The White Plains Examiner

Friendly Gathering Annual Fundraiser, Sunday, March 19

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The O’Rourke Irish Dancers have entertained guests at the Friendly Gathering for many years.

The Friendly Gathering Annual Fundraiser, this year, will be held on Sunday, March 19 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Congregation Kol Ami, 252 Soundview Ave., White Plains.

The annual fundraiser for the RDC Center for Counseling & Human Development will honor the Food Bank for Westchester and Kate Bialo & The Furniture Sharehouse.

An Irish dinner of corned beef and cabbage, Irish music (with Brian Conway and Friends and singer-songwriter Liz McNicholl), as well as entertainment by the O’Rourke School of Irish Dance – all traditional Friendly Gathering fare – will be featured at the event. And, the popular raffle and silent auction offer many wonderful chances to win exciting prizes.

The RDC Center, one of the ministries of the Religious of the Divine Compassion, continues to be housed at 52 North Broadway, White Plains, the former site of the order’s Mother House. The Center celebrates 25 years of operation this year.

Sr. Patricia Sheridan, Director of the RDC Center, spoke with The White Plains Examiner recently about the history of the counseling program.

It was back in 1991 when Catholic Charities closed the doors to its White Plains office with the intention of moving clients to services at its Yonkers location that a number of the Sisters working for the organization decided to open their own center in White Plains.

Sr. Alice Feeley was president of the order at the time and she worked to open an affordable counseling center at the 52 North Broadway address to serve those clients of Catholic Charities who cold not afford to travel all the way to Yonkers for similar services.

In 1993 the counseling center became separately incorporated and known as the RDC Center. Sr. Lauren McCloud was the first Director, working with Sr. Joan Healey to grow the Center during its early years. At that time as more staff was needed, the Center established a Board of Directors to help raise funds and grow the Center’s reputation further in the local community.

Sr. McCloud was director until 2008 when Sr. Patricia Sheridan took over.

The Center’s mission to provide affordable counseling continues to this day and women, men, children and families are welcome.

With the recent sale of the property at 52 North Broadway and the closing of the Good Counsel Academies at that location, Sr. Patricia explained that the Center remains on the site at the same location in the historic Mapleton House, at least for the time-being. Her biggest challenge is to keep the community aware that they are there and offer many affordable and some free services.

Four therapists offer counseling on a sliding fee scale. There are free seminars for people seeking employment, help with gaining work skills in cooperation with the White Plains new education and tech center on Quarropas Street, and a Latino mother/daughter program to help cultural assimilation and communication across the generations.

Counseling is also provided weekly at three local elementary schools.

Psychological services include anxiety and depression, loss and bereavement, relationship issues, pre-marital and marital counseling, family and parenting issues, coping with illness, trauma, post-abortion healing and mid-life concerns.

Information about these programs can be found at People seeking counseling can call 914-949-0504. “Anyone leaving a message will receive a return phone call the same day,” Sr. Patricia said. “All therapy is provided in a safe, gentle and compassionate manner.”

Tickets to the Friendly Gathering are $55/adult, $45/Senior, and $15/child under 12 at the door.

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