This year's theme was “Honoring Strong Women in Communities” and called attention to four individuals. The honorees were Dorothy Lewandowski, Queens Parks commissioner; Julia Ermish, community activist; Suzanne Karl, chairwoman, Divine Wisdom Catholic Academy; and Linda Lam, Assurance Managing Partner at Ernst & Young.
Approximately 200 people attended the event, which serves as the largest fundraiser the garden hosts during the year. This year the event was organized by Board members Rovena Schirling and Theresa Bonavolonta. Schirling said organizing the event is a year-long endeavor.
“Tomorrow, we will already start coming up with possible honorees for next year's gala,” she said.
Money raised from the event will go toward funding a number of the Queens Botanical Garden's programs, including the children's garden and the intergenerational garden, which brings together children and senior citizens.
Another new program Schirling, Bonavolonta, and QBG Executive Director Susan Lacerte were eager to talk about was the Green Jobs Training Program.
The program is a collaboration with LaGuardia Community College, and prepares unemployed workers and those simply looking for a career change in jobs such as waste management, green cleaning, and sustainable landscape design.
On the Monday prior to the Rose Gala, the garden graduated the second class of students to participate in the program. According to LaGuardia, over 60 percent of those that complete the program find employment.
For more information on the Queens Botanical Garden, visit Queensbotanical.org.