In gearing up for the Annual Spring Ball, the Towns of Italy celebrated a kickoff event at Doubles Club at the Sherry-Netherland Hotel in NYC on March 8th. The Boys’ and Girls’ Towns of Italy is an ambitious charity effort founded by Monsignor John Patrick Carroll-Abbing in 1945, with a long history of empowering war refugees, migrants and at-risk youth living around the world.
The Boys’ and Girls’ Towns of Italy have made major contributions to the protection and empowerment of youth in its 71 years; recently commencing operations in Ethiopia as well as developing an $800,000 capital campaign to triple the capacity at Girls’ Town and to play its role in responding to the growing global humanitarian crisis of violence and abuse of girls. This, particularly in light of the migrant crisis, has positioned the Boys’ and Girls’ as an important and dynamic organization in the global context.
The affair was intimate and warm, with members of New York and Italian society gathering in the Upper East Side for an evening of conversation and celebration. BGTI’s President and Executive Director Mr. Gabriele Delmonaco joined Gala Chair Contessina Francesca Braschi and dinner co-chairs Sharon Marantz-Walsh and Bernadette Milito to welcome guests and honorees. The gala’s six honorees include:
- Man of the Year Award: Charles S. Gucciardo, Esq., a personal injury trial attorney.
- Woman of the Year Award: Karen King, a singer and businesswoman.
- Celebrity of the Year: Mercedes Ellington along with actor Vincent Pastore.
- Global Citizen Award: Dr. Maurizio Forte, the Director of the Italian Trade Commission in New York and Executive Director for the ICE USA offices
- Humanitarian Award: John Salvato, President and CEO of Talent Spectrum
- Honor and Merit Awards: Jan Chipman and Ray Gucciardo
Mercedes Ellington made a heartfelt speech about her family who had lived “on the edge, but when my father may have complained about food, my grandfather would respond, ‘what’s the matter – you ate yesterday.'” She told this story to “illustrate the nature of privilege and comfort and how when you have both, you can easily assume everyone has enough to have a normal life, but BGTI makes it so that we don’t forget about people that don’t have enough food or shelter.” This critical comment reveals that The Boys’ and Girls’ Towns of Italy is a great vehicle for mitigating the concern of basics; allowing youth to focus on upward growth and education. BGTI Chairman Dr. Mauro Romita also commented on this notion, who recognized the work of supporters, “there [are] more children in Italy and Ethiopia who … have a hot meal this evening.”
The gala, themed “Building on Solid Foundations,” will be held on April 5th at The Pierre Hotel. Boys’ and Girls’ Towns of Italy has a unique approach of self-government and has given a chance in life to more than 30,000 young people, from more than 20 countries.