Young Advocates Circle | Testimonials

Why am I engaged?

Photo of Ryan Orent and Michael Puntillo

Michael Puntillo 

(Photo of Ryan Orent and Michael Puntillo, YAC Co-President)

After college, I was interested in finding a great organization to give back to.  I started by asking family members, friends, and work colleagues for recommendations.  It was after speaking with Edward Rappa where I learned about the Boys’ Club of New York.  He encouraged me to visit one of the clubhouses to see the great work going on with the kids.  I visited the Harriman Clubhouse in 2018 and immediately realized this was the perfect organization for me.  I asked Stephen Tosh, CEO of the Boys’ Club of New York, if the organization had a young working professionals group.

Not long after that conversation with Stephen Tosh, a new group was formed.  Stephanie Kearney, Troy Neal, and I started the Young Advocates Circle (YAC).  The YAC became an independent group of professionals in their 20s and 30s devoted to supporting the Boys’ Club of New York and its members by volunteering, fundraising and engaging with like-minded philanthropic individuals.  We have increased our membership to over 70 people and hosted a number of events to raise money for the organization.  I am proud of what the group has accomplished to date and am excited to see what the future holds.

Photo of Philip Bowman and Willis Fries

Willis Fries

(Photo of Willis Fries, YAC Co-President and Philip Bowman, YAC Membership Co-Chair)

I was first introduced to the Boys’ Club of New York through Phil Bowman when the YAC was launched and looking for volunteers with a commitment to the next generation. For me, a lifelong fan of the city, there is something especially rewarding about BCNY’s mission and proven track record of serving as a launchpad for so many young New Yorkers. 

Tutoring and athletics volunteer events were some of my first experiences with the organization and have continued to be a fun and fulfilling experience each time around. I find that the hands-on aspect of the YAC to be the reason that we have garnered so much interest and support over the years. Some members may make a better dodgeball player than chemistry tutor, but we continue to be oversubscribed in our support for giving back in-person.

While the past 18 months have been a challenge for everyone to meet and stay connected, the YAC is energized by the opportunity to get back together and move forward on some of our 2019-2020 momentum.

For questions or more information, please contact Eniko Horvath, Director of Development Communications and Events at or 347.505.5320.