Congratulations to our 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.


Brendan Manning is the Vice President of Education and Environment at the Associated General Contractors of New York State (AGC NYS), New York’s leading construction industry association.  Brendan has been with the AGC NYS, LLC for the past 21 years.

In his capacity as Vice President of Education Brendan develops on-going continuing education and training for their 600 general contractor and construction manager member firms throughout the state.  He also oversees all K-12 and college student outreach including the AGC’s two scholarship programs.

As Vice President of Environment Brendan acts as an industry liaison with state agencies and authorities, legislators and the Governor. Brendan also oversees an Executive Level Partnering program with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.

Brendan is also Treasurer and Administrator of the ACE Mentoring Program of Upstate New York. ACE (Architecture, Construction and Engineering) is a high school mentoring program that provides students mentoring in all phases of the construction industry.

Brendan is a native of Voorheesville, NY and holds his Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing Management from Siena College in Loudonville, New York.  He is also a graduate of the Association Leadership Academy and ACEC NY Leadership Institute.  He and his wife, Kelly, live in Guilderland, New York with their two children, daughter Morgan, 20 and son Christian 18.

In his spare time Brendan enjoys golf and hiking the beautiful Adirondack Mountains with his wife.


Maurice Rawls has been actively involved in youth development for the better part of a decade.  He’s held a wide array of positions with various non-profit agencies in New York City. He currently serves as the Manhattan Program Supervisor for Grand St Settlement’s Youth Services Department. Maurice holds a BA in History with a Minor in African, African-American Studies from State University of New York at Oswego. In 2020, he successfully completed the United Neighborhood Houses and Austin W Marxe School of Public and International Affairs, Baruch College’s Emerging Leaders Program.


After completion of her degree in School Psychology from Alfred University, Kristina worked as a school psychologist prior to returning to Just for Kids, where she had worked during college, to take the reins in 2007 as Director of School Age Programs.  Under her leadership and design, Just for Kids grew from serving the families of the Williamsville Central school district, winning long-term contracts with four additional districts and a number of private and charter schools.  Currently, Just for Kids employs over 130 staff and typically serves over 1,400 youth annually, across 17 school-based programs, and has been recognized by our licensing agency, Child Care Resource Network, as the Program of the Year, as well as accolades as Employer of the Year and a finalist with Buffalo Business First – Best Places to Work. 

Through opportunities provided from UB’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County, and others, Kristina has overseen Just for Kids, forging a strong reputation as a program and employer of choice for local parents, districts, and staff, consistently offering high quality Before & After School and Summer Club opportunities. 

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.


Diane Shirley-Wright is a NYS SAC Credential Instructor, Advisor and Endorser.   She is the founder of DS Health and Safety Trainings, Inc, that specializes in offering a holistic approach to wellness through the mind, body, and heart.  She is on a mission to supporting professionals in meeting their personal and professional goals.

Diane Shirley-Wright brings with her over 15 years of experience in teaching, program development and implementation, family programming and public-school partnerships. She has earned various credentials, degrees, and affidavits to solidify her expertise in the field, including a Master of Arts Degree in Youth Studies, New York State Care Credential, Family Development Credential for supervisor, a certified Integrative Nutrition Health Coach, Youth Mental Health First Aid instructor and most recently a certified NYS T-Tap School-Age Professional Development Specialist and certified NYS T-Tap Credential as a Coach for Leaders and Teachers in an Early Childhood and School Age setting.  Throughout her various ventures, she aims to inspire and educate all people about whole-body health, wellness, and relationships.


My name is Majestic Tillman and I have worked for the YMCA for 12 years and am now the Site Supervisor for the Guilderland Branch of the YMCA. I was born and raised in Albany New, York. My goal as a Site Supervisor is to provide a community based experience with the children where they feel as though their staff and peers really care about them and to make sure they feel listened to. I want to create a safe environment so that the children can be free to explore all their talents and themselves. The biggest achievement in this organization that have I gotten during my short time as a supervisor is the trust that I have built each child and that they feel comfortable with me.


Ydhelca Perez joined New York Edge – the largest provider of school-based afterschool and summer programming in New York City – in 2017, as an event coordinator in the organization’s art department. She currently serves as New York Edge’s summer program manager, responsible for ensuring the organization’s more than 100 summer camp sites are each offering exceptional programming in a safe and secure environment that fosters growth and development among youth.

