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The original item was published from 3/16/2022 11:00:52 AM to 3/17/2023 12:00:02 AM.

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Posted on: March 16, 2022

[ARCHIVED] New Rochelle Volunteer Deborah Disbrow to be Honored at 2022 Volunteer Spirit Awards

Debrah Disbrow

Volunteer New York! has announced that New Rochelle resident Deborah Disbrow was selected as one of the seven local volunteers that will be honored at their 42nd annual Volunteer Spirit Awards, presented by Regeneron. Disbrow is being recognized for her impact in the focus area of Education & Literacy through her volunteer work with Alzheimer’s Association, which has helped to improve the relationship between hundreds of caregivers, patients, and their families through thoughtful education, communication, and awareness.

"Volunteers play a vital role in sustaining and strengthening our community. So, we are grateful for VNY's ongoing partnership with the City of New Rochelle and especially proud that one of our own, Deborah Disbrow, is being honored for her exceptional contributions to the Alzheimer's Association. Deborah's volunteer efforts have made a difference to countless families and set a positive example for all of us."

Volunteer New York!’s popular breakfast benefit will take place in person for the first time since 2019 at the Westchester Marriott at 670 White Plains Road, Tarrytown, NY on Friday, April 8, 2022, from 8 AM to 10 AM with a post-event networking option for guests. Learn more at

“What you celebrate is a reflection of what you value. At Volunteer New York! we value community and volunteerism and that why we have come back together to celebrate these things,” said Jeanette Gisbert, Volunteer New York! Executive Director. 

The Volunteer Spirit Awards is the largest volunteer recognition event in the Lower Hudson Valley and is known for its feel-good and inspiring atmosphere. All guests will be required to show proof of Covid-19 vaccination to enter. Seats are limited within the Westchester Marriott.

Tickets, congratulatory journal ads, and event sponsorship opportunities are currently available online at For all event inquiries, please contact Matt Soper at 914-227-9307 or


2022 Volunteer Spirit Awards

Education & Literacy Award Winner

Deborah Disbrow was raised by a kindergarten teacher and was always naturally curious. She studied Speech Education at Emerson College and received an M.S. in Environmental Science from City College. After a 37-year career as a science teacher in the South Bronx and Harlem and as an adjunct professor at City College, Lehman College, and Mercy College, she was determined to use her teaching skills to help those in need. Giving back to the community was a family expectation, she recalls.

Her first memory of volunteering was as a candy striper at White Plains Hospital and later as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. Once retired, she found her calling at the Alzheimer’s Association while working in Hospice with patients afflicted with Alzheimer’s and dementia -- prompting her to receive a graduate certificate in thanatology, the study of death, dying, counseling, and bereavement, from the College of New Rochelle.

As an Alzheimer’s Association volunteer for the last ten years, her initial role was helping to provide entertainment and a social connection for individuals with Alzheimer’s and dementia at Burke Rehabilitation Hospital. 

Eventually, Deborah underwent training through the Alzheimer’s Association to become a community educator for caregivers and began focusing her time on improving the relationship between caregivers, patients, and their families. Her volunteer work would now include going to senior centers, churches, and libraries to present helpful information on topics ranging from stress and safety to family finances. Though the questions from worried caregivers can be endless, she answers each one with the same warmth, patience, and concern. 

“With greater knowledge, caregivers have a greater understanding. With greater understanding, they have greater compassion. And with greater compassion, they can have a meaningful relationship and connection for the rest of their patients’ lives.”

Continuing to volunteer throughout the pandemic via Zoom, Deborah also notes how many meaningful interactions she saw develop remotely.

Today Deborah lives in New Rochelle, where she finds time to relax and energize herself by dancing once a week with the Moving Arts Collaborative in Connecticut.


Education & Literacy Award: Deborah Disbrow of New Rochelle

For volunteer action with Alzheimer’s Association

Going Green Award: Susan O’Brien of Somers

For volunteer action with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Putnam County

Quality of Life Award: Norman Handelman of Hawthorne

For volunteer action with WestFair Rides

Resiliency Award: Jolina and Brian Halloran of Pleasantville

For volunteer action with Break the Hold

Social Advocacy Award: Kenny Herzog of Sleepy Hollow

For volunteer action with #VaxUpWestchester

Youth Leadership Award: Harshita Shet of White Plains

For volunteer action with India Center of Westchester

Legacy Award: Celia R. Brown of Purchase/Rye Brook



The core mission of Volunteer New York! ( is to inspire, mobilize, and equip individuals and groups to take positive action to address pressing challenges, support non-profits and improve the quality of life in Westchester, Rockland, and Putnam. For over 70 years the organization has encouraged adults to serve, youth to build character, families to bond, young professionals to lead, mature adults to share their wisdom and businesses to engage through volunteerism.

Last year Volunteer New York! helped to inspire over 35,000 volunteers to take action and to coordinate over 399,000 hours of service that supported more than 500 nonprofits and local organizations, providing a value of $12.7 million back to our community.

The Corporate Champions who strongly support the mission of Volunteer New York! include: MasterCard, PepsiCo, Regeneron, The Journal News &, WMCHealth, Con Edison, M&T Bank, Retirement Transformed, Morgan Stanley, PKF O’Connor Davies, LLP, Verizon, 95.5 K-LOVE Radio, PCSB Bank, Robison Oil Corporation, Sterling National Bank, Two’s Company, Apollo Global Wealth Management, Empire City Casino by MGM Resorts, IBM, KeyBank, MAG Real Estate Advisors, Inc., Nelson Services Systems, Inc., TD Bank, and Webster Bank.

With additional and ongoing support from Westchester County and AmeriCorps Seniors.

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Deborah Disbrow on right, poses with friends while supporting the Walk to End Alzheimer’s