Happiness House Gala set for Belhurst Castle

Happiness House/Finger Lakes United Cerebral Palsy, Inc. will hold its 9th Annual Gala Dinner & Auction Event on Friday, February 3rd, 2012 at 6:00pm. Founding and Major Sponsor Belhurst Castle, in Geneva, will host the event which is presented by Five Star Bank, the underwriter of this event. Our Mistress of Ceremonies is Patrice Walsh 13 WHAM-TV, Rochester and Mike Rusinko of Five Star Bank will be our Auctioneer.The “Happiness Is Helping” Humanitarian Award was created to recognize outstanding individuals who dedicate their time to advocate for and on behalf of people with developmental disabilities, and whose accomplishments are consistent with the mission and vision of Happiness House. This year’s award will be presented to B. Thomas Golisano. Golisano, founder of The Golisano Foundation awards grants to organizations like Happiness House and is dedicated to providing opportunities for those with disabilities. A very generous gift of $440,000 through Tom’s Foundation was awarded to Happiness House. This “one of a kind” non-certified transitional home will assist us in serving three young adults with disabilities and five adults with traumatic brain injury. “The Trustees of The Golisano Foundation are pleased to partner with Happiness House on this service model,”said Ann Costello, Director of The Golisano Foundation. “In tough economic times, we must look for alternative, cost effective programs that provide needed services at a lower cost. We believe this proposed non-certified transitional residence could become a viable service model for the state and other parts of the nation. We applaud their vision and foresight.”Over the past six years Happiness House has received approximately one million dollars from The GolisanoFoundation.Golisano is an American business man and the founder of Paychex, the second-largest payroll processing company in the United States. He is a philanthropist who earned an associate’s degree from Alfred State College. Tom is a founding member of the Independence Party and ran for New York State governor in 1994, 1998 and 2002.Past recipients of the “Happiness is Helping” Humanitarian Award are Charles T. Graham, Senator Michael F. Nozzolio Kevin W. Reeder and Mary Herlihy Gearan.Others special guests who will be honored include Jarrid Blades, recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award. Blades, a senior at Hobart & William Smith Colleges has organized the Hobart Statesman “Tackles & Touchdowns” fundraiser for Happiness House. Jarrid, Hobart Statesman offensive lineman, together with the support of Athletic Director, Mike Hanna and his teammates fundraising efforts exceeded their $5,000 goal. For the second year in a row, Blades and his teammates wearing their uniforms, bringing their helmets and handing out mini Hobart footballs visited Happiness House while reading stories, singing songs and tackling the players! Blades, who has an aunt with Down Syndrome, said Happiness House and its goals hit close to home. “We wanted to give back to our local community.” Past recipients include Chuck Meyn, Robert J. Quinn, Jr. and Kim Parmarter.The “Outstanding Board Member of the Year” Award was added to this year’s program to pay tribute to a board member who goes above and beyond their duties as a volunteer, and who holds true to our agency’s mission and vision. Our first award will be presented to Roy M. Beecher. Roy went to work for Howard Samuels in 1962, and in 1968 he went to work for Canandaigua National Bank, where he stayed until he retired in 2001. In 1969 he was a Goodwill Ambassador to the Philippines. He married his wife, Nancy, in 1973. He started a company called the Window Doctor in 1974, which he sold in 1989. Roy has served on many different boards and committees, including the Canandaigua Methodist Church Finance Committee (1980-1985), the Canandaigua Town Hall Committee (1993), Canandaigua Town Board (1998-2005); and i s currently a trustee at the Sonnenberg Gardens. He has served on the Happiness House Board of Directors since 1989. In 1993 he had the opportunity to work for the Rockefeller Foundation in Williamsburg, VA, but had to decline due to the lack of facilities to serve his son, Ross. In 1965 Roy was named Volunteer Fireman of the Year, is a long time Rotarian, and is also a Paul Harris Fellow (2007).Our guest speaker for the evening’s event is Andrea “Andy” Bonafiglia. Andy’s son, Francis “Ben” Bonafiglia has Autism and receives services through Happiness House. After moving from Florida to Seneca Falls this year, Ben, who is a teenager, is thriving in his new environment with family, friends and a new school. “Happiness House, and the people that work there, are part of our lives now, more than ever, as Ben begins to take advantage of all the services that are offered. We appreciate your continued support of this golf tournament and want you to know that they really do “Change People’s Lives Forever”. For the past four years, Andy and her family, owners of BonaDent Dental Laboratories have been the Underwriter of Happiness House’s annual Francis “Ben” Bonafiglia golf tournament. Andy’s brother Bruce is President and her father Angelo is the Founder of BonaDent. Distinguished guests include Happiness House Board and Foundation Board members, community leaders, and representatives from our sponsors. All proceeds from this event will be directed to the Happiness House Foundation to benefit Happiness House’s programs and services. Tickets are $100 per person or to inquire about available sponsorship packages please contact Cheryl Coppola at (585) 394-1190.

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