PASE Awards Honor Leaders in Afterschool Education
The Partnership for After School Education (PASE) honored five outstanding leaders in afterschool education recently who have made a difference in their communities and the lives of children they have impacted.
The audience was treated to a moving performance by the Def Dance Jam Workshop, where students and teachers, those “conventionally able” and those “differently able,” danced and played drums throughout the venue, culminating in an exciting performance on stage. After the performance, a student said that the program was important to her because it kept her and her peers active and off the streets. Via a sign-language interpreter, an instructor who has worked with the group for 14 years said that the program is not just about dance, but how it makes people grow. He wants to support his community by working with people with disabilities, like himself. “There is a community of equality no matter what the disability,” he said. Dr. Max Gomez, medical correspondent for CBS 2 News, brought his wit and wisdom as master of ceremonies.
In her welcome, Fern Kahn, the president of the PASE board of directors and special advisor to the president for community affairs at Bank Street College, said the awards ceremony was the first and only event of its kind, and stressed the “critical importance” of PASE to the lives of the children the nonprofit serves. Often the afterschool programs supported by PASE provide services, tutoring and arts programs that public schools no longer offer.
Alison Overseth, the executive director of PASE, stressed that they were “all about children” and giving them a chance to find and connect to their passions.
“Afterschool is not a luxury — it’s essential,” she said.
John Shutkin was recognized as an afterschool champion for his service and dedication to PASE, including his pro bono work as general counsel as well as serving on the Board of Directors for many years.
The first PASEsetter award of the evening was presented to Deena Hellman, the program director of the Star Learning Center at the Goddard Riverside Community Center on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Hellman stressed that in her one-on-one tutoring program, the advocacy services they provide for students is what makes the program special.
Award-winner Mi Jung You is a first-generation Korean-American who came to the Korean American Family Center seven years ago as a volunteer. She has stayed with the program since then, and now as a licensed mental health counselor has spread her compassion to reach the lives of many in the community.
Faybiene Miranda of the Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy has been serving communities in Brooklyn for 22 years. When accepting her award, she spoke passionately about the transformative nature of arts programs and how she herself feels transformed when teaching.
Patrick Pinchinat of the Queens Community House stressed the need for afterschool education to prepare youth for leadership roles and promote positive outcomes for them. #