Recognizing Kayle Plotkin: A Pillars of Change Honoree

It’s National Volunteer Recognition Week! Every day this week we’ll be highlighting a Sanctuary volunteer

It’s National Volunteer Recognition Week! Every day this week we’ll be highlighting a Sanctuary volunteer who will be honored at our Pillars of Change Volunteer Recognition Event on May 10th. Learn More and Register for Pillars of Change.

Kayle Plotkin has been volunteering with Sanctuary for Families for five years, after being referred to the Volunteer Program by a friend of her daughter who had completed an internship at Sanctuary. She had previously volunteered at a domestic violence organization in Connecticut and was interested in Sanctuary’s work from the first time she heard about it.

“I believed from the beginning that the work Sanctuary does is important and focuses on those who need help the most,” Kayle explains.

Kayle volunteers her time within the Brooke Jackman Family Literacy Program at the Queens Family Justice Center, a program which is designed to engage parents and children in literacy-based activities. The Brooke Jackman Program brings together staff and volunteers to read books (in English and Spanish) with mothers and their children. The families also participate in arts and crafts and share a meal together at the end of each event. As a volunteer, Kayle has played a central role in each part of the program and has consistently gone above and beyond for our clients.

Kayle has been an unwavering and consistent presence at the Queens Family Justice Center since she started volunteering in 2013 and her ability to form strong relationships with our clients has produced some memorable interactions for Marissa Stranieri, Children’s Program Coordinator at the Queens Family Justice Center:

“Kayle is absolutely selfless and doesn’t hesitate to pitch into any task. She freely lends herself to soothe crying children, engage overwhelmed parents, or even clean up after art or a meal—she really does it all!”

Kayle’s time at Sanctuary has also resulted in some memorable moments:

“On one particular occasion, a two year old child was crying inconsolably during the reading portion of the program despite efforts from staff and the child’s mother to calm the child down.  His piercing shrieks seemed as if they wouldn’t stop, when suddenly, the crying turned into laughter. At that moment, everyone noticed Kayle dancing with the child quietly in the back of the room. She is so nurturing, she definitely has the magic touch with all of our clients!”

Kayle’s selflessness and sincere commitment to Sanctuary’s clients is commendable. “Everybody chooses something different for their ‘me time’. Some choose the gym, some choose a spa; for me, the accomplishment of working for such an amazing organization and being able to make a difference is my ‘me time’. I am so grateful to be involved and so proud.”

Pillars of Change is an opportunity to honor extraordinary volunteers like Kayle, who bring warmth, ferocity, and an infectious laugh to our staff and care and comfort to our clients.

We hope you will join us at Pillars of Change on May 10, 2018 to recognize Kayle and four other incredible volunteers for their service. You can join us at Pillars of Change by registering now!

Recognizing Diana Steele: A Pillars of Change Honoree

Diana is a 2018 Pillars of Change honoree.

It’s National Volunteer Recognition Week! Every day this week we’ll be highlighting a Sanctuary volunteer who will be honored at our Pillars of Change Volunteer Recognition Event on May 10th. Learn More and register for Pillars of Change.

Diana Steele has been volunteering with Sanctuary’s Matrimonial/Economic Justice Project since 2014, when she was connected to Sanctuary through the Attorney Emeritus Program.

Diana’s goal had always been to work in public interest law. Prior to her long career in corporate taxation, she had worked in nonprofit organizations such as The Legal Aid Society and the ACLU.

It was this deep commitment to public interest that inspired Diana to dedicate her time to Sanctuary for Families upon retiring.

“I had always wanted to get back into doing something more consistent with my initial public interest goals, and Sanctuary’s mission clearly fit that goal”, she explains.

In her time as a Sanctuary volunteer, Diana has become an invaluable member of the Matrimonial/Economic Justice Project team, a group of attorneys and advocates who provide survivors of gender violence with legal representation to obtain divorce, child support, child custody, and other relief to which they are entitled.

“Diana does research and writing on complex legal issues that arise in our cases.  She has handled everything from researching details about service of process in foreign jurisdictions to drafting arguments for appellate briefs,” explains Amanda Norejko, Director of the Matrimonial/Economic Justice Project.

Diana’s skill and productivity was evident from the beginning and her research and writing has played a central role in supporting a wide range of clients’ legal needs. Some of Diana’s achievements include collaborating on winning briefs in cases before the Appellate Division, providing research for manuals used to train new attorneys in housing law, and stepping in to support time-sensitive case while the primary attorney was on vacation.

“Diana is incredibly productive, enabling us to meet tight deadlines on major legal briefs. We have come to rely on her consistently excellent work product and she never disappoints us.” – Amanda Norejko.

Diana’s commitment to Sanctuary is undeniable, “The most rewarding parts of volunteering at Sanctuary are working with the dedicated, bright, and hardworking legal staff and witnessing the tremendous courage and resilience of Sanctuary clients.”

Pillars of Change is an opportunity to honor extraordinary volunteers like Diana, who bring skill, experience, and passion to our staff and hope and opportunity to our clients.

We hope you will join us at Pillars of Change on May 10, 2018 to recognize Diana and four other incredible volunteers for their service. You can join us at Pillars of Change by registering now!

