In 1976, fresh from a mechanic job in Australia, Allen Green found himself back in Ithaca, where he crossed paths with Sam Cohen, the Youth Development Coordinator at the Ithaca Youth Bureau. Allen shares, “Sam approached me with an intriguing proposition: to help fix up an old van that had been donated to the IYB. I agreed, but on one condition: we had to involve young people in the process. Together, we founded the Mechanical All Stars Program, which sparked my passion for empowering youth through hands-on experiences.”
As time passed, Allen’s involvement with the IYB deepened, and he eventually became the director. During this period, he also played a key role in establishing the Friends of the IYB (FIYB), a group of dedicated volunteers who share the common goal of supporting and expanding the YB's impact.
Over the years, Allen has seen the Youth Bureau celebrate many significant milestones and, for him, none are more memorable than the 60th anniversary celebration at the Women's Community Building and the State Theater, with Senator Corey Booker as the keynote speaker and performances by Samite and Richie Stearns. “[This celebration] was a testament to the positive influence the IYB had on countless lives.”, states Allen.
Throughout his journey with the IYB, Allen shares that he was blessed with exceptional mentors like Sam Cohen and Bob Cutia, whose unwavering support and guidance shaped him both personally and professionally. Their inspiration motivated him to give back to a community that has given him so much.
Today, Allen continues to volunteer with FIYB, dedicating his time to an organization that has become an integral part of his life. From fostering youth development to building a strong sense of community, Allen feels that the IYB has proven to be a haven for countless area youth who are seeking guidance, opportunities, and a sense of belonging. Its significance extends beyond the visible programs, enriching the entire Ithaca community in countless ways.
While reflecting on his years of service to the Youth Bureau, Allen confidently says that his involvement with the IYB has been one of the most rewarding and fulfilling endeavors of his life, “It is a privilege to witness the growth and success of the countless young people who have passed through its doors. The IYB's impact on Ithaca is immeasurable, and I am excited to see the positive change it continues to bring in the years to come.”