This May, we’re celebrating the work anniversary of Tito, a beloved member of the IYB Recreation Department. Tito has been an employee for eight years, however, he has been part of the YB for much longer, as he was a volunteer before that. Tito enjoys working with the Recreation Department as a program specialist because “It's important to have kids socializing, playing, and having fun. These are tough times, and the kids need to have that space to be kids.”
Tito initially started working with kids and IYB Rec in 2003, when he coached his cousin’s kindergarten soccer team. He continued his volunteer work and when the opportunity became available, he became a staff member because “I get a unique perspective seeing the kids grow up in the community. I see kids that started in a Pre-K program with me in the newspapers for local high school sports. That’s rewarding!”
The uniqueness of Rec Dept programming is another reason Tito enjoys being a part of it all. “We try to make every program accessible to all the kids in the area by keeping costs low and working with parent and college volunteers. Sports are a great unifier. This is a place where we come together for the enjoyment of sport and comradery” and states that the “experience of playing with kids from all walks of life” has a big impact on participants.
While Tito has many great memories of his time working at the YB and noted that it is hard to pick just one, he stated, “An experience that I get reminded of often is when our little league baseball players got to take the field at Auburn and Binghamton stadiums to throw out the 1st pitch. The joy it brought the kids and families is why we do what we do.”
The Youth Bureau is happy to celebrate Tito and is grateful for the work has done, the lessons and skills he has taught, and the fun he has had with countless children in the Ithaca area. Congratulations, Tito!
This March, we are celebrating Ever’s 11th year of work at the Ithaca Youth Bureau. Ever started out with Youth Employment Service as a seasonal YES Rep in the summer of 2011 before moving into a full-time role. They have now been the coordinator of the YES program since 2015.
Ever has known they wanted to work with teenagers for most of their life, though they started out on a more traditional education route. Ever attended Ithaca College studying Music Education and realized at graduation that a different approach to helping and teaching teens was more their style. “I sort of stumbled into my work with YES, but it was the perfect fit,” they said.
“If the YES Program didn’t exist, teens would still get jobs. But which teens? And what jobs?” Ever says.
“The YES Program provides a really unique experience that seeks to make the job search process less competitive, more equitable, and also connects teens with a much wider diversity of work opportunities than they would have on their own. As adults, we spend most of our working lives trying to fit ourselves into the mold of a position’s qualifications— YES is one of the rare times where a group of people try to mold a job around a teen’s strengths, skills, and needs.
Through the YES Program, Ever has been able to really harness their passion for teaching and learning with the needs and learning styles of teens. “I love working with teenagers. They are eager and motivated to learn about it in a way they might not be about school. And since they are always at the beginning of their working journey, I feel like we have real, valuable information and guidance to give them.” The impact of the YES Program and Ever and their team can be felt across the community. Youth Employment Service has been a part of the Ithaca community for over 50 years and Ever says after 10 years working with the program, it’s hard to go anywhere without bumping into a current or former YES Teen.
“My favorite moments are always the ones where I see a former YES teen thriving in their adult life,” Ever says. “Recently we had an alumni of our leadership program, Youth Council Ambassadors, speak to the current members of the group as an adult guest. Seeing him being able to offer his wisdom to the next generation of youth leaders was incredibly inspiring.”
The Youth Bureau is happy to celebrate 11 years with Ever and is grateful for the work that they have done to help teens in the greater Ithaca community.
Spring is Coming! As I write this, snow is coming down outside my window, but spring is in the air. It is staying light a little longer, the birds are returning to the area, and it just smells like spring in the mornings.
This is also the time of year when Youth Bureau Staff are buzzing with excitement and new energy. Recreation is gearing up for spring sports, expressive art programs, martial arts and more. Ithaca Bike Rental is tuning up bikes and preparing for a new rental season. Youth Employment Services will begin accepting applications from teens for summer jobs.
College Discovery Program and Paul Schreurs Program are helping students complete their school year, some graduating and entering college or the work world. Recreation Support Services are preparing to hit the parks and provide a new season of recreation and leisure opportunities to their participants. Big Brothers Big Sisters is welcoming a new staff member and doing a spring recruit for mentors. And Outings is preparing groups for outdoor adventure trips this spring.
