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Volunteer Stories and Photos

  • Regeneron Employees Build Art Gallery at Abbott House

    On Friday, October 21, 2022, Abbott House welcomed employees from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals to create a rotating art exhibition space in its main building in Irvington. 

    The Hall of Dreams project is part of Regeneron’s Day for Doing Good (D4DG), a day of global service for its employees to improve the communities in which they live and work. Volunteers painted walls, assembled shelves, installed track lighting, and created a ceiling mural depicting a blue sky and white clouds.

    “Abbott House is grateful to our friends at Regeneron for their passionate commitment to transforming spaces on our campus for children, adults, families, and staff,” said James L. Kaufman, President and CEO. “The future Hall of Dreams Art Gallery will be a place that welcomes diversity, artistic expression, creativity, and reflection; a special place where those struggling to heal from trauma will find hope and inspiration.”

    “The Hall of Dreams will empower children and others in care to become artists and curators of their own work,” said Kristina Papa, Director of Development and Communications. “In keeping with our integrated approach to caregiving, this art-based initiative is a way for individuals to explore feelings through a creative lens and let their imaginations take flight.”

    The narrative of Jacob’s Ladder encourages children to explore their personal dreams, reach for the stars, and long for a meaningful future while appreciating the difficulties they may encounter along the way. Special thanks to Regeneron for creating the Hall of Dreams as part of its Annual Day for Doing Good—a day of global service when employees improve the communities in which they live and work. Volunteers painted walls, assembled shelves, and created a ceiling mural depicting a blue sky and white clouds. In the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who taught the world how to dream the best and biggest kind of dream, the Hall of Dreams at Abbott House is a place that welcomes diversity, artistic expression, creativity, and reflection; a special place where those struggling to heal from trauma will find hope and inspiration—a place where dreams can take flight.

    This event marked Abbott House’s fourth D4DG project with Regeneron, a biotechnology company based in Tarrytown. Past projects include an art room, a music/recreation room, and an outdoor living space featuring a pergola and two perennial gardens.

  • Morgan Stanley Teams Up With Abbott House to Help Kids Succeed

    Morgan Stanley prides itself on fostering a culture of social responsibility, encouraging its employees to make a positive impact on the communities in which they live and work. Many of these incredible individuals have opened their hearts to Abbott House and stepped forward as Volunteers at a time when we need it most.

    Whether helping children craft beautiful cards of gratitude for the men and women in the military, organizing a fun afternoon of kickball, coordinating a pizza party or planting a vegetable garden with adults with developmental disabilities, Team Morgan Stanley has become part of the fabric of Abbott House, sharing their time and talents in a variety of roles.

    Most recently, they raised more than $1,700 in donations during a two-week fundraiser in support of the Abbott House Back-toSchool Drive.

    A child who begins school with the right notebooks, crayons, pencils, folders and other essential supplies is organized. He or she is free to focus more on learning and less on worrying about how to get their homework done and keep up with their peers.

    Thanks to partnerships with community leaders like Morgan Stanley and other generous donors who believe deeply in the investment of education, Abbott House continues to be successful in helping children succeed in the classroom – and in life.

  • Abbott House & Morgan Stanley Volunteers Join KaBOOM! to Build a New Playground for Kids in One Day

    Volunteers from Morgan Stanley, Abbott House and the community will join KaBOOM! on June 28, 2019 to help transform the organization’s play area into a kid-designed, state-of-the-art playground in just six hours. This project is part of Morgan Stanley’s 14th annual Global Volunteer Month, where employees worldwide donate their time and effort to volunteer and better the communities where they live and work.


    Play is essential to physical, creative, cognitive, social and emotional development. Currently, Abbott House serves children of all ages on a daily basis, but does not have a safe or accessible playground for kids to play.

    The children who come to Abbott House typically suffer from chronic stressful conditions such as extreme poverty, abuse, neglect and removal from the only family they have ever known. This “toxic stress,” can disrupt the brain development of young people, leading to lifelong difficulties in learning, memory and self-regulation. In May, 60 unaccompanied immigrant children and children in foster care spent an evening at Abbott House designing their dream playgrounds. The playground that will be built in June is based on their designs and will provide kids with an exciting, safe place to play over its lifetime. It also will help the children in their recovery from the trauma they have experienced.

    The creation of this playground is part of Morgan Stanley’s ongoing commitment to KaBOOM! and its mission to give kids a healthy start for lifelong achievement. Safe places to play are vital to that mission. Since the beginning of this long-standing, successful partnership in 2011, Morgan Stanley and KaBOOM! have built 20 playgrounds serving over 9,500 children in communities across the United States.


  • Shannon Alomar, Miss Black NY USA Holds Queen For a Day Workshop for Girls in Abbott House Foster Care

    Miss Black New York, Shannon Alomar brings confidence-building program called Queen for a Day to the foster girls at Abbott House. The 25-year old New York native and CNN production assistant for the primetime show CNN Tonight with Don Lemon, comes from a family that knows what it means to give back to the community. Throughout her childhood, Shannon remembers her Grandmother welcoming children in foster care into her home and being told to treat them just like everyone else in the family. What struck Shannon the most is how the children responded to love, affection, and family.  She realized that many children in foster care do not have that stability that comes when a family is able to thrive.

    Shannon’s parents also set a strong example of giving back to the community.  “They were always helping people in need whether it was food, clothing or toys,” said Alomar. “Service has always been part of my life.”

    It was no surprise that Shannon was selected to be Miss Black New York USA for her own commitment to service.

    When asked how Queen for a Day program was born, Alomar recalled, “As part of a network of supportive pageant queens, my own confidence has grown and I wanted to use my experience to help girls in foster care gain that same boost of confidence.”

    Shannon came to Abbott House to spend the day with five girls in foster care and make them Queens for a Day. She taught them to walk with confidence, hold their heads up high, make eye contact, and of course, the pageant pose. Later in the day, she led them through a writing exercise about their aspirations and worked with them to present their aspirations to a panel of judges.

    This is when we began to see the magic happen. After each girl took the stage to complete their walk, pose, and aspirations, they were brought back on stage to hear from the judges what they liked best.

    One judge said to Shana, an aspiring track star, “You have a powerful, quiet confidence.” Another judge told Essence, who one day hopes to become a nurse, “You have tremendous energy and passion for helping people.” Each response was thoughtful and unique and was presented in a way that supported the goals of each teen. Watching their confidence grow, their eyes light up, and their smiles shine truly was incredible. This was a foundational moment and one they always will remember as they push through challenges and work hard to achieve their dreams. That is the power that people have when they support the mission of Abbott House.

Volunteers in Action: