The enCourage Kids Foundation is hosting their 18th Annual Golf Outing on Monday, July 19, 2021. Over 200 sponsors and guests will be joining enCourage Kids at Pine Hollow Country Club and The Mill River Club. After a day on the course, golfers and guests will come together for an award ceremony to celebrate this year’s honorees, Julie Arce of JLL, Rosemarie Krol – CBRE and Tiffany Mizen – IBM. For nearly two decades, the Event Chairs, Hank Celestino – L&L Holding, Neal Garelik – Excel Global Security, Mark LoFrumento – Cool Breeze Air Conditioning, and Robert Speranza – Nouveau Elevator have worked to ensure the event’s success. Sponsors include Cool Breeze Air Conditioning, Excel Global Security, and Nouveau Elevator. The funds raised will support their Virtual and in-person Camp Experience Weekends.
I had the opportunity to catch up with the President & CEO of enCourage Kids, Michele Hall Duncan who is one of the industry leaders in the nonprofit space.
IR: Tell us how you chose your honorees this year?
MHD: This is the 18th year we have held our Golf Outing, so there’s a long history of philanthropy within the event’s committee and the event sponsors Nouveau Elevator, Excel Global Security and Cool Breeze Air Conditioning, three well-known companies in the New York City real estate community. The event draws participants from construction, utility, engineering, building operations & management, and service industries, which comprise the backbone of the real estate industry. The event committee typically looks to honor individuals within those industries who, like themselves, are philanthropic and have made notable contributions in their respective fields and in their communities. We are very excited to be honoring three amazing women this year, Julie Arce of JLL, Rosemarie Krol of CBRE and Tiffany Mizen of IBM.
IR: How are the event chairs Hank Celestino – L&L Holding, Neal Garelik – Excel Global Security, Mark LoFrumento – Cool Breeze Air Conditioning, and Robert Speranza – Nouveau Elevator involved with the enCourage Kids Foundation?
MHD: Two of our event Chairs do have a personal connection to our mission. They all have a very deeply held commitment to the organization and have for decades. Rob Speranza was an original sponsor of the event and Hank Celestino was actually one of our honorees for the very first golf outing in 2004. They are an incredible group who have supported us through thick and thin for a very long time.
IR: Will we get to meet any of the families at this event?
MHD: Yes, we are excited to have one of our enCourage Kids, Danielle, and her family joining us this year. She’s an incredible young lady who was born with a rare neurological condition in which one side of the brain is abnormally larger than the other. From an early age, she experienced frequent seizures and the only remedy was to remove the affected half of her brain. During the course of her young life, she has undergone 17 surgeries and hundreds of doctor visits, but you’d never know how challenging her life has been. She’s always smiling and loves to make people laugh. Danielle and her father will be speaking at the event and sharing their story, not only about her medical journey, but about their journey as a family with enCourage Kids, and the other families they’ve met and the experiences they have enjoyed through our family activities and outings.
IR: What programs will the funds raised from this outing support?
MHD: The funds raised from the event will help support all our programs, but there will be a particular focus during the dinner portion where we hope to raise money for our Virtual and in-person Camp Experience Weekends. For more than 10 years, our Camp Pontiac Weekend has brought our families together, creating memories that will last a lifetime. Camp is a very special place where kids can just be kids, regardless of their medical conditions and challenges, and they can experience all the fun activities you find at a sleepaway camp. Whether it’s roasting marshmallows over a campfire, swimming, craft making, learning to salsa, flying high along the zip line or creating the perfect ice cream sundae, our getaway at Camp Pontiac provides an opportunity for families to relax and unwind in a way they simply can’t at home.
During the pandemic, with the health and safety of our enCourage Kids in mind, we recreated Camp in the virtual space, with two weekends of activities that included health and wellness support sessions for caregivers who faced even greater challenges during lockdown. The sessions provided a safe space where families could reconnect after months of isolation, and ended with our time-honored tradition of S’mores and a camp sing-a-long. Last year we received so many messages of gratitude from our parents and caregivers saying how much that time together meant to them, even if it was just over Zoom. We’ll be planning another Virtual Camp weekend at the end of August and then returning to Camp Pontiac next summer, and frankly, we can’t wait!
IR: Tell us what the golf participants can expect throughout the day?
MHD: We have so much interest in this event that we have more than 200 golfers participating at two courses, Mill River Club and Pine Hollow Country Club. This group loves contests so we have a raffle with some amazing hotel stays, golf packages and gift certificates to world class restaurants, a Par 3 challenge, prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place foursomes and chances to win Hole-in-One prizes including a 2021 Range Rover. We’re also going to have Owl’s Brew Boozy Tea providing beverages on the course and a specialty cocktail at the cocktail reception, an ice cream station provided by Moo La La Catering and bottled water on the course from Hydr8.
To support the work of the enCourage Kids foundation, please visit www.encourage-kids.org