In my quest to highlight special people living in New Rochelle, I felt compelled to write about a very special person, Alisa Kesten.
Alisa has recently been named the Executive Director of the Volunteer Center of United Way (www.volunteer-center.org), a nonprofit organization celebrating its 60th anniversary of connecting volunteers of all ages to nonprofits in Westchester and Putnam. Alisa, the former Board President, will be leading the Volunteer Center into a new decade of volunteerism. How? Well, Alisa certainly has the skills, expertise and dedication to community service to do just that.
Alisa has resided in New Rochelle for many years serving the local community as a Nursery School Teacher at Beth El Synagogue, 2006 regional campaign manager for Hillary Rodham Clinton, public affairs officer for Banker’s Trust Company, and program specialist at the national headquarters of the American Jewish Committee. In addition to all of this, Alisa also serves on the Boards of the New Rochelle Public Library Foundation, the Museum of the Arts and Culture of New Rochelle High School and the Westchester-Fairfield Chapter Alumni Association of Emory University. Phew!
I can also recall many enjoyable afternoons at the New Rochelle Public Library where Alisa co-chaired the ”Celebri-Teas” events which helped fund the second floor computer stations at our local library. It was because of the vision of Alisa and her colleagues on the library’s foundation that the New Rochelle Public Library can enjoy the computers, and whenever I visit the library, I will always see those computers being manned by students and adults alike, perhaps not having a computer at home, but being granted the access and capability to enhance their lives in a relaxing setting.
Alisa has over 25 years of experience in non-profit, corporate and campaign management and after accepting the position, proceeded to tackle the position in her own style by guiding the Volunteer Spirit Awards Celebration in April at the Renaissance Westchester Hotel. Many sponsors helped fund this wonderful event which toasted the accomplishments of some very special volunteers:
- Going Green Award: Jennnifer Jensen
- Emergency Response Award: The Putnam County Demand Response Medical Transportation
- Education and Literacy Award: Terry Keith
- Social Justice Award: Monica Gray
- New York Life Youth in Action Award: Michael Alba, Matthew Bernacchia & Matthew Arana
- New York Life Youth Leader Award: Chantal Noreika
- Arts Culture and Recreation Award: Vanessa Torres
- Quality of Life Award: Hilary Ward
Please go to the website for further information on this wonderful celebration.
The Volunteer Center has endeavored to engage volunteers of all ages, to create initiatives in collaboration with the business community, and with Alisa as Executive Director, their goals will undoubtedly be met. Alisa has stated
“Last year, the Volunteer Center engaged over 15,000 people from Westchester and Putnam in service with more than 500 non-profits. That was a 25 percent increase over the previous year, and yet we need to connect thousands more to address the needs of our communities. The staff and I look forward to developing even stronger partnerships with businesses, funders, civic leaders and elected officials to make sure that we can continue to do all that is necessary to inspire individuals to engage in meaningful and valuable volunteer activities.”
If you would like to get involved, please go to www.volunteer-center.org or call (914) 948-4452.
Larchmont and New Rochelle are Great!