We are excited to announce the NYSPCC (New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children) annual Junior Committee Spring Benefit coming up on Wednesday, May 8th! Held at the elegant Asellina restaurant within the Gansevoort Park Hotel, it’s sure to be an excellent affair for a great cause.

To gear up for the event, we posed some questions to Matt Semino, a New York City based attorney and legal analyst who is closely involved with NYSPCC. Read more about the fantastic efforts of the NYSPCC and for the event details!

Hi, Matt. How did you get involved with NYSPCC?

As an attorney and television legal analyst, I have reported in the media on a variety of cases where children have been subjected to severe abuse and neglect.  In many instances, they have lost their lives as a result of this terrible treatment.  Being exposed to these tragic stories and recognizing the urgent need for child abuse prevention, education and support, I was very eager to become involved with an organization that was dedicated to protecting New York City’s most vulnerable children.

My dear friend, Lisa Lori, who is a philanthropist and writer, then introduced me to The NYSPCC’s amazing work.  Upon meeting The NYSPCC’s Executive Director, Dr. Mary Pulido and learning firsthand from her about the organization’s core mission, I knew this was the perfect philanthropic organization for me to become involved with on many different levels.

Since 2011, I have been fortunate to serve on The NYPSCC’s Junior Spring Benefit  Committee. Also, as a member of this year’s Event Planning Committee, I have enjoyed playing an active role with the other committee members in organizing what will be a phenomenal event to support the vital work of The NYSPCC.  We are extremely excited that this year’s event is being held at The ONE Group’s chic Asellina Ristorante at the Gansevoort Park Avenue Hotel.

How does the NYSPCC reach out to the children in need?

The NYSPCC (www.nyspcc.org), which was founded in 1875, is the first, and considered one of the most respected, child protective agencies in the world.  By leveraging its multi-faceted resources, The NYSPCC successfully responds to the complex needs of abused and neglected children, and those involved with their care.  The organization accomplishes this challenging mission by providing best practice counseling, legal and educational services.  Through its strong educational outreach efforts, The NYSPCC is successfully raising public awareness about the issues of child abuse and neglect and how it can be prevented in our communities.

Is there a personal story about your involvement with NYSPCC you would like to share with our readers?

When my wife Linette Semino and I first attended The NYSPCC’s Annual Gala in 2010, we were moved to tears after watching a poignant video that was shown to the audience.  The beautifully produced piece featured a montage of interviews with children who had benefited from the wonderful programs and services of The NYSPCC.  It was evident from the words and emotions expressed by these children as well as from the wide smiles on their faces that The NYSPCC and its devoted staff had helped so many of them move from places of despair to places brimming with hope for the future.

We knew from that moment on that The NYSPCC was truly making a difference in the lives of New York City children who have suffered from abuse and neglect.  As we continue to build our relationship with The NYSPCC, I look forward to meeting many more of these children and seeing more of The NYSPCC’s powerful programs and educational outreach efforts in action.

What are some of the achievements you are most proud of accomplishing through NYSPCC?

In New York City, there are so many important philanthropic causes and organizations that one can become involved with that it can become challenging to determine which organizations to devote your time and resources to.  Therefore, together with The NYSPCC’s talented staff and other supporters of the organization, I am most proud of playing a small role in helping raise public awareness about The NYSPCC’s essential work on behalf of abused and neglected children in New York City.  By spreading the word about their programs through the media, professional groups and social networks, we have been able to introduce the organization to new members of the philanthropic community and develop additional groups of supporters.

Do you work closely with government agencies or any other non-profit organizations?

The NYSPCC has a close working relationship with NYC’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), the NYC Family Courts, the NYC Department of Education (DOE), as well as many other government agencies. The majority of the referrals for treatment come to The NYSPCC through ACS or the Family Court system. The NYSPCC accepts the most challenging cases of child abuse and neglect in the city, and provides children and families with the services they need to recover, completely free of charge.

In addition to donating to the cause, what can people do to help with NYSPCC and their cause to help abused and neglected children?

Every December, The NYSPCC throws a Children’s Holiday Party for all of the children in their programs, and their siblings, so that every child can have a happy holiday season. The NYSPCC relies on the generosity of others to donate new, unwrapped toys to give to the children, as well as underwriting for the dinner that is served that evening. It is always a joyous occasion for everyone who attends.

If someone would like to become involved in prevention activities, The NYSPCC offers many courses on child safety topics such as preventing child sexual abuse, how to talk to your child following a traumatic event, such as the bombings in Boston, internet safety for children, etc. Please contact the agency to discuss setting up a lecture or presentation at your school or office.

Volunteers can further help the agency by “Liking” their Facebook page (www.facebook.com/nyspcc) to help The NYSPCC gain visibility and share news of their life-saving work with a larger community.

Perhaps the most important way people can help The NYSPCC’s cause is by learning how to identify child abuse and neglect, and report it by calling the Child Abuse Hotline – every state has one. In New York, the number is 1-800-342-3720. Neighbors and friends are often the first or only people to have proximity to a family in need of services, and your call to report something that seems troubling could truly save a child’s life. To learn more about identification and reporting, please visit www.nyspcc.org.

The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children:

Annual Junior Committee Spring Benefit

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013
8:00 – 11:00 pm

Asellina at The Gansevoort Park Hotel
Park Avenue and 29th Street

The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC), the world’s first child protection agency, will hold its Annual Junior Committee Spring Benefit on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at The ONE Group’s Asellina at The Gansevoort Park Hotel on Park Avenue. The evening will feature cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres, along with a silent auction of highly covetable items and experiences.

Over 250 cases of child abuse are reported every day in New York City – and that is only what is reported. In response to this daunting issue, The NYSPCC’s set of young philanthropists assume social responsibility each year to raise essential funds for the efforts of the agency: helping children heal from abuse and neglect, and helping families grow stronger. The Junior Committee of The NYSPCC has been supporting the efforts of the agency since 2005.

Steering Committee: Alexandra Papanicolaou, Christopher Breck, Jeffrey C. Caldwell, Chani Churchill, Stephen Czeck, Caitlin Landy, Darlene Liebman, Lauren Matina, Maureen Nash, Elizabeth Rockman, Matt Semino, Samantha Strockis, Whitney Topping

Corporate Sponsor: exhale mind body spa

Tickets: $150 in advance; $175 at the door

To purchase tickets, please contact the Special Events office at 212.233.5500 ext. 221 or email info@nyspcc.org

About The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children

The New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NYSPCC), founded in 1875, is the first – and one of the most highly respected – child protective agencies in the world. The NYSPCC responds to the complex needs of abused and neglected children, and those involved in their care, by providing best practice counseling, legal and educational services. Through research, communications and training initiatives, we work to expand these programs to prevent abuse and help more children heal.

The NYSPCC’s unique work is used as a model for child welfare agencies across the nation. Since its founding, The NYSPCC has investigated more than 650,000 cases on the behalf of over two million children, and has educated over 46,000 professionals on how to identify and report child abuse and neglect. Please visit nyspcc.org for more information.