20 Aug “Garden City Resident Named President of North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center,” Garden City News, August 2, 2019
As an Executive Vice President at The Toy Association, Paul Vitale spends his days hard at work—not, as you might think, playing with the latest game or gadget! His role is of a more serious nature as he oversees the finance and operations of this leading toy industry trade association that represents businesses that design, manufacture, distribute and sell toys for kids of all ages.
The health and wellbeing of kids and their families is a prime focus of Vitale’s life. The Garden City resident recently was named President of the Board of Directors for North Shore Child & Family Guidance Center, whose mission is to provide mental health services to children and families throughout Nassau County.
Although new to the role of President, Vitale has been part of the Guidance Center’s Board for more than two decades. “There are a myriad of challenging issues facing children and teens,” he says, “but help from the Guidance Center can have a lasting effect on them and the people around them, which benefits the entire community.”
Vitale says that in today’s culture, kids face more pressures than ever before. “A lot of the same issues exist—bullying, alcohol and drug abuse, depression and anxiety—that have been around for many years, but the constant, 24/7 access to social media has made it even harder on young people,” he says. “The need for help is so great, and that’s why having a community-based agency like the Guidance Center that doesn’t turn anyone away for inability to pay is such a blessing.”
The Guidance Center’s broad array of innovative mental health and substance use services makes the organization unique, Vitale notes. “The breadth of programming is really remarkable, with programs for kids from birth to 24. We have therapists and psychiatrists in three Nassau B.O.C.E.S. schools; there’s a wilderness program for teens; and there’s even a program to help mothers who are experiencing postpartum depression. It’s such an impressive array of services and a real treasure for Long Island.”
One crucial time that stands out in his mind is the period after 9-11, when so many children and families on Long Island were traumatized. “The attacks of 9-11 impacted so many Long Islanders, and the Guidance Center’s response was such a huge help in the bereavement process,” he says.
Community and family life are at the top of Vitale’s priority list. He has been happily married to his wife Marie for 37 years, and together they have three children and two grandchildren.
“We’ve lived in Garden City for 29 years and raised our kids here,” he says. “It’s a very close knit community, and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
According to Nancy Lane, who was Guidance Center Board President until recently, Vitale is well poised for this new role on the Board. “Paul is a longtime, dedicated Guidance Center Board member,” she says. “His knowledge and understanding of the agency’s mission and financial well-being is an invaluable asset.”
Vitale is looking forward to deepening his commitment to the Guidance Center. “It’s an honor to be President of the Board for an organization that’s been around for more than 65 years and does such important work.”