Bethany House Connection: March 2024


“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” ~Walt Disney 

Bethany House has always been fond of the crocus flower.  It may be because it is the first hope of spring that blooms from the ground while the dirt is still thawing from the cold New York winter.  Or perhaps it is the rich purple color it boasts. 

Either way, I can’t help but feel a deep connection between the guests we support at Bethany House and the crocus flower.  Triumphantly pushing through cold, harsh conditions to bloom into a vibrant, strong and beautiful flower.    The crocus reminds us that no matter how harsh the winter, spring always returns.  We are passionate about providing those who turn to us in a time of need with the support and resources to bloom and to come into their spring, and we thank you for all of your support for us to do so.  

With gratitude,
Katie Swanson, Executive Director 


Our guests, like many Americans, struggle with mental health challenges.  Awareness, training and treatment is not always easy.  There is often a stigma, fear or reluctance to accept such help, though beneficial for all- and crucial for so many.   To begin breaking down those walls, Bethany House has partnered with David Hymowitz from Same Here to create a carefully tailored mental health awareness program for our guests.  The program focuses on normalizing mental health awareness, in the hopes that the guests become more receptive to therapy, treatment and training.   David has begun the program and continues to roll it out and expand it in our various homes. Our guests have been fully engaged and enjoying his trainings.  David has a way about him that brings people together and comfortable.  The sessions continue to bring enlightenment to our guests in many ways.  It is wonderful to see so much important growth in our guests from his trainings.   

A BEAUTIFUL STARRY NIGHT It might have been rainy outside, but inside it was bright and starry on Wednesday, March 6th at the Rockville Links Club for the 21st Annual Bethany House Fashion Show. The venue was bustling with laughter and chatter from our supportive event-goers, volunteers, staff and special guests. Long-time Bethany House Board Member and volunteer, Lancelot Theobald Jr., graciously served as emcee for the evening and the fabulous fashion show. Many generous sponsors provided a room full of amazing raffle baskets, that the guests were excited to win.   

The fashion show featured eight women, who have each helped Bethany House with their time, talents and treasures, showcasing outfits donated by Bloomingdales. The outfits were as eclectic as the models themselves and showcased their internal and external beauty.   

Aside from the gorgeous fashions- those who attended said one of the highlights was the guest speaker, Hailey Seelig.  She is a former guest, who spoke about how Bethany House supported her and her mother throughout the years, and helped her achieve her goals of attending college. She is a freshman at the University at Albany in a pre-medicine program! 

Thank you, Hailey, for sharing your heart-warming story, Bloomingdale’s for the amazing fashions, and to our wonderful supporters, staff and volunteers. Because of all of you, the event raised over $20,000!

When Bethany House Supporter Breece Wilson found out what a challenge transportation was for many of our guests, she sprang into action, reaching out to her reliable favorite, Uber .  Within days, Uber  responded and provided our  organization with a very generous donation which will allow our guests easier access to appointments, important meetings and events.   We are so thankful to Breece for her advocacy and would like to send a huge,  heartfelt thank you to Uber!


“We make a choice to see the good in every day – in the mirror, in each other, and in our communities. When we see the good that’s possible, together, we can create it.” – Kendra Scott And that is just what she is doing.  Bethany House was the lucky beneficiary from not one but THREE shopping days at the store in  the Roosevelt  Field Mall, where a percentage of profits for that day were awarded to us.  But that’s not all.  Kendra Scott donated a beautiful raffle prize for our Fashion Show as well as a Mother’s Day gift for  each and every one of our guests this year.   Thank you, Kendra Scott !

BETHANY HOUSE NAMED AS FINALIST IN12th ANNUAL LONG ISLAND IMAGINE AWARDS Long Island Imagine Awards Winners to Be Announced on Wednesday,May 1, 2024  at the Crest Hollow Country Club Baldwin, NY – Bethany House was named a Finalist in the Social Impact category in the 12th Annual Long Island Imagine Awards. The Long Island Imagine Awards, now in its 12th year, was founded by Ken Cerini, CPA, Cerini & Associates LLP as a way to showcase the nonprofit sector and all the good work that it does, as well as provide opportunities for deeper collaboration within the sector. The gala event, scheduled for Wednesday, May 1, 2024, 6-10pm at the Crest Hollow Country Club, Woodbury, NY, provides unlimited networking and connection opportunities for the corporate and nonprofit sectors while highlighting the exceptional work of the finalist organizations. The 24 finalists, 4 in each category, receive a professionally produced video that is showcased the night of the event and two free tickets to attend. In addition, each finalist will receive $1,000 courtesy of Diamond Sponsor SterlingRisk Insurance and one in each category will be announced LIVE at the event. For more information visit  “Being named a Finalist in The Long Island Imagine Awards is an important achievement,” said Ken Cerini, Founder of the Long Island Imagine Awards.  “It means that the Organization has been identified as a leader on Long Island, exhibiting impactful and innovative operations.  Congratulations to all of the Finalists on their achievement.”  


