It was a beautiful day to golf for a cause.
New Community’s 21st Annual Golf Outing brought together committed business partners and community members for a daylong charity event at the Montclair Golf Club in West Orange.
More than 85 golfers participated in the fundraiser, which was co-chaired by Michael Kasian, senior vice president at Tishman Construction, Robert Shawah, senior account manager vice president at Wells Fargo Insurance Services, and Michael Pintabone, partner at WithumSmith+Brown.
The golf outing benefited NCC’s youth and education programs, the Monsignor William J. Linder Scholarship Fund, which financially supports needy students so that they can attend premier prep schools in the region, and New Community’s transitional housing facility for the homeless called Harmony House
“I hope you enjoyed the beautiful weather and some friendly competition,” Richard Rohrman, CEO of New Community, said to the golfers during his remarks at the dinner reception.
Aze Williams, a 14-year-old resident of Harmony House, shared with the golfers about her family’s experience coming to NCC’s transitional housing facility last September.
“In a couple of weeks, I felt right at home. The Harmony House staff cares for every child. I know this because they always make sure that everything is all right at home and in school,” Williams said.
The evening program included a cocktail hour, dinner, testimonials from Williams as well as fellow Harmony House residents Khalilah Boyd and Monique Sessoms, a silent auction and contest prizes. Jim Decker of WithumSmith+Brown won the 50/50 cash raffle.
Earlier in the day, golfers arrived and received complimentary warm-up and stretching exercises courtesy of Kessler Rehabilitation Center physical therapist Tony Lin.
Golfers enjoyed a buffet luncheon on the patio in the company of Harmony House Early Learning Center students and NCC staff, and then hit the golf course.
For Boyd, 34, Harmony House played a key role in stabilizing the living situation for herself and two of her sons so that she could secure a job as a preschool teacher and administrative assistant and search for permanent housing.
“I’m here to attest that the Harmony House was and has been a great help,” she said.
Monique Sessoms, who was homeless for nearly two years before she found refuge at Harmony House, said that becoming homeless took a toll on her self confidence. “There’s such a stigma attached” to being homeless, she said. But staying at Harmony House has “been the best thing that’s happened,” Sessoms said, and has helped the 29-year-old single mother during the crucial years of raising a toddler daughter and infant son.
For Tracey Battles, NCC philanthropy officer who headed the golf committee, hearing the personal stories shared is what makes the golf outing so impactful.
“The golfers want to know who it is they are supporting and this allows them to hear, but also understand and feel, what difference their donations make in a person’s life,” he said.