How to Become an Advisory Council Member?
The Youth2 Advisory Council is composed of youth and adults, all from Saratoga County. They meet monthly to review grant requests and promote volunteer action.
RYAN CHERRY was born in 1999 in Saratoga Springs. He is a currently an 9th grader at Saratoga Springs Middle School. Ryan began playing the cello in 4th grade and enjoys participating in the school orchestra. He excels academically and has been on the high honor roll since beginning Middle School. Ryan also enjoys learning about technology and participated in the DEP Tech Club’s annual competition where his team placed second overall.
When he is not busy with school activities Ryan enjoys spending time with his friends and family and his dog Kipper. He loves to swim, bike ride and travel to new places. He is also an avid reader.
Ryan has always been a very caring and compassionate person. He is always very supportive of his friends and family. He now looks forward to using his caring and compassionate nature to help not only those that are close to him, but the community as a whole through his involvement in Youth Squared.
HUNTER CHOY was born in 1999 and is currently a Junior at Saratoga Springs High School. He has been a member of YouthSquared since the Eigth grade and designed the 2015 “Youth Create” open mic talent show held at Cafe Lena. Hunter has been an active Boy Scout since six years of age and is currently working on the rank of Eagle. He also enjoys historical reenactment, performing music, playing soccer, and the outdoors.
JESSICA KURTZ Born and raised in Saratoga Springs, I was born in 1998 and am currently 16 years old and a junior in high school. I joined youth squared last year when I realized I had a desire to be more involved in my community. I first got my inspiration at Wesley Nursing Home the summer after freshman year where I would go once a week and polish the nails of elderly ladies(occasionally men haha). The people I encountered and the gratitude I received just empowered me to do more and more, driving me to Youth Squared. I have certainly not regretted my decision. Since I joined I have been involved in various community service projects locally that always leave me walking away with a feeling of fulfillment that seems to be growing insatiably. Youth Squared has driven me to volunteer at places like Caffe Lena, the Wilton Food Pantry, and I have no doubt that I will continue to seek out more opportunities in our community. I’m so glad that I found Youth Squared.
LANSING WARD is a current high school student who has been on the Advisory Council with YouthSquared for the past couple of years. Lansing joined YouthSquared to do community service in an organized group setting and YouthSquared seemed like a great option. Lansing’s passion is computer hardware. Lansing is working on redesigning the website as part of his advisory contribution.
CIARA KNOTT was born in 2001 in Albany, NY. She lived in Colorado for 8 years but has been back in Saratoga for the past 4 years. She is an 8th grader at Maple Avenue Middle School. Ciara is an active member of the Cross Country Blue Streaks team and track team, she also loves singing and acting. She is a high honor student and enjoys being involved in the community. She was an active volunteer at Wesley over the summer. She is looking forward to being part of the Advisory Council of YouthSquared.
JONATHAN GREENE is a 30 year old community organizer and social entrepreneur. He is the founder of the Local Living Guide, Spa City Packs and SaratogaWire.com. Jonathan’s passion for sustainable community development came from his advocacy work in high school, college and post-graduate. He sat on the Sustainable Washington Advisory Panel commissioned by the governor in 2002 as one of two youth representatives statewide. Jonathan was co-president of the Environmental Action Club at Skidmore College and founded an organization called the D-Hall Revolution, which sought to get more locally grown food into the dining hall. The D-Hall Revolution’s work resulted in several substantial contracts with local farmers. Jonathan believes that civic engagement from an early age fosters a happier existence and a life-time of greater compassion for others. Jonathan also is a busy freelance musician in the greater capital region. You can see some of his music at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CkK-LM6Oe0
JON BRAYTON lives in Malta and involves both of his children, Zachary and Olivia in Youth2 ‘s activities. Jon graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in social work. He has been working with children and families in some capacity for the past 25 years. Jon began volunteering in high school and has been doing so ever since. He has volunteered for the Heart Connection for nearly 20 years. This is a program that provides camp experiences for children diagnosed with various forms of cancer. He feels that volunteering is an important part in young persons development and is grateful to be a part of the Youth2 Advisory Council.
