2007 Nassau BOCES Education Partner Award Honoree
What Color Is Love Inc.
Because she was born in a “veil,” Gloria Virgile was destined to be luck all her life. “That’s what my mother always told me,” she smiles.
But it was more than luck that brought Gloria and her program the acclaim it has received. The profound impact of What Color is Love is apparent from the little 6-year-old girl who said, I have it tape recorded in my heart” to Jamie, the autistic 12-year-old child who does not relate to the world, does not want to touch or be touched by anyone, but who went up to Gloria at the end of the program, with slow, heavy-gaited-steps, for a hug.
Her “Love” journey began in 1988 when Virgile began conducting programs free for school districts that due to budgetary constraints could not afford even the small fee she charged to cover her costs. During this time she conducted more than 500 programs in Nassau County schools and brought the story of “Love” to more than 10,000 county students. By 1995 - at the prompting of folks at Fleet Bank, who embraced her program and funded a “What Color is Love?” video and coloring book - Gloria applied for and received 501-c-3 nonprofit status. This opened the doors for additional grants. She has since earned financial support from a number of major firms, including JP Morgan Chase and Polly-O, and has used those dollars on behalf of children in the Malverne, Elmont, Freeport, Hempstead, East Meadow, Uniondale and Roosevelt districts, to name a few. She was awarded a Racial Harmony and Diversity Grant for six successive years.
A true education partner, Gloria responded to a request from the New York State Association for Education of Young Children to conduct professional development workshops so that educators could experience the program and share ideas on how to present it in their classrooms. To date, more than 500 Nassau County educators have attended her workshops, learning innovative ways to portray the program’s themes of love, brotherhood and self-esteem.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., Virgile’s past careers include high school and college teaching, performing as a member of the Screen Actors Guild, and creating and appearing in advertising campaigns, such as the successful “Did You Have To Be That Good?” campaign for the Automobile Club of America. Virgile also has authored two inspirational books, one for adults drawing from life’s experiences and one for children titled “Samuel the Centerpiece.”
A member of the Human Rights Commission of Nassau County, Virgile and her husband, Lou, have five children and 13 grandchildren.