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1199SEIU Training and Employment Funds 55 Plus Yonkers Connections 9/11 Memorial & Museum A -HOME AARP - Tax Aide Program Abbott House Ability Beyond Academic Pathways ACCES-VR New York State Education Department Adopt-A-Dog Inc. Afya Foundation of America: Supplies for Life Aging in Place in White Plains Aisling Irish Community Center Allied Community Enterprises, Inc. ALS Association Alternatives to Violence Project Alzheimers Association Amani Public Charter School American Association of University Women - Westchester American Cancer Society - Hudson Valley Region American Cancer Society Making Strides Against Breast Cancer American Diabetes Association American Heart Association American Pakistan Foundation American Red Cross Metro New York North Chapter American Red Cross Northeastern New York Amy's Greenhouse Andrus Children's Center Andrus on Hudson Angelman Syndrome Foundation April's Child ARC of Rockland ARC of Westchester ArchCare at Home Areyvut, Inc. Ariva Arthritis Foundation, The ArtsWestchester Asociacion de Familias Hispanas of Tarrytown At Home In Somers At Home on the Sound Atlas Corps Atria Senior Living - Briarcliff Manor Audubon Center at Greenwich Autism Project F.L.O.S. Autism Science Foundation Autism Speaks Axial Theatre Back-to-School Clothes for Kids Baking Memories 4 Kids Basecamp Westchester Inc. Bear Mountain Toll House Visitor Center Bedford 2020 Bedford 2020 (Food Forum 2017) Bedford Audubon Bedford Historical Society Bethel Nursing, Rehab, and Retirement Homes Bethesda Social Day Center Better Business Bureau Mid-Hudson Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Rockland County Big Brothers Big Sisters of Family Services of Westchester Bike Walk Alliance of Westchester-Putnam (BWAWP) Birthright of Rockland County, Inc. Blue Door Art Center Blythedale Children's Hospital Boy Scouts of America Westchester-Putnam Council Boys & Girls Club of New Rochelle Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester Boys and Girls Club of Mount Vernon NY Bread of Life Breadwinners Foundation, The Briarcliff Manor Public Library BRiDGES Bridges to Community Brieant Youth Alliance, The Bristal at White Plains, The Bronx River Parkway Reservation Conservancy Bryn Mawr Children's Learning Center Burke Rehabilitation Hospital Cabrini Eldercare CAGeM Camp AmeriKids Camp Herrlich Cancer Support Team Caramoor Center for Music and The Arts CAREERS Support Solutions Caring for the Homeless of Peekskill Inc. Caritas of Port Chester Carl L. Dixson Primary School Catholic Charities Archdiocese of New York Catholic Charities Community Services Center for Safety and Change Cerebral Palsy of Westchester ChangingThePresent Chiku Awali African Dance, Arts & Culture, Inc. Child Advocacy Center of Putnam County Child Care Council of Westchester Children of Promise Stable, Inc. Children's Village, The Choice of New York City of New Rochelle Office for the Aging City of New Rochelle Parks & Recreation Department City of Yonkers City of Yonkers CERT Claremont School Clay Art Center CLUSTER Community Services Collaborative for Palliative Care College Summit Colon Cancer Challenge Foundation Common Ground Community Awareness Network for a Drug-free Life and Environment (CANDLE) Community Capital New York Community Cats Community Center of Northern Westchester Community Food Pantry at St. Mary's Community Housing Innovations Community Housing Innovations, Inc. Community Opportunity Center of the Tarrytowns, Inc. Community Service Associates Community YMCA of Northern Westchester Compassion & Choices of New York Concern Worldwide US Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County Cornell Cooperative Extension of Rockland County Cornell Cooperative Extension of Westchester County Corporate Angel Network County Harvest Creative Response to Conflict, Inc. Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America - Fairfield / Westchester Chapter Crossover Yoga Project CSDNR Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Daybreak Independent Services, Inc. Destination: College Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry at South Presbyterian Church Dolan Middle School Dominican College of Blauvelt DOROT Westchester Dress For Success New York Eastchester Public Library Eastchester Senior Nutrition Center EcoNeighbors Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary Edna L. Roker Social Adult Day Center Educated Canines Assisting with Disablilities EF International School of English Eileen Fisher Leadership Institute Elinor Martin Residence for Mother & Child, The Elisa Lanera Foundation (ELF) Elizabeth Seton Children?s Foundation Emanuel Foundation, The Emelin Theatre Emergency Shelter Partnership Empire State Development Enclave at Port Chester Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, The Endeavor Therapeutic Horsemanship, Inc. Family Resource Center Family Service Society of Yonkers Family Services of Westchester (FSW) Family YMCA at Tarrytown Family-to-Family, Inc Federated Conservationists of Westchester County Ferncliff Manor Field Library Fieldhome First Presbyterian Church Food Pantry First Seventh Day Adventist Church Food Pantry FISH of Heritage Hills Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network Food Bank for Westchester Inc. FoodSync Foreign Policy Association Foster Kids Unite, Inc. Friends of Karen Friends of the Dobbs Ferry Public Library Friends of the