GAWDA Gives Back Beneficiaries Share Plans For Donations

Now in its 12th year, GAWDA Gives Back gears up to help those in need in New York City, the site of this year’s annual convention. Nearly $1 million have been donated over the years, and this time GAWDA President Lloyd Robinson and his wife Barbara have chosen two local charities to share in the 2011 donations: the FDNY Fire Family Transport Foundation and the Pencil Fellows Program.

GAWDA Gives back

FDNY Fire Family Transport Foundation Aids 9/11 Victims
The FDNY Fire Family Transport Foundation is dedicated to the well-being of the fire department family in recognition of the unique sacrifices that firefighters and their families selflessly make for the sake of all. The central focus of the Foundation is assisting the families of firefighters in their times of greatest need, transporting firefighters, family members and department personnel to and from medical institutions both for care and family support. The Foundation is also dedicated to the comfort and support of the families of firefighters in their times of bereavement. On a broader scale, the Foundation is dedicated to the good of the community in building awareness of the often-overlooked needs of the fire department family.

Since 9/11, the Foundation has worked closely with those who have fallen ill due to the effects of 9/11. Eugene Stolowski, the Foundation’s secretary and operations manager, says, “When some of these members pass away, we try to make their funeral resemble a Line of Duty funeral by having as many of our vans there to transport the family members around. Our small Foundation has grown into itself because of what we did for families following 9/11. We will always support those families and will be able to do so with your support.” Money raised will help the Foundation keep its fleet of donated vehicles in good working condition so it can continue to support the many families still affected by 9/11.

PENCIL Fellows Program Helps City Youth Succeed
Each summer, a fresh crop of interns descend upon the halls of corporate America, introduced around the office by their uncle, mother or family friend as a promising young person. But what if you are a high school student with great potential but with no connection to the business world? If you have never ridden in an office elevator, worn a tie or shaken the hand of a business executive, how would you ever have the resources or knowledge to obtain and succeed in an internship?

For far too many inner-city NYC public high school students, the answer is, sadly, that they will spend their summers idly in parks and street corners, far removed from the corporate world they cannot access on their own.

The PENCIL Fellows Program opens the door to work for these students by providing them the opportunity to gain real-world experience through full-time paid summer internships with companies in New York City. In 2010, Fellows were placed with such companies as JPMorgan Chase, New York Life, HBO, The Federal Reserve Bank and the Estee Lauder Companies.

Each Fellow is paired with a business mentor at the internship site in order to receive an individualized learning plan targeting key areas of career readiness: punctuality, appearance, dependability, adaptability, collegial attitude, initiative and work ethic. Site visits are conducted to assess progress, and workshops are facilitated on key areas of career readiness, i.e., business etiquette.

Gayle Villani, PENCIL’s vice president of programs, points out that most of the participants are typically the first in their families to attend college. “There are many students in New York City who never travel outside the boroughs they live in. Walking into an office building is transformative. For us, it’s about providing that opportunity.” Villani adds a statistic from JP Morgan Chase. “Fifty percent of JP Morgan Chase hires came from referrals and direct contacts. Many students don’t have the contacts to get those referrals.”

At a cost of $4,000 per Fellow for the summer, GAWDA funding will be used to sponsor underprivileged public high school students so that they may access this life-changing experience.

Gases and Welding Distributors Association