Paul Savramis is the founder of Rising Stars, one of the Northeast’s most respected after-school sports and academic support programs. One of the best byproducts of the program is allowing its members a first hand look at other community based programs and charities. Student athletes from Rising Stars recently offered their time and talents to residents of the Ronald McDonald House in New Hyde Park. In the following Q&A, Savramis explains how the teens did more than just provide a home cooked meal.
Q: What is Meals from the Heart?
Paul Savramis: Meals from the Heart is a volunteer program facilitated through the Ronald McDonald House Charities. The program rallies volunteer groups to provide home-cooked meals to families staying in a Ronald McDonald House. RMH in new Hyde Park offers accommodations to families with children at Cohen’s Children’s Hospital.
Q: How many families did your Rising Stars student athletes feed?
Paul Savramis: On August 18, 2016, boys from the Rising Stars scholars program cooked dinner for several families at RMH. However, as the kids learned during their hours in the home, they were providing more than just food. Many of these families spend 15 to 20 hours a day at the hospital tending to their terminally ill children. Having someone else come in and take care of the cooking and cleaning, even for one night, was a more than welcome form of respite.
Q: What other benefits did Rising Stars students offer?
Paul Savramis: After dinner, the boys took the reins of childcare and played games and told stories with the younger family members staying at the Ronald McDonald House. A small playground provided a temporary distraction from the realities these children face watching their siblings fight for their lives.
Q: Why is community involvement so important to Rising Stars?
Paul Savramis: Rising Stars focuses on helping our student athletes pave a path to adulthood one brick at a time. This involves ample community service projects, which helps our students – many of whom come from disadvantaged areas – get to know their communities and neighbors. Forming a bond with their surroundings lets these kids see that they are not alone and have their very own “village” to care for.
“Thanks for the pictures Emily!!! The boys really did their best and they are such an admirable group! You do a great job with them!! Our families were very impressed.”
– Carol C. Edwards, AAHA, MSP/BH House Manager