Family Services of Westchester’s Star Gala 2018 Honors Business and Community Leaders

Port Chester, NY (May 16, 2018) – Friends and supporters of Family Services of Westchester (FSW) gathered in New Rochelle last week to honor business and community leaders who have helped make the organization one of the largest and most successful mental health agencies in Westchester County. More than 200 people attended FSW’s Annual Star Gala on May 10 at Glen Island Harbour Club. The event, which was sponsored by Steiner Sports and RPW Group, raised significant funds for the social services organization, which has operated in Westchester County since 1954.

In addition to honoring community leaders, this year’s Star Gala also commemorated the service of FSW President and CEO Susan B. Wayne, who is retiring after 22 years with the organization. Ms. Wayne joined the organization in 1996 as a clinical social worker and held the positions of Senior Director of Mental Health Services and Vice President of Community Based Programs prior to becoming President and CEO in 2008.

Business leader Fred Schwam, Chief Business Development Officer and CEO Emeritus of American Christmas, received a Lifetime Leadership Award. Longtime FSW supporter William Handelman was recognized with FSW’s Making a Difference Award, which was also awarded posthumously to his late wife Helene Handelman, a former president of FSW’s Board of Directors. Martha and Bernice Kennedy, Mt. Vernon residents who have been foster parents since 1992, received the Spirit Award in recognition of their ongoing contributions. Matthew Grimsley, one of their 10 foster children, spoke at the event, praising Mrs. Kennedy’s cooking and calling the couple “inspiring, wholehearted and well deserving of the award.”

New York Yankee legend Jim Abbott received the Community Service Award for inspiring the community at large with his story of perseverance in the face of life’s obstacles. “If you can make the most of what’s you’ve been given, no matter where you go in this world, believe in who you are and what you can do.” Abbott, who was born with a birth defect that left him without a left hand, overcame his disability to become an award-winning pitcher.

Lisa Copeland, Chair of  FSW’s Board of Directors, thanked the Senior and Junior Board, Star Gala Committee and staff for creating an inspiring evening. She also shared her first-hand experience with FSW as a volunteer and how it helped in getting her more involved.

Tara Rosenblum, Emmy-winning News 12 Westchester anchor and reporter, served as mistress of ceremonies and Amy Papola, an art appraiser and auctioneer formerly with Sotheby’s, led a lively auction that helped raise money to support FSW’s more than 50 programs.

For more information on FSW’s Star Gala, please visit or call Michelle A. Nicholas at 914.306.6836.

To see the Star Gala 2018 photos, click here.


Family Services of Westchester, Inc. (FSW) is a private, not-for-profit agency serving our community since 1954. Headquartered in Port Chester, FSW runs more than 50 social service and mental health programs that reach 30,000 children, teens, adults, and families a year. Programs include adoption and foster care for children; Head Start and Pre-K programs for Westchester’s youngest students; Big Brothers/Big Sisters and other mentoring programs for teens; social support for the elderly; assistance to veterans; and educational and support services for people living with HIV/AIDS. We are licensed by the New York State Office of Mental Health to provide comprehensive mental health services at seven Family Centers (Hastings-on-Hudson, Mt. Vernon, Pelham, Port Chester, Sleepy Hollow, White Plains, and Yonkers) and five school-based mental health clinics. For more information about FSW, visit


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