Awards

Congratulations to our 2024 award winners!

The Network For Youth Success Quality Leadership Award

This award spotlights leadership by an afterschool, summer, or expanded learning site leader, director, supervisor, or coordinator. The winner of this award:

  • Has five or more years of experience in administering/directing afterschool, summer, or expanded learning programs; or education and non-profit administrators that advocate on behalf of their afterschool programs.
  • Understands the critical value of quality afterschool, summer, or expanded learning programs in the developmental needs of youth.
  • Has made significant contributions to the afterschool, summer, or expanded learning field. This could entail being actively engaged with a youth development organization, providing training in the field, or advocating for the afterschool movement and profession.
  • Terrence McElduff (YMCA of Greater Rochester – Before and After School Program) – Terrence started working at the YMCA of Greater Rochester in 2007 right out of college and fell in love with Youth Development work. He has spent the past 16+ years working for YMCA in Summer Camps, Branch Operations, and the Before and After School Division. Currently he leads 31 Before and After School Programs serving over 20 different school districts in 4 different counties. He believes strongly in the work that we do and believes that there isn’t much more important than building a village for families and youth to grow into and become part of a greater community!

  • Ta-Sean C. Murdock (Grand Street Community Arts) – Meet Ta-Sean C. Murdock, a visionary Entrepreneur and dedicated Youth Advocate residing in the vibrant city of Albany, NY, alongside his cherished wife Sumiko and their two sons. An alumnus of Albany High School and a proud graduate of North Charleston High School, Ta-Sean’s educational journey laid the groundwork for his future endeavors. Ta-Sean has emerged as a proven leader in Youth Program Development and Youth Advocacy, dedicating the majority of his professional career to working with and empowering young minds. His passion for guiding youth is not only reflected in his professional work but also in his role as the author of the inspirational children’s book, “I Can and I Will.” This literary gem serves as a beacon, reminding young readers that they possess inherent power, even when faced with external challenges. Ta-Sean’s unwavering commitment to making a positive impact on the lives of children and teens has earned him prestigious accolades, including the 2017 UHPP Champion of Justice Award, the 2017 WO-MEN Who Rock Award, and the 2019 YMCA Adult Achiever Award. Driven by a profound desire to effect positive change, Ta-Sean is on a mission to transform dreams into reality. Through One Team One Dream of the Capital District, Inc., he continues to champion the cause of youth empowerment and entrepreneurship, leaving an indelible mark on the communities he serves. Ta-Sean C. Murdock’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of passion, dedication, and a relentless commitment to making a difference in the lives of young individuals, one dream at a time.

The Network For Youth Success Exemplary Award of Professionalism

This award spotlights professional excellence by a staff member in the afterschool, summer, or expanded learning professions. The winner of this award:

  • Has worked directly with youth for at least 2 years of their career.
  • Currently works a minimum of 15 hours a week in an afterschool, summer, or expanded learning program.
  • Has an inclusive understanding of the developmental needs of children, youth, and families.
  • Is committed to professional growth.
  • Chris DeCesare (Creating Rural Opportunities Partnership (CROP) Afterschool Program) – Chris DeCesare is program director for Morris Central School CROP program which serves four schools in Otsego County. She has been a part of the CROP program for five years; first as a community partner educator and then as a program director. Through her environmental education background, she hopes to spark fun and creativity in program offerings for students and staff. Chris has always felt that she wants to make a difference, and working in afterschool is a great way to do that for children and their families. She feels incredibly lucky to work with such dedicated staff at her schools and thanks her colleagues in the Charlotte Valley and Roxbury CROP grants for collaborating to create a cohesive CROP program across 14 different schools.
  • Vicky Williams Mason (Imogen Foundation) – Vicky Williams Mason is the Senior Director of Programs at the Imogen Roche Foundation. She has been working in the afterschool field for about a decade now. Providing an environment that supports and nurtures the social-emotional development of our students and the team of dynamic individuals who show up everyday to make positive and lasting connections has been her driving force to work in afterschool programs. Her main focus in the afterschool arena has been literacy, youth development, and community engagement not only for the company’s growth, but also to achieve her goal of continuously providing opportunities for others to access quality educational programs and career advancements.
  • Danny Zhang (Chinese-American Planning Council) – Danny Zhang (he/him) was a group leader and administrative assistant at CPC Queens SACC at P.S. 020 John Bowne. He has volunteered and worked in childcare since his early teens and joined CPC as New York City public schools began reopening during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Aiming to continue his goal of serving the children and families of the Flushing community as an educator and positive role model for his students, Danny joined the DEI committee to meaningfully incorporate its values into his pedagogy and the classroom environments he contributes to. Born and raised in Queens, Danny graduated from Queens High School for the Sciences and is currently studying at Queens College to earn his Bachelor of Arts in Elementary and Early Childhood Education, along with his initial New York State teaching certificate. In his free time, he enjoys listening to and learning about music, practicing weightlifting, and spending time with his nephews, all of which help him keep him motivated with a healthy mindset.

