On Thursday, February 27th, over 500 afterschool providers, funders, corporate partners, higher education professionals, government officials and other friends of PASE gathered together at the 2014 PASEsetter Awards Benefit. Guests at the event celebrated the extraordinary NYC afterschool community and honored the incredible adults who work for a better future for our city's kids every day. Through this unique event, PASE raised over $700,000 to promote and support high-quality afterschool programs throughout the city.
Antonio Aponte is himself a product of The Boys’ Club of New York, having attended their programs as a child growing up on the Lower East Side and, through their services, attending Moses Brown Prep School in Providence, Rhode Island. As a ‘graduate’ of the program, Antonio is able to share his own experiences growing up in the community to motivate and inspire his students to look beyond their current circumstances and towards the possibilities that await them. He currently serves as the Director of Educational Services where he is responsible for a variety of programs including: the Independent School Placement program; the Parents Advisory Board; the Independent Boarding School Fair; and the ISP Prep program.
After graduating from Syracuse University with a B.S. in Theater and Psychology, Antonio pursued a career in Theater, performing in Broadway’s "Cuba and his Teddy Bear" opposite Robert DeNiro, Burt Young, and Ralph Macchio. In 1988 he left theater to become the Assistant Director of Multicultural Recruitment and Retention at SUNY Purchase College where he created the Multicultural Access Program (MAP), helping nearly double the percentage of minority students attending the college.
In 1990, after working in higher education and noticing a lack of college resources specific to Latino youth, Antonio co-founded the Latino College Expo Inc., whose mission is to elevate the educational aspirations of the Latino community by offering an array of specialized services sensitive to their needs. The Expo features workshops focused on college access, the application process, financial aid, and scholarships, and a fair in the afternoon attended by over 75 colleges and 1,000 youth annually. The Latino College Expo, now in its 24th year, embodies Antonio’s passion to open doors to a better future for Latino youth and has administered over $80,000 in grants to deserving high school students of Latino decent.
Antonio has provided thousands of young people with opportunities for educational access and success. Throughout his career, he has strived to infuse creativity and passion into youth development while guiding the youth in his programs to achieve their fullest potential.
Stephane Derisma The Action Center for Education and Community Development
For the last eight years, Stephane Derisma has made it her personal mission to improve the lives of Far Rockaway children and their families through her work with The Action Center for Education and Community Development. The Action Center works “to Educate, Feed, and Empower those we serve to move beyond the lines of poverty by investing in tomorrow, today”. At The Action Center, Stephane serves as a Program Director, infusing her programs with enriching activities such as piano, dance, and cooking, while creating and maintaining a safe space in which her kids can learn and grow.
Often working 12 hour days and several Saturdays each month to direct the Out-of-School-Time (OST) program, Stephane’s commitment to leading the program was evident this past year when she worked for eight months without pay following drastic funding cuts. Her dedication to the youth she serves and The Action Center shown even brighter when, despite her own significant personal losses, she showed up to work each and every day following Hurricane Sandy. In the wake of disaster, Stephane stepped outside of her role to begin meeting the post-emergency needs of the youth and their families. The Action Center, which won the Mayor’s Helping Hand Award for their Sandy response, credits Stephane with the development of a case management system that was highly effective in saving countless lives.
Growing up in, and as a current resident of, the Rockaways, Stephane possesses the inherent advantage of understanding the challenges that are faced by the youth and families who are served by The Action Center. This, coupled with her own experience as an afterschool participant, allows Stephane to lead a program that is successful in educating and preparing youth to overcome these obstacles now and in the future. She comes to work each day for the kids and simply wants to see the best for the kids in her program as she carries these kids on her shoulders into a brighter feature; lighting a path that could not be seen or even imagined without her.
Laura Jankstrom Citizens' Committee for Children of New York
Laura Jankstrom has dedicated her life to youth development and social justice. Currently the YouthAction NYC Program Coordinator at Citizens’ Committee for Children, “L-Boogie” (as she is affectionately known by her kids) develops and facilitates after school programs for high school students designed to promote community leadership and civic engagement.
Growing up, Laura was an active member of her hometown Boys and Girls Club in Bristol, CT. Laura served on the club’s Youth Council and was instrumental in the creation of the town’s first ever teen center, helping to build a place for young people to gather, share ideas, and showcase their talents. For her efforts on this endeavor, Laura was presented the Boys and Girls Club 2001 Youth of the Year Award for the state of Connecticut.
Following her dream to become a social worker in the world’s greatest city, Laura attended the Silver School of Social Work at NYU from 2002-2006. During that time, she worked as a teacher’s assistant in Chinatown, interned at Girls for Gender Equity in Brooklyn, and was also involved in advocacy efforts around Title IX, lobbying for gender equality in schools.
In 2006, Laura began her full time career as Director of Academics at StreetSquash, an after school program for middle and high school students in Harlem, acting as guidance counselor and social worker for 50 youth, working intimately with students, families, and schools to ensure academic success and access to needed services. In 2009, Laura completed her Master of Social Work degree at Hunter College.
Combining her passion for youth work with her interests in public policy and social change, Laura was thrilled to become the YouthAction NYC Program Coordinator at Citizens’ Committee for Children in 2010. She believes it is her mission to inspire young leaders to become more civically engaged and help them to recognize their potential as makers of real and lasting change. Laura is honored and privileged to do the work she loves, with bright and motivated young people, in an organization that recognizes and fights for the fundamental rights of all children.
