Tag: Model Citizens Magazine November

Model Citizen Gary Brown

John: I am John Dowling and I’m here for Model citizens Magazine with Gary Brown on the phone. Welcome, Gary.

Gary: Thank you, John, how is everything?

John: Everything is great, thank you. I wanted to let you know that Rhonda Klch from Equity First Foundation has nominated you as a Model Citizen for November, congratulations.

Gary: Thank you so much. It’s such an honor.

John: It is well deserved, Gary. For our readers and your fans could you please share with us a little bit of how you got started with philanthropy and why?

Gary: Do you want the abbreviated version or do you want the real true story?

John: I want the whole version and if we need to edit it for the content we will, but for this interview, I really would love the whole story.

Gary: Awesome! So I was an NFL player. I went to Nassau Community College and then Georgia Tech. From there I played in the pros with several different teams, winning the Super Bowl, the whole nine yards. I always said I would like to give back, but I never had time. The game, all the things that I was doing, always came first, having fun and hanging out and taking advantage of my fame. After my football career, I went through a little bit of a depression. Coming back home and having to move back into my childhood neighborhood, my childhood household, and my childhood bedroom, it was a reflection on how I went full circle. I traveled all around the United States Europe Canada and there I was back again. The journey was over.  I’m back in my Brentwood bedroom and it was a hard pill for me to swallow.

Alan J. Schwartz Paying it Forward as a way of life.

John: I’m here with Alan Schwartz, Attorney, Judge and Model Citizen. It’s good to hear you from you, Alan.

Alan: Good morning, John.

John: You know the theme of this month’s issue is both living in gratitude and paying it forward. I was hoping to get a few words from you about paying it forward as I know it’s a big part of your life.

Alan:  My pleasure.

John: Would you please tell our readers and your fans a little bit about why you pay forward?

Alan: It seems to me that those of us who are lucky enough to have done well in our careers and our lives have some obligation to try to pass that on to others, often times expecting nothing in return, although good things usually come about regardless. The best example I can give as a practicing attorney for 40 years is that I spend a lot of time mentoring law students and young lawyers, for organizations like the Nassau County Bar Association and a variety of mentor programs, and we frequently have student interns working with us on a regular basis. It’s usually and primarily law school, but we’ve had high school students, college students, and even secretarial and paralegal students work with us at the firm. The benefit to them is it that it gives them a real idea of what it’s like to practice law, and it allows me to spend time with young people who are enthusiastic about what I do for a living, which in turn makes me more enthusiastic.

Model Citizen and Long Island Fashionista Natalya Smolyakova

When Natalya was just a little girl she loved her homeland of Latvia. To her, it was a fairy tale, and all she dreamed of even as a young child. However, with Russia injecting a great deal of influence over her homeland and her parents realizing that maybe a move to Moscow would yield a better life for them all, she moved to Moscow. She longed for her homeland and never forgot just how beautiful home was. All the same, she loved her family and despite her yearning to go back home, she stayed in Moscow and lived with her family. Even though she believed one day she would return to Latvia, soon as she became a young adult she found love and married her daughter Alisa’s father and as opposed to moving back to Latvia as she once hoped, she found herself on her way to the USA. 

At first, she found herself and her husband Konstantin living in Aurora just outside of Denver Colorado, as a mom, a wife, and starting completely over hoping to find the American dream. Not too long after emigrating to the USA she moved from Colorado to New York and fell in love with the Big Apple. When she first arrived in New York and to this day she knew that NYC was where her heart would be and where she would raise her family. While Natalya has lived all over the world from Ukraine to Russia, however, now that she has had a taste of NY she will stay here forever. Eventually, Natalya hopes to move into the city and live by Central Park. And yes Natalya loves to dream and believes that her dreams will come true, one at a time. 

While Natalya came to NY and found love for the city, she also found that her chapter of love with her daughter’s father had come to an organic end and love itself drove her to relocate to NY. Natalya worked with her friend who had her own fashion line. Natalya first decided to get into fashion because her country was so poor that she wanted to have her own clothes. When Natalya was just a young girl her grandmother and her aunt were both artists and made their own clothing. Living in such a poor country allowed Natalya to learn at a very young age that if you wanted something you had to find a way to do it yourself, and before Natalya knew it she had developed a career as a tailor and was making clothes for herself and for her family.