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Two Rye Women Will Earn Honors From Volunteer Center

Lisa Sandler of Rye will receive the Going Green Award for service to Rye Nature Center from the Volunteer Center of United Way. Photo Credit: Contributed
Rye resident Reena Kashyap will receive the Arts & Culture Award from the Volunteer Center of United Way for service to The Clay Art Center.

RYE, N.Y. – Two women from Rye will receive awards from the Volunteer Center of United Way at the agency’s 34th annual Volunteer Spirit Awards on Thursday, April 24, at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel in Tarrytown.

The Volunteer Center of United Way will honor nine individuals and groups at the dinner.  Broadcast journalist Lou Young will emcee the event, which begins at 8 a.m.

Lisa Sandler will receive the Going Green Award  for service to Rye Nature Center, presented by Con Edison. The Arts & Culture Award will go to Reena Kashyap for service to The Clay Art Center, presented by Mack-Cali Realty Corp.

Sandler came to Rye Nature Center in her search for a summer camp for her 3-year-old son in 2002.  Since then, she has been an active member of the Rye Nature Center and instrumental to its goal of promoting  environmental education and conservation.

Her love of the outdoors may have originated from Scouting while growing up in Valhalla. “People come to nature centers because they are passionate about nature; it’s not something that people outgrow,’’ she said.

Sandler has helped the organization double the number of camp scholarships available at the Nature Center for New York City’s poorest urban communities since 2010. Over 100 children take part in education programming each summer at the Nature Center’s camp. 

She has been a distinguished leader whose ideas, creativity and fiduciary oversight ensured that the Rye Nature Center survived the loss of the city of Rye’s funding, according to the Volunteer Center.

In 1997, the Clay Art Center of Port Chester had a flagging artists program in a deteriorating factory building.  Through Kashyap's efforts, the 57-year-old art center became a hub for a growing cadre of clay artists and attracted youths and families to its community-oriented programs and activities.

Growing up in India, Kashyap's family and school certainly encouraged her sense of service: "We were always made to feel we were lucky with what we had and we had to give back," she said. After moving to Rye, she saw that neighboring Port Chester had a need for a cultural resource. "I really felt that this is where I could do something that could be very tangible," she noted.

Individual ticket prices for the 2014 Volunteer Spirit Awards are $75 per person. For further information contact Allison Chader  by phone at 914-227-9307, email or visit

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