As a volunteer member of the Board of Directors and Chairman of the Finance Committee of the Jamaica YMCA David Thomas uses his professional expertise to help his community through the power of knowledge and practical solutions.
Thomas is committed to the financial education of everyone and wants them to benefit from the information he shares. Working with the New York Urban League, he periodically offers financial education seminars to staff, members and those in transitional housing at the YMCA. He covers topics such as banking as it relates to checking and savings accounts, budgeting and saving, investing, as well as long and short term goals.
“Since graduating from college, I have always felt the need to give back and the YMCA is in sync with my belief in building a better community, said Thomas. Youth Advocate Vernetta Nelson said, “David Thomas handles money matters and his role is essential. He tells us if we are meeting our goals and does an excellent job.”
Some very fortunate young people have been and will continue to benefit from being mentored by Thomas as part of the YMCA’s Black Achiever In Industry Mentoring program. Regularly meeting with those he mentors, he allows them to share their ideas, he answers their questions and gives them advice on any number of topics. He finds that introducing them to his work environment and emphasizing that if he can be successful, they can too, and that they can accomplish whatever they choose to do, go a long way to help motive them to excellence. Through his network, he also finds other people with expertise in specific areas who are able to give them a wealth of information. (As vice president – North America relationship manager at Citishare Corporation, he is also involved with their mentoring program for college students).
“One of my core beliefs is social responsibility and I try to instill in the minds of everyone the need to give back and provide assistance to the community. Every chance I get I encourage people to volunteer; teach a class, help with fundraising, mentor someone, there are any number of opportunities, said Thomas.
Cedric Dew, executive director of the YMCA said, “David Thomas is a phenomenal board member. He keeps the organization financially healthy and gives great insight to the branch. He cares about young people and supports the Strong Kids Campaign through his job with Citigroup.” As part of his commitment to help kids, Thomas raises funds through family, friends and colleagues. Donations are put into a fund to facilitate individuals who are unable to pay for membership or participation in specific activities. “I am happy that the YMCA is a lighthouse for them, said Thomas”.
The board of directors of the Jamaica YMCA includes a junior member who gives input from the youth perspective. Seventeen year-old Dorian Jacobs is that junior member. Jacobs shares his ideas with the board on how to improve the current programs and offers suggestions for new programs in keeping with the needs and interest of the youth. “I want to help teens get off the streets; I see kids getting arrested frequently and it is heartbreaking, I feel it is my duty to reach out to them,” said Jacobs. He also volunteers his time teaching children five to nine years-old, basic karate techniques at the YMCA.
Executive Director Cedric Dew said, “Jacobs represents what youth development means at the YMCA. He became involved at a very young age and the “Y” is a safe haven where he has developed social and physical skills to become a well-rounded community leader. I am impressed that he has taken the responsibility of being a board member seriously, particularly coming from an urban community with risk factors. At the YMCA he is surrounded by people from whom he gets a lot of support.”
Jacobs’ mom, Denise Johnson said, “I have been taking him to the YMCA since he was three years-old and he is the best son a mother could have. Jacobs plans to be an attorney and said fortunately for him some of his karate instructors at the YMCA are attorneys and he has had the opportunity to intern at the Legal Aid Society. “I am very appreciative of the YMCA because it helps me to do something constructive and productive,” said Jacobs.
“Youth development is an important aspect of the focus at the YMCA and we must nurture the potential in every young person for the betterment of our community because they are the future leaders. Dorian Jacobs is a great representation of the kind of leadership that the YMCA is able to develop, said Thomas.”