STAR Gala 2011 Celebrates Champions of Adoption

March 18, 2011

FSW’s major fundraiser of the year, the STAR Gala, is fast approaching. With a theme of Nurturing Health Families, this year’s dinner, scheduled for May 17 from 6:30 to 11:30 pm at Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle, will celebrate FSW’s Champions of Adoption. FSW’s Adoption program has been placing children in loving families for more than 50 years and thousands of lives have been touched in the process.

The Champions who will share their poignant adoption stories at the Gala include Joseph Leary, Kristiane Lambert and Gary Zahakos, and Kathi and Blaise Fredella. The Corporate Honoree, Credit Suisse, has been a longtime supporter of FSW’s efforts to strengthen families across the county.

Author of Perfectly Imperfect and TV host Lee Woodruff will emcee the dinner. Woodruff is the wife of Bob Woodruff, the ABC correspondent who was critically wounded while reporting in Iraq.

Kathi and Blaise Fredella adopted their first child, Jeannie, from FSW’s Adoption program 33 years ago. Four years later, they adopted another baby, Diana. “The girls loved going to FSW’s Adoption picnics,” recalls Blaise Fredella. “Getting to know other adopted children was important to them.”

Gary Zahakos and Kristiane Lambert adopted their son in 1997. Noah was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and the couple has worked hard to provide him with all the therapeutic support he needs. “Gary and his wife have left no stone unturned to provide their son with the best treatment available,” says longtime friend Blaise Fredella.

Joe Leary was adopted through FSW the year he was born, 1969. He says he had no interest in locating his birth mother because he was so content with his home life growing up. “Perfect is the word I would use to describe who my parents are,” says Leary. “I am so grateful to Family Services of Westchester for providing me with a loving home and such wonderful adoptive parents.”       

FSW’s Adoption Services provides a full-range of pre- and post placement services, offering assistance with every step of the adoption process. Adoption Services offer free monthly workshops for couples considering adoption and conducts home studies for families involved with both domestic and international adoptions.