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ELOC Showcases Students in Energy & Environmental Program

YONKERS, NY -- More than 160 students enrolled in the Summer Energy and Environmental Program were showcased with their projects on August 10 at the Yonkers Riverfront Library. Sponsored by Environmental Leaders of Color (ELOC, the students eagerly explained the workings of their projects to all in attendance, and shared their information with the competing youth. The young future scientists and environmentalists represented the Mount Vernon Youth Community Outreach Program, Mount Vernon Youth Bureau, Port Chester Youth Bureau, Yonkers Family YMCA, My Brother’s Keeper New Rochelle, Ossining Youth Bureau, and the Peekskill Youth Bureau. The focus of the projects was Water and Our Responsibility, which challenged the young minds to explore water conservation, water safety, and water as a source to generate energy, while teaching the youth to become more environmentally conscious.

Mr. Anton Vincent, President of Mars Wrigley North America & Global Ice Cream, was the keynote speaker for the event, and captivated the attention of the students as he shared his success story and perseverance to achieve his goals. The Jackson, Mississippi native, whose parents were educators, lived on the same street as the late civil rights leader and NAACP field director, Medgar Evers. While his parents were not able to vote because of discrimination in the Jim Crow south, they opened doors of opportunity for him and his brothers that they did not have. He encouraged the youth to take everything they have learned and to let it inspire them to do better and more for their communities. He added that with 8.2 billion people on the planter, it is extremely important that we address the issue of climate change, encouraging all students to learn an essential trade to help address and alleviate the problem, if we are to survive. Mr. Vincent enlightened all that Mars Wrigley is more than a snack and candy company, but one that includes the largest pet care company in the world and largest veterinary services in the world, as well as a significant food line. Mars is also a science and technology company that is involved in global research. He explained that the mission of Wrigley Mars is to make the world a better place and while making lots of money, it is turned back into the communities to address climate change, clean water, and environmental issues. He left the students with three recommendations – 1) It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish! 2) Stay away from people who don’t have a dream! You are a reflection of who you hang around. 3) If you don’t get what you ask for, you get what you believe! He encouraged the youth to strive for excellence in what they do every day and to reach back to help others. Success is a great thing, but being significant is more important.

The 2023 Carlton Brown scholarship was awarded to Jordan Highland, a rising senior at New Rochelle High School, and special recognition and certificates were presented to Yulissa Ceja from New Rochelle High School; Celso DaSilva from Mount Vernon High School; and Joseph Goldwire, a 6th grader from Peekskill Middle School, who all demonstrated outstanding performances and leadership during the summer program.

The program concluded with recognition of the winning projects. First place was awarded to the “Cooking Oil” project created by the Star Struck Team from YCOP (Youth Community Outreach Program) in Mount Vernon. The team plans to make a presentation before the Westchester County Board of Legislators in the near future on increasing the accessibility of disposing of cooking oil available to the community Second place went to the NANO Project (New Rochelle) and third place to the CHOP Team (Yonkers).

The students, coordinators, counselors and special guests finished the day’s activities with a delectable meal at Zuppa Restaurant in Yonkers. Elected officials in attendance included Congressman Jamal Bowman, Assemblywoman Dana Levenberg, Assemblyman Gary Pretlow, County Legislator Terry Clements, and Yonkers City Councilwoman Shanee Williams.

Much to the dismay of the sponsors of the program, Dr. Diana Williams and Marvin Church, more than 100 youth had to be turned away from participating in the ELOC Program this year because of funding. For more information on how you can support the program, contact

Story by Yvonne Bert


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