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Good Neighbor Award
Yankees honor Sister Ellenrita Purcaro

On Sept. 7, Sister Ellenrita Purcaro was awarded the State Farm Good Neighbor Award by the New York Yankees. Once a month throughout the season, State Farm Insurance honors a local organization or community based leader that positively impacts the New York City area. Prior to the game, the State Farm Good Neighbor Award was presented to Sister Ellenrita following an awards dinner and batting practice.

“It is a great honor for Highbridge to be the recipient of this award. We appreciate the Yankee organization and their consistent recognition and support of community based organizations like ours,” Purcaro said.

Sister Ellenrita brings her own special brand of enthusiasm to everything she does. Whether it’s a 40-mile bike ride or running a NYC Marathon to raise funds, developing new programs or organizing volunteer service activities, Sister Ellenrita is always in high gear. Raised in the Fordham section of the Bronx, she returned as a Dominican Sister in 1987 to live and work in the Highbridge neighborhood. She champions the Highbridge philosophy of ‘neighbor helping neighbor’ and values providing service delivery in a safe and respectful way. She believes in building bridges, establishing networks, joining collaborations and celebrating community.

Sister Ellenrita is the executive director of Highbridge Community Life Center (HCLC), a multi-service organization founded in 1979. HCLC offers Adult Education classes, Health Career courses, Family counseling and psychotherapy, Anger Management classes, Parenting classes, Back to Work sessions and Youth Development opportunities. Just one year ago, HCLC opened a state of the art health and adult educational site on Ogden Avenue. This new facility provides sufficient space for the support services students need to succeed in their education.

Sr. Ellenrita and Highbridge Community Life Center staff take great pride in their commitment to provide community meals for their neighbors, especially during these hard financial times. This summer, meals were prepared and served for over 200 weekly participants. HCLC is a member organization of Rock and Wrap It Up! which coordinates gathering excess food from stadium events and distributing it to families in need. HCLC staff volunteer for the pickup and distribution of this food.

Recently, Highbridge Community Life Center hosted a meeting of current and future partners to present a summary of the work being done over the past year and to brainstorm about the development of an initiative to improve health in Highbridge. About 60 people attended the meeting, representing nearly 20 organizations. Highbridge is committed to finding ways to improve the health of Bronx children and families.

For more information about Highbridge Community Life Center, visit www.highbridgelife.org.