YAA’s Day of Service program is excited to welcome two veteran alumni volunteers: Jerry Henry ’80 MDiv and Cynthia Okechukwu ’08, ’13 JD to head the next two-year leadership cycle.
Henry has been volunteering for Yale since the day he graduated from the Divinity School, serving as class agent and class secretary and more recently on the Divinity School Dean’s Advisory Council. A resident of Greenville, South Carolina, he serves on the for Humanity Campaign Committee, the Yale Alumni Fund board, is the immediate past chair of the YAA Board of Governors, and has been part of several Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiatives and Day of Service projects with Yale alumni volunteers.
Okechukwu, who currently calls Chicago home, is also serving as an immediate past chair, in her case for the Yale Club of Chicago. A longtime participant in Day of Service projects, Okechukwu has served on Yale’s Alumni Schools Committee and with organizations in the Chicago service community including Habitat for Humanity and Big Brothers Big Sisters. As a law student, she was a leader in the Initiative for Public Interest Law at Yale, the Ludwig Community and Economic Development Clinic, and the Yale Black Law Students Association. At Yale College, Cynthia was active with Dwight Hall.
Speaking to the “why” of taking on a volunteer service leadership role for Yale’s alumni community, both alums speak about the reciprocal nature of volunteerism, and the uniqueness of serving with other Yalies. Whereas many aspects of “giving back” to the community feel rewarding, Okechukwu finds that alumni volunteerism provides the opportunity to “…gather with the Yale community while looking outward beyond ourselves. There is something special about doing impactful work together that combines the social and educational with service,” she says. Henry adds, “Through volunteer service, we offer not only an openness to sharing, but also an openness to learning from others and learning more about ourselves. Exchanging skills, knowledge, and talent, and being open to receiving new concepts and experiences are some of the many benefits of volunteering.”
Henry and Okechukwu are taking the helm from Karen Green ’78 and Rob Greenly ’83 MBA who were essential in reviving the program after two years of exclusively virtual events. Green (Los Angeles) and Greenly (Boston) will remain active in the Yale alumni volunteer network
YAA Executive Director Weili Cheng ’77 is no stranger to volunteer alumni service. Having spent more than three decades serving her Yale College Class, the Clubs of Washington D.C. and Hawaii, and the YAA Board of Governors to name a few, Cheng has been an avid Day of Service supporter and participant for many years. “Day of Service is one of my favorite programs to participate in. No matter where you are or who you’re with, taking on meaningful work together builds community. Helping Yalies connect with each other, with their local communities, and with the university is an essential aspect of our work at the YAA.”
The 2024 Yale Day of Service is set for May 11, however, the YAA encourages groups to gather at a time that works best for the volunteers and organizations in their local communities. Further details will be available in early 2024.