CIty Year New York’s 5th Annual Ripples of Hope Dinner

Things have been really busy around the CYNY office. Only one week left before the corps graduates. Enjoy these updates!

On May 28th, over 500 citizens, business and community leaders gathered at Pier 60, Chelsea Piers for our 5th Annual Ripples of Hope Dinner, to celebrate the work and dedication of City Year corps members and to honor Cisco’s CEO and Chairman John Chambers and MTA Executive Director and CEO Eliot Sander.

John Chambers and Kevin Jenkins.

John Chambers was awarded City Year’s 20th Anniversary Leadership Award for his visionary leadership and outstanding corporate citizenship, which enables thousands of young leaders to make a difference for children, schools, and their communities. Mr. Chambers spoke of his own personal struggle with dyslexia and thanked the corps members for their commitment to making a difference in the lives of over 5500 schoolchildren across the five zones in which we serve. Mr. Chambers was introduced by Steve Woodsum, the Chair of City Year’s Board of Trustees.

Mr. Chambers also spoke of Cisco’s continuing commitment to City Year while providing inspiration for the continuation of our great work stating that, “Collaboration between businesses and nonprofit organizations is a powerful tool that can help transform the lives of individuals, communities and countries. I am extremely proud of Cisco and our employees who support City Year in inspiring young people to provide improved educational opportunities for children. Giving back is core to Cisco’s culture and I am honored to be receiving this award on behalf of the Cisco family. By teaming with innovative organizations like City Year, we are working together to develop the next-generation of leaders.”

Dan Fireman, City Year MCs and Eliot Sander.

Elliot Sander was honored for his 30 years of experience in the public, private, and academic sectors. Mr. Sander was honored for his leadership and vision in overseeing a transit system that allows 8.3 million customers, including City Year corps members, to travel safely throughout the neighborhoods and boroughs of New York City. Mr. Sander was introduced by Dan Fireman who was speaking on behalf the event’s presenting sponsor, The Paul and Phyllis Fireman Charitable Foundation.

“Success, as I see it now, is very different than it was just a few years ago when my interest was money for money’s sake.” said Kevin Jenkins; an alumni of the 2003-2004 City Year New York corps is currently a Program Manager for the East Harlem and the Long Island City Young Heroes. Kevin, who is leaving City Year to pursue a MBA at Harvard Business School in the fall gave a poignant and heartfelt testimonial about his time at City Year New York. He spoke of using his experience over the last four years at City Year and his education to “start a company, with the sustainability and accountability of the profit motive, to address a crucial need in the developing world.” Kevin also spoke of seeing aspects of his own childhood in the young people that he worked with in Young Heroes and realizing that City Year is unique because we “help young people to help others. It’s a simple and big idea; and one with profound consequences.”

The night’s festivities were led by two MCs, Erik Estrada and Keba Ashford who not only kept the night moving but also shared their stories of working with students in New York City; Keba at PS 154 in the South Bronx and Erik who manages our City Heroes, a program that engages high school students in the Bronx. Keba, who attended the school that she now serves in as a corps member, ended the night by thanking the sponsors and supporters in the room and challenged everyone saying that she “wants to come back to the Ripples of Hope dinner five years from now as an alum. And I want to celebrate reaching 9000 students with you. I want to celebrate reaching 7000 volunteers with you. I look forward to celebrating those accomplishments with you, because it is only with all of you that we will succeed.

Special thanks to Mike Simon for his photos of the event.