Sonia Galarza Receives Prestigious 2010 Sloan Public Service Award
Sonia Galarza, Department of Juvenile Justice's Director of Programs, was honored on March 9th as a recipient of the prestigious 2010 Alfred P. Sloan Public Service Award. Galarza is one of just six New York City employees to receive the award this year.
Sonia Galarza with a framed illustration of her Sloan Award with Larry Busching and Belinda Conway.
The awards, the leading independent honor for City employees, are presented each year by the Fund for the City of New York and recognize outstanding civil servants whose professionalism, commitment and accomplishments embody the efficiency and spirit of New York City and its government. In addition to DJJ's Sonia Galarza, this year's winners included employees from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Department of Sanitation, Kings County Hospital, Department of Education and the independent Brooklyn Library system.
As Director of Programs at DJJ, Galarza has worked to create supportive partnerships with staff throughout the agency. She credits her success to creative programs that introduce the young people she serves to new and positive ways of thinking. These programs have included dance, journalism, a basketball tournament, swimming instruction, painting, business skills training, financial literacy and countless others.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Mary McCormick, President of the Fund for the City of New York, presided over the ceremony at Cooper Union for Galarza and the other winners. Paul Joskow, President of the Sloan Foundation, Commissioners of numerous City agencies and hundreds of family members, friends and colleagues attended the event.
Last week, DJJ hosted an afternoon ceremony and reception where members of the Fund's Executive Board, DJJ and Administration for Children's Services (ACS) staff, attended to honor Galarza. Several of Galarza's colleagues from DJJ and City government spoke about their work with the popular Director of Programs. In addition, she was presented with a framed illustration commemorating her award. ACS Executive Deputy Commissioner Laurence Busching and DJJ First Deputy Commissioner Judith Pincus spoke of the commitment and contributions made by Galarza throughout her 25-year record of service to the Department.
Following the ceremony, Commissioner John Mattingly praised Galarza for her work: "Sonia Galarza is a shining example of a professional who has treated her job as a mission to reach young people who came into contact with the juvenile justice system. By going above and beyond, she has undoubtedly made a difference in many lives. We applaud all she has done for young people and their families."
Galarza said: "The mission of the Department of Juvenile Justice has always been custody and care, but I have never seen it that way. I see our mission as planting seeds and making a difference in our residents' lives, with the hope that they do not end up on Riker's Island or six-feet under. What began as a job 25 years ago has become my mission in life. It is a life of service to the children of New York City. This is the highest form of work one can do in this world."
Galarza is the third DJJ staff member in four years to receive the Sloan Public Service Award. Ombudsman Ralph Simmons and Joya Ramirez, the Department's 2007 and 2008 Sloan honorees, attended the Cooper Union and DJJ ceremonies to congratulate Galarza on her achievement.