Blue Dream: Helping Africa’s Poor

SOUTHAMPTON – Because there are places in the world whose people endure unbelievable poverty, the contributions generated by imagination and good will and offered by those whose lives are materially blessed seem like miracles.

Seventy percent of the funds raised through the 400 guest and numerous benefactors at the 4th Blue Dream gala of Kimisis Church of the Hamptons gala on the evening of August 30 will benefit the mission of Amani Global Works (AGW) organization.

Its mission is to “Care, Cure and Make Whole by providing healthcare to the most impoverished and forgotten areas of Africa,” especially the island of Idjwi of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, whose population has exploded from 50,000 in 1983 to 203,000 in 2009 and where malnutrition is common, especially among children.

Blue Dream has become one of the New York Greek-American community’s must-go-to event through its reputation for being a wonderful party for a good cause. Each year, the host committee selects a deserving charity to honor and benefit.

AGW’s founders, Dr. Jacques Sebisaho and his wife, Mimy Mudekereza, R.N. were presented with a beautiful crystal plaque, but they were most thrilled that the gala was an occasion personally thank the guests and all who have supported their work.

Those included Olga Palladino, Blue Dream co-founder, who introduced them to actor Matt Dillon, who has become a strong advocate. He was present at the gala and was its honorary chair along with Arianna Huffington and George Stefanopoulos.

Sebisaho also expressed his apprecation to Kimisis’ co-pastors, Fr. Alexander Karloutsos, Protopresbyter of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, and Fr. Constantine Lazarakis, both of whom welcomed the guests. When the former began by saying “My name is Father Alex,” he was very touched by the great burst of applause which followed. “You’ve all been very kind and good friends and I’m very grateful for your friendship,” he said.

Event planner Angela Giannopoulos and Olga Palladino performed the Blue Dream magic guests have come to expect. The gala had a new venue this year, and joined by Karen Mehiel as co-chairs, they transformed the Kimisis church grounds and the dazzling new hall called “The Muses” which is housed in the Nicholas S. Zoullas Hellenic Center into an island

The dinner tables were festooned by tropical flower and branches of exotic trees and the open tent that housed the dinner and the lawns strewn with couches and little tables were graced by fellowship among old and new friends and a light summer breeze.

NPR’s Soterios Johnson, the host of NPR’s Morning Edition on WNYC served as master of ceremonies and Olga Paladino spoke with passion about the purpose of the Blue Dream and thanked all who make it possible.

Among the things she was thankful for was the support and inspiration of her parents, Fr. Alexander and Presbytera Xanthi Karloutsos. She noted that although her mother shuns the spotlight, the parish and its facilities and causes benefit from her boundless energy, good taste and philanthropic spirit.

Later in the evening industrialist Dennis Mehiel, who knows a thing or two about fundraising, excused himself for interrupting the dancing which followed the delightful cocktail reception and fine dinner to announce that $400,000 had been gathered and made a final appeal to raise the total proceeds to half a million dollars.