YONKERS – Mayor Mike Spano Thursday announced his selection of Yonkers volunteers to honored for the seventh annual nationwide Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service, spotlighting the impact of national service and thanking those who serve in their communities. Mayor Spano this week honored six local volunteers, specifically those who donate their time to a variety of charitable organizations in Yonkers, sponsored by Volunteer New York!. All of the awarded honorees contribute to Yonkers non-profit organizations, assisting those in the local community.
“In Yonkers alone, we have 137 Senior Corps volunteers who contributed over 3,000 hours of their time,” said Mayor Mike Spano. “Our volunteers play vital roles in our community and ensure Yonkers continues to remain a vibrant place to live, work and play.”
Mayor Spano recognized the following volunteers for their years of service in Yonkers:
Loretta Poole, Hudson River Museum (HRM) – Loretta Poole has been a volunteer Docent at the Hudson River Museum since 2016. Due to her background in education, Loretta took naturally to the Docent training program and began leading student and adult groups on tours of the Museum’s exhibitions and collections. Loretta quickly rose through the Docent ranks, and was selected Vice President of the Docent Council. During the long days of the COVID-19 pandemic, when weekly Docent trainings could not be held in person, she worked closely with HRM staff to maintain morale in the community. When the Docent Council President stepped down last year, Loretta stepped up to the Executive position. Today, as President, she continues to lead with wisdom, humility, and humor.
Evelyn Sahawneh, St. Joseph’s Medical Center – Evelyn Sahawneh volunteers with St. Joseph’s Medical Center as a greeter in the hospital lobby and is known to arrive as early as 6:45 AM. Evelyn greets with such passion accompanied with a big smile that tends to brighten a room. She welcomes employees, doctors, visitors and even vendors by their first name. No matter how one may feel walking into the building, Evelyn brightens the day with her smile, laughter and with her daily morning greetings. Most importantly, due to the diversity of Yonkers, Evelyn’s fluency in seven languages has helped the hospital effectively communicate with patients from various cultures. Evelyn Sahawneh still continues to make such a positive impact on all who step foot in the hospital.
Armand Grasso, RideConnect of Family Services of Westchester– Armand Grasso has been a volunteer driver for RideConnect since January of 2022 and has provided 450 rides to older adults in Westchester and southern Putnam Counties. Armand claims that he found a way to make a small difference when in actuality, it makes a HUGE difference in the lives of those seniors who are faced with any type of transportation problem. Just as his career in Radiation Therapy was very rewarding, he feels the same about the time he gives to RideConnect and their clients. Now after driving for over 15 months, Armand realizes how much these rides, no matter how long or how short, mean to these seniors, many with no other means to get to their appointments. Armand Grasso promises to continue driving for RideConnect as long as he can and is grateful for the opportunity to do so.
Mary Mullady, WestCop: Foster Grandparents Program – Mary Mullady has been a Foster Grandparent volunteer since 2015. In this role, she has helped children achieve their best academically, provided emotional support, love and guidance. Mary has been a volunteer at the Cesar E. Chavez School in Yonkers, volunteering up to 30 hours a week. Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, she briefly volunteered at the Yonkers Child Development Center on Warburton Avenue. When she was able to return to the Cesar Chavez school, she was welcomed with open arms; she created new and innovative ways to connect with children by making up her own learning games. Mary Mullady has been described as caring, compassionate, kind and devoted to children, by family, friends and colleagues. Throughout her life. Mary has been a champion for children and youth. Mary’s love and compassion for children continues to shine through whenever she is working with them.
Dorothy Clarke, Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE) – Dorothy Clarke brings a wealth of experience and a warm heart to every student she mentors through YPIE. As a Yonkers resident and a YPIE volunteer since 2014, Dorothy has positively impacted the lives of many Yonkers students by helping to ensure they remain on the path to a college and a successful future. Dorothy is a huge supporter of The Barack Obama School for Social Justice. She volunteers in person weekly and meets with students remotely as both a Graduation and Essay Coach. Dorothy’s influence is not just limited to YPIE youth. She seeks out opportunities to share her insights and knowledge with other YPIE volunteers and students throughout the Yonkers high schools. Dorothy Clarke is an outstanding member of the Yonkers community and her tireless efforts on behalf of YPIE students will have a positive ripple effect for many years to come.
Felicia Medley, Family Service Society of Yonkers (FSSY) – Felicia Medley has been the most active GrandPower Advocate since 2019 and continues to make significant contributions that have helped improve the lives of her fellow kinship caregivers. Felicia has shared her skills as a public speaker to communicate the urgent need for better housing options. At a recent hearing where FSSY had recommended funds to provide rental assistance to housing cost-burdened kinship caregivers, Felicia spoke eloquently about her family situation and how she and many others have taken on the responsibility of raising children who would otherwise be placed in the foster care system. Felicia spoke about how her fellow kinship caregivers need adequate housing for their suddenly larger households, and the struggle to keep things uplifting and stable for the children. Felicia Medley not only gets involved but is known to step up and lead by example.
The Mayors Day of Recognition for National Service is led by the Corporation for National and Community Service, joining mayors across the country to shine a spotlight on the positive impact of national service and thank those who serve in their communities. The four honorees were selected through their partnership with RSVP of Westchester through Volunteer New York!. RSVP is America’s largest volunteer network for people aged 55 and older who give their time and share their expertise to help solve local community concerns.