Friends of a deceased young man who grew up on City Island came together again to remember him and raise funds for charity.
The 8th Annual John Gilder Memorial Lawn Party took place on Saturday, July 22 and raised funds for scholarships for local youth attending Fordham University’s business school, repair of a Jacobi Hospital recreation room and City Island Little League team sponsorships.
The scholarship fund and lawn party are a remembrance by friends of Gilder, who passed away at the age of 23 in August 2009 from an undiagnosed heart condition.
The charities that the John Gilder Memorial Scholarship Fund supports mirror the activities of the young man being remembered.
Additionally, this year some of roughly $7,000 raised will go towards a cause that friends believe John would have liked to see addressed: helping with opioid addiction, said Jack Jokinen of the charity.
Jokinen said that effects of opioids became evident when he had to erase several people from the lawn party invitation list over the past three or four years because they overdosed.
Even though John’s death had nothing to do with addiction, friends believe helping in this way would be what John would want the charity to do, said Jokinen.
Though Jokinen admits he knew little about addiction, community members helped with suggestions, he said.
The charity will donate $1,000 to Jacobi Medical Center, which the Jacobi Auxiliary will match, to renovate a recreation room that patients undergoing substance abuse counseling use between sessions, he said.
Currently, said Jokinen, in the room there is a pool table that needs resurfacing, as well as a television that could use replacement and a ping-pong table.
Jokinen said the goal is to give the patients “a nice place to go when they have some down time.”
Barbara DeIorio, Jacobi spokeswoman, confirmed the donation and match to repair and replace supplies at Jacobi’s Comprehensive Addition and Treatment Center’s recreation room.
“Providing a place where those in recovery can relax, interact, and spend time in healthy ways is a vital aspect to successful treatment, so we are most grateful for this generous donation,” said DeIorio.
The fund will also sponsor Naxolone training at the City Island Community Center on Tuesday, August 8 at 7 p.m.
The event will teach people to administer the antidote to an overdosing opioid user.
“You don’t learn CPR when someone starts choking,” said Jokinen of the training.
The fund will continue to sponsor City Island Little League regular season and travel teams, he said.
Mark Gilder, John’s father who runs the charity with Jokinen, said he is very pleased how the lawn party continues to grow.
He said that the fact that it didn’t peter out after a couple of years is indicative of the commitment and generosity of his son’s friends.
The John Gilder Scholarship Fund has awarded annual scholarships to four local students at Fordham University studying business, as John Gilder did, since 2012.
The fund has also sponsored a scholarship for film students going to college who are seniors at Greenwich High School since 2010.
This year’s lawn party took place at the Morris Yacht Club on City Island.