An Oceanside High School senior is a smiling, cheery companion for kids whose mothers are caught in the crisis of homelessness.
Alexis Chiofalo, 17, regularly volunteers with children at Bethany House, which has locations in Baldwin, Bellmore and Roosevelt. Her interactions range from playing tag to Simon Says as mothers attend required support groups.
She also spearheaded a comedy fundraiser last year, in conjunction with the Brokerage Comedy Club in Bellmore, that raised $3,500 for Bethany House.
“I was shocked. I didn’t think that many people would come,” Chiofalo said. Of her desire to raise money for the nonprofit, she said: “I’ve been around them for three years, so I’ve gotten to see what families go through.”
She was introduced to Bethany House when she was seeking a summer activity a few years ago and her mother solicited ideas on Facebook.
Today, she visits weekly and the kids often hang onto her legs to stop her from leaving, representatives there said.
“Alexis returns week after week, always smiling, though her clothes may be stained with spit or smeared with cupcake icing,” said Jane McCabe, co-chair of Bethany House’s resource development committee.
Chiofalo is vice president of her school’s Feminist Culture Club, as well as a member of the National Honor Society, Art Honor Society and cross-country team.