Chatting with Chapey
by Dr. Geraldine M. Chapey, Democratic District Leader
Carol Verdi: A Dedicated Educator
On Thursday, May 22, we had the wonderful opportunity to attend Heartshare’s First Step Early Child Center’s 14th Annual Benefit Dinner.
Congratulations to Carol Verdi for hosting this outstanding benefit. Carol Verdi is a dynamic educator who has boundless energy and enthusiasm for her chosen profession - social work and education. Carol is passionate about serving the families and youngsters who attend Heartshare. Carol Verdi is one person who has made a magnificent difference in so many lives.
Carol’s reputation in the educational community is stellar. Even before I met her for the first time several years ago I had heard so many wonderful things about the way Carol was able to really go the extra mile and help youngsters in need.
Upon meeting Carol I immediately knew that I met someone special. She had a genuine caring and concern for her staff, her children and her families. We were able to collaborate on a Kingsborough College Program which was situated at the Heartshare site. College credit courses were offered on site.
Heartshare has been helping children and families for 21 years. Heartshare has programs for youngsters with and without special needs. Under Carol’s expert direction, Heartshare provides programs, which meet the needs of their children. They learn socialization, academic skills and creative play at three centers in Richmond Hill and Howard Beach. The programs are named for Matilda Raffa Cuomo; the Lefferts Liberty Kiwanis; and Dolly and Frank Russo Sr.
First Step Centers work with children with speech and language difficulties, behavior disorders, mental retardation, cerebral palsy, spina bifida, autism, down syndrome, and special medical conditions according to their charter.
Heartshare’s programs work with the families and with the children. Through their specialized staff they are able to identify developmental delays. The educational literature is replete with examples of how important it is to identify a child’s needs as early as possible.
Carol Verdi has worked arduously to put together a professionally qualified and dedicated staff. Upon entering the program it is obvious that you are with professionals who will do their utmost to give the children the personal attention that they need. Each child is evaluated by a qualified team in order to determine the appropriate services and resources which will meet the individual child’s needs. The First Step staff and parents continually review the child’s progress to determine the next appropriate course of action. The First Step Centers are family oriented. They have parent support groups who share experiences among themselves and with professionals. Professionals and parents working together as a team will allow each child to succeed to the best of their capabilities.
In addition, Heartshare also has group homes based in the neighborhood for persons of every age with developmental disabilities, supportive apartments for adults training to live on their own, adult day habitation programs for work readiness skills; adult treatment centers for daily living skills, a recreational educational program; an Options Center for children and adults living at home and case management services.
Kudo’s to Carol Verdi for having another successful fund raising event. There were so many wonderful prizes that it was difficult to chose. They were beautifully wrapped and presented. I was even lucky enough to win one.
Best wishes to Carol Verdi for her continued success in helping children and families.