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Two Honored at 2010 JFSA Passover Seder

The Jewish Faculty & Staff Association at New York City College of Technology honored Garey V. Ellis, MD, and Tomora-Lutreast Ellis at its Passover Seder on March 18. More than 60 members of faculty and staff and other guests attended the annual event, which bestows Honorary Membership on individuals who are making commendable contributions to the College and larger communities.

The husband and wife team was saluted as co-founders of the Inner Force Student Leadership Institute, a registered, Brooklyn-based charitable organization that provides inner- city children to age 15 with after-school, week-end and summer enrichment programs in math, science, computer science, economics, critical thinking, problem solving, leadership training, writing, music, dance and other disciplines as well as SAT, PSAT, Regents Math and Science Exams and other preparatory courses. New York City College of Technology/CUNY, Polytechnic Institute of New York University and Kingsbrook Jewish Medical Center are important partners in this innovative community enrichment effort. Dr. Ellis serves as the institute’s executive director and Mrs. Ellis, an educator, as program director.

Inner Force Institute’s pre-school division offers youngsters educational, recreational and cultural activities in safe environments, so that they can learn and grow to their full potential. Soon to open is a new 17-classroom Inner Force Institute facility that will accommodate an enormous increase in the number of toddlers and pre-school children served.

The institute does not replace but augments the education that participating school-aged children are receiving in public and private schools citywide. Older participants are also provided career-oriented internship opportunities and engage in community assistance activities to further broaden their knowledge and experience and enable them, in turn, to help others.

“Inner Force realizes that no child can do everything,” Dr. Ellis explains, “but also understands that every child can do something and do it well, given the opportunity to learn and grow in a stable and nurturing environment. Empowering children with the knowledge and social skills to triumph over adversity begins with instilling within each one of them the awareness that just because that child cannot do everything, he or she must aspire to do well the things that he or she can do.”

Since 2002, Dr. Ellis, who earned his medical degree in 1995, has served as director of health services and family and community partnership with the Brooklyn-based Yeled V’Yalda (YVY) Early Childhood Center and three years later co-founded and serves as co-director of YVY’s Multilingual Development and Education Research Institute. The institute fosters long-term partnerships with other research organizations and secures funding for and facilitates YVY-sponsored projects by other researchers. It conducts or oversees research involving YVY’s population of more than 2,000 youngsters, supervises research assistants and fellows, and disseminates findings at conferences and through peer-reviewed publications.

In addition, Dr. Ellis has served as a special assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Health & Human Services, a research assistant with the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, MD, and a liaison with the Bethesda Naval Hospital Commissioned Officer Student Training and Extern Program. He has been a high school science teacher with the New York City Department of Education and also served as a professor of science with Empire State College. He currently serves on the City Tech Foundation’s board of directors.

Dr. Ellis and his wife recently established the Garey V. Ellis, M.D.-Ms. Tomora-Lutreast Ellis Endowed Scholarship Fund at New York City College of Technology. The scholarships will be awarded to incoming first-year students pursuing degrees in 21st century technologies, with preference given to those from economically and educationally disadvantaged backgrounds and those who have participated in the Inner Force Institute program.

Rabbi Alan Kay, who presided over the JFSA Passover Seder, expressed how moved he was on learning of the Ellis’ work with children throughout Brooklyn and the city. “We are all humbled,” he noted, “by the awareness of the accomplishments of this outstandingly inspirational couple.”

City Tech President Russell K. Hotzler attended the ceremony. Other special guests included Dr. Ellis’ mother, Alma, and two of his and Mrs. Ellis’ children as well as YVY Policy & Research for Education Director Isabelle Barriere and Federal Programs Director Wayne Goldberg.


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