A family-based organization for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Session 4

Growing Volunteers: The Importance of Recruiting, Training and Maintaining Active Volunteers for the NYSARC Guardianship Program 

November 12                   
11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m


Watch the recorded presentation

View the PowerPoint

To make life a little better for people less fortunate than you, that’s what I think a meaningful life is. Our lives are not just for oneself, but for one’s community.” Ruth Bader Ginsberg’s words ring true! Volunteers add great value to an organization’s mission and strategic objectives, as well as to the life quality of the individuals they support. This presentation will address the important need for creative strategies in recruiting, training, and retaining volunteers, who are the integral backbone of the NYSARC Guardianship program and the Surrogate Decision-Making Committee program. 


Alisa H. Kesten
Former Executive Director, Volunteer New York! And Perennial Volunteer

Stephanie Deyo
Training Coordinator, Surrogate Decision-Making Committee (SDMC) Program, Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs

Wendy Tigchelaar
Guardianship Coordinator, AHRC Suffolk Chapter



Alisa Kesten was the Executive Director of Volunteer New York! for the decade from 2010 to her recent retirement in June 2020. Her involvement with the organization began in 2005, first as a graduate one of its signature programs, Leadership Westchester, then as a board member and chair of the board, until becoming executive director in January 2010. Alisa has an extensive multi-sector professional background including nonprofit management, communications, political management, and early childhood education. Alisa is a board member emeritus of the New Rochelle Public Library Foundation; member of the Leadership Council of the Support Center for Nonprofit Management in New York City; immediate past Vice President of Nonprofit Westchester; member of two collective giving groups: Impact100 Westchester and The Giving Circle of Lower Westchester; and member of the Westchester Women’s Agenda where she is deeply involved in its Racial Equity working group. Through Her Honor mentoring program, Alisa maintains a deep connection to two high school students, both of whom are now excelling in college and life. Alisa earned her M.S. in Early Childhood Education from the College of New Rochelle and her B.A. in Political Science from Emory University. Alisa has been honored to receive many professional awards but none means more than being named one of Westchester’s “Best Bosses” by 914Inc Magazine, nominated by her colleagues. Alisa and her husband have called New Rochelle home for 35 years, where they raised their 3 children. They now have 3 grandchildren growing up to be great volunteers in Westchester.

Stephanie Deyo is the Training Coordinator of the Surrogate Decision-Making Committee (SDMC) Program at the NYS Justice Center for the Protection of People with Special Needs where she advocates for timely medical care for individuals with disabilities. Stephanie is responsible for recruiting and training volunteers who serve on the SDMC panels to make medical decisions on behalf of individuals who lack capacity and a surrogate decision-maker to act on their behalf. Prior to joining the Justice Center, she worked as an Outreach Specialist for the Homeless Action Committee Outreach Van for two years advocating and connecting individuals to services in the community. Additionally, she has several years of experience working with children who have autism supporting them with social and emotional development. Stephanie obtained her Master of Social Work from the School of Social Welfare, University at Albany, in May of 2019. She has always had a passion for working with vulnerable populations and educating others to ensure individuals with disabilities and mental health disorders receive fair and equal treatment.

Wendy Tigchelaar began working in the field of developmental disabilities in 1986.  She joined the AHRC Suffolk family in 2004 and has served as the Chapter’s Guardianship Coordinator since 2012.  Recently Wendy participated in the development of a new volunteer Guardianship Committee after her Chapter experienced major organizational changes.  A former Midwesterner turned New Yorker, she holds a degree in Education from Purdue University with additional studies in Ceramics and Art.  Her interests include human development, human rights, and Bowen Family Systems theory.