Roslyn Heights, NY, May 14, 2020 —When a group of longtime Syosset friends decided to come up with some fun ways to hold virtual get-togethers, the idea popped into their heads with one word: BINGO!
The couples—Alex and Leslie Arker, Jen and Neil Gallow and Ian and Karen Weiskopf— sent the word out through their social media networks that they were going to host a weekly bingo night on Zoom, called Bingo for a Cause, which would not only be great entertainment but also support nonprofit organizations involved in COVID-19 relief efforts, along with local businesses.
Its inaugural game was attended by more than 140 families, who donated $10 per bingo card. The winner received a gift card to an area restaurant or other retailer.
“After week one, we wanted to figure out a way to keep it interesting, so we asked Josh Lafazan to be the game caller for our second week,” said Leslie, whose daughter Emily interns for the Nassau County Legislator. “Everybody in Syosset knows Josh because he’s so great for our community.”
Lafazan recommended that the nonprofit to benefit from week six’s proceeds should be North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, Long Island’s preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency, headquartered in Roslyn Heights.
“I learned about the Guidance Center from my mother, who proudly served on the board of directors,” said Lafazan. “Since I was inaugurated as legislator, the organization has made an enormous contribution to my community, helping to support mental health initiatives and community wellness programs. When Alex reached out about supporting a local program providing child adolescent health services, I was proud to recommend the Guidance Center!”
In the weeks following, the three couples and some of their friends reached out to their connections and were able to get two Syosset-born celebrities to act as game callers: Academy Award winner Natalie Portman and WNBA star Sue Bird, who played basketball for Syosset High School.
As of mid-May, Bingo for a Cause has raised $33,500 for local nonprofits, with the Guidance Center receiving more than $4,300.
Leslie Arker was pleased to have the Guidance Center as one of the game’s charities. “The work that the Guidance
Center does to support kids’ well-being is phenomenal,” she said. “It’s important every day, but now more than ever before with everyone’s life being so disrupted.”
Andrew Malekoff, Executive Director of the Guidance Center, expressed gratitude to the Arkers and all of the families who take part in Bingo for a Cause, as well Josh Lafazan for recommending the organization as a beneficiary. Said Malekoff, “The pandemic is causing major mental health challenges for children and their families, and we are proud to be there to help them heal during this unprecedented time.”
The Guidance Center is seeing both new and existing clients via phone and video conferencing. To make an appointment, call (516) 626-1971 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about their services at www.northshorechildguidance.org.
To learn more about Bingo for a Cause, follow their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/groups/368574850789477.
As the preeminent not-for-profit children’s mental health agency on Long Island, North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center is dedicated to restoring and strengthening the emotional well-being of children (from birth – age 24) and their families. Our highly trained staff of psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, vocational rehabilitation counselors and other mental health professionals lead the way in diagnosis, treatment, prevention, training, parent education, research and advocacy. The Guidance Center helps children and families address issues such as depression and anxiety; developmental delays; bullying; teen pregnancy; sexual abuse; teen drug and alcohol abuse; and family crises stemming from illness, death, trauma and divorce. For more than 60 years, the Guidance Center has been a place of hope and healing, providing innovative and
compassionate treatment to all who enter our doors, regardless of their ability to pay. For more information about the Guidance Center, visit www.northshorechildguidance.org or call (516) 626-1971.