Mamaroneck Library Friends of the Mozartina/Tarrytown Music Hall Friends of the New Rochelle Library Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct Friends of the Port Chester/Rye Brook Public Library Friends of Weinberg Nature Center Fun For Cure, Inc. FURBRIDGE, INC Furniture Sharehouse Future Leaders 4 Success Inc Garito Manor GiGi's Playhouse Westchester Gilda's Club Westchester Giolai Girl Scouts Heart of the Hudson, Inc Girls Inc. Westchester Give More HUGS Graham Windham Gramatan Village, Inc. GramatanVillage,INC Graph It Forward Today Green Chimneys Greenburgh Arts and Cultural Committee Greenburgh Evergreen Club Greenburgh Nature Center Greenburgh Public Library Greyston Groundwork Hudson Valley grow! Lincoln Park Community Garden Guiding Eyes for the Blind Gullotta House Inc H.O.M.E. Inc. Habitat for Humanity of Rockland Habitat for Humanity of Westchester Hammond Museum Harrison Food Pantry Harrison Public Library Hawthorne Foundation Inc Head Start Rockland, Inc. Hearing Loss Association of America/Westchester Chapter Hearthstone Alzheimer Care Heartsong, Inc. Heavenly Productions Foundation Helping Hands for the Homeless Helping Hands Rockland Hendrick Hudson Free Library Her Honor Mentoring Highview Elementary School Hillside Food Outreach Hilltop Hanover Farm Historic Hudson Valley Hi-Tor Animal Care Center, Inc. Holocaust and Human Rights Education Center HomeFront, Inc. Hope Community Services Hope's Door Hospice and Palliative Care of Westchester Hospice Care of Westchester and Putnam Housing Action Council, Inc. Howard University Alumni Club of Westchester and Rockland Hudson River Audubon Society Hudson River HealthCare Hudson River Museum Hudson Valley Blood Services Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art Hudson Valley Community Services, Inc. Hudson Valley Developmental Disabilities Service Office Hudson Valley Gateway Chamber of Commerce Hudson Valley Honor Flight Hudson Valley Justice Center Hudson Valley Pet Food Pantry, Inc. Hudson Valley Singers, The Hudson Valley Special Olympics Hugh Doyle Senior Center Huguenot & New Rochelle Historical Association Human Development Services of Westchester Humane Society of Westchester IFCA Housing Network Infinite Family Institutes of Applied Human Dynamics, Inc. Integrated Peace Arts Irvington Town Hall Theater, Inc. It Takes a Village Italian Hospital Society, Inc. Jacob Burns Film Center, Inc. James F. Galgano Senior Center Jansen Hospice and Palliative Care Jawonio Jay Heritage Center Jazz For Peace JCC of Mid-Westchester JCC on the Hudson JCY Westchester Community Partners Jennifer Fante Foundation Jewish Child Care Association (JCCA) John A. Coleman School John Jay Historic Homestead State Historic Site John Jay Homestead State Historic Site J-Teen Leadership Junior Achievement of New York Junior League of Central Westchester Junior League of Northern Westchester Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Katonah Museum of Art Katonah Village Library Keep Putnam Beautiful Keep Rockland Beautiful Keon Center/ CARC, Inc. Kids X-Press, Inc La Plaza de Paulo Larchmont Public Library Larchmont/Mamaroneck Hunger Task Force Latino U College Access, Inc. Leake & Watts Service, Inc. Leave The Light On Foundation Legal Services of the Hudson Valley Let's Get Ready! Let's Play It Forward Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Leviticus Fund LIFE Progressive Services Group Inc. Lifting Up Westchester Lighthouse Guild Lincoln Depot Foundation Literacy Volunteers of the Tarrytowns (LVT) Little Orphan Animals Live On New York LiveOn NY Living History Guild Living Transformation International Center Living Word Christian Church Lois Bronz Children's Center Lord's Pantry, Inc. Love Holds Life Children's Cancer Foundation Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network LPSS,Inc. (Lambda Peer Support Services) MAC Angels Foundation Mahopac Senior Center Make-A-Wish® Hudson Valley Mamaroneck Community Action Program - WestCOP, Inc. Mamaroneck Shares Manitoga/The Russel Wright Design Center March of Dimes March of Dimes - National Office Margeliz Center Social Day Program Martin Luther King Multi Purpose Center Meals On Wheels of New Rochelle, INC. Meals on Wheels of White Plains Meals on Wheels of Yonkers Meals on Wheels Programs & Services of Rockland, Inc. Meals on Wheels-Bronxville Meals on Wheels-Mamaroneck Meals On Wheels-Scarsdale Mental Health Association of Westchester County Midnight Run Montefiore New Rochelle Mount Carmel Baptist Church Mount Kisco Child Care Center Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry, The Mount Kisco Public Library Mount Kisco Senior Center Mount Pleasant Public Library Mount Vernon Animal Shelter Mount Vernon Day Care Center Mount Vernon Youth Bureau Mt. Vernon Armory Senior Center Mt. Vernon Public Library Muscular Dystrophy Association My Brother's Keeper My Future - Money Management Workshops, Inc My Second Home of FSW My Sisters' Place NAMI Westchester National Action Council for Minorities in Engineering National Educational Alliance for Borderline Personality Disorder National Kidney Foundation Serving Greater New York National MS Society National Multiple Sclerosis Society Neighbors Link Nepperhan Community Center Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship Neuberger Museum of Art New Roc The Vote New Rochelle Cares AIP New Rochelle Chamber Of Commerce New Rochelle Council on the Arts New Rochelle Day Nursery