Durice Jones New York City Parks & Recreation - Alfred E. Smith Recreation Center
Durice Jones first walked into the New York City Parks & Recreation - Alfred E. Smith Recreation Center, located in the neighborhood where she lives and grew up, while searching for an afterschool program for her oldest child. When she began working at the Center full-time in 2001, she spearheaded the development of the afterschool program as it currently operates, and began teaching the children about the park’s history and the resources it has to offer. Using the school day and the NYC education system as an example, Durice brought structure, organization, and high-quality afterschool programming to the children of her community, including her own kids. Now the Center Manager, Durice oversees programming and staff, cultivates community partnerships, and helps to create and maintain a nurturing and safe environment for the kids and teens living on the Lower East Side.
In 2005, Ms. Jones created the NYC Parks Happy Warriors Summer Day Camp, providing academic assistance, sports and fitness activities, and arts and crafts to local families, while creating jobs and volunteer positions for many of the teens in the neighborhood. Living and working in the same community, Durice understands the area’s needs and the importance of providing high-quality programming for the families who access the Center’s resources. The Day Camp, which is registered as a School Age Child Care program, provides free services and assistance to 40 families annually.
In addition to her role at the Recreation Center, Ms. Jones also currently serves as the Manhattan Borough Youth Program Coordinator and Recreation Supervisor for the NYC Parks and Recreation, where she oversees 13 afterschool programs throughout the city. Prior to her current roles, Durice worked as a Deputy Center Manager, also with the NYC Parks and Recreation.
Durice is currently being trained as a Master Trainer in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programming through PASE’s “Taking Root: Strengthening STEM in Afterschool”. Through this training, she is helping to bring STEM topics to the afterschool programs at the Alfred E. Smith Recreation Center.
J Christopher Neal Coro New York Leadership Center
This year marks J. Christopher Neal’s seventh year as a staff member at Coro New York where he currently serves as program director for their Exploring Leadership program. As program director, Christopher has engaged hundreds of young people, helping develop their sense of leadership and civic engagement, preparing them to affect policy change, and teaching them how to be thoughtful partners in discussions with adults on policy issues. He also directs the Youth Advisory Council to the NYC Department of Education’s Office of Safety and Youth Development.
Christopher became involved in museum education shortly after his arrival in New York City. At the Whitney Museum of American Art, he seized an opportunity to teach in a visual arts and literacy collaboration with The Hetrick-Martin Institute's Harvey Milk High School and later became the coordinator of Youth and Community Programs there. He went on to work with Studio Museum in Harlem, Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and The American Folk-art Museum. Through these institutions, Christopher has taught in classrooms across all five Boroughs and Connecticut.
Christopher has left an indelible impact on many of the young people he has worked with over the years: helping teens realize their ability to make a change and impact their community; providing opportunities for youth to step outside of their comfort zones and find success; and helping young people express themselves in meaningful and effective ways. As one of the youth in his program wrote, “[Mr. Neal] has a desire to help others and uses it to help you grow and mature as a young adult. He provides guidance and constructive feedback to assist you in becoming your best self.”
J. Christopher Neal grew up in Detroit Michigan, the son of two talented artists. He began his formal art training at Mumford High School and at the Center (now College) for Creative Studies' Saturday Workshops. Christopher studied Fine Art, African-American Studies, and Women's Studies at Eastern Michigan University and received a Masters of Fine Arts from Howard University.
Award recipients received a crystal award and a $5,000 Cash Award for their agency, as well as acknowledgement at a pre-awards night reception.
Special thanks to The 2014 Selection Committee –
Edward Fergus-Arcia – PASE Board Member and Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership, New York University
Anna Morgan-Mullane - 2013 PASEsetter Winner and Director of Mental Health Services, Children of Promise NYC, Inc.
Phil Nourie – PASE Board Member and Managing Director, Stanton Public Relations and Marketing Center
Jane Quinn - Vice President and Director of National Center for Community Schools, The Children’s Aid Society
Ali Tan – Portfolio Director, Fund for Public Schools
What a night for the youth of New York City. On Thursday, February 28, 2013, we held our 20th Anniversary PASEsetters awards dinner and benefit. Over 600 guests helped us celebrate and over $1 million was raised to continue PASE’s mission of promoting and supporting programs, like those of this year’s PASEsetters, to ensure that youth of NYC have access to the high quality afterschool programs they deserve.
Congratulations to the 2013 PASEsetter Award winners & Afterschool Champions!
For this year’s PASESetter Awards, Eric Gurna of Development without Limits interviewed PASE Executive Director, Alison Overseth, as well as each PASEsetter winner and their supporters. Hear the interviews and read about the PASESetter winners below.
Please Speak Freely Episode 11: The PASEsetter Awards Celebrates Afterschool*
Educating young people is at the very core of everything Deena Hellman of Goddard Riverside Community Center (GRCC) has done over her nearly forty-year career. After thirty years in public education in upstate New York... Read more
Over the past seven years, Mi Jung You’s services have been essential to the success and expansion of the Hodori Program at Korean American Family Service Center (KAFSC). Her expertise, commitment, and creativity are a fundamental part ... Read more
Faybiene Miranda, known as “Mama Faybiene” to many in her community, is one of the founding faculty members at Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy, serving the youth in her community for over 22 years. She has helped the organization grow... Read more
Patrick Pinchinat is living proof that hard work and dedication pay off. Patrick started at Queens Community House sixteen years ago as a Homework Assistant; he now serves as Beacon Director of the Beacon program at... Read more
In her ten years with Kingsbridge Heights Community Center (KHCC), Sadie Mahoney’s passion has made her a pillar of support to her community. When a youth had nowhere to sleep on a midwinter night, Sadie took a trip with them to The Door to make sure they were out of the cold... Read more
*On Please Speak Freely, Eric Gurna, Executive Director of Development Without Limits interviews leaders in the fields of youth development and education to shed light on key issues and explore different perspectives. To read the blog for this episode of Please Speak Freely, written by Jodi Grant, Executive Director of the Afterschool Alliance, click here.