – 4:00pm (w/ 1/2 hour break) Click here for more info and to register
We also have in-person Jewelry Making Classes with Firefly Rachel Kalina! These are small in person classes: Metal Stamping, Start Metalsmithing, Basic and Advanced Soldering and Stone Setting. Email Katie and she can get you details!
Photo of Asters by Katheryn Laible
Especially at this time of year, we endeavor to count our blessings daily, which we realize are many. This starts with the personal ones. As mentioned, we are also beyond grateful for the medical professionals, first responders, teachers and essential workers of the world, We are also more thankful than ever for all those doing other really important work to serve our communities, and for all who support them.
Over the last few years we’ve been blessed to share some truly wonderful people who continue to inspire us every day. In case you missed them the first time, or just want to read them again:
Our first story ever published here was about Jayette Lansbury. a tireless champion for those impacted by mental illness and for compassionate criminal justice reform. If it’s true that angels walk the Earth disguised in human form, we’re pretty sure Jayette’s one of them.
Here’s Ray Homburger, who has a long history of making us smile, sharing his adventures bringing light to Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria…Oh my goodness!
Among other things, Ray rescued a puppy…which makes us remember all of these folks rescuing animals island-wide
Here’s the story of how the Village of Freeport came together in the wake of our own Superstorm Sandy. They were one of a number of South Shore communities who ultimately formed the Friends of Long Island that made us SO PROUD to be Long Islanders.
Here’s Mackenzie Johnston, one of the younger “Friends,” who’s grown to become an incredibly creative, giving young woman who gives us great hope for the future.
Then there’s Ron Stein, who has a way with impossible dreams that take on a magical life of their own.. We can’t wait to share more about his last great endeavor, Friends of the Coltrane Home, or to see what he chooses to champion next!
Regarding another endeavor to preserve an incredible legacy, the story of the great “electrician” Nikola Tesla is amazing in its own right. The people coming together to advance that legacy? Wow….
Speaking of science, we love Dr. Spencer Thomas’ passion for it and this explanation of why basic research — the kind of stuff with no apparent application — is so very important.
Roger Tilles will never forget a third grade teacher who inspired him as a child, He will not retire because he is determined to continue to make a positive difference in the arts and education. We sat with him back in December. Everything he said then had even more meaning when we posted it in May….
We are also grateful for this partnership of an Artist and a Scientist to address global hunger….beautifully!
Then there’s Cliff Hammond…what a story! Stories…lots of stories…about the determination of surviving, thriving, the difference between “Impressive” and “cool” and one of his favorite subjects of all: Rotary International.
Speaking of folks who neither ever give up nor fully retire, we saw Joy Squires, Huntington’s Environmental Sage recently and are pleased to report she’s doing well. She had a great idea for a story to come!!!
Then there’s Lisa Gatti and her incredible channeling of the the healing power of horses.
God rest Gus Scutari, Syosset’s Humble Champion of Americanism…We miss him so!!! We can read this story over and over and over…and each time take away something new,
We think it’s related to this reflection on the founding of our Nation, and the ongoing endeavor by people ever since to keep creating a more perfect union.
Which, in turn, makes us reflect on the patience, grace and profound leadership of so many for whom achieving that promise has been an ongoing struggle….
And then, finally, it’s not quite a Long Island story, but we really appreciate the giving pledge of Warren Buffet and Bill Gates….and the related story of Andrew Carnegie’s own determination to give…which had a huge impact on one of our very favorite things….Libraries.
Then there were people whose offerings helped us keep our attitudes adjusted…
Brian Carideo offered his personal testimony that there’s life after addiction; that folks who are struggling can and do get it together every day, offering his support to those in process.
Jed Morey encouraged folks to move past blind ideology to remember empathy, history, civil discourse and listening.
Eric Alexander offered his own humble proposal to help overcome polarization, advance collaborative solutions and do something meaningful.
Most recently, Dave Vollmer, Lt Col, USAF (ret), PhD offered his well considered thoughts on what it means to be a good leader.
All together, it’s quite profound. We’re sure we missed some good stuff, but this should keep us busy for a while!!!
Thank you all for keeping your good light shining. We deeply, gratefully appreciate it!!!
For more than 15 years, Synchronicity Planning & Communications has offered writing, event photography and consulting services across Long Island. It is this and other experiences at the fusion point of interests that fuel this newsletter. As individuals dedicated to helping good people do great things, we are committed to increasing the amount and quality of community engagement across Long Island. We offer a rich and ever-growing network of involved individuals from across perspectives, sectors and interests, as well as other resources we discover to help you achieve your objectives. Check out our website, www.synchronicitypc.com and drop us a line. We love to hear from you!
In this newsletter we endeavor to offer a variety of people and things that inspire us, and yet offer no guarantees whatsoever. While we do our best to provide accurate information, sometimes mistakes happen, details change, or we are given incorrect information. Synchronicity Planning & Communications is not providing professional advice and is in no way responsible for any problems that occur while participating in activities listed on this site, nor do we promise any results from anything suggested here. We don’t necessarily agree with all the ideas people offer, sometimes folks let us down, and our own views continually evolve. We strongly recommend independent research before committing to anything. Despite these uncertainties of life, we remain grateful to those who make us think and learn, and who offer opportunities to help make the world a better place, best they know how. Namaste.
Thank You Sponsors
The Synchronicity Network Newsletter is lovingly dedicated to the memory of David T. Boylan. Thank you for instilling in us a sense of gratitude, curiosity, and the inherent value of everyone we meet; for abiding love, endeavors toward truth, and firm belief in the power and importance of art and other forms of reverence, family, and the friends we make along the way.