It may be snowing, but we are getting ready and can't wait to see everyone this spring!
When making a charitable gift to the Friends of the IYB, you can make a one-time contribution or set a schedule for a recuring donation. Support with a credit card can be automated as monthly, quarterly or yearly by indicating this interest either online or on a gift envelope. See FIYB website for more information. https://www.friendsiyb.org/donate
Rebecca Norman, a parent in the community and former member of the Friends of the IYB Board, has been giving monthly for six years and plans to continue this practice.
“The Ithaca Youth Bureau is such a central place in the community," she said. "The services and programs they provide for our youth are so important. Now more than ever, we need to come together as a community to ensure our children have access to athletics, the arts, and all of the wonderful services the youth bureau provides. I am happy to continue to support these efforts.”
For assistance with recurring gifts or for any questions about FIYB, contact email@example.com
This month, the Youth Bureau is proud to celebrate a major staff milestone. As of February 25, Suki Tabor has been working for the YB for 20 years! Suki started out as a member of the Youth Employment Service staff and spent 13 years helping teens develop their work skills. In 2015, Suki was given the opportunity to move into her current position, Deputy Director, which allows her to support many of the Youth Development programs, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ithaca and Tompkins County, College Discovery Program, Youth Employment Service, Paul Schreurs Memorial Program, and Outings.
Growing up as the oldest of four children and whose parents were involved in education, Suki feels as though she was destined to work with kids or programs that serve kids. Prior to coming to the YB, she was a school teacher and has always been passionate about the enrichment of young lives.
As you can imagine, Suki has seen some amazing stories of how the Youth Bureau has made a difference in the lives of youth in Ithaca and Tompkins County. Once, the YES team had a teen participant that had very little support. The teen was walking more than a mile to work in slippers because she didn't have shoes that fit. Youth Bureau staff quickly worked to get shoes and a bus pass for the teen so she could get to work each day. Years later, Suki bumped into that teen at a local park and was happy to hear that she was thriving and credited the YB for helping her.
Suki knows the importance of being connected to and feeling supported within a community. “The joy and growth that participants experience in our programs is something so powerful and meaningful,” she said. She loves being able to watch young people develop passions and build new friendships. Suki is dedicated to continuing to provide quality YB programs at little or no cost to the community.
Please join us in congratulating Suki on 20 years! We appreciate all she does!
Linda began her work at the Youth Bureau as a part-time staff member 25 years ago. Now she works full time as the Program Coordinator for the College Discovery Program (CDP). She began the Tot Spot program at the YB when her own son was two years old because she felt there was a need for a warm, dry place for kiddos to run around and get exercise during the cold Ithaca winters. After that, Linda helped start a YB initiative at Beverly J Martin Elementary school which led to her being hired by the school district to co-lead the program for three years. Linda came back to the Youth Bureau to coordinate the College Discovery Program, which at the time was a pilot program with only 12 students. Linda has now been with the CDP for 15 years and has watched it flourish and grow, serving over 100 youth!
Linda is passionate about using her creativity and experience in the education system to help kids thrive, and she truly loves helping her community. She began her career working as a research assistant at Massachusetts General Hospital studying normal aging and dementia. Linda recalls that while the work was interesting, she felt that there was little room for creativity and growth and began looking for other opportunities. She ended up going to graduate school to get her teaching certification.
She has many memories from her tenure at the Youth Bureau. She said she loves seeing CDP students get involved in their community and give back during service projects.
“CDP provides a sense of belonging to youth and a chance to try different things, visit different places, and learn about possibilities,” Linda said.“We help students, many of whom may be first generation college students, to see themselves as potential college students by offering tutors, mentors, college visits, and more.’’
We celebrate Linda’s work anniversary and thank her for the work she’s done to make the Ithaca community a better place for youth.
We are excited to announce that Matthew Davids is our Soccer Skill Development Coach this season! Matt has been playing soccer since he was ten, when he began at the youth level in Cape Town, South Africa. He loves the sport and became interested in it because it was easy to learn and fun to play. Matt has been involved with local soccer groups both in South Africa, as well as right here in Ithaca.
