COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Robert Cavaliere is president of the Kiwanis Club of West End, Marine Park and Dyker Heights. “We hold a few fundraisers throughout the year to support charities that we favor. One of them is called Kamp Kiwanis,” he said.
Cavaliere has also been involved with Parkville Youth Organization since 1991. “I started there as an assistant coach,” he recalled, noting that he had been girls’ softball director. “Back in the day, we had 27 girl softball teams from Marine Park to Red Hook playing.”
MOTIVATION: Cavaliere’s love for youth sports started due to her daughters. “I started coaching them at Saint Bernadette.” Parkville then asked him to coach kids in its league.
“They needed someone to coach and I was worried at first,” Cavaliere recalled. “I was afraid of kids. I didn’t know how to talk to them.” He quickly learned how and developed a passion for teaching kids various sports and also how to have fun doing so. “It was the greatest to get them to play highly competitively and give them confidence. I loved it and couldn’t get enough of it.”
CAREER: Cavaliere started out as a printer photographer. In 1981, he worked for Brooklyn Union Gas, now known as National Grid, where he stayed until 1993, when he retired. “I finished as a quality control specialist and I did most of my work out in the field.”
BIGGEST CHALLENGE: One of the biggest challenges experienced by Cavaliere has been seeing participation in sports decrease over the years. “Numbers and attendance have dwindled,” he said. “It seems that something else is attracting them, like computers. Maybe it makes it easier for parents to keep them in front of a television instead of going to the park.” Still, Parkville’s football program is successful.
BIGGEST ACHIEVEMENT: One of Cavaliere’s prouder moments was when he was Fontbonne athletic director. “I expanded all the sports programs, such as softball, basketball and soccer,” he said. “I try to expand sports and get more children to participate. Everyone assigned to a team gets to play. It doesn’t matter how bad you are. We’ve had handicapped children playing. I want always to be there for the kids.”
PERSONAL LIFE: Cavaliere used to live in Brooklyn, but now lives with his daughters Josephine and Jacqueline in Staten Island. He also has two grandchildren, Thomas and Katie, from his daughter Jennifer. “They make my day,” Cavaliere said.