Attending (11): Terry Brewer, Debbie Rodriguez, Murray Forth, Bill Dowd, Jim Leyhane, Stewart Wagner, Dick Drumm, John Sawchuk, A.J. Amato, Roberto Martinez, Shannon Romanowski.
Guests (1): Yalitza Negron.
PROGRAM: “Y’s Youth Programs”
Shannon Romanowski introduced Yalitza Negron, who last June assumed the new position of director of youth development for the Capital District YMCA umbrella , working with Y locations throughout the area. Her message, and that of the entire YMCA community, is to let the public know the organization is “more than just a gym and a swim.”
In particular, Yalitza works with a pair of youth development programs — the Black and Latino Achievers Program and the Youth & Government program. The former has 263 students participating at 10 locations, the latter 47 at nine locations. The students, usually in conjunction with their high schools, are involved in life skill training, experiential mock state government activities, college and career readiness, social issue research, critical thinking, and debate skills.
She noted that “adult achievers” are solicited to become involved in mentoring, providing internships, and otherwise assisting the programs. She also said that building relationships with school superintendents and principals as well as teachers and guidance counselors is critical to success of the programs.
On a monetary basis, students pay $25 to enroll in either program. Yalitza said it is estimated that what they receive is the equivalent of $425 per student for the Achievers program and $1,300 per student for the Youth & Government program, the latter much higher amount because of the cost of attending district meetings — the state is divided into seven districts for the program — and the cost of transportation to do so.
[At a club board meeting following the regular dinner meeting, it was decided to provide a $250 grant to pay for the entry fee for 10 students from throughout Rensselaer County, through the Greenbush YMCA]
GOLF TOURNAMENT — A reminder was issued to members that support by participation or by sponsorships is needed for the Saturday, March 12, simulator golf tournament at Burden Lake Country Club.
ROTARY HOME COOKING — Several seats remain for the three scheduled member-hosted events in the series: four for the February 27 sauerbraten dinner at the Forth residence, one for the French dinner at Pat Bailey’s residence on March 19, and two for the small plates and wines dinner at the Dowd residence on April 16. Anyone wishing to attend should contact the hosts directly.
NEW-MEMBER SOCIAL — Roberto Martinez and Jim Leyhane will co-host a social dinner event at Roberto’s home in East Greenbush on April 23 dedicated to letting our newest members mingle with veteran members. The price of admission will be for each attendee to bring an hors d’oeuvre platter.
EASTER BASKET DRIVE — Our club’s pledge to provide 20 baskets for Circles of Mercy’s “Easter Baskets for Cate’s Kids” is gaining momentum. The Greenbush YMCA will provide four baskets, Columbia High School four, and the club in general a dozen, with Len Leonidas’s Cub Scouts again recruited to assemble baskets from members’ donations. The deadline for donations is March 10.
RONALD McDONALD COOKING — Debbie Rodriguez has supplied several potential breakfast and dinner dates to Ronald McDonald House for SRC members to cook meals. She will report back when dates are solidified.
FRIENDS OF JACLYN FOUNDATION — John Sawchuk provided details on a new effort involving 30 Columbia High School students and young patients at Albany Medical Center. Usually this nationwide program offers quality of life efforts for children battling brain tumors and other childhood cancers by pairing them with local high school and college sports teams. The Columbia effort is the first non-athletic team effort. Details of the foundation are available online.
NEXT MEETING: 6:15 p.m. Thursday, February 25, at Quigley’s. Harry Candee and Mark Sollohub will speak on U.S. military veterans’ benefit programs.