Moving NYC Forward

August : Youth Development

This August, ABNY is highlighting YPs working in Youth Development, helping young people develop social, ethical, emotional, physical, and cognitive skills through out-of-school time programming.

Congratulations to our August Spotlights of the Month, Sylvia Cothia, Positive Women United, and Andrew DeSilva, STRIVE!

Sylvia Cothia

Executive Director/President
Positive Women United
How did you get to where you are today?

Coming from a family of sisterhood and five sisters, this was my mother’s (RIP) request to leave a legacy for young girls and women of all ages, races, cultures, and ethnicities to make a global positive difference. Ten years later that dream and legacy is thriving as Positive Women United.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the positive differences Positive Women United has made for our young girls and women. We are making a greater difference through our mentoring and advocacy as a female-empowered nonprofit organization for young girls and women from all diverse, inclusive demographics and backgrounds.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in your field?

The advice that I would give is to be selfless, giving, authentic, supportive, and passionate when advocating and helping to make a positive difference in someone life. You also have to have patience and a willingness to get the work done. Additionally, you should be a team leader and team player within your organization.

When did you realize that you are a New Yorker?

I’ve been a native New Yorker all my life, so it’s in me already being a female empowered New Yorker.

Andrew DeSilva

National Director of Young Adult Programs
How did you get to where you are today?

As a child of first-generation immigrants from Trinidad, I have to credit my parents’ dedication, sacrifice, and hard work ethic as examples and the reasons for where I am today. Before my undergraduate experience at Temple University in Philadelphia, I was confident that I would commit to human-centric work either as a social worker or a lawyer. While I did not become either of those things, I have been fortunate to have rich experiences in the non-profit sector for ten-plus years that have allowed me to intersect social, economic, and justice issues. I am proud today to work for an organization in STRIVE that allows me to work on these issues daily at a systems level.

What are you most proud of?

Still today, I am most proud of being one of the first children from a big extended family to graduate from college. I helped set a standard for education in my family, and I am happy to see so many of my family members exceed the standard.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to work in your field?

The advice I provided to emerging non-profit leaders is to never to forget that you assume an obligation to be of service to the community upon entrance into the sector.

When did you realize that you are a New Yorker?

I was born and raised in New York until I was 13. While I no longer live within the five boroughs and in a suburb of NYC, New York has never left my heart and soul. The culture, food, energy, and sports (Knicks, Yankees, Giants) will always be a part of me. I would have no other way to build my career in New York, and I am forever thankful for what this city has provided me.

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