Springtacular outreach event at Tappen Park spreads awareness about services available to the community

STATEN ISLAND, NY — As a way to spread awareness and promote a better understanding of supportive services on the local level, the Central Family Life Center, True 2 Life and YouthBuild joined forces in a collaborative effort to host Springtacular, a free event Saturday afternoon at Tappen Park in Stapleton.

In addition to providing neighbors and friends with a chance to mix and mingle on a spring day, the event also came complete with a number of social service vendors who provided an enlightening array of resources available to adults and children.

From the African Refuge Inc., are Devante Smith and Madeline Akibo-Betts. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island AdvanceStaten Island Advance

Information about educational and job opportunities and where to find work placement were also included in the afternoon’s program.

The Central Life Center has served as an impetus for change in communities for more than 30 years — and prides itself on offering educational resources to build solid lives and promote self-sufficiency through varied programs for the entire community regardless of age or gender.


At the Springtacular event at Tappen Park are from the left, Yahir Rodriguez, Joshua Rodriguez and Brian Pavia. (Staten Islnad Advance/Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island AdvanceStaten Island Advance

Antoinnette Donegan, community coordinator of the Central Family Life Center and Mike Perry, program manager, spearheaded the valuable event.

“We are an anti-gun violence organization,” said Perry. “But we are so much more. We share resources with the community. We brought mentors here today to spread awareness and make available services. It’s important to keep our message out there and spread awareness about anti-gun violence. We are the mentors for young adults.”

Frances Franco, a representative of ArchCare Senior Life, a community-based healthcare program for individuals 55 and older, who requires nursing-home-level care, offered information about their health care team serving the community and beyond.


Frances Franco of Archcare Senior Llife. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island AdvanceStaten Island Advance

And Maram Salem and Jacqueline Caruso of the New York Center for Interpersonal Development (NYCID) were there to spread the word about job opportunities for those searching for summer camp counselor positions.


From the left, Maram Salem, NYCID director of After School Programs and Jaqueline Caruso, director of middle school programs. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island AdvanceStaten Island Advance

Lawrence DeSilva of Youth Build explained, “We are here to help young men and women obtain their GED diplomas while helping to get them certified in construction, healthcare and pharmaceutical fields.”


From the left, Jabbar McCoy and Lawrence DeSilva of Youth Build. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island AdvanceStaten Island Advance

And Carol Betances, a representative from RISE, an acronym for Respect. Inspire. Support. Empower., a service that offers support for those who are victims of domestic violence, distributed informational material about her organization.


Carolyn Betances, a representative of RISE, an organization that offers support services to women who’ve experienced domestic violence. (Staten Island Advance/Carol Ann Benanti) Staten Island AdvanceStaten Island Advance

Sponsors included, The Legal Aid Society Criminal Defense; Community Health Action of Staten Island; Staten Island University Hospital Northwell Health; Youth Build; Health + Education = Actions, just to mention a few.


Established in 1979, the Central Family Life Center Inc. is a non-profit organization that operates under the support of the First Central Baptist Church.

The 10,000-square-foot facility is the only minority-led community center of its kind on Staten Island, and it houses many critical social services programs for the borough’s diverse residents.

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