RYE YMCA Celebrates Spirit of Giving at Annual Dinner

[June 3, 2015] “Our Y is—what? Dynamite! Tick, tick, tick, tick, Boom! Dynamite!”

There were speeches, of course, and warm affection for honorees, but it was the unofficial cheerleading squad from the Rye Y’s after-school program that stole the show at the Y’s Annual Dinner on Wednesday, May 27. Led by Y staff member Tanisha Miller, the beaming 6-8 year-old girls charmed the crowd of approximately 170 Y supporters.

ASA-cheerleadersHeld at the Apawamis Club in Rye, the Annual Dinner gave board members, staff and community residents the opportunity to celebrate the Y’s accomplishments over the past year and to recognize the commitment of its volunteers.

Outgoing board president Kevin Tice opened the program by thanking the board members whose terms are ending: Carrie Donahue, Kristina Dorfman, Liz Fitzgerald, Michael Ice, Sue Kelly, Rich Lawrence, Tim O’Neill and Chris Scala. He also acknowledged Bob Pearlman, who is retiring from the Board of Trustees after nine years of service. Tice then welcomed the seven new board members: Julia Billingsley, Mike DeBartolo, Katherine Doyle, Annabel Monaghan, Margarita Sawnhey, Caroline Scully and Mike Tepedino.

Before turning the microphone over to Rye Y executive director Gregg Howells, Tice looked back at the Y’s 2014 Centennial year, announcing that through a special centennial campaign, the Y raised nearly $2 million to ensure the organization’s future.

In his remarks, Howells reflected on the “whirlwind” of centennial activities, adding that “we never lost sight of the day-to-day needs of our members and our community.” To illustrate the Y’s impact over the past year, he described several programs and initiatives, including Togetherhood, which engages Y members in community service; Enhance Fitness, an exercise program that helps seniors tackle arthritis; and the hiring of two bilingual community health workers to reach out to low-income residents of Port Chester and Mamaroneck with vital information about chronic disease prevention.

The following awards were presented at the Annual Dinner:

LindseyVita-GreggHowellsWoof Haneman Award

Founded in memory of long-time Rye resident Woof Haneman, this $1500 annual scholarship and award was established to acknowledge an outstanding Rye High School senior. This year’s award was presented by Gregg Howells to Lindsey Vita.

Lindsey has been a member of the Rye Y’s teen leadership club, a CIT at camp and a camp counselor. She is currently completing her senior year internship in the Y’s fitness department. She has volunteered at Gilda’s Club, where she led exercise classes for those affected by cancer, and at the Rye Derby. She has also helped at the Access to Care Health Fair in Mamaroneck and at various wellness events at area elementary schools, all while maintaining the highest academic standing at Rye High School.

Conor-and-EavanO’DriscollCommunity Service Award

This award to given to an individual who has made a positive impact on the community. This year’s award was presented by Rye Y trustee Dinah Howland to Eavan and Conor O’Driscoll.

A power couple in the best sense of the phrase, Eavan and Conor have made a significant impact in Rye and beyond. In 2004, Conor joined the Y’s board of directors and served a three-year term. During that time, he stepped up to co-chair the Rye Derby Committee, a role he has held for over ten years. Conor’s commitment to community service extends to Resurrection Church and School of the Holy Child, where he is a member of both organizations’ Capital Campaign Committees. He also chairs the Annual Fund at Holy Child. Back in his hometown in Ireland, Conor serves on the board of the renowned Wexford Opera Festival. He is Chairman of the U.S. Board of GOAL, an Ireland-based development and disaster relief organization.

Eavan has combined her passion for education, fundraising experience and academic credentials to make a powerful difference for a struggling school in the Hunt’s Point section of the Bronx. While she was earning a Masters in School Counseling from Fordham University, Eavan completed an internship at St. Ignatius Middle School, a private Jesuit school that serves the country’s poorest Congressional District. In 2013, the school was on the brink of closing due to lack of funding. Eavan stepped in as a volunteer to tackle fundraising and development, for two, then five days a week. Eavan now serves as President of the School – as an unpaid volunteer. She has led the school’s return to solid financial health and high student achievement.

Gold Spirit Awards


The Rye Y’s highest honor for volunteer service, this year’s awards were presented by Rye Y trustee Tom Murphy to three individuals.

  • Barbara Raho. 
    • From 2005 to 2011, Barbara served on the Rye Y’s board of directors. She was an active member of the Finance Committee, a team captain for the Annual Campaign and a Thank-a-Thon volunteer. As the Rye Derby’s “Fruit Lady” for nearly a decade, Barbara picked up, sliced and distributed the hundreds of oranges and bananas enjoyed by Derby runners and their families. For the past six years, she has been a board member for My Sisters’ Place. She also serves on the board of POTS, Part of the Solution, in the Bronx. In her professional life, Barbara is the Managing Director at Golden Seeds, a network of angel investors dedicated to investing in early stage companies founded by and/or led by women.
  • Richard Lawrence 
    • A Rye Y member for over thirty years, Rich joined the board of directors in 2002. After serving a six-year term, he rotated off for one year, only to return for another six years of service. During his two terms, Rich advanced the work of several board committees, including Membership and Marketing, Facilities, Strategic Planning, and Community Outreach, which he chaired. Rich’s community service is not limited to the Y. He has led the Facilities Committee at the Community Synagogue in Rye. And he served as a board member at Riverview School on Cape Cod.
  • Mark Doran  
    • Mark was elected to the Y’s board of directors in 2007. After serving on several committees and as Vice President, he became president of the board. Mark co-chaired the first March Madness party and last year’s Centennial Committee. As president, Mark set in motion a plan for the early repayment of a major bank loan that was secured for the Y’s 2003 renovation and expansion. He is a member of the Rye Republican Committee, chairman of the Rye City Finance Committee and a member of the board of Soul Ryeders, Mark also served on the board of Saint Michael’s College for nine years and as chair of its investment committee for five years.