Green Chimneys 2012 honorees Barbara Kaplan, Bobby Dekeyser and Donald Ross with Founder
Dr. Samuel Ross, Myra Ross and Executive
Director Joe Whalen. Visit the Gala Photo Gallery.
A special gala guest direct from the
Green Chimneys Farm
New York State Assemblyman Steve Katz and
Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell
at Green Chimneys Gala
|A spectacular spring evening set the stage for "Seeds of Inspiration," Green Chimneys' 2012 Gala celebrating commitment to helping youth to grow and achieve great things. Nearly 300 guests gathered at Tappan Hill Mansion in Tarrytown, NY raising a quarter million dollars for Green Chimneys' innovative education and animal-assisted therapy programs for children with special needs, and the care of the animals that support these important services.
The event honored philanthropist and entrepreneur Bobby Dekeyser, founder of Dedon, the cutting edge outdoor furniture brand, and of the Dekeyser&Friends Foundation, which supports and operates the Dekeyser&Friends Academy, a visionary educational institution that connects young people with experiential learning and mentoring to help them follow their dreams and bring about positive change in the world. Green Chimneys' recent partnership with Dekeyser&Friends brought 15 individuals from around the world to Brewster, NY for a unique 3-month teaching project. Working side-by-side with Green Chimneys staff and Founder Dr. Samuel Ross, Jr., the group gained hands-on experience in teaching children with special needs with the help of animals. The inception and design of such a collaboration resulted in a remarkable example of passion, commitment and the power of a shared mission.
The festive evening also featured special awards to recognize three individuals for outstanding support and commitment to the work of Green Chimneys. Donald Ross (son of Green Chimneys Founder Dr. Samuel Ross) received the Community Service Award; actor Jay O. Sanders was presented with the Humanitarian Award; and Barbara Kaplan, former Dean of Sarah Lawrence College, was named Volunteer of the Year.
The night's most memorable moment came from 2011 Green Chimneys graduate Rick DiRenno, who joined Founder Samuel Ross and Executive Director Joe Whalen on stage to express his appreciation for the school, and then surprised everyone with a personal donation. The thunder of applause for Rick's success, and his generosity, was overwhelming. It was a deeply touching moment and an important reminder that all young people - no matter what challenges they may face - can grow into remarkable adults. Noted officials in attendance were New York State Assemblyman Steve Katz; Putnam County Executive MaryEllen Odell, and Director of Putnam County Office for the Aging Pat Sheehy. Gala guests were also treated to a visit from Green Chimneys animal friends led by current students and the live release of a rehabilitated hawk, assisted by honoree Bobby Dekeyser.