For the past twenty-two years, Roy Baptiste has touched the lives of countless young people of Goddard Riverside Community Center through his unrelenting conviction that every child, regardless of circumstance, has the capacity to reach his or her full potential. Mr. Baptiste came to Goddard Riverside in February of 1982 to complete an intern requirement for his Masters of Education Degree, and never left. Beginning as a volunteer, he has played many critical roles – Part-Time Educational Assistant, Resident Camp Counselor, Resident Camp Assistant Unit Leader, Part-Time Tumbler Instructor, Full-Time Youth Worker, Educational Coordinator, Children’s Director, and currently Youth Program Director – to become an integral part of the organization.
Throughout his tenure, Roy has succeeded in developing a quality program for young people. He has spearheaded theme-based activities that emphasize the educational, recreational and social development of young people. He understands the use of groups as a key program element to facilitate peer decision-making and conflict resolution, which is essential to healthy youth development. As an educator, he recognizes the value of addressing their cognitive skills as well as social development. All of this he approaches in a quiet and unassuming way, providing consistent leadership while creating a trusting and caring community of children and adults.
Mr. Baptiste’s achievements at Goddard Riverside illustrate his ability to combine strong administrative and leadership skills with creative programming. He single-handedly designed a computer/tech center (a favorite of many participants) and aided in the development of a library, nature center, and art workshop. His dedication to the young people is underlined by the fact that, despite his success and consistent promotion to positions requiring less contact with direct-service programs, his desire to work directly with youth has not waned. He continues to teach a tumbling class, serves as the “group leader” on summer trips, runs a job club for summer youth workers, and remains the commissioner of the Goddard Riverside Spring Softball League.
Born in St. Thomas, USVI, Mr. Baptiste came to New York City at the age of two and was raised in Brooklyn. A graduate of Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan, he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering with a minor in Computer Engineering and a Masters of Science in Education from The City College of the City University of New York (CUNY).