7.5.18 ‒7.17.18 ‒ vol. 14

Richard Davidian and Kathie O’Callaghan. Photo by Domenica Comfort Photographs

Pelham Civic Association Announces Two Humanitarians as

“Persons of the Year”

Kathie O’Callaghan and Richard Davidian

Friday October 19th. The Pelham Civic Association will be hosting their 79th Annual Dinner Dance Gala at Glen Harbour Club in New Rochelle. A fabulous venue for a terrific, fun and exciting time that is set out to be Pelham’s “social highlight of the year!”


The Pelham Civic Association - one of Westchester County’s most active, volunteer charitable organizations, assisting the youth, the elderly, the financially needy and the physically and mentally challenged - will proudly honor its 2018 Persons of the Year: Kathie O’Callaghan and Richard Davidian.


Founded in 1939, the Pelham Civics is one of New York State’s most active volunteer, charitable organizations.  This award-winning association is dedicated to assisting the youth, the elderly, the financially needy, and the mentally and physically challenged. According to Pelham Civic President, Ken Shirreffs, “We are extremely proud to be honoring two individuals - Kathie and Rich - who have made a significant difference in enhancing the quality of life in Pelham… particularly with their exemplary efforts in helping those in need.”  Michael Recca, Chairman of the Pelham Civic Dinner Dance Committee added, “We are already working on making this upcoming Gala one of the best ever. Once again, we’re planning on a sold-out attendance!”


The following provides the exemplary volunteer work of our two honorees:


Kathie O’Callaghan

• Hearts and Homes for Refugees

 - Founder and President of this innovative grassroots non-profit that supports US Department of State designated agencies in welcoming, protecting and advocating for refugees resettling in US communities.

 - Inspired by the crisis in Syria, Kathie gathered a group of like-minded individuals to advocate for resettlement in Westchester County. HHR is now comprised of a network of 400 volunteers that welcomed the first refugee family to Westchester County:  a Syrian family of six that was resettled in Pelham.

 - In 2018, Kathie led HHR in creating the Westchester Refugee Initiative, a county-wide coalition building effort to support and grow the network of over 20 community and interfaith organizations and 1,500 individuals who support the welcoming movement in Westchester County.

 - Under Kathie’s leadership, the Westchester Refugee Initiative is not only continuing to welcome and advocate for new refugee arrivals but also support refugees who are already in the country and need an occasional helping hand from the growing network of volunteers.


• Honoree, 2017 Pelham Woman of Distinction


• An integral part of the formation and early years of the Friends of the Pelham Library, specifically in the area of Public Relations.


• Member, Rotary Club of the Pelhams; Volunteer/Host of an overseas family while they came to America for life-saving cardiac surgery, as part of the Gift of Life Program.


• Member, the leadership team of Huguenot Memorial Church program to coordinate relief teams, supplies, and over 1,000 Thanksgiving meals in the Rockaways after Hurricane Sandy.


• Pelham Manor Volunteer Firefighter from 2000-2012 and served two terms as President of the Volunteer Company of the Pelham Manor Fire Department


• Lector, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church for many years


• Member, RENEW core team at OLPH.


Richard Davidian

• Pelham Civics Help a Child, Change a Life Program

 - Founder & Chairman, Rich created, championed and directed this visionary initiative that provides students from economically challenged households with the extra support needed to succeed. The program rapidly grew across the entire district touching most of the schools and all of the grades. Nothing like this had ever been offered and successfully pushed the district to think out of the box and to keep finding ways to touch more students and deliver higher impact results from year to year.

- It became one of the priorities of School administrators, acknowledging the importance of and the tangible impact that was possible when we provide targeted and measureable support to the most vulnerable members of our community, with numerous educators and administrators openly expressing how this initiative impacted their own priorities and sensitivity to an under supported portion of their academic community.

- Rich called attention to the reality that far too many of our students did not have access to a basic learning tool, computers.  Instructional assignments and notices assumed all students had access to computers and printers in their home.  He helped initiate a meaningful program to address this deficiency, which was later addressed by a state legislator, and a grant from Albany.

- This initiative provided the impetus for the creation of a Diversity pillar in the Strategic plan that was developed by the then superintendent of Schools and the Board of Education… which was invited by the Superintendent to sit on the diversity committee for the District.


• Member of the Board of Directors of the Teachers Institute of lower Westchester, providing information regarding Help a Child that was communicated and shared across several Districts in lower Westchester.


• Rich and the Pelham Civics were honored by the Board of Education with the bestowment of the Fenlon Award which was usually given to retiring Board of Education members, not members of the general community.


• Named to the Pelham School District New Superintendent and Principals’ Selection Committee


• Pelham Civics Good Neighbors Program

 - Chairman for 12 years, Rich spearheaded his committee and this important program, vetting and assisting hundreds of families and individuals dealing with serious challenges.

 - Provided significant solutions to the needy, such as payment of a monthly bill, furniture and needed appliances for apartments, interventions with threatening illnesses cases.

 -  His exemplary diligence and attention to detail, combined with his compassion and commitment, was a tremendous source of comfort and hope.


For those new in Town, The Pelham Civic Association is one of New York State’s most active volunteer, charitable organization dedicated to assisting the youth, the elderly, the financially needy, and the mentally and physically challenged throughout our community. Its many programs, projects and events are fueled through a fall fundraising drive that culminates at its Annual Dinner Dance Gala on October 19th at the beautiful Glen Island Harbour Club in New Rochelle.


So please “Save-the-Date”: October 19th. For more information, visit www.pelhamcivics.org or contact Pelham Civic Association Dinner Dance Chairman Michael Recca at 914-403-6522, email dinnerdance@pelhamcivics.org










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