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Past Events

2021 American Dream Awards Gala Raises Thousands Towards Its Senior Hot Meal Program and Supports for Local Health Care Workers in The Fight Against COVID-19

DANBURY, CT- The Seventh Annual American Dream Awards Gala, hosted by The New American Dream Foundation, Inc. (TNADF), a 501(c)(3) organization, was held on September 17, at the Amber Room Colonnade, with nearly 300 guests in attendance.

The Foundation required guests to provide proof of vaccination, or a negative Covid-19 test, taken within 72 hours of the date of the event to attend.

TNADF's Vice-President, Emanuela Palmares, was the master of ceremonies for the evening, marked by moving speeches including special remarks by U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal and inspirational videos produced by RmediA of Danbury.

The program was also adorned with a dance performance by Danbury High School students under the guidance of Theatre Arts Teacher/Director Michael Burnett, of Alicia Keys' "Good Job" dedicated to all front-line workers, as well as musical selections throughout the evening performed by Dawn Tallman, The Queen of Gospel Energy, dedicated to the award categories.

TNADF's COVID-19 Hot Meal Program inspired the event's theme: Honoring our COVID-19 Warriors. Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, the program has served children, families, and seniors in Danbury with nearly 30,000 meals purchased at cost from The Amber Room Colonnade, the official venue for its annual gala.

A $2,000 scholarship, provided by the event's presenting sponsor, Ingersoll Auto of Danbury, was awarded to Samuel Goes Justo, an aspiring biomedical engineer. Justo was selected by TNADF's president Celia Bacelar Palmares.

From the proceeds of the event ticket sales, TNADF donated $15,000 to NUVANCE Health towards:

- Continued education of NUVANCE's staff to support attendance at conferences (in-person or virtually) and other educational opportunities related to COVID-19.

- Assisting NUVANCE employee morale efforts by providing funds to bring ice cream trucks to campus, pizza parties, and more to the staff who continue to treat COVID patients.

The remaining proceeds of the event ticket sales, coupled with a generous donation of $25,000 from Themis Klarides and Greg Butler, was presented to Celia Bacelar Palmares, nearly fully funding The New American Dream Foundation's Hot Meal for Seniors and other programs for the year 2022.

"The pandemic has completely reshaped our Foundation and changed all our lives. So, the American Dream Awards provided a much-deserved celebration of some of the 'COVID-19 Warriors' that stepped up during this time in our community," said Palmares.

The gala also included an award ceremony featuring six categories selected by The New American Dream Foundation in partnership with the City of Danbury.

COVID WARRIOR – awarded to an individual that has led the fight against COVID-19 in our community. Honoree: Former Mayor Mark D. Boughton

COMMUNITY WARRIOR – awarded to an institution that has invested in the battle against the virus. Honorees: Union Savings Bank and Union Savings Bank Foundation

HEALTH CARE WARRIOR – awarded to an individual or an institution on the front lines in the battle against the virus. Honorees: NUVANCE Health and Dr. John Murphy

EDUCATION WARRIOR – awarded to an individual or an institution that has gone above and beyond to support students during the pandemic. Honorees: Park Avenue Elementary School & Principal David Krafick

SENIOR'S WARRIOR – awarded to an individual that has gone above and beyond to support seniors. Honorees: Anne Roby and Larry Dodd

YOUNG WARRIOR – awarded to an individual under 16 years old that sprang into action. Honoree: Frankie DeMunda

"We congratulate all honorees for their efforts! We are overwhelmed with the support we have received from our community and so inspired to continue to serve. I want to thank all who have supported our gala in any shape or form. We could not have done this without you!" said Celia Bacelar Palmares.


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