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Courage And Resilience

Center Celebrates Massapequa Community Spirit

While it has been nearly seven months since Superstorm Sandy barreled her way though Long Island, the lasting effects of her passing are still being felt by residents in the form of lost belongings, shattered homes, and displaced lives.

Wishing to pay tribute to the strength the people of Massapequa who steadfastly refused to buckle under the weight of such hardship, local social-work organization YES Community Counseling Center is organizing a special event in their honor, dubbed “Massapequa Breathes,” to be held on Saturday, May 18 at Berner Middle School.

Daniella Burns, an intern at YES and assistant coordinator for the event, says that “Massapequa Breathes” was the brainchild of the Counseling Center’s Director Jamie Bogenshutz, who wanted to find a way to give back to the neighborhood that they proudly count themselves a part of.

“She came up with the idea of having a day to celebrate the perseverance that Massapequa has demonstrated in response to Hurricane Sandy,” Burns says. “She just wanted to recognize the strength of the community, and the progress that they have made, and efforts they are putting forth to move forward.”

Burns says that a big part of the event, which is scheduled to run from 12:30 p.m. to 4 p.m., is an opening ceremony that will highlight local residents who went above and beyond in order to respond to Hurricane Sandy and the needs of Massapequa.

“These people have been nominated by the community...by people who sent emails to our center, posted on our Facebook page, and even just word-of-mouth,” she says. “These honorees will be presented with certificates at that ceremony for their efforts.”

As for everyone else, Burns promises a day of fun for anyone and everyone who wishes to attend this celebration of the spirit of the Massapequas.

“We have plenty of entertainment...we’ll have the [Town of Oyster Bay’s] Showmobile there for the ceremony, a D.J. for the whole day, a magic show, and snacks and refreshments,” she says. “There’s also going to be a lot of local businesses there giving away free things, coupons for local services, free massages...plus, there will also be school groups, as well as the Boy and Girl Scouts.”

While living in an area of Suffolk County that fortunately only received minor attention from Sandy, Burns said that working at YES Community Counseling Center has made the damage caused by the Superstorm all too real in her eyes; but, at the same time, the fortitude shown by locals in Sandy’s wake has warmed her heart.

“Just seeing the devastation that so many people in Massapequa endured was overwhelming,” she said. “I’m just so proud to be a part of something that I believe in, and that the Massapequa community is allowing me to be a part of something that’s so important to them.”

“Massapequa Breathes” is being held in partnership with the Massapequa School District, the Chamber of Commerce of the Massapequas, and the Massapequa Parent-Teacher Association.