MAXWELL RIVET was born on January 26, 1998. He joined YouthSquared in 2012 along with his sister and mother. He has volunteered throughout the Saratoga Springs community from a very young age. Some of the organizations in which he has volunteered are: Saratoga Plan, Children and Nature Saratoga, Saratoga Arts Fest. He enjoys marketing projects as well as promoting events for YouthSquared.
DEREK BRUCE was born on August 6, 2000. He is currently 14 and a freshman at Saratoga Springs High School. He joined Youth Squared in August of 2014. He found interest in the organization the year before at a presentation of the Humanitarian Games, but put off joining sue to a busy schedule. He still has that busy schedule including Robotics Club, recreational sports, playing an instrument but has managed to find the time to fit it in. His goals of being in this organization are to help as much as he can for the Saratoga community and beyond.
ALEX HITE is currently a junior at Saratoga Springs High School who enjoys playing basketball, skiing, and being outdoors. Alex originally got involved in Youth Squared due to his sister, Leah, who is a former member of the Advisory Board and current sophomore at Dartmouth College. It didn’t take long for him to realize how much he loved the organization and everyone in it. Alex says that it has been truly amazing to get the opportunity to understand what goes into promoting unity in a community and learning about the infrastructure behind how a city like Saratoga Springs stays as beautiful and amazing as it is. He believes that taking time out of your schedule, no matter how busy, to give back to your community is an excellent way to take a step back from your life, especially amidst the stress of high school, and truly be thankful for your surroundings. He looks forward to helping Youth Squared and his community for as long as he possibly can.
ARDIE RUSSEL born in 1970, Ardie was raised in the Adirondack Mountains and moved to Saratoga Springs in 1994. She raised two children here and has devoted her entire career to working in the non-profit realm. She has served on the boards of several arts and environmental organizations. She joined YouthSquared, along with her children in 2012 and enjoys working on fundraising and marketing activities.
BEVERLY LAZAR of Saratoga Springs is the Founder of Youth2. Aside from being an active mother with four grown children and five grandchildren with her musician husband Peter. Beverly has had a long history in human services creating the Saratoga Task Force on Child Abuse and Neglect now known as the Saratoga Center for the Family. She has worked for and has helped to develop the Child Custody Stress Prevention Project. She created the Play Therapy Project, the Play and Healing Library Project, and “Make the Wait Count” all established at the Saratoga County Mental Health Center. She has worked with the National Humanistic Education Center, Displaced Homemakers Program and Transitional Services and is currently a supervising clinical social worker, of nearly 26 years, for Saratoga County Mental Health Center-Youth and Family Services Team. Beverly’s community service activities have included the World Quilt Project of the Saratoga Mentoring Program, the social action project “Los Ninos de Chirripo” (the children of Chirripo, Costa Rica) of the Pura Vida Dance Camp, Performer Housing and Program Book volunteer for the Dance Flurry Organization, Board Member of the Citizens’ Committee for Mental Health, Volunteer for the Humor Project, Coordinator of the Living in Harmony Festival for the Saratoga Springs Waldorf School, Saratoga Peacemakers and Saratoga Spa State Park, Board Member of Spring Hill School and Children and Nature, Saratoga.Beverly believes in engaging young people to think about issues that they care about and to create volunteer or social action projects for youth and by youth.
Alumni of The Advisory Council
As youth members graduate from high school and move to other regions of the country, they also graduate from the Youth2 Advisory Council and are replaced by new youth representatives. Below are youth and adults who have served time with us.
LEAH HITE lives in Saratoga Springs and attends Saratoga Springs High School. She is a rower and a cheerleader. She joined Youth Squared during her sophomore year of high school and has been with the organization ever since. She loves her time with the group, and has truly enjoyed her experiences with Youth Squared. It has presented herwith an excellent opportunity to make a difference and to show others how fulfilling it can be to help others.
ZACHARY GARNER– Zach is a Freshman at Ballston Spa High School. He enjoys running, Track and Cross Country. He likes drama and singing and he really enjoys being a part of the Youth2 Advisory Board.