Frank Millilo and the Long Island Pickleball Pros  came together for the 4th Annual Pickleball Tournament benefitting Bethany House.  On Sunday, March 10th at the Rockville Centre Recreation Center, over 50 participants gathered for a warm-up, beginners clinic and tournament led by Frank and his crew who were informative and entertaining.  
Thank you Frank, Long Island Pickleball Pros and Gregoris Subaru  of Valley Steam who sponsored the event.  Fun was had by  all!


This Imagine Awards voting campaign gives our supporters a chance to vote daily using their email address for Bethany House to win!!(Please note the email addresses will not be saved or sent any follow-up emails,this is just so they can count votes.)  The organization that receives the most votes by midnight on March 31st  will be announced and honored during the Imagine Awards on May 1st and will receive a $3,000 check and recognition! Thank you for your support! 


WIN A TRIP TO IRELAND! Bethany House is thrilled to partner with Sceptre Vacations, in Rockville  Centre, to offer our wonderful supporters a chance to win a luxury vacation for two (2) to Ireland.   

The Trip includes:
Round trip air fare for two (2) from JFK to Dublin
Six (6) nights hotel accommodations in a four-star hotel
Hotel breakfast daily, except day of arrival
Automatic car rental with CDW insurance
Sightseeing and tours, including Guinness Store, Cliffs of Moher, Ring of Kerry, Kilkenny Castle, and more!
All hotel taxes, hotel services charges & porterage for one suitcase per person 

$100 per chance and chances are limited to only 200 chances!


Bethany House Connection: January 2024

A Message from our Executive Director
I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has welcomed me with open arms to Bethany House as the new Executive Director. I am extremely excited for this to be my next chapter in helping to fight the homeless crisis in Nassau County. I’d like to take this opportunity to update you about the important work we have been able to accomplish recently.

Bethany House strives to be a leader in the solution for homelessness in Nassau County. We work hard to be a community of support, in various ways, for those who come to us for help. One of those ways is a transitional services and housing program,  Safe Ground for Families, which opened its doors in April 2023,  and continues to be an invaluable resource for our community. The program was created to address the obstacles of long-term sustainability, so that women and children can stay out of the shelter system permanently. Since April, two more guests with their children have joined the program and moved into our transitional home. All of our guests in this program are making strides towards self-sufficiency, with the support of our case management team, by obtaining additional education, employment coaching, achieving financial planning goals, and much more.   

Bethany House also recently partnered with Community Development Long Island, Inc. to provide housing for three families which had been awarded Section-8 vouchers.  We were able to provide furnished apartments, as well as a supportive Case Manager, to help guide them through their transition to stable housing. I am very proud to share this information with you about our transitional housing program, which is so needed, especially in a county with such high rents.  We have the honor of providing women and their children a safe, clean, supportive environment, for a very low monthly rent.  

Bethany House continues to work diligently to address additional areas of needed support for our guests, in an effort to help them break the cycle of homelessness. These include financial competence and mental health support for our guests, as well as staff development.  I am excited to share that we will continue to explore meaningful programs that will allow us to better serve those who turn to use in their time of need.  
Katie Swanson, Executive Director
You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout, we’ll tell you why… 

Because…. SANTA Claus came to town, well to Bethany House to be more precise!!!! Santa, Ms. Claus and their brood of elves arrived to take part in our annual Bethany House Trim-the-Tree Party on December 20th. 

The night was full of festivities with great food cooked and purchased by staff and guests, karaoke and a surprise visit from Santa! 

Of course we couldn’t hear his reindeer’s hooves on our rooftop because everyone was singing loudly and having a wonderful time!

Santa and team passed out gifts to each mom, and every child, before he had to get back to the North Pole to prepare for next year.  When he left, he took Stanley, the Bethany House elf on the shelf, with him! Stanley did not want to leave our warm, inviting house, so he was hiding in the tree top! 

Away they all went with a HO-HO-HO UNTIL NEXT YEAR! 
Holiday Extravaganza!

Buckley Country Day School held an epic holiday party for our guests in December.  

The school staff, parents, and students went above and beyond to make sure that everyone had a great time. The chef made a delicious lunch of corn on the cob, the best mashed potatoes you’ve ever tasted, macaroni and cheese, green beans with mushrooms and onions, delicious turkey slices, fresh salad, and bread. Next the dessert spread was incredible – cookies, cakes, pies, and cupcakes galore!

Guests took pictures in front of the Christmas tree, then he pictures were printed out, and the guests decorated frames for them. There was a gingerbread making station, where each person got a kit with a house and all the items needed to decorate, including the icing and candy.

