Bethany House Connection: September 2023

We Say Farewell to Doug O’Dell . . .

It is with hearts full of deep gratitude that we said farewell to Doug O’Dell, Bethany House’s Executive Director for the past three years.  During his tenure, Doug strengthened the board and its committee structure, and he improved systems of accountability, community connections and the case management process.  He had an open door policy where guests were always welcome to contact him directly to share concerns, ideas and accomplishments.  

Recently we gathered at a luncheon to thank Doug for the passion, commitment, energy and expertise he shared with Bethany House over the past three years.  The delicious catering was donated by Moe’s Southwest Grill of Oceanside, and the Bethany House board members provided desserts.  We wish Doug the best of luck in all his future endeavors!

. . . and Welcome to Katie Swanson

Bethany House is pleased to announce the appointment of Catherine “Katie” Swanson as its Executive Director as of August 28, 2023.

Katie Swanson comes to Bethany House having over 20 years of experience in human services focused on emergency housing in Nassau County.  Katie’s most recent position was as Deputy Director of Emergency Housing at the Nassau County Office of Housing/Department of Social Services (“DSS”).  Katie earned a Bachelor’s Degree from the School of Social Work at Syracuse University, and a Master’s Degree in Clinical Social Work from Adelphi University, Graduate School of Social Work.  Her extensive experience will be an asset to Bethany House in both providing emergency shelter and also transitional services (including financial literacy, women’s empowerment groups, and case worker support) to the women and children it serves, in an effort to end the cycle of homelessness.

We look forward to learning from and growing with Katie as we continue to serve the needs of women, and women with children, experiencing homelessness in Nassau County.

Starbucks Staff Pour Out Their Hearts

In addition to pouring coffee and serving customers at local Starbucks stores in the community, many of the partners (employees) have been pouring out their hearts about Bethany House.  They have the ability to choose local worthy causes they would like #TheStarbucksFoundation #NeighborhoodGrants to donate to.  Bethany House was selected not once, but twice, by the partners in the Starbucks locations in Levittown and Rockville Centre!

These two friendly faces (flanking our Interim Assistant Executive Director, DawnMarie) surprised us at our office with cookies and a thank you balloon to inform us that Bethany House is the recipient of a $6,000 grant!  The previous month we received a visit from another Starbucks partner bearing coffee and mugs, followed by a check for $4000.  We are incredibly grateful to the Starbucks partners for supporting our mission and to The Starbucks Foundation Neighborhood Grants!

High Schooler Hosts Comedy Fundraiser

Kate Cooney, a Kellenberg H.S. junior, has been conducting arts and crafts activities in our homes for the women and children for quite some time now. This summer, she organized a fundraiser at the Governor’s Comedy Club in Levittown to benefit Bethany House. It was a huge success, and Kate and her family were able to raise $4,500 to donate to Bethany House.

Summer Toys

Mackenzie Malone ran a drive for Bethany House at The Garden School in Jackson Heights. The students raised $1,475.00, and collected beach toys for our residents.  Summer fun for the children at Bethany House was enhanced by Mackenzie and her school’s generosity.

Call for Veggies

As we all struggle with inflation and rising food costs, Bethany House has been lucky to be the recipient of vegetable and fruits grown at Crossroads Farm in Malverne, in the gardens at Temple B’nai Torah in Wantagh and the Merrick Jewish Center. All produce is shared among our five residences. Food U.S. assists in the delivery of the veggies from the Merrick Jewish Center, and has been delivering food to us for several years now.

Providing nutritious meals is a top priority at Bethany House. If you or someone you know would like to become a monthly fresh produce donor, contact us today at

Thank you to all of our wonderful supporters!