Kanti & Lata Gala – Walking in New York
From Achieve Magazine Editor, Adriane Land
I had the opportunity to participate in two very special “events” this past weekend. Lisa Hunter, Director of Integrated Marketing Services at Amway Global and I were invited to tour the Easter Seals New York Child Development Center in the Bronx and participate in the Easter Seals “Walk with Me” event in New York City! As you may know, Amway has a long-standing relationship with Easter Seals through our One by One Campaign for Children; we’ve raised $30 million to support their programs over the past 27 years. Amway is also the National Presenting Sponsor of the Easter Seals Walk with Me events.
Lisa and I were guests of Pam Spaeth, Easter Seals’ Assistant Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Relations; John McGrath, Senior Vice President of Organizational Development for Easter Seals New York; and the staff of the Bronx Center while touring their classrooms and facility. We were joined by Aris Pavlides and Joe Tedesco, Amway IBOs from the New York area, who are regular visitors to and supporters of the Bronx Center. The Center serves children with developmental delays and typically developing children up to five years of age. Many of the children come to the Center with challenging physical and developmental disabilities and live within neighborhoods suffering the twin blights of poverty and crime. The Center provides a multitude of intervention services to help ready the children for successful mainstreaming in regular classrooms. The staff was so warm hearted and impressed us with their commitment to the children and their do-whatever-it-takes approach. In classroom after classroom we were welcomed with grins and greetings, and for Aris, Joe and John McGrath – clearly special people to the children – wrap-around-the-legs hugs. Our IBOs shone as people leading with their hearts, giving of their time and financial support to provide children a safe, stable environment in which to grow and learn.
Saturday morning, we joined the more than 200 Amway IBOs gathered in Battery Park in Manhattan to start the Walk. Easter Seals State of New York Board Member and Amway Double Diamond Dr. Kanti Gala welcomed the 800+ walkers to Easter Seals New York’s 7th Annual Walk with Me event. Kanti and his wife, Lata, took the stage with their son, Neil, (a New York City Easter Seals Board Member), Aris (also a State of New York Board Member) and Joe (a Long Island Board Member) to thank and encourage the crowd. A blast of an airhorn sent the walkers on their way along the 2.5 mile route through lower Manhattan, winding along the harbor with views of the Statue of Liberty, past the World Trade Center site and back along the waterfront to the Park.
Following the walk, all were treated to an afternoon in the park, with food, plenty of XS® Energy Drinks, courtesy of the Britt organization, and music by The Melillo Brothers, a very talented group of young IBOs from New Jersey, sons of Executive Diamonds, Ray and Joanne Melillo. With donations still coming in, the Walk has raised more than $154,000 for Easter Seals’ programs and services. The Top team this year? The Diamond Team! Check them out – you’ll see some very familiar names and faces! http://tiny.cc/uxmwd
- Check out local coverage of the walk: http://www.earthtimes.org/articles/press/draw-hundreds-participants-supporters,1341578.html, and
- Amway Global facebook coverage of the event at: http://tiny.cc/zd24w