New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority New Rochelle Public Library New Rochelle YMCA New Rochelle Youth Bureau New Westchester Symphony Orchestra New York Basket Brigade New York Blood Center New York State Veterans Home at Montrose New York-New Jersey Trail Conference NewYork-Presbyterian Hudson Valley Hospital NewYork-Presbyterian Lawrence Hospital Nonprofit Westchester North Rockland food pantry Northern Westchester Hospital NSSA at Mt. Vernon Nyack Center NYSIgN One Change at a Time One Sandwich At a Time Only Make Believe Open Door Family Medical Center Operation Gratitude Operation PROM Ossining Children's Center Ossining Food Pantry Ossining Micro Fund Our New Way Garden Pace University Pace Women's Justice Center Paine to Pain Trail Half Marathon Pajama Program - Westchester Chapter, The PALS Programs PARC Parents Place Parks & Trails New York Partnership for School and Community Renewal Passage to Excellence Corporation Patterson Chamber of Commerce Paws Crossed PEACE OUTside Campus, The Lindsey M. Bonistall Foundation Peekskill Celebration Peekskill Clay Studios Peekskill Presbyterian Church Pegasus Therapeutic Riding, Inc. Pelham Art Center Pelham PACT Coalition Penguin Plunge Inc. People To People Pet Rescue of Larchmont Phelps Memorial Hospital Pinwheel Project, The PKD Foundation- Hudson Valley Chapter Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic Pleasantville Music Festival Pleasantville Recycles Port Chester Cares Community Coalition Port Chester Council of Community Services Posh Pets Animal Rescue Pound Ridge Land Conservancy Pro Bono Partnership Project Morry Providence House- New Rochelle Shelter Public-Private Alliance Foundation Pulmonary Hypertension Association Purchase Fire Department Purchase Free Library Putnam Arts Council Putnam Children's Discovery Center Putnam County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Putnam Family and Community Services Putnam Hospital Center Putnam Humane Society Putnam Recreation Programs & Habilitation, Inc. Putnam Valley Community Food Pantry Putnam/North Westchester BOCES Outdoor Education Program Putnam/Northern Westchester Women's Resource Center Reading Hamlets Reform Temple of Putnam Valley Regency Extended Care Center Resident Resource Center Retired Educators Consulting Service Reverse The Course Richmond Community Services RideConnect Riverkeeper Rivertown Artists Workshop Rivertown Runners Rivertowns Village Green Rockland Community Foundation Rockland County Office for the Aging Rockland County YMCA Rockland Farm Alliance Rockland Interfaith Breakfast Program Rockland Psychiatric Center Rockland Road Runners Ronald McDonald House of the Greater Hudson Valley Rotary Club of Yorktown RSHM LIFE Center Rye Fire Department Rye Nature Center Rye Town Park Alliance Rye YMCA Saint Mary's Rehabilitation Center San Souci Nursing Home Sarah Lawrence College Center for the Urban River at Beczak Save The Sound Scarsdale Audubon Scarsdale Edgemont Family Counseling Service Schnurmacher Center for Rehab and Nursing SCORE - Putnam SCORE - Rockland SCORE - Westchester Selfhelp Community Services, Inc. SER of Westchester - Inc Services, Education and Resources Sharing Community, The Sheldrake Environmental Center Sheltering the Homeless Is Our Responsibility, Inc (SHORE) Sierra Club - Lower Hudson Group Sisters From The Heart Sky View Nursing Home Sleepy Hollow Lions Club Somers Historical Society Somers Manor Nursing Home Somers Nutrition Program Songcatchers Inc. Soup Angels South East Consortium for Special Services, Inc. Sowing for Souls Ministries SPARC, Inc - Special Program And Resource Connection SPCA of Westchester SPELLBINDERS, Peekskill Chapter Sprain Brook Manor Rehab and Nursing Facility Spring Community Partners SPRYE, Inc. St. Christopher's, Inc. St. Christopher's, Inc/Our New Way Garden St. John's Riverside Hospital St. Joseph's Medical Center St. Peter's-St. Denis Church Stage Love Theater Company Inc. Steppin Up Yonkers Stepping Stones, the historic home of Bill and Lois Wilson Sterling Youth Leadership Development, LTD Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture Student Advocacy, Inc. Student Assistance Services Suffern Farmers' Market Sun & Moon Yoga Sunshine Children's Home and Rehab Center SUNY Purchase Support Connection Susan G. Komen Greater NYC Tappan Hill School Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow Community Food Pantry Tarrytown Community Opportunities Center Tarrytown Environmental Advisory Council Tarrytown Lakes Committee Teach To Learn Foundation Teatown Lake Reservation The Barbara E. Giordano Foundation The Bridge Fund of Westchester The Carcinoid Cancer Foundation The Carver Center The Center for Aging in Place The Center for Career Freedom The Community Resource Center The Fountains At RiverVue The Friends of Scarsdale Parks The Future Society Inc. The Giver's Hand The Grove Rehab The Guidance Center of Westchester The Hudson Valley Writers' Center The Jewish Board, Westchester Campus The Justin Veatch Fund The League of Women Voters - Rye, Rye Brook & Port Chester The LOFT: Lesbian & Gay Community Services The Lustgarten Foundation The Mary J. Blige Center for Women The New Dawn Foundation The New Jewish Home/Sarah Neuman Center The Picture House The Pound Ridge Theatre Company The Preservation Company The Rye Arts Center The Salvation Army - White Plains The Salvation Army - Yonkers The Shikuri Project The Tarrytowns Even Start Family