GRAND MARSHAL

ELLEN WHITE

As a community leader, entrepreneur, and mom, Ellen White has served as an integral resource for children with developmental disabilities on the South Shore. Through dedication, compassion and humor, Ellen has helped to create a community of inclusion and joy.

Employing her passion for theater, Ellen and her five sisters developed BackYard Players, a summer theatre camp for children. The camp quickly sparked a drive in Ellen that guided her to become the creative force behind South Side High School's successful Centre Stage Program. Centre Stage pairs special-education and general education students who perform an entertaining show each year. Since its founding, Ellen has helped write, direct and produce the all-inclusive play helping Centre Stage to become a popular collaborative community event. In addition to Southside High School Ellen has brought the Centre Stage program to Valley Stream and New Hyde Park Students with developmental disabilities attend HS until the age of 21 when they “age out” of the education system these students are then at risk to lose their network of friends, their social interactions and their community involvement. In response to this need, Ellen and her sisters, Cristine Daly & Joan Kelly, along with the expertise of Ryan Delaney, created Backyard Players & Friends. Backyard Players & Friends is an inclusive art-based community program located in Rockville Centre. This program fosters acceptance through the sharing of ideas, experiences, and creativity. Backyard Players & Friends seeks unity without uniformity, and diversity without fragmentation. They offer community enrichment classes in theater, dance, yoga, zumba and much more. BYP participants are invited to seasonal dances, field trips, and participate in community service events. The sense of joy found at Backyard Players & Friends is unparalleled. The program has proven to encourage lasting bonds amongst its members and the community.

In 2013, Ellen helped found The Jillian E. Daly Foundation. It was in this same year that the JED foundation became an integral part of the RVC St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In 2014, Ellen had the distinct honor of being named RVC Herald Person of the Year. A few years later, in 2017, BackYard Players & Friends was chosen as the local charity for the parade. As the co-founder and Director of BYP, Ellen served endlessly to fundraise and support the parade’s initiatives. Her efforts were again recognized in 2017 as she was awarded the New York State “Woman of Distinction” honor by State Senator Todd Kaminsky. The Rockville Centre community did not fail to appreciate Ellen’s unique talent and drive and granted Ellen the 2018 Eugene J. Murray Outstanding Citizenship Award. More recently, Ellen has pioneered the development of “Mary’s BackYard”, an outdoor playspace at St. Mark’s, comprised of various elements of music, art, science, literature, and theatre. “Mary’s BackYard” is an inviting space for all members of the community to explore, collaborate, and harmonize.

Nonetheless, Ellen’s credentials do not end with entrepreneurship, creative arts, and community outreach. Ellen also worked with the RVC Lacrosse Club for years and helped start the Girls Program. Ellen is a loving mother, nana, wife, sister, aunt, and friend. She values the strength of family and will offer support to anyone in need. She has been a devout community member in Rockville Centre for over twenty-five years along with her husband, Chris, and their four sons: Tim, Christopher, Ryan, and Terence. Anyone who has had the privilege of meeting Ellen, knows how generous, kind and driven she is. Ellen has always put others first and her selflessness is something to be emulated. In virtue of these qualities, we are proud to announce Ellen White as the Grand Marshall for the 2020 RVC St. Patrick’s Day Parade- The parade that shares and cares!