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Victoria’s Secrets: Special Occasions

Dec. 17, 2023 By Victoria Schneps

My dear friend Michael Serao introduced me to an “angel” and she touched my heart.

Michael, the EVP of First Central Savings Bank, was making a donation to Hewlett House in Hewlett, Long Island, on Saturday and invited me. I went as a favor to him and left feeling that I had been visiting with angels.

Led by the courageous five-time cancer survivor Geri Barish, who serves as executive director, the Hewlett House is a landmark building that was lovingly restored by the “George to the Rescue” reality TV show. It is owned by Nassau County under the leadership of County Executive Bruce Blakeman and leased to One in Nine.

Founder Geri Barish and volunteer Stu Schrager at the “Hope Tree”

The center room of the house has a permanent “Xmas” tree that they call the “Hope Tree,” which brightens the house 12 months a year. Whomever walks through the Hewlett front door is coming for hope and help.

Saturday was a day filled with sunshine, cheer and carolers, along with Santa and Mrs. Claus.

The First Central Savings Bank team with carolers and Geri Barish

The children played joyously in the backyard with llamas and tables of coloring books, colorful markers and a beautiful buffet filled with delicious food served as we were serenaded by carolers dressed like they stepped out of a period Christmas card.

When I took a tour of the house, I met Dominic from the South Shore Kiwanis Club, whose members donated the renovation for Hewlett House’s wig room, where women can be fitted for wigs.

The Kiwanis’ donated wig room

The Hewlett House offers classes in yoga, art and social networking opportunities for cancer victims young and old.

I felt the passion of Geri and her determination and lifetime commitment to helping people like herself. She truly is an angel and I felt blessed to meet her.

Thanks to Michael and First Central Savings Bank for their generous support in making the holiday celebration one filled with fun, good cheer, love and financial support!


A night out with the boys


Delightedly, I brought Josh, my darling grandchildren and friends to the Islanders game, going to the GRASSI and Fusion Wealth Management’s luxury suite.

Ironically, my friend Thomas Flood, of St. Thomas Aquinas College was there with old friend Tom Early and Joe Giordano, Mike Smyth and Matt Canner. What fun it was!

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