Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Boys’ Towns of Italy By Kathleen Giordano

On Friday, March 30th, The Pierre Hotel on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan was swarming with people who gathered together in celebration of the Sixty-Second annual Boys’ Towns of Italy, “Ball of the Year”. The mistress of ceremony was Rosanna Scotto of Fox 5 News. The man of the year award was presented to Peter F Vallone Sr., American Politician and former Democratic New York City Councilman. The Humanitarian Award was received by Dr. Paula A. Moynahan. She was the first woman elected to the Connecticut Society of Plastic Surgeons, and one of the first to establish outpatient plastic surgical centers. Successful business and restaurant owner, Cav. Amato L Berardi also received a Humanitarian Award. The Celebrities of the Year Awards were presented to well-known actor, Ben Gazzara and legendary, Grammy Award winning R&B soul singer Patti LaBelle. Peter Duchin provided the music for the evening. Other star celebrities that were in attendance were Gena Rowlands, Lilliane Montevecchi, Mercedes Ellington, Tommy Tune, Carmen Dell’orefice, and Denise Rich. Patti LaBelle got the crowds feet stomping while singing “On My Own” & “Lady Marmelade”.

Brother Anthony E. D’Adamo C.F.C, Executive Vice President of Boys Towns of Italy spoke via telephone with Your Life to describe some of their history. The Boys Town of Italy started with the work of the late Monsignor John Patrick Carroll-Abbing. He began his efforts giving love and giving "a second chance in life" to the boys and girls of Italy whose lives had been turned upside down. The children were abandoned and were physically disfigured, first by the War, then by its aftermath, and eventually by multiple natural disasters after World War II.

Today, The Boys’ Town of Italy aids underprivileged homeless, hungry, and orphans of war children. The Girls’ Town of Italy was formed a few years after The Boys Town of Italy. While making a movie in Rome, actress Linda Darnell made the suggestion to create a place for girls. She offered a villa to begin the organization and soon after it became a huge success. Many well-known individuals have come together to support the organization since its inception.

Most of the donations for both organizations come from people in the United States. There was a time when many of the children came from broken homes. Today most of the children come from countries that are politically and economically in trouble. Many of these children come from countries where they are subjected to human trafficking, slavery and abuse. The children’s strength is heartbreaking.

The children that are in the organization do have the opportunity to receive a scholarship and go to college. An estimated three out of 15 attend a University upon graduation from high school. The children learn trades such as art, upholstery, stain glass painting, wood making and computer classes. IBM and Apple computer companies have created a grant that allows children to learn basic computer programming and design skills. A quote from the poem written by the founder Monsignor John Patrick Carroll, “When you leave here this evening, look up at the sky and remember that for every tear you wipe from the eye of a child another star is lit in the sky!”
For more information on making donations please go to the website: http://www.boystown.it/.

Research Intern: Laura Salzarulo
Photography: Helen Macchina
Boys’ Town Photos: Brother Anthony D’Adamo

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Your Town- Kathryn Keats By Kathleen Giordano

heard Kathryn Keats sing at Manhattan's Bitter End in Greenwich Village not too long ago. Her voice is strong, unique, and has a sound unlike any other singer in the industry. She is a cross between Annie Lennox and Josh Groban. However, even more impressive than her singing talent, is her tremendous courage, tenacity, and her tireless passion for living. Kathryn Keats, formerly known as Ellen Christian Munger, lived in virtual hiding from a former live-in lover for fifteen years. This man, Ken Ford, who was a well-known and accomplished composer/musician, suffered with the insidious disease known as Schizophrenia. For years, he mentally, physically, ritualistically and emotionally abused Kathryn. He was not only her lover but was her artistic collaborator as well. After a five week jury trial, a court gave Mr. Ford a two year sentence to a mental institution in Napa, California. He was not only a danger to himself and others in general, but, specifically, continued to be a threat to Kathryn. With the intervention of the police and the help of the Victim's Witness organization, Kathryn was given a new identity to keep her safe from further harm. Ten months ago, Kathryn found out that Ken had died. Since that time she has been able to reclaim her life as a singer and composer by performing in concerts in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco. She has recorded with Pete Sears of Hot Tuna and Jefferson Starship, Aram Avagyan, Gunnar Madsen and many others.Her one woman show After The Silence is being released as a book. The harrowing details of her relationship with Mr. Ford have been written into a feature film by Hollywood's hottest screenwriter, Chrisanna Northrup.Mark Monroe, Kathryn's manager and director, has set up a series of performances in Los Angeles that will feature her original work and story. She is also enjoying great success scoring feature films.Keats has never been happier or more determined. There is no looking back for this enormously talented woman. Kathryn is a survivor."Not enough can be said about getting one's identity back," says Keats. "It feels absolutely incredible to be free from living in fear every day."

