By Gloria Dulan-Wilson
When I received the call from my friend, Ronnie Sykes, in reference to the 10th Anniversary of the Sylvia & Herbert Woods Scholarship Fundraiser, I had a brief flashback to the day when they started planning the first event. Sylvia, who has always been about education, Vann the eldest son, Kenneth, Bedelia, Crizette and the rest of the family had gathered at the restaurant to determine just how to launch it, and what their first scholarship amounts would be.
I remember it was a tented affair, held at Sylvia's Also, the banquet facility on the corner of 126th and Malcolm X. Those were very intense times, coming on the heels of Herbert Wood's passing earlier that year.
Most of us remember when Sylvia's Restaurant was the "city hall" of Harlem. Where political figures and celebrities came to hang out and tune in. Well nothing has changed in that regard, except that Sylvia is more often than not relaxing at home, having recently turned 85. She has literally worked since the age of 10; and truth be told, had her children not persuaded her to take a break, she's be at the restaurant as usual greeting customers with that famous beautiful smile of hers.
This Scholarship Fundraiser is yet another in the long line of services the legendary restaurant has provided so generously to the community of Harlem, where they have made their home since the 40's. The restaurant will be turning 50 next year, and there are still many who find it difficult to believe that the Woods family still retains ownership. So let me assure you - they own it and the property, lock, stock and barrels. Despite her demure good looks, Ms. Sylvia, and her husband Herbert, were great business people. Their children (and grandchildren)have likewise followed in their footsteps, insuring the institutionalization of this great family affair.
Sylvia's Restaurant has been my home away from home since I moved to New York. And, even though I live in Brooklyn now, I can't come anywhere near Harlem without "checking in" to see what's going on.
I recently received the following email from Ronnie: "The Sylvia and Herbert Woods Endowment Scholarship Fund to Celebrate Its 10th Anniversary At New York City Gala
Ceremony to Recognize National Leaders in Education- Alma Powell-America’s Promise Alliance, Geoffrey Canada-Harlem Children’s Zone & Marcia Young Cantarella, Ph.D.-Educator/Author."
So I'm sharing it with you, because I know you will all want to come out and celebrate this great milestone, as well as to congratulate the awardees and scholarship recipients.
"The Sylvia & Herbert Woods Foundation (SHWF) will mark its 10th anniversary by awarding 10 students with scholarships and recognizing three national leaders in education for their commitment to advancing opportunities for young people in Harlem and beyond during its annual awards ceremony on October 28, 2011 at City College's Great Hall.
Award-winning Anchor and Reporter, David Ushery of WNBC TV-NY will serve as guest host for the evening. Alma J. Powell, the Chair of America's Promise Alliance, Harlem Children's Zone Founder and CEO Geoffrey Canada will receive the Herbert Woods Community Service Award and Educator/Author Marcia Young Cantarella, Ph.D., and daughter of noted civil rights activist Whitney M. Young, Jr., will receive the Sylvia's Award.
Established in 2001, by Sylvia Woods, owner of Harlem’s world-renowned Sylvia’s Restaurant, in honor of her late husband Herbert, the Sylvia & Herbert Woods Endowment Scholarship Fund is a nonprofit organization that provides financial assistance to college-bound youth, which helps to bring some much needed relief to students and their families. Awarding the first 2 scholarships in 2002, the Fund has provided over $200,000 to 66 students in scholarship funding in the past 9 years. To be eligible recipients must have a 2.5 G.P.A. or better and must also submit an essay of at least 275 words stating why they should receive financial assistance as well as personal recommendations, among other requirements.
Dr. Joseph Feldman, chairman of Hackensack University Medial Center’s emergency trauma department and Lew Zuchman, executive director of Supportive Children’s Advocacy Network (SCAN) are honorary committee angels. To date sponsors and partners include: Cogswell Realty, Steiner Sports and Marketing, Exquisite Apparel, Crest Gems, PK Furs, Unitex Laundry Service, Panoply Corporation (Distributors of Sylvia’s Food Products) and Christopher Hunte Designs.
WHEN: Friday, October 28th at 6:00pm
WHERE: City College- The Great Hall -Convent Avenue & 138th St.
WHO: Geoffrey Canada, CEO and Founder- Harlem Children’s Zone
Alma J. Powell, Chair of America’s Promise; Marcia Young Cantarella, PhD Educator and Author/Daughter of Whitney Young, Jr.; David Ushery, Anchor-WNBC TV- New York
Scholarship Award Recipients are: Amma Dodoo; Latisha Elijio & Ciara Wyche Sade Aguila; Shaquille Duberry; Anisa Newkirk; Modesty McDowell & Jamal Fowler
Of course the dinner will be catered by none other than DINNER CATERED BY SYLVIA’S RESTAURANT!!
If you require additional info for making contributions and/or reservations, contact Ms. Ronnie Sykes via email firstname.lastname@example.org
Take care and
Stay Blessed &