Big-hearted Ridgeites raise cash for Guild for Exceptional Children

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Big funders: Madeline Sbarra contributed to the Guild for Exceptional Children at the fund-raiser organized by the Men’s Club of Bay Ridge, which club president Alex Conti helped organize.
Singing sensations: Keith Igneri and Danielle Rutuelo try their voices at karaoke.
A toast: Anthony Santoro, Paul Gentile, and Paul Igneri raise their glasses to the Guild for Exceptional Children’s bowling team.
Family fun: Robert Rubino hugs his mom, Linda, a member of the Men’s Club of Bay Ridge’s Ladies Chapter.

The Men’s Club of Bay Ridge and its Ladies Chapter have generosity to spare — and they proved it with a big fund-raiser for the Guild for Exceptional Children’s bowling team.

The charity bash — held at the John Hughes Knights of Columbus Club at the corner of 86th Street and 13th Avenue on Oct. 26 — featured food, a 50-50 raffle, dancing, and karaoke, and raised $2,000 for new team shirts for the 200 members. Nancy Grazidei, a member of the Ladies Chapter, helped organize the event and said one of the highlights of the evening was seeing people sing and win prizes.

“Their eyes were lit up. It was beautiful. They got so excited when they won something. Their delight was wonderful,” said Grazidei.

It all started after a staff member from the Guild — which has served developmentally disabled people of all ages for 50 years from its location at 68th Street and Third Avenue — approached the club asking for help, Grazidei said. The bowling program’s shirts were old and worn, and state budget cuts meant that they wouldn’t be able to afford new ones. Linda Rubino, a Ladies Chapter member and parent to a Guild consumer, said she knew how important the bowling program is for its members — and sprang into action.

“It gives them a sense of accomplishment when they bowl. It doesn’t matter how well they do,” Rubino said. “It lets them be out in the community and do things that the rest of community does. So we had to help them.”

Rubino and Grazidei, along with fellow Ladies Chapter member Josephine Giammarino, reached out to local businesses and got them to donate gift certificates and prize baskets for the raffle. Tickets for the event went for $50 a piece.

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at (718) 260–4507 or e-mail him at Follow him on Twitter at
Posted 12:00 am, November 3, 2012
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