Adventures-in-Learning had a wine tasting soirée fundraiser on Friday, March 6, at the Manhasset Bay Yacht Club. The dinner buffet came along with wine, raffles and entertainment in an effort to raise money for the after-school program. Adventures-in-Learning also honored volunteers, Father Damian Halligan and Bill and Liz Collard, for their past efforts contributing to the program.
“It’s the culmination of the successes we have had,” Adventures-in-Learning Executive Director Diana Holden said. “We showcase our students that have gone on to live great lives. It brings the community in here to see where their money is going for. They support this because we get no federal or state funding. It’s also supported by the individuals in this community who have been keeping this going for 52 years.”
Halligan helped tutor kids at Adventures-in-Learning for 12 years, mostly teaching math and English. In June 1967, he was ordained a Jesuit priest at Fordham University. After returning to the United States from a year in Nigeria, he ministered at St. Ignatius Retreat House in Manhasset for six years. He is now retired to Fordham University, where he continues his retreat and parish ministry.
“I was a tutor one day a week there and it was a great experience,” Halligan said. “There was one little girl there who would write terrific short stories, I couldn’t believe it. I saw her years later, she was taking it so serious and became a very determined student.”
Bill and Liz Collard currently live in Manhasset and have a relationship with Adventures-in-learning going back to the mid-70s, when Bill’s mom volunteered there.
“Originally, I wanted to do something more constructive as a way to show my faith so I started to paint the classrooms,” Bill said. “My role expanded, I started playing Santa every year for adventures. What I found was over the years, the more I gave, the more I got back. The kids are so wonderful and kind, it changes how you see the world. It gives these kids an opportunity for a future.”
Their 8th grade daughter is also part of the family tradition, tutoring kids in the program whenever she has free time.
“I’m just so happy,” Liz said. “It’s so nice to see every facet of children’s lives and our communities lives all kind of come together. To be at the grassroots in the community level means everything.