CB10 presents community members with New York Yankees Community Council Youth Leadership Awards

Chair of the CB10 Youth Committee Bob Bieder, Lucy Lignore, mother of Jonathan Diaz, Kiara Breton, Amal Kharoufeh, mother of Makayla Penn, Dara Martire, mother of Michael Martire and CB 10 Chair Joe Russo.
Photo by Jason Cohen

Community Board 10 and the New York Yankees recently recognized five young adults who make a difference in the community.

On Nov. 5, CB10 presented Michael Martire, Jonathan Diaz, Amal Kharoufeh, Makayla Penn and Kiara Breton with the Yankees’ Youth Leadership Award.

Each person received a $750 stipend and winners perform 50 hours of leadership or volunteer work as a tutor, mentor or advocate against violence and substance abuse. Typically, they are honored on field at a game, but due to COVID-19, that was not possible.

“[The award] is pretty amazing,” Breton said. “I didn’t expect to get it out of so many people that applied for it.”

Breton, a freshman at Lehman College, has been in the Police Explorers program at the 45th Precinct for three years and was student president at Bronx River High School.

Makayla Penn

She joined the Explorers because she wanted to give back to her community and experience what it would be like to be a police officer.

“The experience has been very cool and informative because we learn about what the training that police officers go through,” Breton said. “It teaches us how to be more disciplined and learn more leadership skills.”

Breton, a nursing student, is enrolled in the National Guard and hopes to one day serve in the Air Force.

Kharoufeh is a freshman nursing student at Mercy College and was valedictorian last year at Renaissance High School for Musical Theater & Technology. She said it was nice to be recognized and hopes to one day serve the community.

“It feels pretty motivating, it’s like asking for me to keep going,” she said.

Michael Martire

Martire and Diaz were not at the ceremony, but expressed gratitude to Community Board 10 and the Yankees. Martire, who is a freshman at Boston College, collected over 2,000 pairs of socks for the homeless last year for his senior advocacy project.

He hopes to attend a Yankee game in person next summer.

“I am very grateful for this award and will apply it towards my education,” Martire said.

Diaz, a freshman at the University of Albany, did extensive volunteer work throughout his time at Fordham Prep.

“I learned important life lessons through my volunteer work,” Diaz said. “Humanity depends on helping others. Unfortunately sometimes we can lose perspective. As students and as young adults, there are often many challenges we all must overcome, yet I have made a commitment to being a man for others. Volunteer work is necessary. It is vital. Doing so will save lives, often times even our own.”

Jonathan Diaz

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