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Bedford Hills Resident Expands Charity Reach

With a resume boasting experience in public relations and grant writing, Barbara Cervoni didn't have a tough time deciding to take a job at Yorktown’s Support Connection . She wanted a new challenge.

It was seven years ago that the Bedford Hills resident stopped being CAREERS for People with Disabilities' community outreach coordinator and began working as director of communications at the nearby charity.

At Support Connection, Cervoni and her team provide services for those suffering from breast and ovarian cancer. Some of those include education, wellness and emotional support.

“I wanted to see if I could fill a similar role in a different organization,” Cervoni said. “I heard Support Connection was doing great work.”

She now consults directly with the charity’s three peer counselors to think of new programs and policies. They determine which services are hits and which don’t generate enough interest. They study specifics in annual satisfaction surveys, evaluation forms and attendance records. Although some may come and go, she says popular services like Yoga - A Path Toward Wellness are always on the roster.

“I’ve had women who call and say the yoga class are the best part of their week because it helped them forget about what was going on,” she said.

News of these programs have now reached a national level. Last month, Cervoni and her team were able to gather about 40 women from Connecticut to California to participate in the Toll Free National Teleconference for Women with Ovarian Cancer. She says those suffering from the disease sometimes feel isolated, making the teleconference a great opportunity for patients across the country to gain support from each other.

“A lot of people live in a place where they may never have met someone with ovarian cancer,” she said. “We offer services we know our clients are in need of.”

It may come as a surprise that unlike many of her co-workers, Cervoni is not a survivor of breast or ovarian cancer. But she says that disconnect actually works to her advantage because it allows her an outside perspective.

“It’s sometimes helpful in a way because I can take a step back and be able to see all of its aspects,” she added.

Cervoni has lived in Bedford Hills for the past 29 years with her husband Jon, where they have raised two children, Michelle and Matthew.

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