Giving Back And Feeling Great

Volunteers form bonds while enriching Leake & Watts’s work


Banana Republic corporate volunteering

It’s the smiles on kids’ faces (and the smiles the kids bring to their own) that keep the team from the Westchester Banana Republic stores coming back to volunteer with Leake & Watts.
It started in the spring when a group from Banana Republic came to the Marion and George Ames Early Childhood Center for a day of reading and has since evolved into a monthly volunteer event – holiday parties, a summer carnival, a car wash, pumpkin picking.
“It has been wonderful that we have had the ability to connect with our community so well and so fast,” said Sarah Fredericks, General Manager of Banana Republic at Ridge Hill in Yonkers. “We feel proud to be volunteering with such an amazing group of people and are so thankful for the opportunities we’ve been given to do so.”
The retailer’s contribution to Leake & Watts is made even greater through Gap Corporation’s Volunteer Field Team Grant Program. The volunteer match contributes $250 to Leake & Watts for every 25 hours the group spends volunteering.
Banana Republic is one of many corporate volunteers. Others this fall included Fed Ex, Target, Morgan Stanley, Ernst & Young, BNYM and Food Pop.

One-on-one mentoring

“No matter how independent and self-sufficient we think we are, the fact of the matter is no one can make it through this life alone,” volunteer mentor Denmar Henry explained. “Losing both my parents at a young age, I became overly self-sufficient too soon. Instead of looking back in regret, I’ve decided to look forward with optimism.”
Looking forward has brought Denmar to the Leake & Watts mentoring program. For the past year, he has been a regular fixture at the Yonkers campus alongside his new friend Carlos – doing homework, going for pizza or just shooting some hoops.
Nothing makes Denmar, an HR generalist for Liberty Lines in Yonkers, happier than spending his free time with Carlos, 20, a resident at our Residential Treatment Center. “One of the most caring kids you’ll ever meet,” Denmar said. “I want to make sure Carlos has a person he can look up to – someone to inspire him to pursue whatever endeavor he chooses.”
One-to-one mentors like Denmar provide vital support and encouragement to the young people we support as they navigate the often difficult transition into adulthood. Each mentorship, lasting at least one year, allows those we support to form special bonds with their mentors while setting specific goals that align with our work and promote independent living.

Volunteer with Leake & Watts

With 43 programs at 27 sites throughout the NYC area, Leake & Watts offers many possibilities for individuals, groups and corporations to get involved. For more information, please contact Volunteer Manager Jack Toone at