In East Hampton, Whalebone Block Party Will Benefit 11-Year-Old


The annual block party at Whalebone Village Apartments is once again expected to bring neighbors together, but this time it’s for a different reason—to benefit Yennifer Rodriguez, who is losing her eyesight.

According to Virginia St. John, who runs a parenting group at the apartment complex, Yennifer, 11, has a degenerative eye condition and is in desperate need of an operation to prevent permanent blindness. Doctors have not yet identified the exact disease—she is still undergoing testing, Ms. St. John said.

Yennifer’s family is from the Dominican Republic and does not speak English, so Ms. St. John has been advocating for them since she found out about the situation. “I’ve been working a little bit with the family as they’re becoming aware of Yennifer’s condition,” she said. “Money is a major source of stress for them.”

The block party is typically free and has historically been held for those who live at the complex, but this year it will be open to the entire community for Yennifer’s sake. A suggested minimum donation of $5 per person will go directly to help pay Yennifer’s medical bills. Children’s admission is free.

“Everyone is invited,” Ms. St. John said. “We want to show off this multicultural piece of East Hampton—a wonderful, warm and supportive community that is very diverse.”

Aside from music and dancing, block partiers will enjoy food from 15 different countries, including Colombia, Puerto Rico, Ecuador, Germany, Ireland, Poland and Italy. Games with prizes and raffles are also planned for the event.

This is the first year that the block party has ever benefited anyone financially, Ms. St. John said.

“These families are low-income but also a very loving and supportive community,” she said. “The $5 admission is a low figure, but it’s in keeping with the abilities of the neighbors. Part of community is taking care of each other.”

The block party is slated for Sunday, July 21, from 4 to 7 p.m. at the apartment complex at 147 Boatheaders Lane in East Hampton.

Those unable to attend but who want to donate toward Yennifer’s medical bills may send a check to Whalebone HDFC Incorporated, 147 Boatheaders Lane, East Hampton, NY 11937, and write “for Yennifer” on the check memo line.

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