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Queens Chronicle

Making a difference — Celebrating people and groups

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Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2010 12:00 am

In a nation focused on horrendous oil spills, ineffective if not dysfunctional government and terrorists trying to damage New York City and elsewhere, we sometimes wonder how anything positive gets done.

But look no further than this special Celebration issue that profiles 23 individuals and groups making a difference in Queens. We do have a lot to cheer about and we can thank these people and organizations for making our life better.

There are environmentalists like Douglaston’s Walter Mugdan and married couple James and Kathryn Cervino of College Point, who work to improve their communities’ waterways and natural areas.

Two from Glendale, Joe Aiello and Vincent Arcuri Jr., find time to help young people and senior citizens and varied organizations, while a youth minister from Queens Village, Tony Bellizzi, helps underprivileged kids around the world.

Two high school students, Svetlana Musheyeva and Stephanie Esquivel, both overcame daunting odds to make a difference in their schools and outside. Then there’s Chrissy Voskerichian who heads a civic association and a police precinct community council.

The Rosedale Jets teaches core values as does Anthony Battaglia, who founded a summer basketball league for children in Howard Beach and runs it every year.

The Real Dads Network pays tribute to responsible fatherhood and GEAR offers support to grandparents trying to raise their grandchildren.

Ray Normandeau is a one-man protector of the Queensbridge Houses, while the 112th Police Auxiliary offer a strong hand to assist the Forest Hills precinct.

Plant lovers will enjoy reading about Steven Fielder, a friend to Juniper Valley Park, and ARROW, a Long Island City community garden that provides programs for the entire family.

Ann Bruno, a lifelong Astoria resident, gives back to her community, while Rob Caloras keeps the city’s school system on its toes as president of the Community District Education Council 26.

Don’t miss the stories on the Forest Hills VAC, assisting others for nearly 50 years, and the Korean American Family Service Center, helping survivors of domestic violence.

Ozone Park’s Howie Kamph fights to improve area streets, as Phyllis Inserillo leads the Relay for Life to raise oney to fight cancer in Howard Beach, and Bellerose’s Richard Hellenbrecht wears many hats in advocating for several group.

We hope you enjoy reading about these tireless leaders and groups and find inspiration in their stories. There is nothing more noble that volunteering our time to help others and we thank those profiled for what they do. We all can make a difference in this world, no matter our age or background. It’s just a matter of getting out there and doing it.

Welcome to the discussion.