“What can be nicer than spending a summer night at a beautiful house, being served a delicious dinner, and socializing with people who, like you, believe in an organization that is so important to our community?” One guest said as she took in the scene at the annual fundraising dinner for The SAFE Foundation. Held in the gorgeous backyard of Sarah and Eddie Gindi’s home on August 20th, The SAFE Dinner was, as it always is, an educational and thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Eddie Gindi, Vice President of The SAFE Foundation, welcomed and thanked everyone for coming out to support The Project SAFE School Program, SAFE’s clinical team of therapists, and of course the many individuals and families who are touched by addiction.

He then spoke about the dinner’s honoree, Mayor Harry I. Franco, A”H, saying, “The SAFE Foundation was fortunate to call Mayor Franco its friend. He believed in our cause, in educating our youth, and in encouraging parents to be active in their children’s lives. He has made calls to SAFE when he was concerned for a specific child or adult and worked in conjunction with SAFE to ensure the safety of our community.”

At that point, the Franco family came to the stage to receive the 2nd Annual Sonny I. Gindi, A”H Merit Award, which was established by the Gindi family in memory and honor of their father, Sonny I. Gindi, A”H, who helped to improve the lives of so many.

After this, screens strategically placed throughout the yard came alive with a film highlighting all about The SAFE Foundation. The movie camera traveled into Project SAFE classrooms, showing animated teachers teaching students about self-esteem, resisting peer pressure, and other vital life-skills. The lens then went into therapy sessions in the SAFE building, showing how counselors interact with their clients, speaking about overcoming the lures of addiction.

One thing that was evident as both the teachers and the counselors spoke was how much sincerity, intelligence, and confidence they exuded.

Joey Cabasso then took to the stage to close the presentation. With intense sincerity, he told how The SAFE Foundation saved his life.

He stated that The Project SAFE School Program is The Foundation’s way of being committed to prevention. He said, “As they say, ‘an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.’”

At that point, he went on to cite some of SAFE’s stats:

54% of clients are under the age of 21

37 % of clients are abusing prescription pills

25% of clients are abusing marijuana

22% of clients are abusing alcohol

16% of clients are abusing a combination of other drugs.

NY State graduates 34 % of its clients. SAFE graduates 75% of its clients

NY State improves client employment by 35%. SAFE improves client improvement by 69%.

As the event winded down, guests lingered, enjoying friends, the deserts, and the feeling of knowing that they spent the evening supporting a cause they hold dear.

The SAFE Foundation wishes to acknowledge and thank the sponsor of the evening, Bank Hapoalim; party coordinator Norma Cohen, and Sarah and Eddie Gindi and their family for their tremendous efforts in hosting this event.