The children got to run around the gym, play, and color. The students were SO good with the children and the moms. It was heartwarming to watch.  There were gifts for every Mom and every child.  All who attended left with their tummies, hearts and arms full of holiday love and spirit.   


Each year, Bethany House is fortunate to partner with wonderful supporters in our community to “adopt” our families for Christmas. This year, over 20 “adopters” were given a wish list of gifts, written by the women and children in our emergency shelters. Once they shopped for the gifts, they wrapped the mother’s gifts, left the children’s gifts unwrapped, and dropped them off at one of houses. Then, many of the mothers got to “shop” for their children’s gifts in our make-shift “store,” where we laid out children’s toys and clothes for them to peruse. The women then got to wrap the gifts for their children, as if they shopped and bought them on their own. It was a joyous occasion for all involved. 

The women and children at Bethany House are so appreciative of the generous gifts donated through our Adopt-A-Family Program. We thank all of those who participated for remembering them during what can be a most difficult time of year. The beautiful gifts were given to our women and children on Christmas Day, and brought so much joy to each of them. 

At Bethany House, we work to support homeless women, and women with children, through transition to stability. We simply could not do all of this wonderful work without our generous and caring supporters. 

And so, we thank all of those who helped make the 2023 Adopt A Family Program such an incredible success! Bethany House would like to thank each and every one of the following for “adopting” one or more of our guests (if your name was omitted, please know it’s just human error!): 

Jon and Dana Acquafredda
Jeanine Badalamenti
Leticia Bonomo
Kelsey Bottari
Maryann Brolley
Olivia Cino
Kristin Cox and Girl Scout Troop 2238 from Oceanside
Leah Didriksen
Kerry Figueiredo and the South Side High School Bethany Buddies Club
Ellen Foley
Tawanda Harris
Michelle Heller
Rachel Hollywood, Esq.
Valerie Iovino
Lauren Jukofsky and Girl Scout Troop 2164 from Oceanside
Cory Knopf
Rich Kuenstler
Kathleen Lovece
Catherine Modzelewski and the Valley Stream School STOP Club
Jennifer Pintiliano-Gemmo and Girl Scout Troop 2083 from Oceanside
Vicki Rhodes
Sheila Pio
Kristi Schaefer and Girl Scout Troop 2552 from Oceanside
Leeanna Simo
Helen Sofocli
Kevin and Melissa Stender 

Annual Appeal Success: Thank You!

Thank you to the many of you who gave generous donations to the Bethany House Annual Appeal, every dollar of which helps support the vital programs we offer to our guests. Because of your generosity, combined with that of other caring people like you, we continue to be able to uplift women, many with children, and guide them from homelessness toward independence and self-sufficiency. 

As mentioned in the annual appeal, government funding enables us to “keep the lights on” at our three emergency shelters. Your generosity gives us the ability to provide our guests with the comprehensive support they need to gain financial stability and secure permanent housing for themselves and their children. With your help, we are working diligently to break the cycle of homelessness.  

Thank you again for your generosity.  If you would like to learn more about the wonderful work we do, please give us a call at 516-868-6866 to set up a meeting or a tour of Bethany House. 

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!

Bethany House Connection: June 2023

Peace, Love, Pickleball!

Frank Millilo of Long Island Pickleball Pros held the 3rd fun and successful pickleball fundraiser on March 5, 2023.  Over 45 people showed up to the event benefitting Bethany House.  The day started with a pickleball clinic for beginners followed by a tournament.  Ping pong and cornhole were also available and all attendees got a swag bag! Thank you to Frank and all who came out  for the fun! 

20th Annual Fashion Show

On March 15, 2023, Bethany House held their 20th annual fashion show.  Over 200 guests attended to support the organization and enjoy a night of fun and fashion.  

To mark the milestone anniversary of  the event, the organization chose fashion show models who are outstanding members of the local and Bethany House community.  The evening started with cocktails, followed by dinner and a the main event, a fashion show sponsored by Bloomingdales in the Roosevelt Field Mall.

 Bloomingdale’s supplied beautiful fashions for our amazing models; Shira Benedetto ( , Teresa Little (Bethany House employee), Lisa Lowe (, Kia Moore (Bethany House Board Member), Kerry Punzi ( , Gloria Romanowski (Local Daniel Gale Real Estate Agent), Vicki Rhodes (Bethany House Volunteer and Supporter), and Lisa Umansky (  The models during the fashion show were dressed in a range of outfits from a pajama set, to a glitzy evening gown.  

Thank you to all who participated and supported the event- we already can’t wait for next years event!

Dancing for Donations!

Bethany House was the fortunate recipient for The American Ballet Studio in Bayport’s fundraiser.  Artistic Director Kathleen Kairns-Scholz organized the fantastic event which was held behind the studio.  From admissions, raffles and a 50/50 raffle, the event raised a great amount for our organization.  Bethany House Assistant Executive Director, DawnMarie Goins attended the event on behalf of the organization and was overwhelmed by the talented students and their generosity, hospitality and support.   