Your Town-Oceana By Kathleen Giordano

Oceana, an international conservation group, held a cocktail party at Christie's Auction House on July 24, 2006 from 6 to 8 p.m. in Rockefeller Center... It was a private preview of Christie's world-class Maritime Art and Auction Collection. Oceana supporters, guests other ocean enthusiasts were able to preview the model ships, marine-themed paintings and other ocean-inspired collectibles at the event. The paintings and other collectibles were auction off on July 27th with all proceeds going to Oceana. "Thanks to Christie's generous support, Oceana is making a great splash in our newest home, New York City," said Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless. "We are incredibly proud to be associated with such an iconic New Yorker as Christie's. We think New York should and can become a leader in ocean advocacy. After all, New York is the largest ocean-facing city on the planet."International Yachtsman Magazine sponsored the event with TOUS, a third generation jewelry company, donating items for onsite drawings. Oceana's mission is to help protect and keep clean oceans for our health as well as the environments. "We can restore ocean ecosystems that will sustain us, entertain us, amaze us and generate jobs around the world for centuries to come." In 2005 alone, this organization has many accomplishments. In the Pacific they have worked to protect the corals and have bycatch limits. They have launched an international campaign that helps to protect our seafood from mercury. Oceana has explored the seas from San Francisco through the Panama Canal to the Mediterranean. The Oceana lawyers won a case to end backroom dealings on Chilean fisheries. Another accomplishment of Oceana is they have successfully campaigned 30 European Nations to establish criminal penalties for anyone dumping oil into the ocean.The Oceana campaign has also put together a "green list" of grocery stores that provide signs to protect you from high levels of mercury in fish. These grocery stores are Carr's, Dominick's, Genuardi's, Pak'n Save Foods, Pavilions, Randalls, Safeway, Tom Thumb, Vons, Whole Foods and Wild Oats. Unfortunately, there are more grocery stores on the "red list" of stores that do not provide you with signs, but Oceana is working to rectify that. Oceana campaigns to protect and restore the world's oceans. Their teams of marine scientists, economists, lawyers and advocates win specific and concrete policy changes to reduce pollution and to prevent the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals and other sea life. Oceana has campaigners in North America, South America and Europe with over 300,000 members.

