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Youth Bureau Holds 34th Annual Awards Reception

Big Flats - Each year the Chemung County Youth Bureau and Board recognize the good work of individuals and agencies in delivering quality youth services in Chemung County.

Tuesday evening, Chemung County Executive Tom Santulli and Youth Bureau Director Bob Harris presented the awards at the 34th Annual Awards Reception at the Big Flats Community Center. 

The Donahoe Award is given annually to an adult to recognize and honor outstanding contributions made to the youth and families of this community.  The award was established in 1984 and is named in honor of its first recipient, the Honorable Judge Daniel J. Donahoe. The 2017 Donahoe Award was presented to John Treahy.


From 2004 until 2016, Treahy served as the President and CEO of Glove House, Inc. Under his administration, Glove House integrated and embraced the Sanctuary Model that promotes safety and recovery from the effects of adversity, and as an agency received national accreditation and recognition. This years’ recipient lived the tenets of this model honestly and openly with all children and youth who were served. His vision has lead Glove House from being a residential program for children to present day that includes numerous community based preventive programs for children and families.

 Due to his strong beliefs in collaboration, continuous growth and change he was an active partner with the Alliance for Children and Families, the Council of Family and Child Caring Agencies and the NYS juvenile Detention Association.

Treahy received his degree in Criminal Justice from Gannon University in Erie, Pennsylvania and his Master’s Degree in Community Services from the University of Rochester. He brought his experience in the areas of child welfare, children’s mental health and juvenile justice to Chemung County in 2004.

“The bottom line is that this years’ recipient has truly made a difference for children, youth and families in Chemung County. It was his passion and with this focus, the nature of what transpired can readily translate to dedication that was above and beyond. Now, even in retirement this years’ recipient continues to be active, engaged and involved and is currently a consultant for the NYS Juvenile Detention Association, for which he also served as a former president,” said the 2016 Donahoe Award Recipient, Barb VanDine.

Treahy is a devoted husband, father and grandfather, an avid golf, basketball and most recently pickle ball player as well as a die-hard Buffalo Bills fan.

The Summer Cohesion Synergy Award was established in 2004 to recognize an individual, group or organization that has best demonstrated or exemplified the overall true meaning of partnership and collaboration as it impacts the Chemung County Summer Cohesion Program. The 2017 Summer Cohesion Synergy Award was given to the Village of Horseheads for the annual use of Thorne St. pool.  

It’s a favorite summertime staple within the village and draws kids in each day from June to September. Safety is their number one concern, a Water Safety Instructor is designated for all Cohesion groups, buddy checks are called every 15 minutes, swim tests are conducted for the deep end and all non-swimmers wear life vests. Last year 20 field trips took place with 531 kids swimming over the course of 6-weeks. The long-standing partnership and generosity from the Village of Horseheads and their Parks and Recreation Department is greatly appreciated and has meant so much to the kids in Summer Cohesion.


The Program Excellence Award recognizes the special efforts of local youth service projects, programs, and events.  The award was established in 1987. Nominees and Certificate of Recognition winners for the Program Excellence Award included the ARCADE Program, The Behavior Intervention Center, Big Flats Little League, Free Summer Meals for Kids, Make a Difference Day and Notre Dame Mercy at Work at Elmira Community Kitchen.

This year’s award winner is The Arctic League. Chemung County’s unique Christmas charity program was founded in 1912, with the mission “There’l be no boy or girl in Chemung County forgotten by Santa Claus on his Christmas morning rounds.”

The Arctic League is an all-volunteer nonprofit organization whose mission is to ensure that no child in Chemung County goes without gifts on Christmas. Today the Arctic League establishes an annual fund raising goal of $125,000 and raises all those funds from the community. Each year it sends its toy buyers to New York City toy shows to purchase toys for needy children 1-12 years of age. The Arctic League receives applications annually from individuals and agencies for our families in need. Twelve days before Christmas, with the assistance of hundreds of volunteers, gifts for children are packed and sorted and on Christmas morning with the help of volunteer fire departments and about a 1000 volunteers, the gifts are delivered.

The Arctic League is totally operated and staffed by volunteers. 100% of its’ donated funds are spent on our children in need. The Arctic League has proudly served the children and families of our community for over 100 years and is one of the oldest and most cherished programs in Chemung County.

Artic League

The Polly Sanders Youth Scholarship was established in 1995 for youth who have made a unique or significant contribution to the community or who have overcome a major obstacle in their personal life.   In 2002, the Chemung County Youth Bureau and Board renamed this scholarship in honor of Chemung County’s first Youth Bureau Director, Polly Sanders, who was a strong advocate for youth.  The two $750 scholarships were awarded to Michael Wells Jr. and Aaliyah Williams.

Michael Wells Jr. is a senior at Elmira High School and the son of the late Michael Wells Sr. He will graduate from Elmira High school this June and looks forward to attending Buffalo State College in the fall. Michael plans on pursuing a career in the field of political science. Michael is an avid basketball fan and was recognized for his extraordinary level of resiliency and his ability to transform the personal challenges in his life into building blocks of character and strength that has helped to shape the outstanding individual he is today.


Aaliyah Williams is a senior at Elmira High School and the daughter of Angela and Kurtis Williams. She will graduate from Elmira High School this June and plans to attend Howard University in the fall where she intends on pursuing a degree in Nursing. Over the years Aaliyah has consistently demonstrated a perfect balance in her academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, community service and youth leadership opportunities. She is an honor student and member of the National Honor Society, a student member on the Chemung County Youth Board, a Judge on the City of Elmira Youth Court, and a member of the Twin Tiers Community Orchestra and has received numerous honors and awards on both a local and state level.


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Chemung County
203 Lake Street
Elmira, NY 14901

County Executive Thomas J. Santulli
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