Star of Brooklyn: Sandy Irrera


COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: For most of her life, Sandy Irrera has been giving back to her community from the love in her heart through countless fundraisers and organizations that help those in need.

To mention just one organization, Irrera’s work with the American Cancer Society has been incredible. As captain of the P.S. 204/Santa’s helpers team for 11 years, she led the team as it raised over $70,000 for ACS with a record of $29,610 in 2008.

Additional community service includes volunteer work with the Women’s Survival Space Shelter, the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, the River Fund, No More Tears Puppy Rescue, Mapleton Kiwanis Bingo for Baskets, and Hearts Connected.

MOTIVATION: Irrera’s constant source of motivation is the feeling that she gets from making differences in people’s lives. “When I was 14 years old, I was a candy striper at Victory Memorial Hospital,” Irrera recalls. “I got a kick out of helping to brighten people’s day. It was a great feeling.”

Irrera also finds inspiration from the continuous support that has helped her through fundraising and donation efforts. Organizations and businesses such as P.S. 204/Vince Lombardi School, Almonte’s Food Dynasty, Lonestar Bar & Grill, P.S. 748, and Continuations Consignment Shop have all greatly contributed to her effort.

OBSTACLES: Being surrounded by so much positivity for so many years has acted as a shield to any negative energy that has tried to enter Sandy’s life. “I’ve never had any downfall,” she says. “There’s always good in something. Everyone can contribute even if they don’t have money.”

GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT: Positively impacting someone’s life will always be a personal achievement in Irrera’s life. “For people who give up on hope, I am their hope,” she said. “I was told once that I restored someone’s faith. It is such an incredible and fulfilling feeling to know that I have the ability to do that to people.”

CAREER: Now retired, for 24 years Irrera did exceptional work for the Guild for Exceptional Children, providing clinical, therapeutic, educational, social, residential, recreational and support services.

“Almost every holiday, I invited the consumers to spend it with me so they could experience a regular holiday,” said Irrera. “It’s such a rewarding treat.”

PERSONAL LIFE: Irrera is greatly supported by her husband of 30 years, Thomas Irrera, her two daughters, Nanci and Tiffany, her sisters, Maria Dimino and Vivian Monaco, and her friends, Steve Deleo and Salvatore Utano.

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