The Network For Youth Success Program Award of Excellence and Innovation

This award spotlights an organization, department, or program that is accredited to standards of excellence through the Network for Youth Success. The winner of this award:

  • Has operated for at least two years.
  • Can be public, private, or faith-based afterschool, summer, or expanded learning program.
  • Meets the highest standards of quality in the field.
  • Implements programming with enriching activities that promote higher learning.
  • Incorporates collective strategies between family and the community to meet afterschool needs of the attendees.
  • Victor Montes (BestSelf Behavioral Health) – I’ve been fortunate enough to work with youth for the past 17 years, starting out as a summer youth worker when I was just 14. Over time, I worked my way up to becoming a youth counselor at Erie Regional Housing Development Corp The Belle Center in Buffalo. There, I had the incredible opportunity to help students with their academics and teach Afro Caribbean arts.
     
    But my journey didn’t stop there. I later took on the role of youth director for the organization, where I continued to make a positive impact on the lives of young people. After over a decade of dedicated service, I felt ready for a new chapter.
    That’s when I decided to join BestSelf Building Brighter Futures. Currently, I am a site facilitator for the extended learning program at Buffalo Public School #33. This program aims to strengthen children, families, and communities by promoting academic achievement, positive youth development, healthy life choices, and family literacy.

    I feel incredibly grateful for the opportunities I’ve had to support and empower the next generation.

The Network For Youth Success Champion Award

This award spotlights entities and individuals, including youth, caregivers, and those working in the field, with philanthropic groups, at corporations, or at agencies or other institutions who have demonstrated exemplar advocacy efforts to champion high-quality afterschool, summer, and other expanded learning opportunities for youth. The winner of this award:

  • Has demonstrated significant leadership in supporting high-quality afterschool, summer, or expanded learning and development opportunities that support youth success in school, college, work, and life.
  • Advocates to promote effective afterschool policies and outcomes on behalf of children and families at the state or national level.
  • Actively leads and/or participates in efforts to educate decision makers and other stakeholders about the benefits of afterschool, summer, and other expanded learning opportunities.
  • Simone Miranda (Schenectady City School District) – Simone Miranda is the Assistant Director of Innovation, Equity and Engagement with the Schenectady City School District (SCSD). She began working for SCSD more than ten (10) years ago in the Human Resources Department, Planning and Accountability where she was the Project Manager for the 21st Century Afterschool Program. She currently works in the Department of Innovation, Equity and Engagement where she oversees the department’s daily operations. She leads many initiatives in the department, which includes 21st Century Grant, Empire Grant, My Brother’s Keeper (MBK), Shades of Sisterhood (SOS), Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Parent Centers, Community Schools, Afterschool Programs, Summer Enrichment Program (SEP), STEAM Camps, NY Gear Up, and so much more. She enjoys working with the diverse students, families and various stakeholders in the District. Her passion is helping students develop their social and intellectual skills so they are able to transition into adulthood and the workforce. Her goal is to inspire students to become leaders of tomorrow and uplift their voices to ultimately impact change. During her tenure as the Project Manager, she successfully implemented a project-based learning program in the 21st Century Afterschool Program where students wrote and published their own book. Additionally, she collaborated with the US Department of Education and New York State Education Department on their NASA STEM Design Challenge program for 2 years. She served as the Co-President for the Working Group on Girls of Schenectady (WGGS), board member for Cornell Cooperative Extension of Schenectady County (CCE, SC) and Schenectady Connects, and 2019-2020 Power of 3:00 Ambassador with the New York State Network for Youth Success. She currently holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, Bachelor’s Degree in Public Policy and an Associate’s Degree in Computer Programming.
  • Nora Yates (Office of Children and Family Services) – Nora Yates is the deputy commissioner in the Division of Child Care Services and is responsible for overseeing all aspects of New York’s early care and education system supported by the Child Care Development Fund (CCDF), which currently includes more than $2 billion in federal funding. The division also oversees all federal training requirements for early childhood providers supported by CCDF, provider health and safety and quality compliance, state licensing and regulations and the child care assistance program to support families accessing care, and regularly collaborates with a wide variety stakeholders on key priorities related to children and families.Previously, Ms. Yates served as the director of the Center for Community Health at the New York State Department of Health where she oversaw more than $2 billion in state and local funding that supported key public health programs, including chronic disease prevention, communicable disease control, family health and nutrition.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic response, she led the creation and stand up of the state Contact Tracing Initiative, the largest contact tracing program in the country, and also directed the COVID-19 testing sites and testing initiatives. Before joining the Department of Health, Ms. Yates served as the Governor’s assistant secretary for human services and the director of the Community, Opportunity, Reinvestment (CORe) Initiative, where she worked to align state and local agencies on a common framework to examine key issues in distressed communities. Ms. Yates joined the State as part of the inaugural class of Empire Fellows, one of nine individuals selected to serve in policy-level positions throughout Executive agencies.