Going for Gold! 

Genevieve is a lovely young woman who donated her time at Bethany House to earn her Gold Award with the Girl Scouts Council of Greater New York. She first reached out to us in August 2022, and from that time forward, until she completed her project, she worked diligently to raise awareness amongst her peers and in her community to the issue of homelessness in Nassau County, New York.

Genevieve spent many hours in our homes, engaging with and serving our guests. She also
volunteered at our 2022 holiday party and at two events this year — our annual pickleball
tournament fundraiser and our annual fashion show. In addition to the time Genevieve spent
in our homes and at our events, she also created a social media page dedicated to bringing
awareness to the problem of homelessness and the mission of Bethany House. Additionally,
she organized and managed an extremely successful drive to collect many needed items for
our homes.  

Her project work won her the “It’s Your Time to Shine” Scholarship for the great work she did with us. Genevieve, in turn, donated the monies back to  Bethany House.  Thank you and congratulations, Genevieve!

A Year of Thanks!

A Year of Thanks! 

Happy New Year! Bethany House enters 2023, feeling quite fulfilled and incredibly fortunate. Our holidays were busy, fun-filled, and quite joyous. 

December was an extremely busy month for us. We started the month with a visit from Chaplain Wife Amanda Beaudet, and several members of the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York. They dropped off many needed items that they collected for our guests, and then they spent some quality time engaging with our guests.

On December 11th, Gabrielle and Marissa, of Yoga +Brunch Club LI Team hosted a pop-up holiday event at BrewSA in Freeport, New York. The event featured a yoga class, brunch, raffles, and a vendor market. A portion of the event ticket sales and the proceeds of the raffles were donated to Bethany House. It was a great time, and after the event, the owners of BrewSA made a generous food donation of canned and boxed goods to our homes. 

The following week, we celebrated the holidays in grand fashion with a holiday party sponsored by Project DM. Leena and her family went above and beyond to show our guests a great time. At an outside venue in Baldwin, New York, our guests enjoyed delicious food, fun, crafts, music, and dancing. Santa made a surprise visit, and every child received gifts from Santa and had the opportunity to take pictures with him. 

We celebrated Hanukkah with Vivian Floch, who engaged with our guests and shared information about the significance of the holiday. Vivian taught about the miracle of the oil, that lasted for eight days, and the importance of lighting the menorah. Vivian brought with her a beautiful menorah that had been in her family for decades, and traditional menorah candles. While the candles burned, we enjoyed delicious jelly donuts from Wall’s Bake Shop, a family-owned, kosher bakery in Hewlett. 

The holiday celebrations continued with Elder Dawn West and her team from Calvary Tabernacle, visiting each of our houses to sing carols and bring stockings filled with gifts to our guests. The Tabernacle is located in Hempstead, New York. 

Just a few days before Christmas, a lovely group of young ladies — Rachel November, a Hofstra University law student, together with her long-time friends from high school, Bianca, Maribel, Rachel, and Gina — dropped off an abundance of household items, food, and books that they collected from their donation drive for Bethany House. After dropping off their items, they toured one of our homes and had the opportunity to meet and engage with some of our guests.

Every year, we hold an Adopt-A-Family program in which our supporters “adopt” a woman, or a woman and her children, and purchase gifts from their Christmas wish list for them to open Christmas morning. This year, over 25 supporters “adopted” our guests and brought much-needed joy to their holidays. We cannot thank our Adopt-A-Family supporters enough. Your kindness and generosity are what the world needs more of! 

And of course, we must also give thanks to Pat Palapoli’s family, who has been providing holiday pajamas to all our women and children for many years. Continuing her late daughter Kristin’s love of holiday pajamas, Pat, along with family and friends, made sure all of our guests had holiday attire for Christmas morning! 

Bethany House was once again the recipient of the Bombas Giving Partners’ generosity and received over 500 women’s tee shirts and underwear for our guests. We shared their generosity and our overflow with other organization in our area, like The Inn in Hempstead, Martin Luther King Center in Rockville Centre, North Shore Soup Kitchen and Micnight Run.  Thank you, Bombas! Learn more about the good they are doing at their website!

Bethany House is so fortunate, all throughout the year, and the holidays tend to bring us even more wonderful individual and corporate donors. During the holiday season, our guests enjoyed many delicious meals and treats, and received much needed household and personal items. 

Bethany House continues to be immensely grateful for our supportive community, and their commitment to our mission and our guests. As we move forward into 2023, Bethany House looks forward to continuing our relationship with our supporters, building connections and fostering stronger partnerships with other organizations in Nassau County that are also doing great work to address the needs of the unhoused in our community. 

We wish you and yours a healthy, happy, and prosperous 2023!