Kings County Criminal Bar Association helps local charities with second annual golf outing
When Michael Farkas was president of the Kings County Criminal Bar, he resurrected the association’s annual scholarship given to a Brooklyn Law School student. So Michael Cibella tried to top him when he took over as president by coming up with a great way to make sure that it is paid for every year — an annual golf outing.
“This was something that I always questioned why we hadn’t done it before I was president,” Cibella said. “Obviously a lot of other bar associations do this. It’s a great way to get people together, get people who have left our community to come back out and it raises money for good causes.”
The outing was an immediate success with 57 golfers attending in its inaugural year and 80 attending this year. The money not only goes towards the annual scholarship, but it also goes towards three charities — YWCA Brooklyn, Families Rising, part of the New York Foundling and the Elementary School Sports League.
Families Rising, a charity founded by “Hot Bench” co-star Hon. Michael Corriero, is especially close to Cibella’s heart. The charity works with juvenile defendants not just to help them in the courtroom, but to ensure that they stay out of the justice system entirely.
“That’s what’s most important — learning a way to stay out of trouble because not everyone has that support at home,” Cibella said. “That was something I got to see early on as a young prosecutor when I worked in the Family Court Bureau.
“You would see 14 and 15 year olds getting arrested and the answer wasn’t to prosecute them or let them go with just a slap on the wrist,” Cibella continued. “That just means they’re coming back through the turnstile. They need support. That’s something I have been mindful of throughout my career so as president and wanted to make sure that we support programs like that.”
Cibella is very proud of the outing because not only does it raise money for charity, but it also brings together the various actors in the criminal justice community including court officers, prosecutors, defense attorneys, legal aid attorneys and others. It also gives retired members of the community a good excuse to return for at least a day.
But organizing such an event isn’t easy. Cibella credits a lot of the past presidents for helping him. Farkas helps by organizing the annual Summer Bash, another fundraising event which features bands by court officers and judges each year. Andrew Reindeiro is currently organizing a continuing legal education lecture coming up in September at Yankee Stadium.
Cibella also said that he gets help from who he calls potential future presidents, especially Paul Hirsch, who put this year’s and last year’s outings together.
“Paul Hirsch has been running it which is great,” Cibella said. “You can’t run the bar association on your own so I have been very fortunate to have past presidents, and potential future presidents, working for us. The weather was great, the excitement that was started last year has carried over. We’re hoping that it keeps getting bigger each year. We’re able to help the community and that’s what I enjoy most about doing with the KCCBA.”
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