A True Humanitarian, Driven by the Desire to Aid and Assist the Community
Mary Nelson developed her vision for the youth after the event of losing her nephew to gun violence in 2002, and what she did was, organized an event to make sure all youth from Pre-Kindergarten to college had all that they needed for the upcoming school year. Then she decided to expand and build upon whatever she had, and in 2009 Mary became a non-profit youth foundation, and from there, she saw a greater need within her community. Being known as a pillar in my community, she needed a temple, and her temple is her youth centre. The youth centre was established in 2009 after she became non for profit under the name of The ‘Mary Nelsons Youth Day Foundation’. “The only source of support at the time was my full-time employment at Upstate Medical University and after 14 yrs of opening up, I now have multiple sponsors who support The Mary Nelson’s Youth Center programming and operational expenses.”
When asked about the challenges that she faced, Mary Nelson exclaimed that she has always supported Challenges; they made her always want to work harder, no matter the judgment, criticism, adversity, and doubt. Despite the adversities she faced, the doubts people had, and the criticism she received, she endured everything that came her way, but she never gave up. Striving to achieve and never backing down from challenges has transformed Mary Nelson into the person that she is today!
The driving passion behind Mary’s life and career has been ‘change’ and knowing that it is possible to achieve and believe in whatever she is doing. Without the push required by believing in one’s own goal and idea, the mere possibility of succeeding is killed, but belief in oneself takes a person to greater levels, newer targets and more achievable goals. Mary Nelson strongly believes that she is highly passionate about going after what she wants. She believes that no child should be left behind. Her goal is greater than mere wealth and riches and transcends all the materials, moving on to a greater good for society. Her thought process, actions, goals, believes, and targets surely categorise her as a ‘tiger’ and not as a person involved in the rat race. Being of tigerish nature is the reason why she feels able to achieve what is good for all children, leaving no one behind.
The fact that Mary Nelson took up a tragic event and made a positive outcome of it, serves as inspiration to her own self. This is also motivational and inspirational to the community as she endorses that people must be able to let go of their pain and hurt and move on in their life. This motivates her to pour out her love and commitment in favour of the well-being of the community.
An extremely influential person, she has also been the recipient of several awards and accolades. To name some: Post standard Achievement award, the National Council of Negro Women, Inc community service award, NAAPF community support award, 3rd upper state independent award humanitarian award, Leadership Greater Syracuse certified community leader, Certificate of completion board leadership 2008-2009 at Board Leadership Seminar, The Cold Case justice initiative (CCJI), Syracuse University College of law civil & human rights award, Syracuse Onondaga County NAACP, Annual freedom fund award community humanitarian, President Employee recognition award, community service of the year individual, Citizen of the year award, Civic Leadership award, Humanitarian Achievement awards jubilee, Outstanding Citizen award. To add to these, she has been endowed with the Marjorie Dowdell Fortitude Award V, The Brady Faith Center Award, The American Red Cross Women Who Mean Business Award, The Harriet Tubman Award, State of New York Office of the Comptroller Award (YMCA) and has been inducted to the Syracuse Celebrators Club.
In parting words, Mary shares a few thoughts on leadership. According to her, “Leadership means inspiring passion and motivation into their followers, also being able to recognize your vision and being able to achieve your vision. In order for a leader to be successful, they must be able to have the necessary tools, resources, and effective communication to do so.” Her ultimate goal is to be the voice of the unknown, the child that has been silenced.