So many budding healthcare professionals fit into the auditorium of the Maimonides Medical Center that many of them got stuck standing in the back, dressed to impress at the 2017 Summer Youth Program Recognition ceremony on a hot Wednesday morning, August 9.
The ceremony was titled “We Can’t Spell Success Without ‘U.'” During it, 17 of over 200 volunteers were honored by the 11 organizations which funneled participating students to Maimonides, matching them with hospital services. Honoring the experiences of the busy summer, the ceremony kicked off with a patriotic medley by the New York City Police Department Marching Band, conducted by Police Officer Christopher Alese.
Over the course of two months, the students have undergone companion, hospitality and translation training — and even donated blood.
“I know I’m successful when people start to rely on me,” said one student in a video montage.
“I think the key to success is to find what you love, roll with it, and don’t let anybody you down,” said another student.
Guest speaker and 39th District Councilmember Brad Lander said the success of this program was due in part to lawmakers making it a top priority to employ young people through the city-funded Summer Youth Employment Program which has expanded in recent years from 35,000 to 70,000 positions.
Lander said he felt the key to the future is building institutions that have shared goals based on compassion, exemplified by Maimonides, which he called a place that was “showing it can be done.”
Director of Programs at the 1199SEIU Childcare Corporation Lynelle Mahon also spoke to the crowd, emphasizing how important their choices were. “Everyone has a choice, a chance to express that choice, and really look for opportunity. That choice requires work, effort, and courage,” she said.
The 1199SEIU Child Care Corporation: Youth Mentoring Program & WorkForce 2000 honored Tiara Johnson, and the Chinatown Manpower Project honored Anam Shafique and William Lo. The Chinese American Planning Council of Brooklyn honored Kevin Tan, and the Manhattan branch recognized Katherine Feng. Two people, Desiree Antoine and Kaitlyn Sheehan, were honored by the SCO Center for Family Life.
New Utrecht High School commended Julie Feng and Madina Sirojiddinova for their efforts, and the Edith and Carl Marks Jewish Community House of Bensonhurst honored Sarah Loshinsky. Additionally, Mario Laniado and Michael Platt were congratulated for their work through the National Society for Hebrew Day Schools & Council of Jewish Organizations of Flatbush. The Jewish Community Council of Greater Coney Island recognized Katie Nikishina, and the Summer Youth Volunteers singled out Matthew Eng.
Of the organizations remaining, Rose-yva Momplaisir was recognized by the Church Avenue Merchant Block Association and Catholic Charities, and Adam Berri was honored through the Futures and Options & Brooklyn-Queens-Long Island Area Health Education Center. Of the hospital’s Maimonides Summer Internship, Emmanuel Pineiro was recognized as especially critical to the hospital’s success.
“We’re recognizing the importance of teamwork, the importance of speaking up when you’ve made a mistake, and an attitude of mutual respect,” said Maimonides President Kenneth Gibbs. “Those are our core values. With that, we want to thank all of you for participating.”