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A Day To Celebrate

As Massapequa continues to recover and rebuild from Hurricane Sandy, community and school organizations are planning a celebration of the community’s perseverance with a day of fun.  

“Massapequa Breathes,” set for May 18 from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., will include complimentary food, D.J. music and other entertainment while honoring local individuals, businesses, and organizations that helped Massapequa through this challenging time.

Sponsoring the celebration are the YES Community Counseling Center, the Massapequa Public Schools, the Chamber of Commerce of the Massapequas, and the Massapequa Council of  PTAs (Parent Teacher Associations.)

“After all we have been through, we decided that we need something like this,” said Jamie Bogenshutz, director of the Yes Community Counseling Center.

“People will come out, share stories, see people, reconnect, and see that there is a whole community out there still supporting them,” Bogenshutz said. “The difficulties that the community has endured have been both physical and psychological. In addition to people losing their homes, possessions, or having to engage in massive clean-up tasks, there have been “experiences like having to swim across the street to rescue a loved one, carry your pet in your arms, and watch all your possessions float down the street,” she continued.  Bogenshutz said “There have also been financial issues and struggles with insurance,” adding “This has been the hardest on the elderly.”

The focus will also be how far the community has come in enduring and overcoming the difficulties.  Needs have changed now  and people have made progress with their recovery.  She finds similar experiences from counseling sessions, where people discuss their transitions and recovery. “Of course, there are those who are still struggling and we are there for them, too,” said Bogenshutz.

Groups from the high school, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and other organizations will have games for the younger kids. “The fire trucks will be there too and the kids like that,” Bogenshutz said.

Local businesses may set up tables without cost and may promote themselves, making people aware of them what they offer. “We’re also looking to highlight all the heroes who helped people in the community, rescue workers, first-responders and others, such as sanitation workers, who went above and beyond the call of duty,” said Bogenshutz.

She also wants to acknowledge the contributions of the Town of Oyster Bay. “It is not only one of the sponsors but it has truly been a partner in this whole recovery and rebuilding effort. The Town has given us everything we need.”

People in the community are invited to nominate friends and neighbors who have helped others and official citations will be presented to them.  In addition, said Bogenshutz, “we are printing up blank certificates of appreciation that individuals can fill out and present to anyone who has helped them during all this.”

“We hope that everyone will turn out,” Bogenshutz said, “because it is going to be a great day.”

 For more information, contact YES Community Counseling Center at 516-799-3203.