Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams honored a local baker who organizes birthday celebrations for children in need Wednesday.
Maria Nitti, the owner of Isabella’s Creations (6605 13th Avenue) in Dyker Heights was declared “Hero of the Month” for May, and lauded at a ceremony in the rotunda of Brooklyn Borough Hall, a continuation of Borough President Adams’ “Hero of the Month” initiative honoring the accomplishments of Brooklynites from all walks of life.
“These women went beyond the call of duty,” said Borough President Adams. “Their work personifies the work of a hero — going beyond their job descriptions to fulfill a need and provide real help to people in our community. Oftentimes we think of saving a life as a physical act by a police officer or a firefighter in an emergency. But anyone who has touched a life as Maria and Rose have has also saved a life.”
In 2014, Nitti donated several boxes of cupcakes for a Christmas party at the CAMBA Flagstone Family Center in Brownsville, a shelter for about 150 families with more than 400 children.
After seeing the joy on the faces of children at the shelter, the baker decided to launch Operation Birthday Party. Every month, she organizes local food vendors to throw a celebration with birthday cake, a disc jockey, face painting, and gifts for children at the shelter who are celebrating their birthdays.
“Maria recognized that the children living in a homeless shelter often miss out on the joy of being a child,” said Adams. “Even more than simply saying ‘Happy Birthday,’ she wanted to create memories for the children, and offer them a chance to have cake and open presents and enjoy that experience of being a child. By organizing other local business owners to contribute, she has become a hero for children.”
Also honored at the ceremony for June’s “Hero of the Month,” was Rose Graham, vice principal of PS 399 Stanley Eugene Clarke in East Flatbush. Graham has dedicated her life to the profession of teaching, first in her native Jamaica and then at both parochial and public schools in New York City since 1983.
As vice principal, she created literacy programs for adults and children as well as a summer Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM) initiative to encourage students to pursue these fields of study. For her efforts, she was recently honored with a New York Daily News “Hometown Heroes in Education” award.
“I am proud to honor Rose as a leader in education here in Brooklyn,” said Adams. “Much of her work has focused on STEM proficiency that will allow our children to compete in the 21st century. In addition, her work on adult literacy responds to a need that has too often been ignored: the many adults who cannot read and should have that ability. Her career as an educator has been heroic.”
Last summer, Bath Beach Carvel owners Richie and Rosa Stakofsky were honored as heroes by the borough president for their philanthropy and commitment to the neighborhood.