FTK Celebrates Community Dedication

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Merging glamor and giving, the For the Kids Foundation held its 19th annual Black Tie Gala on April 9, honoring Paula Caylor, the district’s before- and after-school secretary, as Educator Advocate of the Year, and Kurt Bohlsen of Bohlsen Restaurant Group as Community Advocate of the Year.

The Gala, whose theme this year was "Mystique," is the FTK organization's premier fundraising event to benefit students in the district, donating more than $1 million for educational programs since its formation. Community and local business members in attendance at Villa Lombardi's in Holbrook were entertained by a jazz band of student-musicians from the high school, directed by Christopher Neske.

Caylor, a Bay Shore native and alumna of Bay Shore High School, married her husband Rick soon after graduation, and they have two sons, Keith and Ken. She began her career as a secretary and bookkeeper for an accounting firm. After 24 years, the firm’s owner retired and she switched to public education, starting as a paraprofessional for two years in the Bay Shore School District. Caylor accepted a position with the East Islip School District in 2002, and serves as the before- and after-school secretary for the district. She has helped organize numerous events for both the district and FTK during her 14 years as an integral member of the East Islip staff.

Bohlsen and his family own and operate the Bohlsen Restaurant Group. He is among the third generation of the Bohlsen family to carry on their traditions of hospitality and community service. He began his education in the East Islip School District, attending through ninth grade. After attending Choate Rosemary Hall preparatory school in Connecticut, he returned to graduate from East Islip High School. He earned a bachelor’s degree in hospitality administration from Boston University, and went on to open acclaimed restaurants including Prime and Harbor Club at Prime in Huntington, Monsoon in Babylon, H20 in Smithtown, and Verace, Tellers and Pizza Parm in Islip. He and his family have hosted and contributed their efforts to numerous fundraising efforts for Southside Hospital and causes from breast cancer to Superstorm Sandy. Bohlsen currently resides in East Islip with his wife Oriana, a mathematics educator, and daughter Hannah, who attends East Islip Middle School.

Caylor and Bohlsen both received proclamations from local lawmakers in attendance, State Sen. Phil Boyle and Suffolk County Legislator Tom Cilmi.

“We were thrilled to honor Paula and Kurt, as their consistent dedication and loyalty to the FTK Foundation certainly made them worthy of this wonderful honor,” said FTK President Nancy Goldfader. “To those who attended, sponsored or donated to the numerous raffle prizes, we salute you and thank you for your marvelous act of kindness and generosity. On behalf of myself and Vice President Pat Blair, we offer our sincerest thanks to Chairperson Gina VanDenburg, Co-Chair Cathy Lemon and the FTK Black Tie Committee, who rendered countless hours of their time and energy to ensure that the evening would be spectacular and memorable for all.”