YONKERS, N.Y. -- An organization that helps students in Yonkers get into and through college raised more than $400,000 from a recent gala.
The amount exceeded the fundraising goal of Yonkers Partners in Education for the Sept. 29 event attended by 375 guests.
Chappaqua resident Jeffrey Gittleman was honored as a longtime volunteer of YPIE.
He is credited with dedicating "countless hours to helping Yonkers students succeed – as a master SAT/ACT tutor, college advisor and coach, and running YPIE’s Saturday morning SAT/ACT prep class for hundreds of students who would not otherwise have the opportunity to prepare for the rigorous college entrance exams," said a release.
Two of Gittleman's students, Baldwin Araujo and Erik Kantar, gave special tributes to their mentor.
Several YPIE Scholars talked about the program.
Paulina Alarcon, a tenth-grader, told how YPIE impacts her life.
“I am Mexican-American and will be the first generation to attend college in my family. You might not understand it, but for someone like me, this is not an easy goal to reach," she said.
"Although my mother never went to college, she understands that education will help me and my family succeed. YPIE is giving me the tools, support, and opportunities that will make this a reality. Everything about YPIE just shouts, 'I am here to help you achieve excellence'," she said.
YPIE partners with the Yonkers Public School District, business and philanthropic organizations and higher education institutions in its dedication to increasing the number of Yonkers Public School students who complete a post-secondary program that prepares them for a successful career.
The programs help 600 students annually, most from low-income backgrounds, said the release.