Literacy Partners The White Plains Outdoor Arts Festival The Wolf Conservation Center The Young Center for Immigrant Children's Rights Theodore Young Community Center They Cage the Animals at Night Foundation Thornwood Fire District Today's Students Tomorrow's Teachers Together Our Unity Can Heal, INC. Tommie Cares Topfield Equestrian Center Tourette Syndrome Association of the New York Hudson Valley Chapter Town of Clarkstown Auxiliary Police Department Town of Cortlandt - Senior Center Town of Cortlandt Homeland Safety Office Town of Greenburgh Town of Greenburgh NY Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Town of Mamaroneck Community Services Office Town of New Castle - CERT - Community Emergency Response Team Town of Yorktown Museum Toys for Tots - Westchester County Trails and Rails Program Trailside Museums & Zoo, Bear Mountain State Park Transplant Support Organization, Inc. Tuckahoe Public Library Tuckahoe Senior Center Turkish Cultural Center of Westchester UJA Federation of New York - Westchester Ujamaa Community Development Corp United Community Center of Westchester United for the Troops United Hebrew United Hospice of Rockland, INC. United Nations Association of the U.S.A., Westchester Chapter United Way of Rockland County United Way of Westchester and Putnam Untermyer Performing Arts Council, Inc. Ursuline Social Outreach Adult Learning Center USTA Serves VA Hudson Valley Health Care System Vacamas Programs for Youth VCS Inc. Venture Foundation Veterans Bedside Network Victims Assistance Services VISIONS/Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired Volunteer Action Center Rockland - Chore Service Volunteer Association for Bangladesh (VAB) Volunteers of America Volunteers of America--Valhalla Residence Wainwright House Walkabout Education Foundation Ward Acres Community Garden Warner Library Wartburg Adult Care Community Washingtonville Housing Alliance We Are Family Welfare to Work Foundation/Career Closet WESPAC Foundation West Point Foundry Preserve Westchester Cadet Squadron 1 (Civil Air Patrol) Westchester Children's Association Westchester Children's Museum Westchester Community College Foundation Westchester Community Foundation Westchester Community Opportunity Program, Inc. (WestCOP) Westchester County - Department of Social Services Westchester County Amateur Radio Emergency Service/Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service Westchester County Archives Westchester County Coalition for Drug and Alcohol Free Youth Westchester County Community Mental Health Westchester County Consumer Protection Westchester County Department of Health Westchester County Department of Laboratories and Research Westchester County Department of Parks, Recreation and Conservation Westchester County Department of Planning Westchester County Department of Senior Programs and Services Westchester County District Attorney's Office - Victims Justice Center Westchester County Emergency Services Westchester County Environmental Facilities Westchester County Human Rights Commission Westchester County Office for Women Westchester County Probation Westchester County Public Safety Westchester County Youth Bureau Westchester Disabled on the Move, Inc. Westchester End-of-Life Coalition Westchester FARE Westchester Hispanic Coalition Westchester Independent Living Center Westchester Institute for Human Development Westchester Jewish Community Services Westchester Land Trust Westchester Library System Westchester Martin Luther King, Jr. Institute for Nonviolence Westchester Medical Center Westchester One Stop Employment Center Westchester Parks Foundation Westchester Philharmonic Westchester Putnam School Boards Association Westchester Residential Opportunities Westchester Symphonic Winds Westchester Toughman Triathlon Inc Westchester Veterans Service Agency Westchester/Putnam Workforce Investment Board Westchester-Rockland Project Linus Westchester's Christmas Dinner WESTCOP - Eastchester CAP WestCOP - Tarrytown Community Opportunity Center WestCOP Putnam Community Action Program WESTCOP-Whitney Young Head Start Program Western Connecticut Health Network: Danbury Hospital WestFair Rides WESTHAB Westmoreland Sanctuary WEVR-MRC Westchester Emergency Volunteer Reserves-Medical Reserve Corps White Plains Headstart- FSW White Plains Hospital White Plains Performing Arts Center White Plains Senior Center White Plains Youth Bureau Willow Towers Willows at Ramapo Rehabilitation and Nursing Center, The Woodlawn Conservancy WordStart Early Literacy Foundation World Cares Center Worldwide Community First Responder, Inc. YCOP of Mount Vernon Yes She Can Inc. YMCA of Central & Northern Westchester YMCA of White Plains YoFi Fest, Inc Yonkers African American Hertiage Committee Yonkers Community Action Program Yonkers Community Health Center Yonkers Employment Center Yonkers Family YMCA Yonkers Humane Society Yonkers Land Conservancy Yonkers Partners in Education Yonkers Philharmonic Orchestra Yonkers PTA Yonkers Public Library - Riverfront-Branch Yonkers Public Library-Grinton Will Branch Yonkers Public Schools Yorktown Grange Yorktown Love In Action, Inc Yorktown Senior Nutrition Center Yorktown Teen Center, Inc. Young Professionals Program, United Nations Association of the USA Westchester Chapter Youth Shelter Program of Westchester Youth Theatre Interactions, Inc. YWCA White Plains & Central Westchester YWCA Yonkers Zion' Place, Inc
6/25 - Leadership Westchester Graduation