Your Town-Tribute to John Sahag By Kathleen Giordano

On June 13, 2006, family, friends and colleagues gathered together to remember and celebrate the life of celebrity stylist, John Sahag who succumbed to brain cancer in 2005. The theme of the night was to keep his legacy alive and reveal the new faces of the John Sahag Workshop. The evening was also the launch of the John Sahag Foundation whose purpose is to foster creativity and support of craftsmen in the hair design industry through continuing education, training and scholarships. John Sahag was internationally known as an artist for more than 30 years. His groundbreaking method for cutting hair was something that earned him his renowned reputation. He mastered the "dry cut" which technique is used by many stylists today. Johns work was featured in many infamous fashion magazines. Recognizing his talent at the age of 16, John went off to Paris where he was in high demand. In 1985, he opened up a salon in New York City called the John Sahag Workshop."I wanted to create an oasis away from the frenetic pace of New York life, to erase the "edginess" of urban living and to revive the energy of each man and woman who enters into my space so they can leave feeling enhanced, refreshed and invigorated." He stayed involved with his workshop as much as he could up until the end. Sahag took pride in his work and who worked with him. Affectionately calling his colleagues "his kids", he created a team of experts. In attendance were resident stylists Gabriel Saba, Karmela Lozina, Mayumi Honda, Rafael Garcia, Daniel Garza, Thomas Clancy and colorists Frank Reina and Santino N. Acquista. They continue John's legacy everyday by using his inventive dry cut. He instructed them to treat every client individually and to find a look that is as unique as a fingerprint. The night was appropriately titled "A Night of Imagination, Unlimited". The evening would not have been able to take place if it weren't for his faithful clients Martin and Janet Sheen, Julianne Moore and Rita Wilson. The event was hosted by Holly Hunter, Carol Kane, Irina Pantaeva, Estee Lauder President John Demsey; Vogue Beauty Director, Sarah Brown; Town & Country Beauty Health Director, Janet Carlson Freed, Basil Charles of Mustique and M. Katherine Dwyer, Officer of John Sahag, Ltd. and Founder of Skinklinic. That night $100,000 was raised for the John Sahag Foundation. Several people gave speeches about a man that they not only respected, but greatly missed. John was said to be a magician with a scissor and comb. He was known as a true "rock star" and was even called the Mick Jagger of hair. One thing for certain is that he touched the lives of so many people and definitely left an impact on this world!

Your Town-Edwin Gould Services for Children By Kathleen Giordano

The Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families (EGSCF) held its fifth annual Artrageous gala dinner and art auction to benefit children through art. It was held at Cipriani's in New York City and honored Peter and Nejma Beard, James Cavello and Vincent du Vigneaud. The EGSCF has an array of services, which address the complex and multiple problems that often lead to family disintegration. "This includes preventative services designed to intervene with troubled families, services to reduce or eliminate domestic violence as well as vocational and employment programs to empower families economically." They also offer group living environments for developmentally disable adults and children whose families are unable to care for them. The evening held a live art auction hosted by Sotheby's. The artwork was from the first part of the Artrageous event which was Children's Day. The guests were able to enjoy the company of others while paying tribute to the four honorees for their services and support of children. Peter and Nejma Beard were the first honored. They have been actively supporting the Artrageous projects for many years. They contributed Peter's unique photographs of the land, wildlife and people of Africa to the auction. Their humanitarian efforts go beyond domestic issues, but globally as well. They are apart of many organizations that benefit people all over the world. James Cavello is an art consultant and active member of the arts community. He is the President and co-owner of the Westwood Gallery in SoHo, New York. Through his career he has assisted many international and local non-profit organizations. He serves on the board of many programs that benefit and help children. Cavello is a participating artist in the Artrageous event. Vincent du Vigneaud is dedicated to assisting neglected and abused children to a better life. He began as a donor for the EGSCF and soon became a mentor for children. He used a hands-on approach to motivate children in academics and career goals. du Vigneaud constantly is striving to help people, especially those in need. He supports many causes and his niece Madyn Coakley serves on the Artrageous Kids Committee.

Your Town-The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America By Kathleen Giordano

