South Shore Rotary helps Santa share the love

The business and professional men and women of the South Shore Rotary Club have a longstanding tradition to spread holiday cheer to the 385 special needs students at PS 37, Great Kills. They volunteer to participate in a two-day celebration with the school’s administrators that ignites a flurry of holiday excitement.


“Our visit brings big smiles to the faces of these children,” said Frank Cilento, a South Shore Rotary member who for 26 years has helped to organize this event. “We want these children and their families to know that they are in our thoughts, especially during the holidays.”


The South Shore Rotarians who volunteer to help Santa bring gifts, chocolate Santas, and candy canes for PS 37 work throughout the year to help children with disabilities. This visit is one of several events sponsored by the club. John Vernazza, South Shore Rotary president; Bill Barillari, esq., Brian Benevento, Ed Brochin; members; Rachel Elfassy, teacher; and students in the Interact Club at Staten Island Technical High School, New Dorp, were also Santa’s helpers.


Toys 4 Autism, headed by John Sublett, coupled with the South Shore Rotary for the second year by donating 100 toys specifically designed for the autistic child. “We are grateful to Toys 4 Autism for joining us partner with Santa,” said Frank Cilento.


“The South Shore Rotary has a long history of responding to the needs of our community,” said John Vernazza. “We believe in ‘Service Above Self ‘and we work throughout the year to make the lives of others better. We are proud to participate in this event that brings such joy to these special children.”


The South Shore Rotary is a local service club whose members pool their resources and volunteer their time and expertise to develop and implement ways to elevate the human condition in our communities and throughout the world.