Marjorie Stein: devoted, reliable, generous

Marjorie is a 2017 Pillars of Change Honoree.

It’s National Volunteer Recognition Week! Every day this week we’ll be highlighting a Sanctuary volunteer who will be honored at our Pillars of Change Volunteer Recognition Event on May 10th. Learn more and register for Pillars of Change.

Marjorie Stein was introduced to Sanctuary through her work at Hogan Lovells, one of Sanctuary’s law firm partners. Marjorie coordinated a toy drive among Hogan employees to benefit Sanctuary’s clients, her first of many important volunteer contributions.

She tells us that she was “very happy to handle events” for Sanctuary as she has always been passionate about the protection and empowerment of women.

Thanks in no small part to Marjorie’s steadfast commitment to Sanctuary, Hogan has become an even closer partner of Sanctuary in recent years and in 2014 Sanctuary was voted by Hogan employees to be their local “Touch” charity.

Marjorie has been at the forefront of multiple events and initiatives, including: gift drives and fundraisers benefitting our holiday programming and other campaigns, support of Sanctuary’s Zero Tolerance Benefit and Pillars of Change events, providing a customized legal administration training program for Economic Empowerment Program graduates, hosting career days for Sanctuary clients, and spearheading Sanctuary’s client-focused Halloween event.

Marjorie has witnessed firsthand the extraordinary impact the Halloween parties have had on our clients. Hogan staff, under the coordination of Marjorie, spend days decorating their offices and common area, designing interactive themed spaces, and collecting new costumes for each child residing in Sanctuary’s five shelters.

“I remember when I was told at the first Halloween party that one of the women said it was the first time she had seen her child smile in years. The joy and happiness of the kids at the Halloween Party is just awesome.”

Working with our Economic Empowerment Program students and graduates has been especially rewarding for Marjorie and it is evident how much she enjoys talking with clients, sharing her own story of climbing the corporate ladder, and getting to know the people that she has helped in numerous ways on a more personal basis.

Emily Lo Bue, Director of Corporate and Volunteer Relations says of her experience working with Marjorie, “Marjorie’s input in the process of developing new and better partner programs and services for our clients is invaluable. She takes an idea and makes it a hundred times better, engages people to assist, and coordinates amazing events and initiatives that meet needs that we otherwise would not be able to meet.”

After all that Marjorie has done for Sanctuary’s clients, they have taught her something which she is quick to share with others, “women are the same no matter what their backgrounds are. We all have the same hopes and dreams.”

Sanctuary hopes to work with Marjorie and Hogan Lovells on more exciting projects for a long time to come!

We hope you will join us at Pillars of Change on May 10, 2017 to recognize Marjorie and four other incredible volunteers for their service. You can join us at Pillars of Change by registering now!

Junior Hypolite: loyal, resourceful, selfless

Junior is a 2017 Pillars of Change Honoree

It’s National Volunteer Recognition Week! Every day this week we’ll be highlighting a Sanctuary volunteer who will be honored at our Pillars of Change Volunteer Recognition Event on May 10th. Learn more and register for Pillars of Change.

Junior Hypolite has been volunteering with Sanctuary for Families for an astonishing 14 years!

Utilizing his skills as a new professional driver, Junior’s first volunteer role was delivering invitation packets for our Zero Tolerance Benefit to board members and longtime supporters, providing a quick, efficient, and cost-effective way of expanding our reach. This was not without its challenges, he tells us, “I had little experience driving in Manhattan. It was an adventure!”

Junior’s eagerness to assist Sanctuary in any way he could has led him to become an essential part of many of our client-focused events and initiatives. He regularly picks up and delivers large quantities of in-kind donations we receive from individuals and corporations throughout the city, allowing the agency to expand our capacity to receive more items.

This important work allows clients to access items that may otherwise be unavailable to them. Junior’s support in delivering holiday gifts to our clients at Sanctuary’s other locations in the outer boroughs is just one example of the way in which his assistance allows Sanctuary to best meet the needs of our clients throughout the city.

“It’s a privilege to know that my work has a concrete, tangible impact on clients.”

It’s not just Sanctuary clients that benefit from Junior’s versatility and flexibility. On countless occasions, Junior has come to the aid of staff who urgently need to attend important meetings with clients, providing much needed support and accompaniment.

Junior admits that he wasn’t always so invested in issues surrounding gender violence. Through his work at Sanctuary, he has now become a passionate advocate for survivors and has taken this experience to the individuals in his own life, sharing information about domestic violence and supportive services.

Volunteering at Sanctuary has a special, personal meaning for Junior. Sanctuary attorneys assisted one of his family members during a crisis situation and helped them petition for an order of protection. Junior credits Sanctuary for its genuine compassion for his family member.

And we credit Junior for all of his incredible, selfless service which has consistently gone above-and-beyond the call of duty. His dependable nature allows us to consistently maximize our ability to transport important resources to our other locations, event sites, and ultimately our clients.

We hope you will join us at Pillars of Change on May 10, 2017 to recognize Junior and four other incredible volunteers for their service. You can join us at Pillars of Change by registering now!