Matt has been coaching and mentoring young players for the last eight years, often on a one-to-one basis. He spent the past fall with a group of 4th and 5th graders in Ithaca Youth Bureau Rotary Soccer. Matt enjoys watching each player learn and grow in order to begin developing the skills they need to enjoy playing the sport. He believes that soccer is a wonderful way to make friends.
“This game's simplicity levels the 'playing field' (pun intended), allowing people from all backgrounds worldwide to enjoy and thrive,” Matt said.
During the day, Matt works full-time as a Data Officer for Tompkins County Assigned Counsel Program. He loves living in Ithaca and has enjoyed the vibrant soccer community in the area. Please help us welcome him in his role here at IYB!
Your support of Friends of the Ithaca Youth Bureau helps to ensure that our community’s children and youth have access to safe and healthy recreational and youth development opportunities.
Gifts made in the past year were allocated to the Ithaca Youth Bureau according to preferred donor designations and the IYB program needs, including for:
Sandy LeFeber, a former IYB theater instructor, made a donation in memory of Ruth Davis, the founder of what was formally known as The Center for Expressive Arts IYB. The donation will expand opportunities for local youth to explore the expressive arts.
LeFeber and Davis worked together at the Youth Bureau’s Expressive Arts Center for more than 10 years in the 1970s and 1980s.
The donation – named the Ruth Davis Expressive Arts Program – will support reduced fees for theatre programs; provide supplies, tools and equipment for students to explore costume and prop making; purchase a sound system with microphones; and sponsor performing arts shows for children and families in the community.
“For more than 40 years, Ruth was my friend, mentor and colleague,” LaFeber said. “Her life’s work was devoted to making all aspects of the performing arts—improvisation, prop and costume building, voice training, movement, and acting—accessible and inclusive for children of all ages.
“Ruth’s approach to teaching emphasized process over performance, so that kids developed the various skills needed to build a production from the ground up,” she said. “Ruth taught her students that there was so much more to learn and experience about theater beyond playing a role on the stage. I hope that by helping to support a diverse offering of expressive arts programming at the Ithaca Youth Bureau, I can help honor Ruth’s legacy and continue her vision of providing all children the encouragement and direction needed to realize their artistic and creative potential.”
Youth Bureau Director Liz Klohmann said the IYB is excited to receive this generous donation. Klohmann remembers Ruth Davis and her passion for youth theatre and arts.
“I met Ruth when I worked at the Youth Bureau as a volunteer and student in the early 1980s,” Klohmann said. “She loved teaching children and getting them involved in the theatre experience. After she retired, she often checked in on us with a visit or to attend a Youtheatre production. We are excited to carry her vision of Youtheatre and Expressive Arts forward at the Youth Bureau.”
Additional donations to Ruth Davis Expressive Arts Programs may be made through the non-profit Friends of the Ithaca Youth Bureau at www.friendsiyb.org/donate.
Just over 230 youth participated in Outings after school, this includes Explorers, Outdoor Adventure Programs, and Pathfinders at the IYB this year. In addition, more than 1,300 people rented bikes from the Ithaca Bike Rental in 2021. The IYB is proud of its efforts to get people of all ages outside and enjoying nature!
Outings hosted seven Adventure Programs this year. Participants learned outdoor survival basics, the art of meditation, and various climbing techniques. Also, participants in the Explorers program visited the Finger Lakes National Forest for a 5-day camping trip this past summer.
The Pathfinders program brought together 150 fourth and fifth graders from the Ithaca City School District into small groups to focus on personal and emotional growth, building self-esteem, and enriching friendships. Students participated in team and leadership activities, games, discussions and walking and biking experiences.
Finally, Ithaca Bike Rental (IBR) welcomed 1325 riders this season; 859 were visitors to Ithaca, 269 were residents of Ithaca and 197 were youth and adults involved in IYB programs. IBR collaborated with eight community organizations to bring biking to young people, seniors, and all ages in between. Our partner organizations include GIAC, Lifelong, Bike Walk Tompkins, Finger Lakes Touring, Recreation Support Services, the College Discovery Program, the Big Brothers Big Sisters Program and the Paul Schreurs Memorial Program.
We were grateful to spend time outside with so many youth and community members, and we look forward to an equally successful 2022!