    Before joining the state, Ms. Yates served as the executive director of the Pride Center of the Capital Region and worked at the Empire State Pride Agenda as field director leading New York’s marriage equality effort. In all her roles, Ms. Yates has worked in health and human services in some capacity, and working in child care is a natural fit due to the connection to all other aspects of community building. She earned bachelor’s and master’s of arts degrees at the State University of New York at Albany, a master’s in public administration from the Sage Graduate School and a master’s in women’s studies and public policy from the University at Albany.

2023 Award Winners

The Network For Youth Success Quality Leadership Award

  • TINA APPLEY
  • KATHY D. HARRISON

The Network For Youth Success Exemplary Award of Professionalism

  • JACK HALE

The Network For Youth Success Program Award of Excellence and Innovation

  • FRANKFORT-SCHYLER CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT, JOSEPH PALMER
  • CAMP HALF BLOOD

The Network For Youth Success Champion Award

  • LENA BILIK

The Network For Youth Success Regional Network Leader Award

  • DREW KATZ

2022 Award Winners

The Network For Youth Success Quality Leadership Award

  • BRENDAN MANNING
  • MAURICE RAWLS
  • YDELCA PEREZ

The Network For Youth Success Exemplary Award of Professionalism

  • MAJESTIC TILLMAN
  • DIANE SHIRLEY

The Network For Youth Success Program Award of Excellence and Innovation

  • LAVERN MASON-HOWARD, NEW YORK EDGE

2021 Award Winners

The Network For Youth Success Quality Leadership Award

  • Joshua LoGiudice (CDYMCA Guilderland)
  • Marisol DeLaRosa (New York Edge)
  • Thanh Bui (Grand Street Settlement)

The Network For Youth Success Exemplary Award of Professionalism

  • Matthew Gonzalez (DREAM)
  • Judith Ho (New York Edge)

The Network For Youth Success Program Award of Excellence and Innovation

  • Jefferson County 4-H
  • DREAM, REAL Kids

The Network For Youth Success Champion Award

  • Andrew Heyesi (Assemblymember)
  • Brian Manktelow (Assemblymember)

2020 Award Winners

The Network For Youth Success Quality Leadership Award

  • RaeAnne Nocera (ACE Mentor Programs of Greater New York)
  • Sue Veres Royal (Healthy Kids Programs)

The Network For Youth Success Exemplary Award of Professionalism

  • Elena & Greg Mosely (Operation Unite)
  • Mary Ann Veshia (Watervliet Civic Center)

The Network For Youth Success Program Award of Excellence and Innovation

  • Kathy Clark (Hudson Blue Hawk Nation)
  • Kaya Weidman (Kite’s Nest)

The Network For Youth Success Champion Award

  • Jim Hart (OCFS)
  • Ellen Jaffee (Assemblymember)
  • Andrea Stewart-Cousins (State Senator)

The Network For Youth Success Regional Network Leader Award

  • Joan Hunt (H.O.S.T.)

2019 Award Winners

The Network For Youth Success Quality Leadership Award

  • Robert Monahan, The Greater Ridgewood Youth Council
  • Kim Haynes, New York Edge

The Network For Youth Success Exemplary Award of Professionalism

  • Dr. Anna Morgan-Mullane, Children of Promise
  • Chelsea Martin, Native American Community Services

The Network For Youth Success Program Award of Excellence and Innovation

  • Children of Promise
  • New York Edge

The Network For Youth Success Champion Award

  • Victor Pichardo
  • Crystal Peoples-Stokes