Melissa Torres, district governor of the Lions Club, told members of the Crown Heights Lions Club, special guests and honorees that the club is dedicated to giving back to the less fortunate, seniors, youth and the visually impaired, while spreading its outreach to every aspect of the community.
Torres was addressing the Lions Club 39th Annual Charter Night Dinner and Dance at Antuns Banquet Hall in Queens Village, on Nov. 7.
“This is a great event. I love that it is successful,” said Torres, outlining the dignity, harmony and humility theme for this year and looks forward to the 4.1 million members celebrating 100 years in 2016.
She also congratulated three community professionals who were honored for their outstanding community service.
President Michael Yansen in turn, said it was a pleasure serving the club for the last two years, and noted that despite the challenges the organization faced this year, it managed to sustain its membership, and continued its outreach programs providing funds and other resources to needy families.
Yansen then presented Leslie E.C Stewart, Tayumika Y. Zurita and Tangerine Clarke, with the Lions Club Community Service Award.
The professionals also received Community Service Awards for their outstanding community service from Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.
Stewart is the chairman of Charlestown Government Secondary School Alumni Association of New York (CAANY), the chairman of Guyana United Youth Development Association (GUYDA) and a member of Wilfred Vernon Clarke Memorial Fund, Inc.
The avid ballroom dancer holds a Certificate in Land Surveying from Guyana Government Technical Institute, the Higher Technical Diploma in Architecture & Building Technology from University of Guyana and bachelor and master of science degrees in civil engineering from Oklahoma State University.
Assemblyman Nick Perry honored Stewart for his outstanding community service.
Tayumika Y. Zurita is a program manager for the Department of Youth and Community Development. Her passion is to help youth become productive members of their communities.
She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University, and her Masters of Public Health from SUNY Downstate Medical Center. She is an alumnus of the We are All Brooklyn fellowship for young leaders.
Zurita is a seasoned top performing professional with over 10 years of progressive experience within the Public Health, Non-Profit and City Government sectors with talented skills in project, program and financial management.
During her eight years at the SLE Lupus Foundation, Tayumika spearheaded the development and opening of the Brooklyn office in order to target the underserved but highly affected lupus community.
Tangerine Clarke is a journalist who over many years focused on highlighting the positive aspects of the Caribbean community and inspiring youth.
A contributing writer with Caribbean Life News since 1992, Clarke’s articles have also appeared in the Guyana Chronicle and Stabroeknews online, Caribbean Sport
A former cub reporter in her native Guyana, Clarke continued her love of writing by contributing to the New York Daily News, Caribbeat Magazine, The Caribbean American, the Caribbean Impact and Guyan
Her fashion reviews of New York Fashion Week and Caribbean designers on the runways of Trinidad, Jamaica, Barbados, St. Kitts, and Curaçao were highlighted in various publications.
In 1996, she successfully spearheaded the media campaign of former Senator John Sampson and later co-hosted a weekly Caribbean show on WBGG radio in Babylon, Long Island.
A versatile professional, Clarke’s views were heard on Brooklyn Roundtable and Brooklyn 45 aired on Brooklyn Cable Access Television (BCAT) after Guyana’s flood disaster in 2005, which she covered for Caribbean Life News.
Her passion for writing has earned her citations from Councilwoman Yvette Clarke and former Senator John Sampson.
In the past, she has received the Guyana Cultural Association Award and a Proclamation from the New York City Council, signed by Christine Quinn, Leroy Comre, Kendell Steward and Mathieu Eugene for her outstanding contribution to New York City.
The Guyana Tri-State Alliance honored Clarke at Guyana’s 42nd Independence Anniversary celebration at New York City Hall for her dedicated work as a journalist.
A graduate of the University of Guyana and the New School University in New York City, Clarke continues to attend various seminars and conferences to enhance her writing.
Clarke, who was nominated by Lion Mark DeVarel, is a New York volunteer serving Neighborhood Coalition for Shelter, the New York Water Alliance, the New York Marathon, and Bike New York.