The Staten Island Chapter of the New York Urban League recently honored Miriam Perez-Lai, Counselor in CSI’s SEEK (Search for Education, Elevation, and Knowledge) Program, by presenting her with their Health and Social Welfare Award. Perez-Lai received the award at the organization’s 44th Annual Awards Luncheon.

Commenting on her award, Perez-Lai said, “I feel extremely honored because I love what I do. The students keep me going; I get motivated by them; I see their strength and it makes me build up my strength.”

Perez-Lai attracted the interest of the Urban League when she and SEEK students organized “Dress for Success,” a seminar on proper business attire that concluded with participants being able to choose a pre-owned business suit to jumpstart their wardrobes. Perez and her students have spearheaded other events that give back to the community, such as “‘Tis the Season,” a clothing drive for the Seamen’s Society for Children and Families’ domestic violence center, which is scheduled to open this January; a domestic violence workshop with the Seamen’s Society; a fundraiser for a local animal shelter; a celebration of Latin and Hispanic Heritage; and, in collaboration with the Department of English, a seminar on the “Dos and Don’ts of Public Speaking,” among others.

“We’re very excited and proud of Miriam because she won this award for her service in the community and that’s something that we try to instill in our students–giving back and serving the community… and Miriam is setting the example for them,” commented CSI Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Jerald Jones-Woolfolk.

SEEK is a higher education opportunity program offered through The City University of New York, designed for students who have the potential to do well in college, but would benefit from enhanced academic support and financial assistance. The SEEK Program at CSI provides access to college, and promotes academic success and personal achievement through an array of counseling and other support services. SEEK accepts between 150 and 200 new students per year.

The NY Urban League recently presented their Health and Social Welfare Award to Miriam Perez-Lai.