In 1992, Angela’s House, a non-profit organization, was created by Bob and
Angie Policastro; their goal was to improve the lives of medically frail children and their families. Angela’s House currently offers a wide variety of services to support medically frail children, both at home and in a group home setting.
We kick off this brand new season of Family Comes First™ by visiting with the founder and Executive Director of Angela’s House, Bob Policastro, and Anne Bingham, whose daughter is a resident of Angela’s House in Smithtown.
Bob shares with us how, 23 years ago, when his daughter, Angela, was born, he saw the lack of places and resources that could provide the proper care for medically frail children in Long Island, NY. Angela’s House was created in his daughter’s memory to ensure children receive the proper care at home and don’t need to be institutionalized due to lack of resources.
Anne explains how, prior to arriving at Angela’s House, horrific images came to mind when she thought about putting her daughter in a home. After visiting the house, she realized how beautiful and inviting it was, with loving and caring staff.
It Started with Pennies
For decades, there has been poverty, hunger, and lack of education in Haiti. Father Thomas “Tom” Donohoe made a lifelong commitment to helping the children of Haiti. Even after his death in 2012, his legacy continues to make a profound difference in the lives of many children.
On this episode of Family Comes First™, It Started With Pennies, we are joined by Nicole Memnon and Greg Gengo. Nicole was approached by Father Tom in the 1990s to aid in arranging a connection between the children in his parish and the children in Haiti.
Nicole explains how his mission started with pennies. The children of the parish would bring in pennies during Lent to give to the children in Haiti. Father Tom believed connecting the children was so important. Nicole states, “…In every child, he saw the face of God. He always spoke about Matthew 25: when I was hungry, you fed me and you visited me.”
Greg explains the donation process and how they were able to provide not only money for the children in Haiti but clothes, hygiene products, food, etc.—things we take for granted.
A Soldier’s Story (The Greatest Generation)
Sadly, there are a dwindling number of World War II veterans with us today who are able to share their perspectives on what it was like to be in war. We can’t ever forget the thousands of brave soldiers who fought for our country and those who gave their lives for our freedom.
During this episode of Family Comes First, we are joined by Stephen DeMarco, a Staff Sargent in the Army Air Force in WWII, and his daughter, Stephanie DeMarco. Stephen walks us through what it was like to be a young man drafted to fight for his country during WWII.
Stephanie shares the honors her father has received, including the bronze star medal, good conduct medal, and European Union medal. She also states, “My father never lost a plane. Out of all the ones that didn’t come back, none were his. He made sure every one of his planes came back, and that was a pretty amazing record.
9/11 – The Red Bandanna (No Greater Love)
On September 11, 2001, terrorists flew two planes into the World Trade Center. All eyes turned to New York City as the buildings burned and then fell. On that horrifying day, some people were saved by the heroic efforts of others whom we refer to as heroes. Welles Remy Crowther was one of those heroes.
During this episode, Welles’ parents, Alison and Jefferson Crowther, join us to honor Welles’ life and share his heroic story. Welles was a 24-year-old equities trader who worked on the 104th floor of the South Tower. The day the Trade Towers fell, Welles drew from his training as a volunteer firefighter to put his life on the line in order to save many civilians. Welles’ parents were able to identify his brave actions that day through the stories of “a civilian wearing a red bandanna who saved many lives on September 11, 2001.”
Miracles Among Us
As a parent, from the moment your child enters the world, you strive to provide the best life for them. There are always obstacles to overcome in day-to-day life. However, when a parent learns their child is medically fragile, these day-to-day activities become additionally challenging. Due to medical research and advances, many of these children can live at home, but not without significant challenges to overcome.
In this episode, we meet Jenny and Darin Iacobelli. Jenny and Darin’s daughter, Nola was diagnosed with Cardiofaciocutaneous Syndrome at just 1 year old. The disease is very rare—only 400 children in the world have been diagnosed. The Iacobelli’s are able to maintain their family and lifestyle despite the stress and challenges. They are truly role models to families everywhere.
Best of Season 8