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Tony Winner LaChanze Performs At Family Services Of Westchester Gala

Port Chester-based group to honor Swiss Re of Armonk and Tony Lembeck and Family of Goldens Bridge.

Port Chester-based has its 2012 STAR Gala on April 25 at Glen Island Harbor Club in New Rochelle and will feature a special cabaret performance by LaChanze, a Tony Award winner who performed in January at Lincoln Center in the American Songbook Series.   

Swiss Re, a global reinsurer whose U.S. division is headquartered in Armonk, will receive the Corporate Citizenship Award at this year’s fundraising dinner and Tony Lembeck and Family of Goldens Bridge will receive the STAR Award.

Caroline Clarke of New Rochelle, executive editor and host of Black Enterprise Business Report, will emcee the event. 

One of the other highlights of FSW’s STAR Gala will be a cabaret performance by LaChanze, who won a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in her role as Celie in The Color Purple. LaChanze, a Mount Vernon resident, has also appeared in 10 other theater productions, including Once on This Island, Ragtime and The Wiz.

She appeared in the movie The Help and five other films, and she won an Emmy Award for her TV work in Handel’s Messiah Rocks. Her other television credits include Law & Order: SVU, Sex and the City, and The Cosby Show.  LaChanze is also the daughter of Rosalie Hines, program director of FSWorks, an employee training and referral program for adults over 40 run by Family Services of Westchester.

“We are so thrilled to have the respected journalist Caroline Clarke as our emcee and to honor Swiss Re and the Lembeck Family,” said Susan B. Wayne, President and CEO of Family Services of Westchester. “The cabaret performance by LaChanze will also make our event particularly memorable."

Swiss Re began its involvement with Family Services of Westchester in 2006, when the company sponsored its first Thanksgiving-in-a-Box Food Drive for families in the agency’s Head Start and Early Head Start programs. Each year since then, the company along with individual employees have made financial and food donations toward this worthwhile project.

To date the company has provided more than 1,200 boxes of items for a holiday feast along with essential staples to families in need. The company has also participated in many Community Service Days through Family Services of Westchester, building book cases and planting gardens at My Second Home; collecting winter coats for children and sorting them at The Sharing Shelf; and painting closets and providing art supplies at Maple House for seniors to enjoy.

“Swiss Re employees and the company’s leaders make time in their demanding work schedules to help others,” said Gerry Goldberg, director of Volunteers and Development Outreach at Family Services of Westchester. “Swiss Re sets a high standard for corporate citizenship among businesses in Westchester and around the globe.”  

Tony Lembeck and Family of Goldens Bridge will also be honored at the STAR Gala. Nearly 18 years ago, Lembeck helped found Camp Viva, a program for families affected by HIV/AIDS.  He and his family have been working at the summer camp every year since it began.

This year’s STAR Gala is focusing on programs that Help Families Transcend Challenges. While many of FSW’s programs help families, a few that focus on coping with challenges include: Prime Time Special-Ed Preschool and Evaluation Services, the agency’s award-winning intergenerational adult day program called My Second Home, Camp Viva, a one-week sleepaway camp for families affected by HIV/AIDS, Youth Respite, which gives families with children affected by emotional challenges recreational opportunities on weekends and in the summer, and the non-profit’s latest initiative, Veterans Outreach Program for veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan and their families.  

Since 1954, Family Services of Westchester has been providing social services and mental health programs to strengthen and support families, children and individuals, from infancy to adulthood. FSW serves more than 30,000 people annually through more than 50 programs, including Head Start, Big Brothers Big Sisters, AmeriCorps and residential facilities for adolescents and older adults. To find out more about the non-profit’s programs and mission, check out www.fsw.org.

Tickets to the event cost $300 each and can be purchased online at www.fsw.org or by calling Deborah Wilson at 914-305-6876.

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