Registration Now Open For The Leadership Westchester Graduation of Class of 2018

Join us as we induct the graduates of the 21st class of Leadership Westchester and welcome them into our LW Alumni Association as well as recognize the 2018 LW Alumna of the Year, Judith Douglas (LW'08), the Executive Director of the NY Service + Justice Collaborative!

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Volunteer Q&A: Abby Watanabe

How one woman turned retirement into an opportunity to help those less fortunate with Furniture Sharehouse

Don’t be fooled by Abby Watanabe’s diminutive stature or genteel Tennessee twang. The 5’2” Southern native and longtime former resident of Rye with her husband, Henry (they recently relocated to nearby Greenwich, CT), is a force to be reckoned with.

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2018 RSVP of Westchester Spring Recognition Event Honoree: Celeste Vazzana

Celeste Vazzana of Scarsdale first began volunteering at the White Plains Hospital Gift Shop in 1989 and has since volunteered over 6,600 hours of service.

This past week, Celeste was honored for her service as a Senior Corps member, at the annual RSVP of Westchester Spring Recognition event, which took place at Half Moon in Dobbs Ferry, with over 70 fellow RSVP volunteers and guests.

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THANK YOU To All Volunteers Who Took Action With Us During National Volunteer Month or Celebrated Volunteerism At Our 38th Annual Volunteer Spirit Awards!


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Featured Opportunities




Local Changemakers


Leandro Francisco



Leandro Francisco


Volunteer Spirit Awards - Recipient of 2016 Safe Community Award



For Leandro Francisco, as with so many Americans, heart disease is a family matter, reaching him through his mother’s family. For Francisco and for many of the White Plains middle school students who have participated in Hoops for Heart and Hands Only CPR training over the years, the connection between heart disease, heart health and preventive measures is very personal indeed.


Puerto Rican-born Leandro was raised in the Bronx. He attended City College and received his Master’s degree in Health education from Lehman College.  He has worked for nearly 30 years as a coach and health educator. For the last 20 years he has been in the White Plains school district at the Eastview Middle School.


To increase the impact of the event, Eastview schedules the event in March to take advantage of the March Madness excitement.  For the 6th graders, a Hands Only CPR training to the informative rhythm of the Bee Gees’ “Staying Alive” was added.  Students are taught to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke and when to call 911 and how to use a defibrillator.  In order to better instruct educate the over 400 students in the program each year, Francisco has formed a collaboration with the nurses throughout the White Plains City School District.



Jake Gallin



Jake Gallin


Volunteer Spirit Awards - Recipient of 2012 New York Life Youth Leader Award



Since receiving the Youth Leader award in 2012 (at age 13) for his volunteer work as founder of local New Rochelle nonprofit, Stars for Cars, Jake has remained active with his commitment towards supporting Gold Star and Blue Star Military Families – going as far as being named a top-10 youth volunteer in the nation in recognition for his service by the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, partnering with the USO and having his nonprofit selected to be part of the New York Yankees Hope Week (and amongst other distinctions as well). We asked Jake a few follow up questions recently about his experience volunteering:


What’s the most fun you have ever had volunteering? 


That’s a difficult question because there have been so many wonderful experiences throughout the six years I have been volunteering.  I probably had the most fun volunteering while selling our magnetic Star decals in New York City with my friends before Memorial Day 2015.  Another fun experience was hosting a baseball clinic for Military Families at MCU Park last summer.  It is always fun attending the Volunteer Spirit Awards!


Looking back at the time you’ve spent volunteering, what are you most proud of having accomplished?


It’s not the accolades and the awards, although I am very grateful that people have given me a platform to talk about Military Families, but I am most proud of the relationships that have been formed.  I am proud to have formed lasting relationships with Volunteer New York!, the USO, Prudential Financial, the NY Yankees, and schools all across the country. The most important relationship is with the Gold Star Mother who inspired me to found Stars for Cars. If I can inspire one person to acknowledge the sacrifices of the “Blue Star” and “Gold Star” Military Families then that’s an accomplishment to be proud of.