NANCY WHITE MARTINEZ has served on the Advisory Council since its creation. She is a long time resident of Saratoga Springs, and raised a family here. Nancy has worked in human services throughout her career, starting in casework practice and currently serving as policy and planning director for the New York State Office of Children and Family Services. Her community volunteer activities include teaching Sunday School and other church activities, volunteering at Domestic Violence and Rape Crisis Services and other community service activities as a member of Soroptimist International. Participation in Youth2 offered Nancy another chance to support community work. She has a strong belief in the kindness and community spirit of children and youth, and has seen Youth2 serve as a catalyst for young people to creatively and thoughtfully act on their ideas for helping others. “Youth Squared creates an ever-widening circle of youth working towards the common goal of improving the health and well-being of other youth, locally and across the globe. Serving on the Advisory Board is an opportunity for the adults to offer their organizational, grants-making and facilitation skills. Youth members are empowered to apply their creativity, kindness and wisdom to the development of opportunities for social action and service – to make a difference.”
HALLEY CHOY lives in Saratoga Springs and was born in 1996. She attends Saratoga Springs High School. She loves to play sports, such as volleyball, skiing, and running. She is presently running on the Saratoga Varsity Track Team. She enjoys traveling and spending time with her friends and family. She really enjoys being part of Youth2 for so many reasons. One reason that she likes Youth2 is that the organization helps people help other people and that the theory of helping others is spread around. It has been a great opportunity for her. Whenever she attends the meetings or helps out somewhere, she feels warmth in her heart. This lets her know that what she is doing is right for her; to help people who really need and appreciate it. As she helps others, she feels great inside, because she knows she is not only making a difference in other people, but also in herself. She has volunteered many times for many things and she has donated her time and effort to many organization who are in need, such as the Salvation Army, St. Clements Horse Show, and the Public Library. She really feels great inside when she reaches out and goes the “extra mile” for someone or something. People appreciate it and they decide to help another. It makes her feel great that even though she is so small in this universe, that she can make a difference just by helping someone. That person who was helped can help another, and it can just keep on spreading, making our world a better place for everyone.
WILLIAM BISHOP is a recent addition to the Youth2 Advisory Board as of this past 2nd Annual Giving Fair. Inspired by the message of youth helping youth, William aspires to be a diligent member of this organization and is grateful for the opportunities that Youth Squared gives him to be productive within his community. Being a student at Saratoga Springs High School, William has learned to appreciate the numerous life skills that he has acquired from his current curriculum and the various values that Youth Squared has instilled in him in a very short period of time. Will finds the community involvement of Youth Squared invaluable and cannot wait for a future full of additional opportunities.
MUSTAFA CHAUDRY is a senior international student from Pakistan studying at Skidmore College, majoring In Management & Business. His passions include entrepreneurship and marketing. His interests range from Philosophy to Politics to Religion to Sports in particular Football otherwise known as Soccer in the U.S. He is also currently working for a not for profit Seeds for Peace, where he is actively engaged in restructuring the organization and creating an engaging social media presence for it, in a bid to make it self sustainable and expands its outreach and effectiveness.
LAUREN DILLON attends Saratoga Springs High school. She enjoys many sports and is currently on the crew team, she also loves being with her friends and family. She has raised money to give medicine and antibiotics to people in Africa, and has served on the volunteer staff for make a difference day for many years. She enjoys Youth squared because its an amazing opportunity and she thinks that it feels good knowing that you’re helping to give back to your community.
RYAN HEALY, age 18 attends Saratoga Springs High School. Ryan has helped on “Make a Difference Day”. He has done volunteer work at Saratoga Shelter and worked on the Museum Exhibit at the Saratoga Military Museum. “I think Youth2 is a great opportunity to get involved in your community by helping kids just like you do projects of service”.
