Residents turned out this past Tuesday, November 15th to join the Rye City Lions Club in honoring Staci Ramachandran for her contributions to the Rye community including her work with Rye City Schools, Wainwright House, the Rye YMCA, Family Services of Westchester Junior Board, The Sharing Shelf and others.
The Lions presented Ramachandran with the James A. and Marian M. Shea Community Service Award, established in 2003 to recognize individuals who live or work in the Rye community and has contributed to enhancing the lives of its citizens by volunteering services of an outstanding nature.
Here are photos from the event and some of the remarks from the presenters.
Bob Manheimer, president & treasurer, board of trustees of the Wainwright House.
I am pleased to be here this evening to add my voice in thanking Staci for everything she does for the community …. and especially her contribution to Wainwright House.
I came as a volunteer to Wainwright House four years ago to assume the functions of President and Treasurer. Staci was already a board trustee, for I believe, one or two years before me. There was much work to be done. The Board had to continue to maintain our beautiful five acres and three historic buildings on Milton Point. We had to expand the cultural and educational programs that we have offered the community since incorporation as a non-profit in 1951 .
Wainwright’s board is a hands on, working board … very involved in day-to-day operations. Every trustee pitches in, but the amount of time and hard work that Staci, our vice-president, devotes to Wainwright is truly incredible. I really do not know where Staci finds additional time to spend on the other activities and boards that she volunteers for.
Stacy has been a primary force behind our successful programming and events. There is no task too small for her to willingly take on. Her energy seems limitless. I personally rely on her wisdom and experience in helping manage the entire operation and meeting the expenses involved. I am very thankful that Wainwright has such a great Board of Trustees and Staci’s contribution cannot be overstated.
The expression “roll up your sleeves” was coined with Staci in mind. Thanks to the Lions Club for honoring Staci this evening. She is so deserving of this recognition.
Randal Ikeda, Rye YMCA COO
I’m delighted to say a few words about Staci’s service to the Rye YMCA.
Staci was elected to the Y’s board of directors in May 2019. During her first term, our board had to deal with the pandemic shut-down, a devastating flood, and the retirement of our longtime executive director Gregg. It speaks to Staci’s commitment, determination and energy level that she agreed to serve a second term!
As a board member, Staci chairs our Financial Development Committee. Along with former board member Rachel Breinin, Staci co-chaired our annual benefits. In 2020, Staci and Rachel were planning our March Madness fundraiser – and as we all know, March 2020 was truly MADNESS! They had to postpone and then quickly pivot to a virtual benefit. In 2021, Staci and Rachel were again chairing our Better Together Benefit which was scheduled for mid-September. Then on September 1, 2021, Hurricane Ida hit and the entire first floor of the Y was flooded and we subsequently had to close for several weeks. Once again, Staci and Rachel, along with our Development staff, had to reschedule the event for June 2022. It was our first in-person benefit since 2019 and we were all ready to put the past behind us!
As Rachel said “When you co-chair two Y benefits and one is affected by the pandemic and the other by flooding, you want your partner to be Staci Ramachandran! Staci is the ultimate “can do” person. She is enthusiastic and tireless. She gets things done and always with a smile on her face. We are incredibly fortunate to have someone as giving of her time as Staci. She is truly a treasure to the Y and to the larger community.”
As a member of the board’s Program and Membership Committee, Staci has tackled the big questions facing the Y: how can we retain and grow our membership in such a challenging time? What programs will create the most impact for our members and the communities we serve? Staci’s thoughtful consideration of these issues and many others has helped make the Rye Y stronger in countless ways.
Staci is also an enthusiastic Y member who takes full advantage of the group exercise classes at our new Y Studios. Our Member Wellness Director Diana Vita reports that Staci is there nearly every day and is willing to try anything. But Staci doesn’t stop with her own enjoyment. She welcomes newcomers and makes sure that everyone feels comfortable. Diana recently told me “I love her energy and her smiling face when she enters the Studios!”
I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the James and Marian Shea Community Service Award than Staci Ramachandran. Congratulations Staci!
Ellen Saya, Rye Middle School/Rye High School PO
I always joke that I fell into a bad crowd when I moved to Rye. A bunch of super motivated community minded volunteers. Well, Staci is a wonderful example of someone who selflessly gives so much of herself to the community.
I met Staci about 12 years ago at Osborn Elementary School when our older children were in first grade. They are now in college. Staci began her Rye City School PO career by co-chairing Osborn Scare Fair. Staci co-chaired the Osborn Scare Fair for many years, and every year she’d consistently outdo the year before. This year’s Scare Fair was about two weeks ago and my now 16-year-old remarked how the Scare Fair was the greatest day of the year when you were in elementary school.
This is an event that has over 15 committees and several hundred volunteers. It is an unbelievable amount of work for an event that lasts five hours. Somehow Staci made it look easy. No sooner had I finished my term as Osborn PO treasurer and Staci asked me to work on the silent auction for the Scare Fair. Of course, I took on the position. You can’t say no to Staci. Besides her family I would love to meet someone who has said no to her.
Staci also coordinated an end of the school year celebration with an outdoor movie night on the field at Osborn. It wasn’t just a movie, there was food trucks and all sorts of other goodies. I remember one movie night in particular; a parent made a speech before the movie began thanking Staci for all her hard work. He also remarked that Staci would be away for the next several weeks while she attended a treatment facility to combat volunteerism. Clearly it didn’t work.
After her I believe her 9th consecutive year running the scare fair Staci finally graduated from Osborn Elementary and moved her sights onto the Rye Middle and High School PO’s, having children at both schools. Staci has been co-chairing the combined Middle School / High School annual parent fundraiser for many years and as always, she has been outdoing herself every year. She turned the annual fundraiser into a must attend event that is sold out every year.
Not afraid to shake things up, the annual event has changed with the times from a March Madness theme to a Battle of the Bands, which included local bands as well as a Rye Student band. Even a global pandemic couldn’t stop Staci. During Covid Staci was still able to put together the annual Middle School/High School fundraiser which was virtual and hugely successful.
As I said before you can’t say no to Staci. A Rye mom who had just moved to the country got roped into co-chairing a committee for the combined annual Middle School / High School fundraiser, all because her son had the good fortune of becoming friends with Staci’s son. Of course, she didn’t regret helping Staci.
Staci is an extraordinary person who gives herself freely. She isn’t afraid to lend a hand, to lead by example, or help a worthy cause. I honestly don’t know how she finds enough hours in the day to get it all done. Staci you are wonderful human being, a great friend and I love you. Congratulations on this well-deserved honor.