On the evening of February 25, family and friends gathered at Cipriani 42nd Street® to celebrate BCNY’s Gerry Clubhouse’s Physical Education Director Amar Kelly during the Partnership for After School Education’s (PASE) 2020 PASEsetter Awards Benefit. PASE recognized five leaders who have given outstanding service and leadership to our city’s youth. Amar joined a respected community of BCNY staff members who have received this distinguished award in the past, including Chief Program Officer Carlos Velazquez (while employed at a previous organization) and Harriman Clubhouse Director Antonio Aponte.
Amar, better known as Coach A, was born and raised in Harlem, a community he continues to serve. He has been a coach, mentor, and a friend to our members at BCNY since 2007. If given a chance to meet Coach A, you immediately know that you are dealing with a “straight-shooter.” Amar is the embodiment of BCNY’s four Cs. He is consistently there for others, whether they may be navigating difficult times, celebrating milestones, or learning to unlock their untapped potential. Amar is an advocate for, and confidante to, many.
Coach A spoke about some of the highlights of his work as he accepted his award with his signature smile. His speech centered on respect for individuals, others, and the community:
“This is why I do what I do to…to give the next young man the opportunity to be better than I was…to help our boys grow up to be better men for themselves and for their families…to give them the opportunity to find something they love and encourage them to stick with it and to be honest with themselves.”
In his closing remarks, Amar ended his speech the same way he closes his gym sessions. Audience members were able to experience first-hand what it’s like to be in a “session” with Coach A. He directed one half of the audience to shout, “I respect you!” and the other half of the room replied in unison, “I respect you also!”
Amar is an excellent example of what a role model looks like for members and staff alike. Thank you, Amar “Coach A” Kelly, for all that you selflessly do for our members and communities!