What’s your advice to other youth? 


Connect with something that you feel passionate about. Take that passion and inspire others.  Conversely, if you see that passion in someone else, let that inspire you to serve.  We serve each other to move the world forward. Our generation can move the world forward when we have passion and we inspire each other.  The world can change because we move it, together. 


What does it take to be a great volunteer?


If you are volunteering just to check a box, that isn’t a lot of fun.  Engaging in a fun activity with a positive attitude makes a good volunteer.  Passion makes a great volunteer.


What has volunteering prepared you to do, what are you working on next?


Volunteering helps to fine-tune my leadership skills and to visualize what real progress can look like.  Within the past week we expanded the “3 Holidays Announcement” from 10 states to 23 states.  Over the next few weeks (after finals), I plan to reach out to national organizations to ask them to say the announcement in their stadiums.  During the summer, I plan to contact every U.S. Military Base in the world to let them know that the announcement is being said at home because people haven’t forgotten about their families.  Since Military Families move on average nine times during a school career, it is important to let them know their sacrifice is acknowledged by whatever community they are in.



Henry King



Henry King


Volunteer Spirit Awards - Recipient of 2017 Going Green Award



What began as a Saturday trip to the Cornell Cooperative to pick up some plants for his second home in Sullivan County, took an interesting turn when Henry King, of Rye, decided to stay and attend a seminar on bees. The door prize for attending the seminar was a package of 10,000 newly installed bees complete with a queen bee. “I had never won anything in my life,” King recalls, “I was pretty surprised. My wife, Rosann, thought the whole thing was pretty funny.”
King says that he was brought up to be responsible for other living things and to do the best that one can do to help care for them. This philosophy guided him in those early days, as he read and learned all that he could about bees, their habits and their habitats, so that he could care properly for the bees that he had won. Eventually his studies led him to the City of Rye naturalist, Chantel Deftels, and the Rye Nature Center.  At that point, nearly 20 years ago, the Rye Nature Center had an observation hive but it was not in use. They worked together to get the hive up and functioning again.  King credits Deftels with teaching him a great deal during those years. Eventually he took over caring for the hive and its inhabitants.
King says that he enjoys his flexible and convenient schedule of volunteering at the Rye Nature Center as well as the people that he has met there. “The key to it all is to do something that you enjoy doing,” he says.



Larry Fair



Larry Fair


Volunteer Spirit Awards - Recipient of 2016 Quality of Life Award



When Larry Fair started spending time helping his brother occupy and enrich his nephews’ free time, he turned back to the experiences and lessons of his youth. On the surface of it, Larry Fair had a difficult childhood. He lost both his parents at an early age and he and his two brothers and his sister were sent to the Wartburg Orphan Farm School in Mount Vernon in the late 1960s.  Larry remembers the lessons learned from his house parent, Elfriede Gross with great affection and gratitude. “I may have grown up in an orphanage” he remembers “but I was never made to feel like an orphan”. 


Wartburg and with Mrs. Gross interlaced a philosophy about the effort placed on schoolwork, and the enrichment value of recreational activities with discussions on self-respect, keeping your word, and building and protecting one’s reputation. These experiences and personal philosophies were so engrained in Fair that in later life when he began spending more time with his brother and helping him to find meaningful activities and positive examples for his nephews, he instinctively returned to his own formative experiences.


What began as simple weekend excursions with his nephews to parks and rural locations, to hike, play sports or experience horseback riding snowballed as the children asked to bring friends and the friends asked to bring their parents. Larry laughs as he remembers “Soon we had families setting up carpools and making lunches”. These simple family-based weekend outings expanded in to the a nonprofit 501(C) 3 organization known as The Future Society.  Based in Mount Vernon, the Future Society offers a variety of events and experiences for over 400 children and their parents each year. Their outings include everything whitewater rafting, horseback riding and obstacle courses and sporting events.



Tracy McVey



Tracy McVey


Volunteer Spirit Awards - Recipient of 2017 Education and Literacy Award



Tracy McVey moved to Bronxville with her family, after attending college in Ohio, and later working in banking in Chicago.  Like so many people with young children, she spent her available time volunteering at her daughters’ school and on various PTA projects.   As her three daughters, Taylor, Lane and Grace, began to move on, one by one, to prep school and to college, McVey came to an abrupt realization, “They simply didn’t need me the same way that they used to.”  Tracy had the time available to devote to something that could make a real difference for someone.  In her search for an activity to fill her time and her desire to be of help, McVey found Destination: College.


Destination: College is a grass roots organization begun by a group of Bronxville moms. It was built on a local high school coach’s observation that his athletes lost considerable academic momentum and knowledge over the long summer vacation.  Tracy began over 5 years ago in the early days of the program. Today, the organization deals with a variety of tasks ranging from after school tutoring and summer reading programs, to Regents, SAT and ACT exam preparations. The program’s efforts are focused on specific high school sports teams. Tracey has worked in a variety of roles, but today she is the head of college counseling.  It is a role that she particularly enjoys because she understands fully what a difference going to college can make for a student and his/her family.


