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Gourmet Gala Raises Over $125k Press Release

Gourmet Gala Raises Over $125,000 for People with Developmental Disabilities

News 12 Westchester’s Brian Conybeare Was Event Emcee

HAWTHORNE, NY – October 14, 2011 - Arc of Westchester Foundation’s “A Matter of Taste” was a huge success! The event offered delicacies from the area’s finest restaurants (see below) accompanied by fine wine, beer and spirits. The gourmet gala was hosted by the Arc of Westchester Foundation and took place at the historic CV Rich Mansion in White Plains on Wednesday, October 12, 2011.

Over 250 guests roamed throughout the rooms of the mansion during the tasting. The local entrepreneurs donated all food, beverages and culinary talent. Participants were able to try their luck at finding the winning key to unlock a Treasure Chest that was filled with over 30 prizes.

News 12 Westchester’s Brian Conybeare was the event program’s emcee. He welcomed guests and introduced a video “Silent Expressions,” a segment that aired in April about Alex Masket, a young artist with autism. One of Alex’s paintings was sold for $2,000 to a bidder during the Live Auction during the program. A “Fund a Need” auction item raised more than $13,000 for a program to teach social skills to teenagers with autism who are entering the adult world of employment.

“Because people stepped forward to pledge their support during the auction, we can now offer an after-school social skills group to teenagers with autism and other developmental disabilities. This group will help these young adults to improve their communications skills, to learn about a workplace environment and how to work as part of a team. These skills are necessary as they take their place in the adult world of work. During this time, when Arc of Westchester has experienced such severe cutbacks in government funding, we would not have been able to offer this program without these generous people”, said Anne Sweazey, Arc of Westchester Foundation Executive Director.

The annual event honored the Stevelman Family of South Salem, NY with the Family Partner Award. Paul Stevelman holds several postions with Arc of Westchester, including membership on the board of directors. (bio below)

The foundation also honored The Royal Bank of Scotland with the Community Partner Award. Their partnership has supported many worthy causes in the community, including Arc of Westchester programs. (bio below)

Adrienne J. Arkontaky, Esq., Littman Krooks LLP, and Peter Herrero, Jr., president and owner of the New York Hospitality Group, co-chaired the event.

Arc of Westchester is the oldest and largest agency in the county serving children, teens and adults with developmental disabilities such as Autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy and other learning disabilities. The agency has long been committed to social inclusion because of the benefits to the entire community.


Participating Restaurants
Culinary Delights From

Abigail Kirsh
An American Bistro
Cathy's Biscotti
Caperberry Events at C.V. Rich Mansion
Eastchester Fish Gourmet
Harrys of Hartsdale
Iron Horse Grille
Johnny Gelato
Lexington Square Café
Mima Vinoteca
Sam's of Gedney Way
The Melting Pot
Underhills Crossing
Vinny’s Delights
Zuppa Restaurant and Lounge

Beverages Compliments Of

D. Bertoline & Sons
Captain Lawrence Brewing Company
W.J. Deutsch

Family Partner Award – The Stevelman Family

Paul and Peri’s loving and supportive family includes Alexa (21), Jake (19), and Samantha (7); Paul’s father and mother, Harold and Barbara Stevelman; his sister, Faith, nieces Zoe and Allegra, Thelma Stuart, and Peri’s mother, Janet Freundlich. Paul is currently a Managing Director for The Royal Bank of Scotland, a global financial services firm. Peri operates her own fashion design firm, and has served as visiting professor at Fashion Institute of Technology.

Their daughter, Alexa, has autism, and she currently resides in a group home in Port Chester, NY. The long journey to establish services and supports for Alexa is an Arc of Westchester success story.

Paul’s first contact to begin the long process was with Ralph Szur, who directed Arc of Westchester’s Life Planning Center. At their meetings, Paul learned in detail the process to establishing state and federal services, including eligibility for Medicaid, SSI, and group home living.

With the love and encouragement of his family and friends, Paul started the journey to obtaining those services for Alexa, and now she is happy living in her group home, where she enjoys a full and active life, with friends, family, community involvement, work and recreation—the things we all look for to be happy. Paul’s connection to Arc of Westchester became official when Sheryl Frishman invited him to serve on the Adult Day Services committee. Paul is now on the Arc of Westchester board serving as incoming secretary of the corporation and on numerous governing committees. We are especially proud of the new interactive website that Paul made possible that guides parents and teachers to obtaining eligibility for services for young adults in transition.

Paul is grateful to Arc of Westchester for its support and feels privileged to be part of such a terrific organization with outstanding leadership and staff. Paul’s message: “if you care for someone with special needs and you don’t know how to start, come to Arc of Westchester. You cannot do this alone. There is a whole world that can open up for your loved one. Just ask for help.”

Community Partner Award
The Royal Bank of Scotland

The RBS Group is an international banking and financial services company. Headquartered in Edinburgh, the Group operates in the United Kingdom, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas and Asia, serving over 30 million customers. The Group provides a wide range of products and services to personal, commercial and large corporate and institutional customers through its two principal subsidiaries, The Royal Bank of Scotland and NatWest, as well as through a number of other well-known brands including Citizens, Charter One, Ulster Bank, Coutts, Direct Line and Churchill.

RBS’s Global Banking division is a leading banking partner to major corporations, financial institutions and public sector clients around the world. GBM provides an extensive range of debt, equity and commodity markets, treasury and investor products, and financial advisory services. The division focuses on long-term customer relationships and excellence in global product execution. GBM is active in the Americas, EMEA and Asia Pacific.

RBS’s Global Banking & Markets division is proud to support Arc of Westchester and their work on behalf of people with developmental disabilities. RBS is committed to investing in the communities where its employees live and work through a structured community investment program that includes employee volunteering and matched funding opportunities. The firm’s community investment activities and initiatives are primarily focused on creating opportunities for children and young people to have a better future through a series of community partnerships that seek to deliver long-term support to structured projects, while helping the charities that mean the most to its broad and diverse employee base.

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