On Tuesday, June 20, guests gathered at M. Wells on Crescent Street in Long Island City for Sunnyside Community Service’s Annual Celebration.
The annual benefit celebrates the organization’s achievements and raises much-needed funds for its community work. The nonprofit serves more than 16,000 people each year with a variety of programs including pre-K, college and career readiness, community centers for youth and families, ESOL classes, immigrant services, home care, home health aide training, a vibrant center for older adults, services for individuals with Alzheimer’s, and supports for caregivers.
The event honored two individuals who have supported the Queens-based organization and the community with their time and talents:
M. Joseph Levin was honored posthumously with the Neighborhood Visionary Award for his work as a member of the Board of Directors for Sunnyside Community Services. Born and raised in Vermont, Mr. Levin’s connection to Queens began as a teenager when he would visit his aunt and uncle in Sunnyside. Mr. Levin had a distinguished law career, attending Cornell Law School, working with the Legal Aid Society where he specialized in immigration law, and joining a private practice in Elmhurst, Queens where he remained for more than four decades. He specialized in estate planning, elder law, and real estate administration. He also was active in the Queens Bar Association, serving as chair of the real estate committee for many years. He was a member of the Board of Trustees for Sunnyside Community Services for 25 years, serving as Secretary and as President for part of his tenure. Mr. Levin was married to his wife Mary Ellen for 53 years. They raised two sons and have four grandchildren. Mr. Levin passed away last December.
Bertha Motta, a home health aide for Sunnyside Community Services, was presented with the Gert McDonald Advocate of the Year Award for her advocacy work on behalf of her fellow home health aides. Ms. Motta joined Sunnyside Community Services in 2015 and in 2017 became an 1199 SEIU union delegate representing close to 1,000 home health aides. Since then, she has been a strong advocate for her colleagues. Her recent advocacy work includes participating in the “Fair Pay for Home Care Workers” campaign, which resulted in the New York State Legislature passing a $2.00 an-hour increase in 2022, with an additional increase of $1.00 an hour scheduled for October 2023. Originally from Peru, Ms. Motta currently lives in Maspeth, Queens with her husband and two sons.
Sunnyside Community Services has offices in both Sunnyside and Long Island City, Queens. The organization also runs programs in other locations in western Queens, including community initiatives at Woodside Houses Community Center in Woodside; high school programs at Queens Technical High School and at Aviation High School in Long Island City; SCS Beacon Community Centers at I.S. 5 in Elmhurst and P.S. 343 in Sunnyside; after-school programs in Sunnyside, Elmhurst, and Woodside; and pre-K and 3-K classrooms in Sunnyside.
Information for Members of the Media
Interviews and images are available upon request. For info about the Annual Celebration or other stories, please contact Monica Guzman at 929-335-7849 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.