SABRINA HERLICK was born in 1997 and is 17 years old. She has been a part of Youth Squared for 7 years. She first joined when she brought a grant to the board to raise money for children in Africa by giving bed nets to reduce malaria. With the help of YouthSquared she exceeded her goal making a total of $1,300. Soon after she joined the Advisory Council. Sabrina also participates in volleyball and enjoys photography. As Sabrina continues on her journey community service will always have the biggest place in her heart and YouthSquared helped that become a reality.
DAVEY KELLEY graduated from Saratoga Springs High School and is attending the University of Colorado at Boulder. He organized a volunteer project for eight years. Davey began the “Make a Difference Day” project by himself at age 9 on the USA Weekend designated Make a Difference Day (4th Saturday in October). At the end of the 8th year over 100 youth helped to raise money for the Saratoga Center for the Family. Over the 8 years, the money raised totaled over $10,000.00. Youth2 provides a great opportunity for Saratoga County youth to help others. Davey also made awesome Youth2 cookies and a beautiful hand painted Y branch to publicize Youth2. Over the years Davey has participated in many volunteer activities for the Saratoga Center for the Family including the chicken bar-b-que and the walk for support against child abuse. He was the President of the Agotaras Chapter of the National Honor Society from 2006-07.
MATT MOELLMAN is a Life scout in Boy Scout Troop 70 and has held various leadership positions in the troop. He attended the National Youth Leader Training Conference in the summer of 2007. Through scouting he has had the opportunity to participate in many community service projects including assisting fellow Scouts, including his brother, with their Eagle projects and bottle drives. Matt supports Youth2‘s mission because it gives youth a chance to be active and valuable parts of the community. Matt is a student at Saratoga Springs High School for the ’08 – ’09 school year. He is also an active musician inside and outside of school. He plays piano in the school’s jazz ensemble and French horn in the school’s concert band. Outside of school, Matt participates in the Empire State Youth Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble. he also plays with a piano trio.
OLIVIA COCO attends Saratoga Springs High School and joined the Youth Squared team in November 2010 around the time of the Annual Giving Fair. Olivia is the 2011 Secretary of National Honor Society and has enjoyed getting involved with local community service. A lifelong equestrian, Olivia grew up in Vermont and moved to Saratoga in 2007. She plans to attend the College of Charleston in South Carolina in the Fall of 2011.
MEG PAROBECK attended Skidmore College and decided to reside in Saratoga after college. She is married with 2 children and 2 active dogs. Meg has volunteered for the Saratoga Historical Society and the Children’s Museum at Saratoga. For many years, she gardened at Yaddo as a volunteer gardener and served on the Yaddo Garden Association Board of Directors. Currently, Meg works for the Saratoga Mentoring Program, a program of Catholic Charities. The Mentoring Program matches youth with a mentor. Meg has always been interested in helping others and she enjoys serving on the Advisory Council of Youth2. There are so many opportunities out there for teens to participate in and she loves that Youth2 seeks to connect them with those opportunities.
ARIK TORKELSON (born 1993) became a Board Member following applying to YouthSquared for a grant for his teen social action group. Get In GEAR- Get Educated, Get Active, Get Real. Arik is in his 4th year as Varsity Rowing with several national titles, including the National Men’s Youth Pairs Championship 2010. An honor student and artist, Arik enjoys films and documentaries, game designing and playing piano, and regularly contributes to the efforts of groups like Rebuild Together and The double H Ranch. Arik has spent the past 5 summers exploring the Canadian Wilderness and having just completed a 4 week Wilderness Leadership Program plans to lead youth expeditions in the coming summers. Arik will be pursuing degrees bridging Environmental Sciences and Game Design.
GAIL WILLNER-GIWERC lives in Saratoga Springs with her husband, Ralph and three children, Molly, Sara and Max. A special education teacher for the past 20 years, Gail is committed to endeavors that support the youth in our community. In addition to being co-PTA, Gail also assists with the school art show, student directory, and community service projects and is a member of the arts in education committee. Gail is excited to be part of Youth2 because it provides her with the opportunity to further her own knowledge about volunteer opportunities in our community. She is especially excited to see youth involved in volunteering because then hopefully it will become part of who they are. Creating the next generation of volunteers is the best way to help not just Saratoga County today, but in the future as well.