Wendy Reynoso and the Rev. Yamily Bass-Choate were recently honored for their outstanding contributions to their communities by being named Trinity Wall Street's 2009 Transformational Fellows.
The two women were recognized during a May 21 Ascension Day service at historic Trinity Church. Reynoso is the executive director of Grace Opportunities Project. Bass-Choate is priest-in-charge of Iglesia de San Andres in Yonkers, New York.
"For over 300 years, our parish has encouraged, supported, and promoted community outreach and social and spiritual transformation by leaders in our surrounding area and in regions throughout the world," said the Rev. Dr. James H. Cooper, Trinity Church's seventeenth rector. "Trinity Wall Street has committed to 'raising a generation of leaders' and we're proud to support the transformational leadership of Ms. Reynoso and Mother Bass-Choate in bringing that same commitment to their communities."
As executive director of Grace Opportunities Project (GO Project), Reynoso oversees over 315 students who attend over 30 public elementary schools below 14th Street. The program identifies public school students who are performing below-grade level and helps improve their academic performance, helps them build self-esteem and develop essential life skills.
Bass-Choate is a priest in the Diocese of New York. At Iglesia San Andres she oversees the operations of the church as well as several outreach programs they offer, including the food pantry, after-school programs and summer camp. The congregation also offers immigrants guidance, translation services and advocacy with referrals to attorneys specializing in immigration law and holds a support groups for immigrants. In 2005, Bass-Choate received the Rescuers Award, as one of the Hurricane Katrina female heroes at the 16th Annual Glamour Magazine Women of the Year Awards.
In its sixth year, the Trinity Transformational Fellows program focuses on social transformation in metropolitan New York -- by helping people in need and challenging societal systems that do not address basic human needs. Recipients receive a $25,000 grant to design a six-week sabbatical that will provide them with the opportunity for professional development or other renewal activities.
Selected among clergy and lay leaders in recognition of their outstanding leadership in social transformation, candidates do not apply -- they are nominated and recommended by a group of "spotters," who are active and knowledgeable New York leaders similarly working for community change, who remain anonymous.