On Wednesday June 5th we held our annual Spring Cocktail Party to honor the important efforts of Wildcat Services Corp. Each year, the numbers of attendees increases, demonstrating the growing commitment to justice reform in NYC and to the work of Wildcat.
During the evening Herb Sturz was presented with the Amalia Betanzos Distinguished Service Award for his legendary work as a social entrepreneur in helping the justice-involved return to their families and communities, find jobs and become productive citizens. The award is named for Wildcat’s first CEO and legendary public servant to the people of NYC.
“Herb is outraged by injustice and persistent when it comes to doing the right thing,” said Peter Samuels, past chair of the Wildcat Board, when presenting Herb with the award.
The theme of second chances ran through the evening’s program. Wildcat’s new Executive Director Ed Arsenault spoke of his own experiences with the criminal justice system, and of the humility and power of being given a second chance. He shared how honored he is to carry on the legacy of Wildcat.
Carl Weisbrod, a past Amalia Betanzos honoree, accepted The Fedcap Group’s WorkStar™ award on behalf of the Trust for Governors Island which has hired nearly 75 individuals with barriers, including criminal backgrounds, in our ten-year relationship. Jose Valentin talked of a hard life and prison, a journey that led him to our work inside Rikers through our SMART program, and ultimately to Wildcat, where he is now a supervisor.