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MercyFirst Unveils New Life Skills Classroom

New kitchen at Syosset service agency teaches young people important skills

On Friday, Oct. 5, MercyFirst celebrated the grand opening of the new Life Skills Classroom on its Syosset campus with a breakfast made by the students. This classroom has been recently expanded and renovated by a group of volunteers from the Interior Design Society, Long Island Chapter.

These individuals approached MercyFirst with this renovation back in the spring and spent the summer turning this room into a state-of-the-art kitchen facility and gathering place. This room is housed on the Syosset campus where 122 young men and woman reside.

These young people have been traumatized, have grown up without parents, been a part of a family on the brink of disaster and have lost hope for the future. This new classroom—an expansion of the current Independent Living Program—will teach these young people new life skills including grocery shopping, budgeting, cooking, baking, proper place settings, dining etiquette and gathering as a community to share a meal and discuss their day.

At the grand opening, a teen commented, “The new kitchen is awesome! I had fun cooking breakfast in here!” and “Thank you to the designers who built us a new room so we can learn how to cook.”

A special thank you goes out to IDS Designers Pay It Forward! members Ruth Seidenberg, Nancy Ganzekaufer, Bonnie Reich and Debbie Viola who organized and coordinated the project with over 20 industry partners: Interior Design Society, Long Island Chapter; The Carpet Cleaning Guy; Caesarstone; Cousin’s Furniture; Custom Finishes and Murals by Debbie Viola; Daniel J. Tuttle Plumbing; Davis & Warshow; Distinctive Granite and Marble; Edgar & Christian Painting; Fiorano Tile, Garage and Beyond; Hampton Appliance; Homestead Window Treatments; LI Laminates; Angela Mangels, RA, AIA, NARI; Heather Sanderson, HLS Expediting; Segarra Electric, Inc.; Sherwin Williams; Symmetry Closets; Z Carpentry Inc.; 1-800-Got-Junk; Windowscapes Unlimited; Alan and Diana Kaell; Andrea Tudda, Jr.; Venezia Tile Marble & Granite, Inc. and Sonoma Tilemakers.

Headquartered in Syosset, MercyFirst is a not-for-profit human service agency founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1894. MercyFirst provides an integrated continuum of care for over 4,000 traumatized and neglected children, teenagers and their families at 15 sites throughout Brooklyn, Queens, Nassau and Suffolk counties.