A group of SUNY New Paltz alumni from Youth Mission Outreach (YMO) sponsored the “Future and a Hope 5K” at the College on Sept. 17 to raise awareness for the missionary program in Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
“We decided to hold this event on campus because we have a lot of close ties to the College,” said Arlene Dyer ’05 (Elementary Education) ’09g (Special Education), YMO’s volunteer coordinator and special education teacher in Poughkeepsie. “There are currently eight alumni who volunteer with our program and we have two current interns from New Paltz as well.”
For more than two decades, YMO, a nonprofit non-denominational ministry in Poughkeepsie, has served as a haven for thousands of inner city youths through program offerings based on Bible teachings. New Paltz alumni largely staff the organization, and many have been involved with the program since their childhoods. YMO’s internship program is almost entirely composed of current New Paltz students.
Dyer was joined at the event by Nancy Desole ’00 (Special Education), Chanel Tolbert ’10 (Childhood Education 1-6) ’14g (Literacy Education and Special Education), Terrance Dancey ’06 (English), Michele Dancy ’07 (Anthropology), Alyce Snead ’05 (Sociology), La’Ema Vanterpool ’07 (Psychology/Black Studies) and Steve Ollennu’10 (Black Studies).
The 5K was held to increase support for the organization’s most well attended program, Youth Night, which serves 75-125 kids (ages 5-18) each Friday. Attendees enjoy an open gym with basketball and dancing; group games; and free dinner with food donated by the community.
“It was so wonderful to see something we’ve planned for so long come to fruition,” said Dyer. “There were about 50 people in attendance and everyone there felt a sense of camaraderie knowing they weren’t just running another race but also supporting an organization that has such strong connections to the College and surrounding community.”