EASTCHESTER, N.Y. -- Former Eastchester resident Paula Berkowitz will receive the Community Hero Award from the Volunteer Center of United Way at the agency’s 34th annual Volunteer Spirit Awards on Thursday, April 24, at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Tarrytown.
The Volunteer Center of United Way will honor nine individuals and groups at the dinner. Broadcast journalist Lou Young will emcee the event, which begins at 8 a.m.
Berkowitz, who now resides in Sarasota, Fla., will receive the award for her for service to Friends of Karen, presented by Bunge.
“When the unimaginable happened in my life and there was nowhere to turn, Friends of Karen came through for my family’s everyday needs, in every respect,” said Berkowitz, and she has, in turn, become Friends of Karen’s own ambassador and advocate. For distraught families whose children, like her daughter Adina, were suffering from life-threatening illness, as well as their siblings, who are often “lost in the shuffle,” Berkowitz’s passionate commitment to serve the needs of those families continues, according to the Volunteer Center.
The Adina’s Angels Fund was named in honor of Paula’s daughter, with a goal of raising awareness and funds for Friends of Karen, and to bring more services to the siblings of the sick children.
According to co-founder Sheri Leonard, “This is Paula’s passionate commitment to her lost family and to the hundreds of Friends of Karen families going through the horror that she herself endured.”
In 2010, Berkowitz lost her 17-year-old daughter, Adina, after her husband, Steve, succumbed to nonsmoker’s lung cancer, and then an accident took the life of her 20-year-old son, Justin, in the space of the year. “In this endless fight for critically ill children and their families, Friends of Karen is a lifeline,” Berkowitz said. "During the worst time of my life, they made sure I didn’t have to go through any of it alone.”
In the three years since the founding of The Adina’s Angels Fund, Berkowitz has inspired high schools, community groups, religious organizations, corporations and others to embrace the spirit of Adina’s Angels.
Students in the National Honor Society of Clarkstown North High School, which Berkowitz’s children attended, sponsor events and competitions each year in memory of their former classmates and to benefit The Adina’s Angels Fund. The Adina’s Angels pewter charm bracelet with the message “Care … Wear … Share” is Berkowitz's latest project and is a visible symbol of community and commitment.
Raising over $170,000 so far, The Adina’s Angels Fund helps provide the vital, practical and comprehensive services that relieve the everyday needs and concerns of families caring for a child with a life-threatening illness.
Individual ticket prices for the 2014 Volunteer Spirit Awards are $75 per person ($150 for a Friend ticket, with journal recognition), and sponsorship packages and journal advertising rates are available. All proceeds benefit The Volunteer Center’s work to promote volunteerism.
For further information about reservations or to place a congratulatory ad in the souvenir journal, contact Allison Chader at The Volunteer Center by phone at 914-227-9307, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.volunteer-center.org/awards.