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Realizing Dreams at Bay Ridge Connects


Gail Karpf, a long-time resident of Bay Ridge, had a dream to facilitate a book club. As a teacher for 40 years (her favorite grade to teach was 7th), she would regularly curate reading programs for her students. Yet, she craved the opportunity to read, share and discuss books with adults.


Gail walked by the newly established Bay Ridge Connects office one day in the fall of 2019 and stopped in to check it out. Upon entering, she announced, “Hi, I’m a retired teacher and it’s always been my dream to facilitate a book club. Do you have one?” Cheryl Utley, the Director, said “Welcome and no. Come in and let’s talk about it.” Gail and Cheryl quickly worked out a monthly gathering for the “Books on the Ridge” reading club. Gail was able to recruit some friends and the staff pulled in others. Gail facilitated two gatherings of the book club at Bay Ridge Connects before...


the pandemic landed.


But that didn’t stop Gail or her club mates. Gail got trained on how to host a group on Zoom, and she hasn’t looked back. She was familiar with Zoom, because she was actively participating in the Meditation and Mindfulness online classes (started by intern Braden Marks and now taught by Lorraine Perricone-Dazzo), which she loved. And since several of the members of the club were also her friends, everyone was patient with her as she got things set-up.


Gail encourages others to find their passion and share it with a Zoom class:

“It’s not hard, but you have to go with your passion, do what’s natural to you … like breathing. If you’re not passionate about it, then participants will notice, and you’ll have an empty room. The tech isn’t hard. Besides there are good trainers and staff at Bay Ridge Connects to help you with that.”



Gail was interviewed by Bay Ridge Connects staff member David Dring on Wednesday, August 19, 2020. Look for Books on the Ridge once a month on our online calendar. It's usually the 2nd or 3rd Thursday of the month at 2pm. Click on the listing for information about the next month's book.

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