Blue and Gold Cocktail Party at Woodlands caps fundraiser
WILKES-BARRE TWP. — The Wyoming Valley Children’s Association’s online silent auction came to a close in style Friday night with a Blue and Gold Cocktail Party at the Woodlands Inn.
The silent auction began this past Wednesday and came to a close during the event. All of the proceeds from bidding as well as the cocktail party will go directly to supporting the WVCA’s numerous programs, which include preschool programs, kindergarten, infant and toddler programs, speech, occupational, and physical therapies and the CATCH (Childhood Autism Team Check) Clinic.
Executive Director of the WVCA, Nina DeiTos Zanon, pointed out that the organization is on its 98th year of service to the community and its children.
As the centennial nears, and after two years of limited contact due to COVID-19, she said of seeing everyone together again, “I can’t really describe it … It’s really heart tugging because although we’ve had grant support and event support and donations, you haven’t seen the supporters. So to have everybody in the same room for the same cause again, it’s wonderful.” She went on to say that you can’t realize how much you missed something until you have it back.
Kathy Dunsmuir, President of WVCA’s Board of Directors was equally thrilled. “This is so exciting,” she said. “We’ve been having our board meetings virtually, you know and the kids in the classrooms with the masks … just to have everybody back together at this event is just so special.”
Dunsmuir added with a chuckle that while she may have been outbid on everything, the kids are the real winners. With over 102 items available to bid on and pretty much all of them going above asking prices, she said, “Everybody’s so supportive.” She mentioned how with these funds raised, “you get to see your dollars at work.” She gave the example of seeing a child at the WVCA beginning a program. Perhaps the child is nonverbal, and then eventually the parents get to see their kid speak their first word – something that is absolutely priceless- being made possible because of generous donors.
“I’ve just seen amazing things happens,” she said. “If you ever have the opportunity, give us a call and come over and just see how your dollars are working with the therapies and how these children benefit every day from it.”
Another key to the continued success of WVCA’s mission is longevity of staff. Dunsmuir pointed out that many have been involved for 20 years and beyond,
One of them is Kevin Kane. Although playfully hesitant to date himself, Kane said he’s been involved for 30 years. As a member of the Board of Directors, Kane said, “You don’t know how valuable the association is until you need it. Turn around and you have a kid and you don’t know where to turn. We’re still here. That’s why we do this stuff.”
Perhaps District Judge Thomas Malloy Sr., offered the best summary of the organization. With over 30 years of involvement with the WVCA, Malloy said, “We don’t turn anybody away. It’s a charity of the heart. Miracles are done every day at the Wyoming Valley Children’s Association.”
Malloy, who co-founded The Brotherhood of Chefs with Nello Allegrucci in 2010, took home an honor with his team. The Brotherhood of Chefs earned the WVCA’s 2022 Making a Difference Award.
The award recognizes those who go “above and beyond” in the service and dedication to the WVCA. Organized to bring together “a group of the most talented culinarians in NEPA” while sharing a love of food and a passion for helping children, the group has raised over a quarter of a million dollars for the WVCA.
The Honorable Magistrate Malloy took the stage to accept the award flanked by Robert Manfre, Vice-President of the Brotherhood, and his son, Michael Malloy, who serves as the organization’s treasurer.
But that wasn’t all.
Zanon took the microphone back after Malloy’s rousing speech and to offer recognition to the WVCA’s Director of Development and Marketing, Christine Meluskey. Admitting she was beginning to tear up while speaking of Meluskey dedication to the organization, Zanon offered a bouquet and an embrace to her friend and co-worker, truly capping off a celebration of love and giving back, sincerely and symbolically.
If you’d like to get involved with the Wyoming Valley Children’s Association, you can call at 570-714-1246, email at [email protected], visit Facebook and Instragram at WVCAKids or wvca_kids, respectively, or go to the website at www.wvcakids.org. Schedule a visit at the 1133 Wyoming Ave. location and, as Dunsmuir put it, go “see your dollars at work” enriching children’s lives and the Wyoming Valley as a whole.