We are proud to announce that after years of dedication as Chairwoman and President of the Italian Welfare League, and Chairwoman of its Bambini Committee, Bea Tusiani has been appointed Chairwoman Emerita. Bea has been tireless in her efforts developing our Bambini Program and much admired for expanding it while reaching out to hundreds of Italian-American children. This program is well-known throughout the Italian-American community and Bea Tusiani’s name is synonymous with its importance and success. Please join us in congratulating Bea on achieving this admirable and much-deserved position.
Bea Tusiani is the author of a memoir entitled ‘Con Amore’ and a children’s book entitled ‘The Fig Cake Family’ both of which are rooted in her Italian heritage and, ‘Remnants of a Life on Paper’, a mother-daughter dialogue that chronicles the struggles and anguish suffered by a family with a member living with Border Personality Disorder (BPD). Bea’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, Newsday and other publications. She founded the Writers Network of Long Island, and the Frances Hodgson Burnett Collection at the Manhasset Public Library.
In addition to writing, Bea has been involved in many civic-minded activities. In particular, she and her family established the Borderline Personality Disorder Resource Center at New York Presbyterian Hospital in White Plains in memory of her daughter Pamela. She also has a seat on the Board of Emotions Matter, a non-profit organization founded by her other daughter, Paula Tusiani-Eng, to raise awareness and offer advocacy for those affected by BPD.
Among Bea’s societal contributions, of particular significance is her heroic efforts in ‘reconstituting’ the Italian Welfare League. At the turn of the 21st Century, the Italian Welfare League was in transition. By then, the immigrant population had assimilated into the American culture and fewer and fewer cases warranted the kind of social services the League provided.
The tragic circumstances of 9/11 were a seminal turning point for the 98 year-old organization. When the League learned that nine expectant mothers whose husbands perished in the Twin Tower disaster would be having babies of Italian descent, it provided them with the means to purchase immediate necessities. Soon afterward, other cases involving children of Italian descent, who were disabled or suffering from emotional trauma, were identified and the groundswell of hardship cases led to the founding of the League’s ‘I Nostri Bambini’ program.
Bea personally supervised the cases and helped select other child-oriented special needs service providers to receive IWL grants. In addition to processing individual recipients, she created a system for selecting the grantees, maintaining contact with recipients’ families and established a means of monitoring the grantee organizations. Bea served as a chairwoman of the League’s ‘I Nostri Bambini’ program for 17 years and trained her successors, Celeste Marchione-Maltzman and Giovanna Stellari, who are current co-chairs of the program.
By the end of 2018, the League expects to surpass $2 million in donations to its Bambini. Aside from her writing, Bea Tusiani has been a tireless worker and advocate for those less fortunate and most in need among us.