Helping others is clearly a family affair for Tracy McVey. She laughingly reveals that she often feels that she is turning into her mother, who was a guidance counselor and teacher in Ohio, who often brought groups of high school students into her home.



Sandra Goldstein Lehnert



Sandra Goldstein Lehnert


Volunteer Spirit Awards - Recipient of 2015 Youth Leader Award



Sandra Goldstein Lehnert joined Student Activists Ending Dating Abuse (SAEDA) her freshman year in high school and she has been involved ever since. “I am not the sort of person that plays sports or a musical instrument. SAEDA offered me the opportunity to be involved, develop a passion for a cause, practice my public speaking and play a leadership role.”


SAEDA is a youth-led education and prevention program for teens sponsored by The Center for Safety and Change. SAEDA fosters a safe environment to talk about issues that may not be easily discussed elsewhere and raise awareness on a variety of topics.


At the end of her freshman year, Goldstein Lehnert became one of the youngest people in the organization to complete a four day training session to become a SAEDA facilitator. Describing herself as being passionate about activist work and wanting to increase acceptance of diversity and equality, Goldstein Lehnert now trains incoming facilitators twice a year and runs weekly after school sub-committee meetings. These meetings cover a variety of topics from teen dating violence, sexual abuse and orientation and other social justice issues. She also leads regular community workshops at the Palisades Mall.


Goldstein Lehnert sees her accumulated volunteer experience as an excellent launching point before starting at Columbia University next fall. She feels volunteering has provided her with a lens to look at the world. When asked how she knows that SAEDA’s programs and efforts are working, Sandra replies, “You can see it working in people’s minds; in their underlying attitudes, in what they respond to and how they say things.”



Jackie Cassagnol



Jackie Cassagnol RN, MSN, PMC


Volunteer Spirit Awards - Recipient of 2015 Safe Community Award



“For as long as I can remember, I have been a volunteer,” says Jackie Cassagnol, founder and president of Nanuet-based Worldwide Community First Responder, Inc. “Most of my family is in the medical profession and we are all volunteers and helpers.”


Cassagnol was leading a student trip to Israel in 2010 when she watched the coverage of the devastating earthquake in Haiti. She was relieved to learn that her extended family was safe but she was left with the overwhelming feeling that there must be something that she could do to help.  She knew that while doctors and nurses certainly have extensive medical training, they don’t always learn emergency preparedness. She knew that there are very real differences about how one needs to operate in an emergency and priorities for action can be different.


Today Jackie travels to Haiti several times a year. She leads training sessions for students and staff about how to be prepared and how to respond in a crisis. She focuses on basic things, like CPR training, what to stock up on, and First Aid skills.


“We are needed everywhere. Our goal is to make a bigger impact and to have more people involved. We have the word ‘Worldwide’ in our name because everyone everywhere can benefit from knowing what to do in an emergency,” says Cassagnol.


Prior to founding Worldwide Community First Responder, Cassagnol worked as a director of nursing, nursing professor and board member of several organizations. She was recently named one of Rockland’s “Forty under 40” by the Rockland Economic Development Corporation. Cassagnol is currently an Adjunct Professor of Nursing at Dominican College. 



Zach Lewis



Zach Lewis


Volunteer Spirit Awards - Recipient of 2016 Youth Leader Award



Zach Lewis began going to the Greenburgh Nature Center as a very young child.  It was a frequent family outing in the midst of his own neighborhood.  Today, Zach sees it as nearly inevitable that he would start volunteering at the earliest opportunity simply so that he could spend more time with the animals that he loves. Initially Zach cleaned the animals’ cages and took care of their food and water needs. Soon he progressed to talking to visitors about the animals.  Zach takes great satisfaction in his involvement with the people and groups that he talks to at the Nature Center. “It makes me feel good to see people understanding the things that I am saying about the animals and how they behave and how they live in the wild.”


A love for animals generally goes along with an awareness of their environment and the issues involved with sustaining that environment. Zach had such thoughts in mind when he began a Garden and Compost Club with one of his teachers at Soundview Preparatory School in Yorktown Heights. This has led to a Zero Waste Project in the school’s lunchroom. “I am pretty insistent about it” Zach reports with a laugh.


Zach’s childhood interests have led him to do additional volunteer work and research at the Veterinary Center for Birds and Exotics in Bedford. While he still has some time before he needs to make that decision, Zach is currently looking forward to majoring in Veterinary Sciences in college.


Animal lover Zach lives in Edgemont with his two dogs, Honey and Louie, his chameleon, Captain, and two geckoes, Bones and Godzilla.



Libby Penner



Libby Penner


SeniorCorps Week 2017 - RSVP of Westchester Volunteer Spotlight



Ms. Elizabeth (Libby) Penner of Garrison, NY is a member of RSVP of Westchester who has been volunteering with VA Hudson Valley Healthcare since December 2009. In that time she has accrued more than 4,066 of volunteer hours. In 2015, she was the recipient of the Female Volunteer of the Year for her outstanding contribution, commitment, and devotion to serving Veterans. Libby began her assignment assisting at the Clothing Store under the direction of an American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) member. Little did she know that one day the ALA member would stepdown and she would be the volunteer responsible for overseeing, supervising, and directing the volunteers that are assigned to the clothing store! “I remember when the ALA member came to my office to tell me that she couldn’t have been any happier or content about her decision to stepdown because she knew she left me in good hands,” said, Yvette Rodriguez, Manager of Volunteer Services at the VA Hudson Valley Healthcare.

