Dyker Heights

Xaverian student asks charity donors to share Christmas memories

December 8, 2014 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Dyker Heights teenager Dominick Santo asked residents to stop by his house, share a cup of coffee or hot chocolate with him, share their favorite Christmas memories, and donate to an organization that is sponsoring a holiday party for underprivileged children. Photo courtesy Penney Santo
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When Dyker Heights teenager Dominick Santo decided to embark on a one-man mission to raise funds for his favorite non-profit group to help the organization pay for a holiday party for underprivileged children, he thought about his own happy childhood and the wonderful Christmases he shared with his parents, Penney and Dominick Santo, and his sisters.

His recollections led to a brainstorm. Instead of simply asking people to donate money to the Sansone Foundation, Santo decided to hold a fundraiser in which guests would get to share their favorite Christmas memories.

The fundraiser, which took place Nov. 29 outside his 12th Avenue home, was a major success, according to Santo, who said he raised $2,000 for the Sansone Foundation that night. And money is still coming in, he told the Brooklyn Eagle in an email. The foundation is sponsoring a holiday party for children on Dec. 18.

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Santo, a junior at Xaverian High School in Bay Ridge, sent out more than 100 invitations to his friends and neighbors, asking them to come to his house on Nov. 29, enjoy a cup of coffee or hot chocolate, share their best Christmas memories with him, and donate to the Sansone Foundation. “I mailed out invitations with self stamped envelopes to make it easy for everyone to make a donation,” Santo told the Eagle.

On the big night, Santo put out a pot of coffee and another pot of hot chocolate and waited for his guests to arrive.

He didn’t have to wait long.

“And what a beautiful turnout! So many friends, neighbors and family came,” Santo said. The guests included a priest from Santo’s church, Saint Ephrem Catholic Church, and one family that drove in all the way from Sayville, Long Island to take part in the fundraiser.

Santo deliberately selected the Sansone Foundation as the recipient of his fundraising prowess. The organization, named in memory of Ralph J. Sansone, a labor lawyer and community activist who was killed in a plane crash many years ago, is headquartered at 5816 13th Ave. in Borough Park. The foundation provides a variety of services to families and children, including a day care center. One of the foundation’s member groups, the Ralph J. Sansone Endowment, provides thousands of dollars in scholarships for students. The foundation also sponsors Community Understanding of Racial and Ethnic Equality (CURE), a group that works to foster positive ties between different groups.

Santo is a longtime member of the Sansone Foundation.

“We’re so proud of Dominick. The youngsters we are having the party for are going to have a wonderful time this year because of Dominick,” Lisa Bova, the foundation’s community coordinator, told the Eagle.

Santo said he gets his charitable streak from his parents. “I credit my family as I say I was born into helping others and it’s such a wonderful feeling. I’ve been helping out my mom Penney Santo as she has been helping others for so many years. This past summer I helped my mom raise several thousand dollars for Kamp Kiwanis,” he said, referring to a summer camp sponsored by Kiwanis International.

“I am so proud to be a member of the Sansone foundation because it helps so many people besides the Christmas party. With all the generous donations this year we can have one of the best parties. I’m so excited to see their faces on Dec. 18,” Santo said.

For more information on the Sansone Foundation, call 718-436-7270.


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