The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA), Greater New York Chapter held its thirteenth Annual Women of Distinction luncheon on May 10, 2006. The event was held at Waldorf Astoria and honored three extraordinary women. The honorees included Vera Wang, a well known fashion designer, Susan Lyne, President and CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. and Madeline Boyd, Senior VP of External Affairs for NY Mercantile Exchange. Vera Wang is a native New Yorker who understands women who embrace fashion was honored with the Women of Distinction Fashion Award. She was the youngest ever Vogue fashion editor and stylist where she remained for 16 years until she moved to Ralph Lauren as a design director. She opened her own store in 1990 where she sold her collection. She was honored at the 2005 Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) where she received "Womenswear Designer of the Year".Madeline Boyd has been a member of the Exchange board since 1998 and a gasoline trader on the Exchange since 1987 and was honored with the Women of Distinction Award for Finance. She is the only woman to serve on its executive committee as well as being the president of the NYMEX Political Action Committee. As president the foundation has grown from an annual budget of $125,000 to more than $2 million in 2004. She is also a chairman of the New York Mercantile Exchange Charitable Assistance Fund. Susan Lyne became president and CEO of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia in November 2004. She is responsible for all aspect of media and merchandising company including Publishing, Television and Internet segments. Lyne was the President of ABC entertainment until April 2004. She oversaw many hit television shows and she regularly served as the entertainment division's strategic director. Lyne was honored with the Women of Distinction Award in Media, and due to a family emergency, Martha Stewart graciously accepted the award on her behalfThe hostess of the event was Co- Anchor of ABC News, Primetime and Nightline, Cynthia McFadden. She is directly affected by the disease and considered it an honor to be apart of the event. The chairs of the luncheon, Pauline Arama-Olsten, Ellen Crown, Elyse Newhouse and Michele Sweetwood have all been touched by the disease and have raised $2 million in the past two years. Tess Koman, a 14 year old high school student from New Jersey, was declared a "Rising Star" because of the work she has done with New Jersey Congressman Frank Pallone. She has suffered from the disease and has "spearheaded the Inflammatory Bowel Disease Act". Vera Wang's Fall 2006 collection was previewed along with a fashion show presented by Bergdorf Goodman. A raffle was also offered to help raise money for the CCFA.The Crohn's and Colitis Foundation was founded in 1967 and is the leader in the fight against Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. CCFA has been apart of the research and has helped to educate people and raise awareness of the disease. In addition they offer support groups and have advocates in the government. CCFA is a nonprofit organization which is supported financially by individuals, foundation and corporate contributions. For more information on CCFA please view their website http://www.ccfa.org/.

Your Town-FDJ French Dressing By Kathleen Giordano

FDJ French Dressing presented its fall and winter fashion collections to the press at its biannual event on April 11, 2006 at Quebec Government House. It was the second time this event was held on their behalf. Donald Johannesson, the Creative Director of FDJ French Dressing, designs clothing with women in mind. By the time he was 13 years of age, he knew he was fated to be a part of the fashion industry. He studied at the Fashion Arts Academy in Montreal and has worked in New York, Hong Kong and Europe.While taking into consideration that women's bodies change as they get older, he creates clothes that are not only comfortable but stylish as well. The new line is a reflection of the women who wear it; mature and sensible. It has a feel reminiscent of the 70's, 80's, and 90's. Johannesson choose autumn colors such as browns, burnt orange and rich cognac that would fit the season in which they would be sold. The clothing is designed to make a self assured woman look great and feel better about herself. The clothes have a modern yet clean look about them and can make any woman feel sexy in what she's wearing. The collections are versatile and allow women to mix and match with all the other pieces.Although, FDJ French Dressing creates shirts, pants, skirts and jackets, they are mainly known for their well-fitting denim. There are many different styles for that were designed to fit well, be comfortable and to look great all at the same time. The jeans accent a woman's body so that she can feel confident in what she's wearing. The styles include regular rise, mid rise and low rise and have a romantic, womanly look about them. The clothing line formed for women 35 and up. Recognizing that these women are the most susceptible to developing breast cancer, FDJ French Dressing has raised funds for the past eight years to help find a cure. They have raised over $2.7 million for Breast Cancer Support and Awareness. Johannesson has dedicated his life to helping women feel better about themselves. For over 20 years he has targeted the same audience and will continue to help raise funds and awareness for women's well-being.For more information about FDJ French Dressing's women's wellness initiatives please visit www.fdj.ca/bewell Please view http://www.fdj.ca/ for their new fashion and store locations.