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Bronx Nonprofit Names Fordham Student ‘Volunteer of the Year’


Ryan Elizabeth Vale, a rising senior at Fordham College at Rose Hill, has been named 2010 Volunteer of the Year by the board of directors of City Squash, a Bronx-based, not-for-profit after school enrichment program.

“She exemplified the perfect volunteer,” said Shandar Edwards, an office administrator who worked closely with Vale at City Squash, an organization that serves children from economically disadvantaged households in the South Bronx.

“[Ryan Elizabeth] was very dedicated,” Edwards said. “She helped us with tutoring in the academic office or anything else we may have needed in the administrative office. No matter what, we could always depend on her.”

Vale, a Winston-Salem, N.C., native, worked three days a week at City Squash as a function of her community service program with the Honors-Curran Center for American Catholic Studies at Fordham.

“Volunteering with CitySquash has been the capstone of my Fordham experience,” Vale said. “Not only did CitySquash allow me to engage Bronx youth through my commitment to education, but its mission also coincides with the most basic reason I chose to attend a Jesuit university—an established commitment to caring for the whole person. These shared values, in addition to its exceptional group of children and wonderfully supportive staff, made tutoring with CitySquash an experience more rewarding than I could have ever expected.”

Vale was unable to accept the award in person at an annual board of directors meeting in mid-July because she is in North Carolina interning at the Moravian MESDA Museum for the summer.

She said the experience of working at City Squash was one she will never forget.

“I have been deeply enriched by this opportunity, and I hope in return I have given the Bronx half the hope and joy ‘CitySquashers’ have given me,” Vale said.

Founded in 2002, City Squash helps young people from economically disadvantaged households in the Bronx fulfill their academic, athletic and personal potential. The intensive, year-round commitment includes squash, tutoring, mentoring, community service, travel, culture, high school placement, employment training and college prep. CitySquash begins working with students in third grade and serves them through college graduation.

—Gina Vergel


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