Libby is truly a dedicated SeniorCorps member who at times stays late or comes in on unscheduled days to ensure she is able to keep up with the demands of all the clothes being donated, which includes receiving and sorting through donated clothing, doing laundry, ironing, sizing, and labeling items. The total amount of donations she sorted in 2016 and 2017 have a value of approximately $265,672.  She works closely with the Voluntary Specialist informing her of the needs of the Veterans such as purchasing new underwear, socks, undershirts, etc. 

About two years ago along with other great volunteers, she took the task of cleaning a comfort item storage space that was not being utilized properly or maintained.  With her supervision and vision, the room was converted into a beautiful storage area to store throw blankets, miscellaneous comfort items, and lab robes into a more manageable and organized storage space.

In 2016, Libby and the team of volunteers had more than 2,603 visits from Veterans seeking clothing and more than 400 new Veterans using the Clothing Store.  So far, for in 2017, there have been more than 1,491 visits from Veterans and 233 new Veterans utilizing the Clothing Store.  As you can see, Libby is an exceptional volunteer with amazing attributes.  “She comes in to volunteer making a great impact on the veterans and staff that she helps day in and day out. I am always proud to show-off the Clothing Store.  Many visitors are amazed on how wonderful and well-organized it is kept.  There are tags on the pants showing their sizes, everything is ironed, and smelling great!” said Yvette.

“I truly cannot think of anyone more worthy of being spotlighted during Senior Corps week than Elizabeth (Libby) Penner. We are truly grateful for her dedication to our facility and the veterans that we serve.  She is an asset to Voluntary Service.”



Irene Harris



Irene Harris


SeniorCorps Week 2016 - RSVP of Westchester Volunteer Spotlight



Meet, Irene. An active member of RSVP of Westchester who loves to swim, read mystery books and the New York Times -- and just celebrated her 100th birthday without missing a beat.

Irene was born in Illinois in 1916, has one sister and two brothers. She has 7 grand kids and three great grandsons and lives in Thornwood.  She graduated from Iowa University and got her masters from Columbia.  She was a teacher and then a College Professor for Michigan State University and Washington State University.  Irene loves to swim at the YWCA at least three times a week.  Irene has traveled all over the world.  At 100 years old, Irene drives to her volunteer job but doesn’t enjoy the traffic.

Irene found out about the Open Book volunteer opportunity through the church bulletin.  She has been a RSVP member, volunteering with JCY’s OPEN BOOK program since 2000 at the Westchester Medical Center.

OPEN BOOK is a program that fosters reading and literacy among preschool children and families, distributing over 10,000 books annually. As part of the National Reach Out and Read Program, books are prescribed by the pediatricians to the families at the children's “well visits.”

Volunteers, like Irene and other RSVP members read aloud to the children in the waiting room and give them an age- appropriate book to take home; they also model reading techniques for parents/caregivers to use with their children. Parent Education Kits are distributed to the parents/caregivers.

Irene is a trained RSVP member that uses her skills to help the children learn new vocabulary words, proper word pronunciation and promotes a positive attitude towards reading. 

When asked “what does volunteering at age 100 means to you?” Irene says “I feel useful” and “I love the kids, they are so adorable”  

When Irene volunteers she feels that she’s using her expertise in education. She feels that the children need time to read and spend time to explore new ways of reading. 

Irene gives each child one on one attention, cues them on the story they read and goes over vocabulary words with them. She is very passionate about children in general and loves to read books.





Do You Know A Changemaker?


Nominations are now closed for the 2018 Volunteer Spirit Awards.



See the 2018 Winners!


2018 Volunteer Spirit Award Categories:

Education and Literacy Award
Honors volunteers dedicated to education and literacy through activities including, but not limited to, tutoring, adult literacy, library-based initiatives, early childhood education, and intergenerational programs.

Going Green Award
Honors volunteers who work to protect and beautify our environment and natural surroundings, advocate for the preservation of our planet and strive to instill these values for our community.

Quality of Life Award
Honors individuals who work to improve the quality of life in the following areas, including, but not limited to, working to reduce illness or with the disabled, homeless, elderly, and veteran populations, as well with those with substance abuse problems or mental disabilities.

Safe Community Award 
Honors volunteers who work to provide, promote and improve safe behavior in areas including, but not limited to, emergency preparedness, disaster response and relief, First Aid, fire prevention, internet safety.

Social Advocacy Award
Honors volunteers who advocate for and support the righting of injustice in our community in areas such as, but not limited to, human rights, minority rights, domestic violence, housing, job preparedness, etc.

Youth Leadership Award (Individual or Group)
Honors one youth (age 21 years or under) or group of youth for her/his/their outstanding volunteer service for a cause or nonprofit.



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