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The Memorial Fund


    The Julia Rusinek Memorial Fund is formed to celebrate the life of Julia Rusinek and to honor the ideals for which she lived. Julia was a gifted writer, an athlete, and, above all, a selfless humanitarian. She devoted herself to improving the lives of those in need. As a college student she dedicated her summers and any time free of studies to working with or on behalf of underprivileged children. Among her many activities, Julia was a counselor at a Fresh Air Fund camp, an intern with both the Children's Defense Fund and the Children's Law Center, and an active participant in the Peace Games at Yale.

The Fund was established so that Julia's commitment to children could live on through direct interactions with children and financial support of educational activities and enrichment programs. It is a not-for-profit, tax-exempt 501 (c) (3) organization organization with virtually no operating expenses. Since the Fundís inception in 1999, we have worked closely with a number of day care centers and after school programs for disadvantaged children. These include Harriet Tubman Day Care Center, located in a shelter for homeless families (closed in 2007); Harbor Oasis Day Care, a center located in a low-income housing project in East Harlem; Hour Children, an organization based in Long Island City serving children of incarcerated mothers; English Language Learners classes at Flushing High School, in Flushing, NY; and LEAP (Leadership, Education, Athletics in Partnership), an academic and social enrichment program for children and youth from high poverty neighborhoods in New Haven, CT.

Our mission is to help these children to develop a love of books, nature, and the performing arts. With this goal in mind, we conduct weekly book readings followed by discussions; we replenish libraries with the latest and the best in childrenís literature; we give the children books as Christmas presents; we enroll them for programs at the New York Botanical Gardens; and we organize trips to childrenís concerts at Carnegie Hall.

For new immigrant students at Flushing High School, we are sponsoring a project where a teaching artist from the Lincoln Center Theater, in collaboration with an English language teacher at the High School, is applying theater techniques to enhance English language acquisition and speaking skills.

In the past we made a grant to the Rheedlen Centers for Children and Families, a pioneering, non-profit, community-based organization that works to enhance the quality of life for children in some of New York City's most impoverished neighborhoods. The grant aimed at training college students to act as tutors in a college preparation and readiness Program. We recruited volunteers from Barnard College to participate in that program.

We have raised funds for some of these programs through an annual run and a fun run for children. As of Spring 2009, the proceeds from runs generated $79,500 for LEAP (Leadership, Education, Athletics in Partnership), an organization serving underprivileged children in the in New Haven area. More about this annual event can be found here. Our continuing support of LEAP contributes to the organizationís efforts to support overwhelmed parents and grandparents, and to develop young mentors who become child-advocates and community leaders.

A Letter from LEAP

Click here to read a letter from Mercedes Soto, former Executive Director of LEAP

Make a Donation

If you would like to make a donation to the fund you can make a check payable to the Julia Rusinek Memorial Fund and send it to:
Julia Rusinek Memorial Fund
2 West Dr.
Great Neck, NY 11021

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