Pelham Civics Launch Fundraising Drive September 8th. Two Humanitarians as “Persons of the Year” to be Honored at October 19th Dinner Dance Gala: Kathie O’Callaghan & Rich Davidian

As has been the tradition for the past 79 years, members of the Pelham Civic Association, led by Pelham Civic Raffle Chair Brian Diffley, will be selling raffle tickets throughout the town starting on September 8th, raising funds to fuel their award-winning programs that assist the youth, the elderly, the financially needy and the mentally and physically challenged.

Richard Davidian and Kathie O’Callaghan

Richard Davidian and Kathie O’Callaghan

Pelham Civic Dinner Dance Chairman Mike Recca stated, “Our members are all geared up to sell our exciting raffles in both Pelham (in front and in back of DeCicco & Sons) and Pelham Manor (at Dunkin Donuts). Once again, we’re giving away fabulous prizes, including a $10,000 cash grand prize! And as a reminder, ALL of the money raised goes into the Civics’ programs, projects, and events that assist the families and individuals of our community!”

SAVE THE DATE…The fundraising season concludes on Friday, October 19th, 2018 when the Pelham Civics will be hosting their 79th Annual Dinner Dance Gala at The Glen Island Harbour Club, in New Rochelle… a fabulous venue for a terrific, fun and exciting time that is set out to be Pelham’s “social highlight of the year, honoring Persons of the year Kathie O’Callaghan & Rich Davidian.

Here are some of the accomplishments of these two outstanding Pelham residents: 

Kathie O’Callaghan

  • Hearts and Homes for Refugees
    • Founder and President of this innovative grassroots non-profit that supports the US Department of State designated agencies in welcoming, protecting and advocating for refugees resettling in US communities. 
    • Inspired by the crisis in Syria, Kathie gathered a group of like-minded individuals to advocate for resettlement in Westchester County. HHR is now comprised of a network of 400 volunteers that welcomed the first refugee family to Westchester County:  a Syrian family of six that was resettled in Pelham.
    • In 2018, Kathie led HHR in creating the Westchester Refugee Initiative, a county-wide coalition building effort to support and grow the network of over 20 community and interfaith organizations and 1,500 individuals who support the welcoming movement in Westchester County. 
    • Under Kathie’s leadership, the Westchester Refugee Initiative is not only continuing to welcome and advocate for new refugee arrivals but also support refugees who are already in the country and need an occasional helping hand from the growing network of volunteers.
  • Honoree, 2017 Pelham Woman of Distinction
  • An integral part of the formation and early years of the Friends of the Pelham Library, specifically in the area of Public Relations.
  • Member, Rotary Club of the Pelhams; Volunteer/Host of an overseas family while they came to America for life-saving cardiac surgery, as part of the Gift of Life Program.
  • Member, the leadership team of Huguenot Memorial Church program to coordinate relief teams, supplies, and over 1,000 Thanksgiving meals in the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy.
  • In-Home Hospice Volunteer at Jansen Hospice & Palliative Care
  • Group Fitness Volunteer at Wartburg Senior Care Facility
  • Pelham Manor Volunteer Firefighter from 2000-2012 and served two terms as President of the Volunteer Company of the Pelham Manor Fire Department
  • Lector, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church for many years
  • Member, RENEW core team at OLPH.

Richard Davidian

  • Pelham Civics Help a Child, Change a Life Program
    • Founder & Chairman, Rich created, championed and directed this visionary initiative that provides students from economically challenged households with the extra support needed to succeed. The program rapidly grew across the entire district touching most of the schools and all of the grades. Nothing like this had ever been offered and successfully pushed the district to think out of the box and to keep finding ways to reach more students and deliver higher impact results. 
    • It became one of the priorities of School administrators, acknowledging the importance of and the tangible impact that was possible when we provide targeted and measurable support to the most vulnerable members of our community, with numerous educators and administrators openly expressing how this initiative impacted their own priorities and sensitivity to an under-supported portion of their academic community.
    • Rich called attention to the reality that far too many of our students did not have access to a basic learning tool, computers.  Instructional assignments and notices assumed all students had access to computers and printers in their home.  He helped initiate a meaningful program to address this deficiency, which was later addressed by a state legislator, and a grant from Albany.
    • This initiative provided the impetus for the creation of a Diversity pillar in the Strategic Plan that was developed by the then superintendent of Schools and the Board of Education… which was invited by the Superintendent to sit on the diversity committee for the District.
  • Help a Child, Change a Life achieved the following:
    • Elementary school students who were performing far below benchmark, were now performing at benchmark with this dedicated support
    • Middle school and high school students who were failing multiple classes were now passing, and some were achieving honors, and others high honor roll
    • Students attended advanced placement courses and college courses
    • A huge amount of additional college applications were written because the Program covered the S.A.T. transfer costs, as well as the application fees
    • The improvement in S.A.T. scores soared over 250 points! 
    • Member of the Board of Directors of the Teachers Institute of Lower Westchester shared Help a Child info across several Districts in lower Westchester.
    • Rich and the Pelham Civics were honored by the Board of Education with the Fenlon Award (usually given to retiring Board of Education members, not members of the general community.)
    • Named to the Pelham School District New Superintendent and Principals’ Selection Committee
  • Pelham Civics Good Neighbors Program
    • Chairman for 12 years, Rich spearheaded his committee and this important program, vetting and assisting hundreds of families and individuals dealing with serious challenges. 
    • Provided significant solutions to the needy, such as payment of a monthly bill, furniture and needed appliances for apartments, interventions with threatening illnesses cases.
    • His exemplary diligence and attention to detail, combined with his compassion and commitment, was a tremendous source of comfort and hope.

According to Pelham Civic VP of Fundraising, Phil Carfora,“This year’s Gala is slated to be another success with a complete venue of wonderful cuisine, terrific music, and extraordinary honorees! A good suggestion is to buy your tickets early!” Civic President Ken Shirreffs concluded, “Each year we are encouraged by the entire community who continually - and enthusiastically - come out and support the Civics and all the work we do throughout the year!”