Giving Back

Awards Breakfast Recgonizes Paterson Students and Organizations that 'Pay it Foward'

Credits: Gilman Choudhury
Counilwoman-Elect Dr. Lilisa Mimms and Paterson School Board President Oshin Castillo were on hand to recognize the honorees Credits: Gilman Choudhury
Mayor-Elect Andre Sayegh pictured with awardee Demi Matos Credits: Steve Lenox
The Day of the Babies Organization, founded by Casey Melvin, pictured with Oshin Castillo, Dr. Lilisa Mimms, and Bridget Arrick, was among the organizations recognized. Credits: Steve Lenox
Members of the Paterson Police Department's Community Policing Division were recognized at the breakfast. Credits: Steve Lenox
Credits: Steve Lenox
Credits: Steve Lenox
Credits: Steve Lenox
Credits: Steve Lenox
Credits: Gilman Choudhury
Credits: Gilman Choudhury
Credits: Gilman Choudhury
Credits: Gilman Choudhury
Credits: Gilman Choudhury
Credits: Gilman Choudhury

PATERSON, NJ- For Bridget Arrick the idea that doing a good a deed for someone translates into that person doing a good deed for someone else is a way of life. That chain of events, commonly known as “paying it forward,” is something that, for the second year in a row, was recognized at an awards breakfast on Sunday.

The mission of P.I.F.F.Y, the Pay it Forward for Youth Award Organization, was on full display in front of the crowded room, both in the words that adorned the banner greeting guests, as well as in the program that featured recognition of 10 local high school students and seven Paterson organizations who missions intersect with area youth.

The organization, established in 2016, the banner reads, “was born out of (Arrick’s) continued love and desire to acknowledge and Pay it Forward to our awesome youth in the community.” For Arrick service to others is not only a passion but also, through her role with Paterson Schools Office of Family & Community Engagement, a career. P.I.F.F.Y is an opportunity to recognize students who have “demonstrated exceptional skills in the fields of community service, overcoming the odds, volunteerism, academic excellence and STEM.”

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Emceed masterfully by Jah’Tay Parker-Bugg and Ka-Maya Parker Bugg, the program included the reading of bios of the students recognized, ones that even at the young ages of the awardees extend well beyond those of adults many years their senior.

Included among the honorees was Demi Matos, a senior at JFK’s Academy of Architecture and Construction Trades. The aspiring entrepreneur, who plans on attending Passaic County College in September to study computer engineering, was the recipient of “Nazerah’s Scholarship,” named after Nazerah Bugg, a 14-year old Paterson high school student killed by gunfire in 2014.

Saying that the award will continue to “motivate” her and makes her feel “accomplished” Matos, referring to the scholarship’s namesake, said that she hopes that by continuing to excel she is helping to “live Nazerah’s dream.”

Telling TAPinto Paterson that while opportunities for students to become computer literate are still limited, Matos plans on “paying forward” her scholarship by succeeding in her career and returning to Paterson to help them acquire the skills she has developed.

Continuing to make his rounds since his May 8 election victory Mayor-Elect Andre Sayegh was in attendance at the awards telling the honorees that their efforts were helping to change what people say about city. “What’s positive about Paterson is in this room,” Sayegh said. “We appreciate you for your service to our city.”

Student Honorees

High School Seniors

Amel Hassan- JFK STEM

Demi D. Matos, JFK ACT

Randy Roque-Sanchez, JFK BTMF


High School Juniors

Maliha Yeasmin, JFK STEM


High Scholl Sophomores

Tyrique Arthur, JFK STEM

Emadul Haque, JFK STEM

Shubon Husan, JFK STEM

Amour Tanner, JFK STEM

Mohammed Uddin, JFK STEM


High School Freshman

Chloe Sherpard, JFK STEM


Youth Organization Honorees


Day of the Babies Organization

JFK Knights Girls Basketball Coaches


Paterson Community Policing

Princess to Queenz

Teens to B Heard

JFK Little Free Library

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