STARS Founder Honored At Women's Symposium In D.C.Queens Chronicle
October 5th, 2000
by Matthew Marin, Chronicle Reporter
The founder of a non-profit community youth organization based in Southern Queens was recently awarded for outstanding service at a women's symposium in Washington, D.C.
Frances Scarantino, founder of Striving To Achieve & Reach Success, Inc., known as STARS, and a resident of Howard Beach, was honored among 100 women.
They were selected from 100,000 national entries in the Eckerd Salute to Woman Program.
"This truly was an amazing experience," she said at the symposium. "I have always believed that when you enrich the lives of others, you enrich your own."
Since she began grade school at Our Lady of Grace in Howard Beach, Scarantino has been a volunteer in the community.
Scarantino said her biggest accomplishment has been her work with local youth as founder and president of STARS, which serves youth in Howard Beach and Ozone Park.
STARS was founded by Scarantino in 1995 to provide opportunities to enable youths to reach their full potential.
Programs sponsored by STARS include athletics, entertainment, performing arts classes, community service as well as education and career building.
While in Washington, D.C. attending the symposium, Scarantino was able to meet with local Congressman Anthony Weiner and discussed the Playground Project in the Hamilton Beach side of Charles Park.
"I wanted him to know how diligently his constituents have been working to raise funds for this playground," Scarantino said.
"It is a big undertaking and needs the attention of our top elected officials."
Scarantino said she walked away assured that the Congressman and Gateway National Park Service will do everything they can to make the completion of this project a reality.
As part of the symposium, Scarantino participated with the other 99 women in discussions on topics of worldwide significance as well as neighborhoods issues.
Scarantino later told the audience that her motivation for leading STARS comes from understanding the needs of children and knowing that she can make a difference in their lives.
"Getting results and knowing I could do more keeps me going," she said. "The difference in people's lives makes it worth-while."
Scarantino attributed her success to her family, friends and some community leaders, including Joe Addabbo, executive board member of Community Board 10, who nominated her for the award.
"Joe has taught me so much by his example," she said. "He has much enthusiasm and spirit for the common good. He has been a wonderful mentor."
The honorees ranged in age from 18 to 91 this year and have collectively devoted more than 2,248 years of community service.
Each of the 100 winners will receive $1,000 grants from the Eckerd Corporation to their charitable organizations.© Queens Chronicle - South Edition 2002