Photo credit: Donna Davis On June 6th, Yonkers Partners in Education (YPIE) recognized the impact and dedication of its 230+ volunteers at its annual Gratitude Celebration at the Cross County Center. Mayor Mike Spano and Yonkers Superintendent Dr. Edwin M. Quezada joined more than 100 volunteers, community members, staff, and friends to express gratitude to YPIE’s volunteers for making a lasting difference in the lives of Yonkers students. A YPIE volunteer since 2012, Elisa Owen was honored with the Wendy R. Nadel Volunteer Legacy Award, created in honor of YPIE’s founding executive director. Elisa has worked with hundreds of students and served in many roles, including YPIE Graduation Coach, Essay Coach, Volunteer Advisory Board member, and partner to YPIE College Advisors and Senior staff.
“Through the years, I have worked with students from Yonkers who have shared their stories with me -- some of these stories are sad, some of them are harrowing, some of them are ordinary, some are funny--but what is remarkable is that their stories are shared with me with such open-heartedness,” reflected Elisa. Several of Elisa’s former students attended the celebration.
“Elisa has watched me cry over my classes, helped me make big decisions, and is the first person I go to whenever I accomplish something new,” shared Sera. “Thank you to YPIE for matching us together when I was a shy 14-year-old girl. Elisa, I will never forget you wherever life takes us. Thank you so much for never giving up on me.” YPIE also recognized a “Volunteer of the Year” from each Yonkers high school. “The impact we have on young people would not be possible without the time, dedication, and love of our volunteers who, at 230 strong, may very well be the largest corps of volunteers in Westchester County," stated Stacy Winitt, YPIE Senior Director of Volunteer Engagement. This event was also dedicated to thanking retiring Yonkers Superintendent Dr. Edwin M. Quezada for his strong commitment to Yonkers students and his partnership with YPIE. "YPIE is grateful to Dr. Quezada for his longtime partnership in helping to build a college-going culture throughout the district and working with us so students see a path to higher education in their future," shared YPIE Board of Directors Chair, David Westin. YPIE thanks the Cross County Center for hosting our annual Gratitude Celebration and all the YPIE community members that joined this meaningful event. See photos from this year's YPIE Gratitude Celebration.