Rotaract Club of Mercy College to Receive Volunteer Spirit Award from The Volunteer Center of United Way

Rotaract Club of Mercy College
Rotaract Club of Mercy College

One of the reasons Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Valley are great places to live and work is the large number of dedicated volunteers who are committed to making a difference. To honor outstanding service to the community, The Volunteer Center of United Way will give special recognition to nine individuals and groups who have gone above and beyond in donating their time and talent to volunteer activities that strengthen the fabric of the region. The Volunteer Center’s 34th annual Volunteer Spirit Awards, presented by New York Life, will take place at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Tarrytown, NY, on Thursday, April 24 from 8 to 10 am. Lou Young, the Emmy Award-winning CBS 2 broadcast journalist, will emcee the celebration and fundraiser. 

This year's breakfast will be even more extraordinary than in the past," said Alisa H. Kesten, executive director of The Volunteer Center. "We will be making news by announcing a strategic rebrand for The Volunteer Center and new initiatives with key partners and stakeholders. The end result will be more resilient communities in our region, made stronger through volunteerism."

This year the New York Life Youth Group in Action Award, presented by New York Life, will go to The Rotaract Club of Mercy College (Dobbs Ferry, NY). With an eye towards helping the community beyond the borders of its Dobbs Ferry campus, The Rotaract Club of Mercy College has become a steadfast student-run organization committed to serving its neighbors in need.  This Quad Village Rotary Club-sponsored group of 18-21 year olds has been in existence for little more than three years and its activities were the driving force that led Mercy College to be recognized on The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service in 2013.

“It’s contagious,” according to Tim Allport, president of the Quad Village Rotary Club, when he talks about the momentum of the students, “I return to my Rotary Club energized.”  

Rotaracts volunteered at Children’s Village and at Leake and Watts.  They quickly mobilized to contribute to Sandy-relief efforts in Breezy Point and Far Rockaway, where they assisted with debris removal and provided hot meals to families.  Mercy College’s Blood Drive also benefited from Rotaracts who actively recruited donors while also assisting medical staff during the two-day drive. Additional events included Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, Mini-Olympics, and Teatown Reservation maintenance.

“Looking to the future,” says Allport, “I am confident that The Club will realize even greater success than it has thus far in terms of serving others. There will always be hurting people in the world.  These young people are committed to help lessen the hurt.”

The Chairman's Award will be presented to Betty Cotton, a long-time resident of Scarsdale, NY, who currently resides in Purchase, NY. Ms. Cotton, who has been a steadfast supporter of The Volunteer Center and epitomizes the best of volunteer leadership, is being honored for a lifetime of community and human rights advocacy in Westchester County and beyond. She currently serves as a member of the National Board of Governors of the American Jewish Committee and president of its New York Region. She is a member of the New York State Commission on National and Community Service, the Greyston Wisdom Council (former chairperson), the Westchester Community College Foundation Board, the Jewish Council of Public Affairs Board, and the Westchester Not-For-Profit Leadership Summit Steering Committee. Ms. Cotton is also a former president of the Junior League of Central Westchester.

The other winners who will receive 2014 Volunteer Spirit Awards are:

Education & Literacy Award to The Collegium of Westchester Community College (Valhalla, NY), presented by Reader's Digest

Social Advocacy Award to Diane Sussman (Nanuet, NY) for service to The Center for Safety and Change, presented by M&T Bank

Quality of Life Award to Marian Hamilton (Armonk, NY) for service to the Ken Hamilton Caregivers Center, presented by United Way of Westchester and Putnam

Community Hero Award to Paula Berkowitz (long-time Eastchester, NY resident, now residing in Sarasota, FL) for service to Friends of Karen, presented by Bunge

Going Green Award to Lisa Sandler (Rye, NY) for service to Rye Nature Center, presented by Con Edison

Arts & Culture Award to Reena Kashyap (Rye, NY) for service to The Clay Art Center, presented by Mack-Cali Realty Corporation

New York Life Youth Leader Award to Mary Grace Henry (Harrison, NY) for service to Reverse The Course, presented by New York Life

"We are proud to extend our congratulations to this year's Volunteer Spirit Award winners, and applaud The Volunteer Center and all our region's volunteers who are dedicated to making our communities stronger and helping those in need," said Maria Collins, Corporate Vice President of New York Life."


Volunteer Spirit Award event sponsors (as of 3/12/14) are: Bunge, Con Edison, M&T Bank, MAG Real Estate Advisors, Inc., Mack-Cali Realty Corporation, Montefiore, New York Life, O'Connor Davies, LLP, Reader's Digest, The Rollins Agency Inc., Scent 2 Market, United Way of Westchester and Putnam, and Westchester Community College.


Individual ticket prices for the 2014 Volunteer Spirit Awards are $75 per person ($150 for a Friend ticket, with journal recognition), and sponsorship packages and journal advertising rates are available.  All proceeds benefit The Volunteer Center’s work to promote volunteerism.  For further information about reservations or to place a congratulatory ad in the souvenir journal, contact Allison Chader at The Volunteer Center by phone at 914-227-9307, e-mail allison@volunteer-center.org or visit www.volunteer-center.org/awards


About The Volunteer Center of United Way:

Awarded the Top-Rated Nonprofit designation two years in a row, The Volunteer Center’s core mission is to inspire, mobilize, and equip individuals and groups to take positive action to address pressing challenges, support nonprofits and strengthen the quality of life in our community.  We encourage adults to serve, youth to build character, families to bond, young professionals to lead, mature adults to share their wisdom and businesses to engage through volunteerism.  By connecting individuals to nonprofit organizations as well as through organized volunteer projects, The Volunteer Center helps people take action to strengthen the quality of life in Westchester and the Mid-Hudson Valley. Over 250,500 hours of service were devoted last year to 500 nonprofits at a value of over $8.2 million. In September 2011, The Westchester-based Volunteer Center was designated one of ten Regional Volunteer Centers in the State of New York, covering Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Dutchess, Orange, Ulster and Sullivan counties.  For more information, visit www.volunteer-center.org.


Corporate Champions who strongly support the mission of The Volunteer Center are New York Life, IBM, MasterCard Worldwide, PepsiCo, TD Charitable Foundation, Bunge, Con Edison, Robison Oil Corporation, Mack-Cali Realty Corporation, Scent 2 Market, M&T Bank, Morgan Stanley, Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc., The Dannon Company, Chubb Group of Insurance Companies, O'Connor Davies, LLP, Pentegra Retirement Services, RPW Group, and The Rollins Agency Inc. Ongoing support is provided by United Way of Westchester and Putnam, and Westchester County.


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