STAR OF BROOKLYN: Harriet Rosenberg

Harriet Rosenberg – Board Member of the Guild for ExceptionalChildren

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Rosenberg – a retiree who for years hadbeen a member of Community Board 10 – puts a tremendous amount ofeffort into her volunteer activities with the Bay Ridge non-profit,The Guild for Exceptional Children (GEC). The organization providesservices for people with developmental disabilities and theirfamilies. It is such a worthwhile endeavor that I can’t think ofanywhere else I would rather be in community volunteering, shesaid, adding: There is so much emotion involved working with thesespecial children. A former early childhood teacher for P.S. 179,Rosenberg credits her former job as providing impeccable trainingfor her current role at the guild. This is a special program Ilove, because I was a teacher for 30 years, she said. It was anatural fit for me.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Like many nonprofit organizations strugglingin the current economy, Rosenberg cites the financial challenges atthe GEC as the greatest to overcome. The problem is, it’s anot-for-profit organization, she said. It’s hand-to-mouth becausethere are all these costs. Rosenberg also describes the difficultyin appealing to a finite local community of philanthropists. Youkeep going back to the same people and that’s difficult, becauseit’s still a local organization, she said.

DEFINING TRAIT: When asked what has motivated her to donate hertime as a local activist for the last three decades, Rosenberg’sanswer is simple. I’m emotional, she said. I think with myheart. I give that same kind of caring energy to everything I do. Ihope I always still have it. I’m older but I still have thisdrive.

PERSONAL: Rosenberg and her husband, former New York StateSupreme Court Justice Gerard Rosenberg, have lived in Bay Ridge for52 years. The couple raised two sons in the neighborhood who arenow 53 and 49, and they have six grandchildren. Rosenberg was bornin Bensonhurst and has spent her whole life in Brooklyn. Shewouldn’t have any other way. Brooklyn has been my life, she said.Ironically, I never even left to go to school. I got my degree atBrooklyn College. She hopes the Bay Ridge area will never losesits small town charm. It’s got its own kind of feeling that isstill intact, she said of the neighborhood. I hope it doesn’tchange. That would be sad.

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