Press Releases

Options For Community Living’s 40th Anniversary Ruby Gala And Casino Night Honored Dale Cole And Brian Rooney

Options for Community Living, Inc. recently celebrated its 40th Anniversary with a Ruby Gala and Casino Night at the Heritage Club in Bethpage.  The event acknowledged honorees Dale Cole, Newsday/Newsday Charities, and Brian Rooney, Mutual of America as well as the retirement of a founding board member, Michael McClain. Two hundred people attended the event, which raised over $75,000 for Options’ programs that help vulnerable Long Islanders live independently in the community.

Yolanda Robano-Gross, CEO at Options for Community Living, Inc. introduced the evening by acknowledging the challenges of the last two years and recognizing Options employees for their commitment to the mission.  “It has been my privilege, particularly these last two years, to lead and be part of the most caring, compassionate, and strong group of individuals that we call Team Options. Over 200 strong, our team worked tirelessly to ensure the safety, dignity, and care of more than 2,400 men, women, and children across Nassau and Suffolk Counties,” remarked Ms. Robano-Gross.

Options recognized honoree, Dale Cole, Community Affairs Project Manager for Newsday, and the driving force behind Newsday Charities which provides vital support to local nonprofits.

“Dale has impacted countless lives through her work,” stated Yolanda Robano-Gross. “Options has been the grateful recipient of support provided through Newsday Charities for many years. We are thankful for Newsday’s efforts to activate Long Islanders in support of our community’s most vulnerable residents.”

In accepting her award, Dale Cole said, “We know first-hand of Options’ never-ending dedication to helping people find stability in their lives and providing them with the tools they need to move forward.  Thank you to Options for this honor, but the real honor goes to the staff of Options in recognition of the tremendous support they’ve given to the Long Island community for 40 years. I applaud you all.”

Options also recognized the contributions of honoree Brian Rooney, Senior Vice President, Mutual of America, and active supporter of area nonprofit organizations.

“While Brian lends his support to multiple organizations, he is special to us,” said Yolanda Robano-Gross. “He recognizes the needs of nonprofit organizations and acts – by volunteering and through financial support. He believes in giving back whenever possible. I feel privileged to have him in our corner.”

In his acceptance speech, Brian Rooney credited his parents with “teaching him the right thing to do,” and acknowledged the staff at Options for Community Living, for their compassion and kindness. Addressing the audience Brian said, “This is why I am so proud to support Options and the amazing work accomplished by their employees.”

The Ruby Gala also celebrated retiring founding board member Michael McClain who encouraged everyone to “remain vigilant” as advocates for those in need of assistance, and a moving testimonial was provided by Options’ employee Michele M.  Michele is a resident in Options’ supportive housing and works as a peer specialist helping support others in their recovery from mental illness.

Sharing her life experience, Michele said, “Options has played a pivotal role in both my personal and professional life.  I continue to receive the support I need from Options staff and in turn, I can provide support and encouragement to others facing their own struggles. Back in 2017, I had no hope, no vision, no sense of self-worth. But with my family, my treatment team, and Options, I have been able to not only survive but thrive.  And isn’t that what life is all about?”

About Options for Community Living, Inc.

Established in 1982, Options for Community Living, Inc. operates residential programs for adults recovering from mental illness, care coordination services for adults and children with chronic health conditions, and housing and services for homeless people with disabilities and/or HIV/AIDS. Options’ mission to assist people in living independently and with dignity in the community has grown to serve more than 2,400 adults and children annually. For more information about Options for Community Living, Inc., please visit their website at or call 631.361.9020