May 7, 2018

ASPCA Honors NYC “Heroes in Human Services” for Their Dedication to Animals and People in Need

Humane Awards Luncheon 2018

The ASPCA recently honored 13 human-services professionals with our Heroes in Human Services Award. Each honoree was recognized for their critical roles in enabling and encouraging collaboration between various city agencies, human services groups and nonprofit organizations to ensure that services are accessible to pet owners who need them most. 

Over the years, we’ve worked with organizations like the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOH) who have offered free rabies vaccine services to NYC’s pets through outreach and events. Honorees Bilal Ahsan, Kothilda Johnson and Carolina Mayoral Sanchez’s investment in agency collaboration took our work in the community to the next level—allowing us to include parvo and distemper vaccines and in turn, impact even more pets throughout NYC. On April 15, the ASPCA and DOH worked together to vaccinate close to two hundred animals in Staten Island and recently, on Sunday, May 6, over 200 were vaccinated in Crotona Park in the Bronx.

We’ve also created critical partnerships with Adult Protective Services (APS) and The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)—two city agencies that provide vital services to at-risk families in NYC. Collaborating with these organizations has changed the way the ASPCA delivers services to pet owners who need it most. The APS honoree, Ms. Dietrick Parrish, has demonstrated a strong commitment to helping her clients with pets. She has referred several clients to us, many of whom have received free spay/neuter services and vaccines to help keep animals in their home. We are proud to partner with caseworkers like Dietrick who recognize that improving the lives of their clients includes acknowledging the welfare of everyone in the home.

To celebrate the dedicated people in these fields, the honorees attended a celebratory luncheon held at the ASPCA Adoption Center, where they were presented with their awards. Over the years, the work of people like those honored at this special event has helped bridge the gap between human and animal welfare services to make a greater impact for pets and their owners in communities across New York City.

“The 13 men and women we are honoring today have helped engage their colleagues and fellow community members to provide more comprehensive support and services to pet owners across New York City,” said Colleen Doherty, Senior Director of the ASPCA’s Community Engagement Program. “They recognize that pets are a vital part of our community, and their dedication to pets and their owners enhances the quality of life for animals, people and the entire community.”

The individuals honored at the luncheon were:

  • Bilal Ahsan, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Outreach Manager
  • Yajaira Brown, SelfHelp, Senior Community Worker
  • Amanda Burden, The Mount Sinai Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program, Training and Outreach Supervisor
  • Kothilda Johnston, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Director of Marketing and Outreach
  • Ann Michitsch, Urban Resource Institute, PALS Coordinator
  • Dietrick Parrish, Adult Protective Services, Caseworker
  • Jose Perez, Adult Protective Services, Director
  • Carolina Mayoral Sanchez, NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene, Community Coordinator
  • Silva Sergenian, The Mount Sinai Sexual Assault and Violence Intervention Program, SAFE Program and Volunteer Coordinator
  • Francisco Tezen, Food Bank for NYC, Vice President
  • Eileen Torres, BronxWorks, Executive Director
  • Kevin Walsh, NYC Administration for Children's Services, Investigative Consultant Supervisor
  • John Weed, BronxWorks, Assistant Executive Director