Bervin Harris, like many of us, understands the meaning of stewardship. He is truly a servant of the people, with a passion for community service, which began early during his high school years. It was then that he founded his first youth leadership group, “Youth on the Move.” As president, he implemented his vision of curbing drug activity in his community. Because of his efforts, the Town of Hempstead presented him with the County Proclamation. This experience served as the training ground for Bervin, as he honed his leadership skills and sharpened his focus towards a commitment to service.
As a student in Comparative Creative Arts at Old Westbury, Bervin founded the Old Westbury Choir and simultaneously served as its director and president, and subsequently served as president of the Performing Arts Student Association. Upon graduation he was honored as the recipient of the college’s Community Service Award, and for the next four years he worked as a counselor in the school’s admissions department.
Bervin then went on to work in the inner city at Pius XII in the North Bronx as Director of Teen Services, where he established its first job training program for teens. He also founded the parent alliance, the Warriors track club, which he coached, and still serves as a friend to the agency and community.
There was little doubt that Darren Quinlan was destined to work with kids. As a 12-year old summer counselor at Calvary Baptist Church day camp he quickly became an asset by showing his ability to successfully communicate with the younger children. At 14 he was junior counselor for the Town of Huntington’s Project Play program, which blossomed into an 8-year commitment to service. He progressed rapidly from his modest beginnings as a junior counselor, graduating to senior counselor, then athletic coordinator and director’s assistant, and later to interim director.
Concurrently, Darren was a serious athlete who excelled in basketball. In junior college he was an honorable mention all-American and received a scholarship to St. Bonaventure University. While there, he quickly found himself at neighboring elementary schools and community centers, working with kids. After graduating with a sociology degree, he was recruited to play pro basketball in England; once again he found time to teach, working with young British kids at basketball clinics.
After his professional sports career, Darren became a teacher’s aid at the Elwood Public Elementary School, where he also coached basketball, football and lacrosse at the high school level. His reputation as someone who could work effectively with “hard to reach kids” flourished, which led him to his 10-year stint as a risk counselor and athletic director at Pius XII Youth and Family Service Center in the Bronx. There he developed the athletic department, a drama project and the Warrior basketball program.
The Hunts Point, Bronx native has indeed come a long way. Coming from a single-parent home didn’t discourage this 5’9 dynamo. In his first season with the Warrior program, his mother, Janet, who was not satisfied with his grades and behavior, pulled him off the team. After negotiating for weeks, she let him return as long as we agreed to monitor him. 11 years later, in 2012, Angel graduated from Medaille College in Buffalo, NY, a feat not statistically common for young Latin males from the Bronx. Hunts Point, better known then for prostitution, gangs, and drugs, polarized and seduced many of the youth his age. “I remember cleaning up the crack vials in the schoolyard before the kids entered the program,” says Angel. He credits the Warrior program for keeping him focused and preparing him for success. “Coach Q provided a positive environment for me and my teammates as well as the father figure most of us never had. Failure was never presented as an option…for that, I am forever grateful.”
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Renaissance Youth Center • 3485 Third Avenue, Bronx, NY 10456 Telephone (718) 450-3466 fax (718) 450-3581 • Email us at email@example.com