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The Child Mind Institute raised $6.4 million at its annual Child Advocacy Award Dinner last week at Cipriani in Midtown.  The funds raised are critical in allowing the organization to continue its children’s mental health care, pursue scientific research, and expand its education and outreach efforts. This includes wide-ranging work with children and families across the New York area in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

 

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Hosted by NBC’s Today Show anchor Al Roker, the evening celebrated Child Mind Institute’s Healthy Brain Network and its research in childhood psychiatric and learning disorders.  Best of all, it told the stories of families who have struggled with these disorders.  After a cocktail hour featuring passed hors d’oeuvres and champagne, the formal dinner program began with a testimonial from a young girl who introduced herself as “Frannie”.  Her story was heartwarming, as she candidly told the audience of her struggles with deep depression.  Ultimately, it was her therapy at Child Mind Institute that helped her overcome those dark days.

 

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The non-profit honored Michael Fascitelli, CEO of Vornado Realty Trust, and Dr. Nora Volkow of the National Institute on Drug Abuse for their dedication to help NYC schools heal from Hurricane Sandy.  Mr. Fascitelli was the recipient of the 2012 Child Advocacy Award for his creation of the Child Mind Institute.  “There’s nothing more important than our kids,” said Mr. Fascitelli as he accepted the award, which was presented by his son Nick.

 

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A video, produced by Raeshem Nijhon (Imagine Health) and Academy Award-winning director Ross Kauffman (Born Into Brothels: Calcutta’s Red Light Kids) brought the organization’s mission home through personal messages of hope from Congressman Patrick Kennedy and several board members and supporters.

 

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Only open since May, Child Mind Institute takes its citizenship in the city community very seriously. When Hurricane Sandy hit, they knew they had to do something to help.  Less than a year later, the organization has a presence in over 100 schools across the city.  In collaboration with the NYC Department of Education, trauma experts are working with school administrators to care for the most affected communities such as the Rockaways, Breezy Point, Coney Island, and Staten Island.

 

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A big thanks to Dinner Chairs Beth Fascitelli, Christine and Richard Mack, Julie and Edward Minskoff, Brooke Garber Neidich and Daniel Neidich, Debra G. Perelman and Gideon M. Gil, Preethi Krishna and Ram Sundaram for their efforts in putting on this wonderful evening of reflection and celebration for a worthwhile cause.

 

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Congratulations on a succesful event!

~JetSetLeslie

Photos via Getty Images