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A 2010 Worthy Cause List — Part 3 of 3

Here’s the third installment of NyackNewsAndViews readers’ choices for 2010 Worthy Causes. As the year wraps up, here are some recommendations where you can give to help your community — and your 2010 taxes, too.

  • “Since 2002, Nyack’s Amazing Grace CIRCUS! has helped over 10,000 children and teens ‘take center ring’ in their lives and community. Through our circus arts programs for K-5 we teach students how they learn to learn. AGC! is also active in the Nyack Middle School with a gang prevention program. Teen members of AGC!’s Youth Troupe put in over 200 hours of community service each per year. Several members have gone on to work with CIRQUE du Soleil, Ringling Bros and Big Apple Circus.  AGC! runs a successful Circus School in Nyack as well as the only circus arts camp in Rockland and Bergen Counties.” — Carlo Pellegrini, co-founder of Nyack’s Amazing Grace CIRCUS!
  • “At the Rockland County Y, we believe that lasting personal and social change happens when we all work together. Every day we work side-by-side with our neighbors to make sure that everyone, regardless of age, income or background, has the opportunity to be healthy, confident, connected and secure. Our Strong Kids Campaign is an annual fund raising effort which designates its proceeds to provide scholarships and financial aid to community members. Last year, 386 youth and 127 families were aided, thanks to the generous support from our community. It’s not too late to give for 2010’€”or make a pledge for 2011.” — Don Hammond, COO Rockland County YMCA
  • “The Rockland Farm Alliance is a local nonprofit dedicated to facilitating local sustainable agriculture.  In 1920 there were 900 farms in Rockland, by 2000 we were down to five. Now we are increasing those numbers, and working toward building a local food economy and community that can sustain our farms, as they sustain us. Rockland’s newest farm is the five-acre Cropsey Community Farm in New City, a working CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), feeding families, educating schoolchildren about growing food, and helping to preserve Rockland’s agricultural heritage. ” — Naomi Camilleri, Assistant Director, Rockland Farm Alliance

“Locally grown (organic) food is scarce in Rockland county and this tireless organization has slowly brought hope back in the area regarding farmland. There is no higher importance than the food we have access to and the quality of it. In an area so heavily urbanized and developed, preserving farmland is crucial.” — Pam Yee and Charlie Paolino, Hook Mountain Growers

  • Waggin Train Dog Rescue — “This is a great charity.  They rescue mostly larger dominant breeds like Rottweilers and German Shepherds from the NYC shelter system, rehabilitate them and place them in loving foster homes or with adoptive families.  With the economy being what it is, many families are giving up their loyal companion as they are no longer able to feed them or are losing their own homes and have to give up their pets.  100% of your contribution goes towards boarding costs, vaccinations, spay/neuter fees and other vet fees.” — Darlene Fountain, Suffern
  • The River Rowing Association — “In today’s world of global need, giving close to home is often overlooked.  We eat local and shop local — why not support a cause that makes an impact on our local community and encourages economic development.  The RRA trains roughly 80 youth during both the spring and fall rowing seasons.  Last year six (6) of our scholar athletes went to college to continue their rowing careers and with scholarships. We provide all our programs at a subsidized cost in order to make our programs more affordable.  Our annual community fundraiser row-a-thon has raised over $20,000 for the Nyack Center in the last three years. Working with the YMCA’s summer camp, we run an outreach program which provides free instruction for participants from low income families.  And last July the RRA partnered with the Helen Hayes Rehabilitative Hospital to offer an adaptive program for athletes with disabilities.” — Peter Klose, River Rowing Association
  • Heifer International —  “We see a heap of cousins every Christmas, with whom we always exchange ‘a little something.’ But how many little somethings does any of us need? This year, we’ll be buying a bunch of bee keeping kits, one in each household’s name, through Heifer International.  This wonderful organization provides living livestock and agricultural gifts  – and related training – to less privileged people in distant lands, enabling them to earn sustainable income for themselves. It’s a hand up to people in need, in the true spirit of the season.” — Melanie Rock, Nyack
  • Scenic Hudson is my favorite for years’ end charitable giving.  I enjoy my free time in land that Scenic Hudson has protected, some of which, like Clausland Mountain and Emeline Park, is in Rockland County. In Nyack, Scenic Hudson has provided $40,000 and with our partner The Nyack Conservancy funded a new master plan that will enlarge and improve Memorial Park.  The land closest to the shoreline will be made available for people, with parking for cars moved back from the water’s edge.  The shoreline will be naturalized, a boat house built for rowing teams, and a fishing pier provided for anglers.  Longer term plans may include wetland restoration, construction of a deepwater dock and removal of the sunken barges. I love Nyack, a source of both childhood memories and a favorite place even today for cycling up Broadway through Hook Mountain State Park and back to Main Street for a bite to eat and maybe some shopping.” — Jeffrey Anzevino, Highland, NY
  • Doctors Without Borders shows up quickly wherever there is misery in spite of the personal danger it might entail.” — Francine Friedman, Nyack
  • My favorite international charity is SOS Children’s Villages, an organization which runs orphanages around the world, including the US.  My husband visited one in Jordan and was very impressed.”I also like to give to organizations that inform, entertain and promote art and culture.  The first on my list is WNYC, a radio station that has not dumbed down its news at all, and also offers National Public Radio News.  They also have great music and culture features all day. ” — Elizabeth Sayles, Nyack
  • “Virtually every politician, pundit, conservative talk show host and liberal commentator has droned on about how much they love democracy and why it’s what makes this country great. But I don’t know anyone who has done more to promote democracy than my late friend, Nikki Harris. Over more than 30 years, Nikki worked with the League of Women Voters as a volunteer leader and coach across the country and all over the world. Her devotion to democracy and empowerment of women in civil society lead her to work with women in other countries including workshops in Russia and Kazakhstan. “Nikki’s verve and obvious joy in the work as much as her experience and talent as a trainer, visibly energized those tired, oppressed women and made them believe they could make a difference,” said Judith Davis, the U.S. Director of the League of Women Voters.

The LWV has set up the The Nikki Harris Online Training Series to honor her memory after Nikki lost her battle with ovarian cancer last May. This training will further Nikki’s work in developing League leadership and honor Nikki’s life and her efforts to impact public policies through citizen education and advocacy. For more information or to make a contribution, email Cheryl Graeve at the League of Women Voters or visit and include The Nikki Harris Online Training Series in the ‘in honor of’ section.” — Dave Zornow,

  • Guiding Eyes For The Blind in Yorktown Heights, NY trains guide dogs for the blind at no cost. They also have a program for kids with autism.  They rely on volunteers to raise their puppies until thye are ready to go into guide dog training. It’s a great organization which seeks donations of both money and time: volunteers are needed to raise puppies, provide weekend dog sitting,  work as a kennel volunteer or to be a driver.” — Alisa Colley

See also:

      Nyack People & Places, a weekly series that features photos and profiles of citizens and scenes near Nyack, NY, is sponsored by Sun River Health.

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