Dinner raises $117,000 for job training programs
By Paula Katinas
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
A Brooklyn nonprofit organization that helps high school dropouts earn diplomas, learn computer skills and compete in the job market raised $117,000 at its recent fall gala and will put the money toward its programs, leaders announced.
Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT) held its 2016 Fall Gala and Opportunity for Youth Awards ceremony at Tribeca Rooftop in Lower Manhattan on Oct. 18.
More than 350 people attended the gala where Kathryn Wylde, president and CEO of the Partnership for New York City, was honored for her longtime commitment to working with the business community to expand job opportunities for New Yorkers.
Winston Fisher, a partner of Fisher Brothers, kicked off the evening with an overview of Wylde’s service to New York City.
But Wylde deflected the praise and instead lauded the work being done by OBT. “Over many years, I have seen Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow become one of New York's most effective workforce development organizations, serving young adults and the communities of Brooklyn. CEO Randy Peers does an outstanding job of building strong relationships with employers that translate into more and better job opportunities for OBT graduates,” she said.
Peers is the executive director and CEO of OBT.
A dozen corporate executives received Opportunity for Youth Awards as a result of their commitment to OBT youth through their professional development events, clothing drives, internships and job opportunities. The honorees included representatives of AIG, Dynamex, Goldman Sachs, Fresh Direct, FSO Outsourcing, Investors Bank, Modell’s, Morgan Stanley, MUFG, NYU Langone, PIMCO and Santander Bank.
“It is an honor to accept the Opportunity for Youth Award on behalf of the Latino Network at AIG. AIG volunteers love working one-on-one with the young adults and it’s a pleasure to partner with an organization who is serving a tremendous need in our city,” said George Williams, global head of commercial insurance operations at AIG.
Another highlight of the evening came when Melinda Peter, an OBT trainee in Website Design and Coding, shared her experience of rebuilding her life after the death of her mother.
Peter said she enrolled in OBT’s Young Adult Internship Program to gain work experience and interned at the New York State Department of Motor vehicles. Upon completion of the program, she decided she wanted to develop more advanced skills and enrolled in OBT’s new Website Design and Coding program located in Industry City.
Peter is making plans to assist churches and religious organizations in the use of technology when she completes her training. “OBT has changed my life and helped to heal me and give me hope for the future. As a result of the program, I will attend college to further develop my skills which I will one day use to help others as OBT has helped me,” she said.
Peers said he is proud of the work the organization has done.
“For the last 10 years I have watched OBT continue to grow and serve more and more people throughout NYC,” Peers said. “Tonight we honored the many business partners who are essential to providing opportunities for young adults to reach their career potential. These companies, coupled with the leadership of Kathy Wylde, represent a powerful statement of support for the work OBT continues to do – empowering youth and adults through job training, education and employment.”
OBT was founded in 1983 to help disadvantaged young people in Sunset Park. The organization has grown over the years and currently runs educational programs in several neighborhoods, including Sunset Park, Bushwick, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Jamaica. Its Sunset Park headquarters is located at 783 Fourth Ave.
Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park-Red Hook) was full of praise for OBT.
“We must continue to invest in the potential of our youth as they are the future of our city. OBT’s development model helps young adults build the confidence and discipline they need to create a better future for themselves and the city. I commend OBT for their hard work and dedication toward helping New Yorkers grow and succeed,” Menchaca said.