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Comcast NBCUniversal Leadership Awards 2014
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The Comcast NBCUniversal Leadership Awards recognize outstanding City Year alumni who are continuing their commitment to strengthening community, inspiring, mobilizing, and empowering others, creating and developing sustainable solutions for social change and who exemplify the core values of City Year.

Congratulations to this year's Comcast NBCUniversal Leadership Award recipients:

Alen Amini
City Year Columbus '10

For his tireless advocacy of under resourced communities and devotion to improve educational outcomes for children in Arkansas, Ohio and Mississippi.  Alen’s pathway into education began as a corps member with City Year Columbus where he tutored third grade students whose average reading levels improved 1.3 grade levels.  After three additional years of AmeriCorps service with Public Allies and Teach for America, he oversaw a discipline and rewards system as the Dean of Students at Lakeside High School in Lake Village, one of Arkansas’ lowest performing schools, and increased in-school time for students by 1100 hours and decreased discipline referrals by 44 percent.  In his “off” hours, he is committed to redefining what is possible for communities.  He is Co-Founder of Delta Horizons that has raised more than $150,000 for educational international and domestic student trips, initiated the first city-wide internship for minority students in Greenville, MS, and served on founding committee of the Mississippi River Marathon - creating $750,000 in economic impact.

Thea DeRosa City Year Columbia '01, '02

For her exceptional commitment to reducing childhood hunger and increasing access to nutritious meals in the City of Cleveland, OH.  Since starting as an intern with The Cleveland Foodbank more than ten years ago, Thea – now Vice President of Programs - has been instrumental in building the core outreach programs, operations and community partnerships to increase the number of meals served to children from 100,000 to more than one million annually.  Through her entrepreneurial leadership of the Children’s Nutrition Initiative, she oversees a staff of six that directly impacts more than 11,000 children through creative food distribution – weekend Backpacks, Library Snacks, summer feeding programs and Kids Café, which started with two sites six years ago and now provides breakfast, lunch and dinner to children at 60 sites in three counties.  Recently, Thea launched a mobile school pantry to increase access fresh produce and engage children and families through cooking demonstrations, nutrition information and exercise activities.  Thea deeply believes in the power of teamwork and collaboration to achieve well-being for all.

 Anuj Gupta City Year Boston '97

For his relentless advocacy as an active citizen, student, lawyer, city government manager, and community leader to affect social change for Philadelphia and its diverse populations.  As Executive Director of Mt. Airy USA, a comprehensive non-profit community development corporation, Anuj establishes community partnerships and aligns resources - real estate development, commercial corridor revitalization and housing counseling - to strengthen one of northwest Philadelphia’s most culturally diverse neighborhoods. This past fall, his leadership led to the most transformative project to date – reclaiming a 20-year, blighted land plot and reimagining this four-acre site as a second campus for the successful K-8 Wissahickon Charter School. Through a partnership with an adjacent arboretum and nonprofit community farm, this project stands to create a national model for environmentally-based public education for nearly 500 children.  His community impact extends to volunteer leadership as a Trustee for Chestnut Hill Hospital and Vice Chair for Welcoming New Pennsylvanians Center.


Laura Hamm City Year New York '05, '06

For her ten years of service with City Year and outstanding leadership to expand City Year New York’s and Baton Rouge’s impact in schools and communities.  Laura’s commitment to public service was sparked as an undergraduate at Louisiana State University and deepened through two years of a service as a corps member with City Year New York.  Since returning to her home state and joining City Year Baton Rouge as its Executive Director and Vice President in 2011, Laura has grown the number of corps members serving in East Baton Rouge schools by 60 percent and increased the site operating budget from $1.4M to $2.5M.  During the 2012-2013 school year, all four City Year Baton Rouge schools were removed from the state’s Academically Unsatisfactory Status list.  Laura embodies the value “Students First, Collaboration Always” and together with the Deputy Superintendent, she has adopted the motto “every student moves forward, whatever it takes”. 

 Sean McDevitt City Year Boston '02

For his relentless leadership in building the City Year alumni network and serving as a champion of City Year’s culture and community.   From corps member to Alumni Manager to Senior Director of Alumni & Career Services, Sean has spent the past thirteen years fostering opportunities for the 20,000-strong Alumni network to further their education, develop their careers, and remain civically-engaged well beyond their years of service.  He has led on both the 20th and 25th Alumni Anniversary Fundraising Campaigns, the creation of 18-Minute Networking, an annual event that engages hundreds of alumni and champions in career conversations with corps members, the creation of a National Alumni Advisory Board, and the cultivation of give a year and LACY partnerships, now totaling over 115 partners engaged since 2008. Further, Sean served as the Co-Chair of the AmeriCorps Alums-Boston Board, and is an active alumni of his alma mater, LaSalle University.  Sean is the truest example of service to a cause greater than self and his passion for community-building allows for alumni everywhere to define the term “Leaders for Life”.

Jay Thompson City Year Philadelphia '03

For his inspiring leadership in building the beloved community and expanding the national service movement across the country and the world for more than a decade.   Whether mentoring corps members, building relationships with external champions or leading City Year’s expansion into a new community, Jay’s influence is felt at all levels of the organization.  In leadership roles that span Deputy Director of Program and Service, Start Up Director, Interim Executive Director and Senior Director of New Site Operations, he has inspired dedicated champions and led staff and corps members to establish four new sites – three US sites in Milwaukee, Jacksonville and Tulsa, and City Year’s second international affiliate in London, UK.  As the Interim Executive Director for City Year Jacksonville, Jay manages a $2M budget, drives strategic partnerships, leads the site board and oversees Development, Operations, Program and Service departments.  He personifies dedication to a cause greater than self and his commitment to excellence stems from his passion for students to be prepared to learn every day.

 Please contact Amanda Smidt, National Manager of Alumni & Career Services, at with any questions.

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