More than two dozen members of the Local 290 responded to a call for assistance from Jon Darling, a carpenter and his wife Donnalynn Darling, the Chair of the Personal Injury and Medical Malpractice groups at Meyer, Suozzi, English & Klein, P.C. located in Garden City.
Donnalynn Darling sits on the board of Syosset’s based Variety Child Learning Center, a not for profit school which provides special education programs for children who reside in Nassau, Suffolk and New York City with developmental and learning disabilities, autism, behavioral disorders, and social/emotional disorders.
“The school suffered hundreds of thousands of dollars in flood damage following severe weather on June 23rd”, said Donnalynn Darling. “Twenty children were displaced from their classroom. Two classrooms, staff offices, individual instruction rooms, storage facilities and boiler equipment were either severely damaged or destroyed and furniture, therapeutic equipment, a smart board, books, and supplies were also ruined.”
“The school was able to function over the summer because fewer students attend the summer session,” said Jan Friedman, Variety Child Learning Center CEO. “But we needed to have our facility back in shape for the start of the September school year.'
Jon Darling says, “The water damage caused by the June flooding reached the five foot mark. Although the damage was estimated at hundreds of thousands of dollars, only a tiny fraction would be covered by Vareity’s insurance.”
The Darling’s began to work their contacts. Union Local 290 President Chris Fusco promised that his members would step forward to get the job done. When the volunteer project was brought up at a recent union meeting, the outpouring of support by the carpenters was overwhelming. On only three days’ notice, more than 25 union members turned out to do the work. “These children and their families needed to know that Variety Child Learning Center would be up and running by the time school was supposed to start. I’m glad that my fellow union brothers and I could make that possible.”
Variety Child Learning Center CFO, Andrea Rieger says while the union and the Darling’s did an incredible job in making sure that the school year can start as scheduled, they still need assistance and donations can be mailed to Variety Child Learning Center at 47 Humphrey Drive, Syosset, NY 11791, Attn: Development – Flood Appeal, or online at www.vclc.org