Inspiring New York

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About Inspiring New York

WCNY’s Inspiring New York interstitials focus on acts of random kindness. Submit an inspiring story about someone who has gone above and beyond, illustrating the amazing things that inspire us to believe in our neighbors, colleagues, and community!

For example, a fast food franchise owner who surprises a hard-working employee with a scholarship to college. Or a teacher or first responder who mentors a student or helps find shelter for a homeless family. Or an electrician who works through the night to make sure the heat stays on.

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Inspiring New York

Frank Cotrupe

After seeing his restaurant’s patio in disarray, Frank Cotrupe, of Utica, checked his surveillance camera to find a man, who appeared to be homeless, using tablecloths to use as a blanket.  It was in that moment when Frank decided he wanted to help the homeless population.

Inspiring New York

Srdan Lukic

Srdan Lukic, of Syracuse, was born with a congenital heart defect and survived three open heart surgeries.  After a successful boxer career, Srdan turned his passion for health health to the children of his community, where he holds classes to help them remain active and healthy.

Inspiring New York

Richard Synek

After learning how some local World War II veterans struggle to feed themselves, Richard rallied the support of volunteers, food manufacturers, and grocery stores to establish the first Feed Our Vets food pantry in the region.

Inspiring New York

Laurence Segal

After losing his mother and close friends to cancer, Laurence began “Cans for Cancer,” a local organization that collects bottles and cans to raise money for cancer research in CNY.

Inspiring New York

Pastor Daren Jamie

Inspired by the powerful legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., Pastor Daren Jamie, of Syracuse, held an event for children in the community where they received free haircuts and school supplies.

Inspiring New York

Deanna Jacobs

Following the example set by a Florida hospital, Deanna and her team at Cayuga Medical Center transformed their surgical waste wraps into blankets that could withstand Central New York’s winters for the homeless.

Inspiring New York

Krista Owens

On the tenth anniversary of becoming a business owner, Krista Owens, wanted to give back to her community that supported her. Owens landed on the idea to “give the gift of warmth” to the community. For the past few years, Owens has held a campaign to collect coats for the Rescue Mission.

Inspiring New York

Eddie Mitchell

Noticing cuts in community programming and the impact this had on youth in the neighborhood, Eddie Mitchell decided to do something. Mitchell started TEAM A.N.G.E.L, which stands for Avoid Negative Garbage Enjoy Life. It is designed to build skills and to support social awareness and self-awareness in a safe and inviting community for youth in the city of Syracuse.

Inspiring New York

Al-amin Muhammad

For the last four years, Al-amin Muhammad, of Syracuse, NY, has been feeding and clothing the homeless and the working poor thanks to his organization We Rise Above the Streets. His mission: Offer a better way of life, encourage people to change their present condition and offer the resources to actualize a new beginning.

Inspiring New York: Carly Waters

Carly Waters, of Esperance, New York, has two little sisters who were diagnosed with hearing loss within months of each other, Carly was surprised to learn the cost of hearing aids and that many families have difficulty affording them. Carly didn’t want other kids to go without the hearing aids they need, so she thought about ways she could help raise money for them. At just eight years old, Carly designs, sews, and sells stuffed lemons to raise funds for families of children with hearing loss.

Inspiring New York

Dan Williams

Seven-year-old Daniel Barden, a first grader, was one of 20 students, who along with six adults, were tragically killed during the one-man mass shooting at Sandy Hook, Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut seven years ago. To carry on his name, and bridging two communities together from two states, Dan Williams, for the past seven years has held the Daniel Barden MudFest in Deansboro, NY. An event that best describes how loving and vibrant Daniel was.

Inspiring New York

Curtis Levy

Inspired by helping those in need, Rev. Curtis Levy, of Syracuse, NY, is the founder of Last House on the Block Ministries and owner of Razzle Dazzle Italian Ices. Rev. Levy is finding new and innovative ways to help support his organization. The proceeds of Razzle Dazzle help support Last House on the Block Ministries, a Syracuse-based nonprofit that provides housing and services to those dealing with substance abuse problems, mental health issues, domestic violence and other challenges.

Inspiring New York

Jan Maloff

For the past 20 years, the C.N.Y. Family Bike Giveaway Charity has been putting bicycles in the hands of families in our community.  At the forefront of this inspiring charity is Jan Maloff, of Syracuse, NY. To help bridge the gap between law enforcement and the community, Jan has partnered with the Syracuse Police Department to help giveaway the thousands of bikes he and his volunteers have restored.

Inspiring New York

Linda Townsend

Inspired by her two former students who lost their lives defending our freedom, Linda Townsend, of Auburn, NY, has devoted her life, outside of teaching at Port Byron, to honor the brave men and women who have fought for our country.  One of her most incredible accomplishments is when she helped bring in The Wall That Heals; a traveling replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., designed to travel to communities throughout the United States.

Inspiring New York

Meet Mary Nelson

After the tragic loss of a family member, Mary Nelson turned her grief into a tool to help her Syracuse community. Every year, Mary holds an annual Back to School Supply Giveaway.  The event supplies thousands of students with the tools necessary to start the new school year prepared and takes some financial burden away from parents.

Inspiring New York

Meet Talia Zames

After seeing her family struggle to pay off medical debt, Talia Zames of Jamesville, New York, decided to do something about it for thousands of households in central New York.  Her campaign, Project Eraser, went out and raised $20,000 in three months, which in part, eliminated almost seven million dollars of medical debt in upstate New York.

Inspiring New York

Meet Ava Musci

Over the last two years, ten-year-old Ava Musci has raised over two-thousand dollars to support pediatric cancer research through her lemonade stand.

Inspiring New York

Meet Samaia Goodrich

Samaia Goodrich, a sixth-grader, was the first student from the City of Syracuse to receive the Prudential Spirit of Community Award in its 24-year history. Samaia started a number of community service initiatives over the years, but one of her most recent projects included helping refugees from Puerto Rico who were relocated to central New York after Hurricane Maria.


All across central New York there are incredible people doing amazing things. Inspiring Central NY is a short-form video series produced by WCNY that shares the stories of these inspirational people. The first video in the series showcases the story of Cassidy Colvin from Cicero, New York. While at work, Cassidy was surprised by her boss with a college scholarship.

Inspiring New York Stories Form

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