Pictured left to right: Chairman of the Albany County Legislator Sean Ward, Samira Ahmed, Claire Brandt, Cindy Ferrari, County Executive Dan McCoy, Susan McManus, David Rose, Valerie Wasilewski and Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple Sr. (Photo submitted)
ALBANY COUNTY — Cindy Ferrari, of Delmar, said she became involved with student health advocacy seven years ago, in response to a concern that there weren’t enough healthy choices available to her eldest daughter, who was in kindergarten at the time. As an employee at the state Department of Health who worked on student health issues, she said that she was particularly sensitive to the matter.
So, she became involved with the Bethlehem CSD Healthy Kids Committee, which she now co-chairs, an organization that works “with all levels of district administration and personnel, Bethlehem students and families, and the larger community to improve nutrition, physical activity, environmental health and overall wellness of all students in the Bethlehem Central School District with a goal of providing the best possible environment in which our students can learn.”
It was through her involvement on the committee that Ferrari learned about Bethlehem Opportunities Unlimited (BOU), a not-for-profit school-affiliated fundraising organization that promotes prevention education and safe, healthy activities for the youth in the Bethlehem community with the purpose of preventing drug and alcohol use and other risky behaviors among young people. Ferrari said she was attracted by the fact that, as a nonprofit, BOU is able to raise funds for health-based programming and initiatives. She now serves as BOU president. She said that her favorite aspect of the job, aside from helping to provide youth and the community with healthy and safe options, is organizing the BOU Spelling Bee each year.
In early April, Ferrari was honored along with five other Albany County residents by County Executive Dan McCoy, when he presented his annual County Executive Volunteer Awards to “a diverse array of county residents who have donated their time and energy to help others.”
“We have so many inspiring individuals in Albany County and today we take time to celebrate those residents who have donated their time, skills and expertise so our community benefits,” said McCoy. “The unique honorees this year serve a variety of organizations, showcasing how generous our volunteers are who are willing to dedicate countless hours of service to make the community a better place to live.”
Recognizing the work that board member David DeCancio does at BOU, Ferrari said she was grateful he took the time to nominate her for the award. “I said to all the people who nominated recipients, that you’re really going above and beyond what you do in your busy day to take the time to fill out the paperwork to honor someone,” she said. “And it is really appreciated.
Other winners included:
Samira Ahmed of Latham: Ahmed is an 11th grader as Shaker High School who is the vice president of the Key Club and has dedicated countless hours to setting up programs to reach out to the large membership. Ahmed also volunteers at Albany Memorial Hospital, Albany Medical Center, Colonie Youth Court, Adolescent Development Project, and student government.
Claire Brandt of Albany: Brandt has dedicated more than eight years to serving the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Susan McManus of Green Island: McManus’ unique history to Albany County hails back to the 1980’s when she created the Adopt-A-Family Program in Green Island. She is the current coordinator of the program.
David Rose of Albany: A lifelong resident of Albany County who dedicates his time to teaching children the importance of developing a healthy lifestyle through the Albany Police Athletic League (PAL).
Valerie Wasilewski of Albany: Wasilewski has been a volunteer with Albany County’s Crime Victim and Sexual Violence Center for the 24-Hour Sexual Assault Crisis Hotline since 2014.
This message is only visible to site admins
Problem displaying Facebook posts. Backup cache in use.