Every month we here at NYCID come together to bestow an award called “Team Member of the Month” to someone who both does exceptional work and who exceeds expectations. Despite the emergency we know that, now more than ever, our team needs to feel a sense of normalcy.

This morning we saw to it to take the time to acknowledge a team member who we feel deserves the title and recognition for their hard work. For the month of February the team chose Shekeele Gardner, Advocate Counselor at Olympus Academy. Shekeele has a passion for what she does and it shows throughout her work. That is why her supervisor Kenyetta Smith nominated her for the award. Shekeele helped Kenyetta transition into her new role as Program Director at Olympus Academy by connecting her with the students on a personal level.

Since the schools are closed we decided to give Shekeele her award virtually. We zoomed in to meet with Shekeele, Program Director Kenyetta Smith, our CEO Candace Gonzalez, Our Associate Executive Director Michael De Vito Jr., and the entire Olympus Academy team. Once everyone settled in the award presentation began. Shekeele was happily surprised when she realized she was being recognized for all of her hard work. Michael De Vito presented the award and shared about how Shekeele goes above and beyond to help staff and students alike with all sorts of problems. After reading a short excerpt about why she was chosen for this award, Michael showed on his webcam a golden dove which would have been delivered to her in person had the circumstances been different. Shekeele was congratulated with a ruptuous round of applause.

Coincidentally, today is Shekeele’s two year anniversary at NYCID! What a way to celebrate spending two years at a job you love. Shekeele has shown us throughout her two years here that she is someone who is truly passionate about the work we do. Without people like her the work that we do wouldn’t be possible. That is why we feel that even in a state of emergency it is important to still recognize where good work is being done, and the people who it is done by. Congratulations Shakeele and keep being an extraordinary team member!