During the summer of 2021, Ydhelca oversaw all aspects of New York Edge’s summer camps as part of the city’s Summer Rising program, ensuring the organization met the ever-changing needs of communities while offering its students safe, enriching, and engaging programming. In her role, she coordinated various initiatives, including permits, licensing, curricula development, staff recruitment and onboarding, staff training, student enrollment, work scopes, data reporting, vendor approval, new partnerships, and communication with funders. As a result, New York Edge served more than 10,000 students, playing an instrumental role in reintegrating youth into an in-person environment with their peers and educators, motivating them to remain positive and engaged, and helping them to kick off the next academic year on a strong start.

In addition to her role as summer program manager, Ydhelca is currently serving as interim deputy director, where she is overseeing five New York Edge program managers with the operations of their sites.

Ydhelca attended Hunter College and earned a Bachelor of Arts in literature and modern dance.

When asked why she joined New York Edge, Ydhelca says: “New York Edge’s mission is so close to my heart because I’m a product of after school and summer camp. It’s the place where I learned English and made friends when I first came to this country. It’s the place that supported me in thinking bigger and wider in regards to what was possible for me. I went from not knowing English at all to graduating as an English major, thanks to the exposure I got in afterschool and summer camp.”

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.

NEW YORK EDGE  (Human Resources & Training Department), Lavern Mason-Howard

Lavern Mason-Howard began working the after school field in 2002, as an
Administrative Director for a Center based CBO that offered both Early Childhood
Education and School Age Child Care services. She was accountable for supervising the
school age child care staff and ensuring that compliance with all City and State guidelines,
regulations and laws were maintained. Thereafter in 2008, she served as Education and
Training Director for a different CBO where she was responsible for staff development,
supervision and evaluation of several after school programs. In 2013 Lavern began
working with New York Edge in their Summer Programs Division, she now serves as
Director of Training and Employee Engagement.
In her role she works to develop and implement training programs for over 1,500
employees; maintain systems for tracking training records across the organization. She
oversees the administration of the New Employee Orientation and Pre-Service
training Programs, CPR/First Aid, Health and Safety Training, the School Age
Credential Preparatory course. She developed and oversees the internship
program for middle and high school students, through the organization’s
Counselor in Training (CIT) program, as well as manages the Summer Youth
Employment Program (SYEP) placing youth and college students in entry level
positions at program sites or clerical positions.
Ms. Mason-Howard also manages employee engagement initiatives; planning and
organizing activities and events such as After-School Professionals Appreciation
Week, Hispanic Heritage Month celebration, Black History Month celebration, the
annual holiday party, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Veterans Day, etc.
Ms. Mason-Howard holds a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership and
Technology from Adelphi University, but the road to the education and After
school field was not a straight line. The primary reason for pursuing a career in the
afterschool field was wanting to be more available for my children when they were
growing up. Alway having an interest in education she shifted her career and began
Substitute teaching and later began working for a center based CBO. The work was so
fulfilling, and wanting to learn more about the field, she attended various training and
development workshops, attained her Family Development Leadership Credentials,
became a Child Abuse Identification and Reporting Trainer, a CPR and First Aid Instructor.
Later she also became an Advisor and an Endorser for school age professionals.

The Network For Youth Success Champion Award

This award spotlights the efforts of Legislative members and their staff to improve quality programming for youth and advocate for the benefits of afterschool programming. The winner of this award:

  • Supports high-quality afterschool, summer, or expanded learning and development opportunities that support youth success in school, college, work, and life.
  • Advocates on behalf of children and families at the state or national level.
  • Collaborates to meet a statewide system of high-quality afterschool, summer, and other expanded learning opportunities for youth.

The Network For Youth Success Regional Network Leader Award

This award spotlights one Regional Network for their work in the afterschool, summer, and expanded learning field. Nominees for this award should:

  • Be an outstanding network who works to improve the lives of youth through capacity building, professional development, advocacy work, and partnership development.
  • Regional Networks eligible for this award are established Regional Networks of the NYS Network for Youth Success.

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