Alumni Start-Up Garners Community Recognition

Major foundations are taking notice of the positive impact that our alumni have on their communities. On May 21, 2010, the Citi Foundation and the New York Mets awarded MOVE with the “Teammates in the Community” Award for extraordinary volunteer service at a pre‐game ceremony at Citi Field in New York City.


Motivation Opportunity Viability Enterprise, Inc. (MOVE) is a leading youth organization aimed at increasing college matriculation rates in New York City public high schools.


In its initial stages three years ago, it was funded out-of‐pocket by a group of college seniors, among them SVMP alum Christofer Garner ’07, Aerin Williams ’07, Laura Welch ’07, Melanie George ’07, Darren Smith ’06, and Maritza Alarcon ’07. Now, MOVE is fully funded and continues making strides in partnering with organizations that share its vision. The Citi Foundation is the latest to [partner] with MOVE, joining the Deutsche Bank Foundation, The NYC Department of Education Mentoring Program, Cornell University, Baruch College, and the New England Counselors of Color.


“We know that a college degree is the number one way to help young people move up the economic ladder and achieve professional success, which is why we believe so strongly in MOVE‘s mission,” said Pam Flaherty, President and CEO of the Citi Foundation. “We applaud them for their tireless volunteer work towards helping more New York City students enroll and succeed in college.”


The leadership team shares many of the same attributes and backgrounds as its students, allowing them to develop a [holistic] college preparatory program tailored for low‐income students.  “Throughout my life, I have experienced many socioeconomic problems that are prevalent in blighted communities across America,” says Darren Smith. “I am passionate aboutcreating solutions to improve the lackluster conditions in our urban neighborhoods. No longer can I sit back and witness the wasted potential of our urban youth.”


When asked what has been most satisfying about this educational venture, co-founder Maritza Alarcon ’07 [aptly] said, “[For me, it’s] being able to listen to our scholars and their amazing stories as they grow before my eyes and to know exactly where we, as a team, started and what we have become. I can only be excited for the future.”


For more information about MOVE, please visit


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