Philanthropy has always meant a lot to sophomore Taylor Salomon, a mathematical finance major. But receiving the 2017 Team Walker Outstanding Service Award was a total surprise.
On Jan. 24, the award, which lauds Salomon for her exceptional commitment to giving back to the community through the organization Team Walker, was presented at a ceremony in Jubilee Hall’s faculty library.
At the ceremony, Leadership Development Director Michael Reuter, Stillman School of Business Dean Joyce Strawser, Team Walker’s CEO and co-founder Jerry Walker, Team Walker’s Board of Trustees members Leo Zatta and Patrick Dunne and Salomon’s family were in attendance.
Salomon had no prior knowledge that she was going to receive the Team Walker Outstanding Service Award. It served as a reminder that she is bettering her community.
Team Walker is an organization that offers inner-city youth after-school academic and athletic programs, as well as community outreach programs for families and seniors of Jersey City.
The co-founder and CEO of the company, Jerry Walker, traces his roots back to Seton Hall University, where his legacy remains as a basketball star and Stillman Entrepreneur Hall of Fame inductee.
Once Salomon entered the program a year ago, she had no idea that the relationships she would build there would transform her entire experience. When she received the award, CEO Jerry Walker called her “family,” which truly touched her heart.
During her time volunteering, Salomon has executed a variety of tasks. She has spent her time in the office, notably revamping the Team Walker website and tracking its financial planning.
“She’s been a tremendous help to our non-profit, giving back. You know, we don’t have a lot of funding or social media or marketing,” Jerry Walker said. “She really helped us put our website back together and have a professional look. I think she really did an excellent job for us.” Salomon finds satisfaction in just knowing that she is working for a company that is making a difference. “Team Walker cares about each and every child that is a part of
their program. I saw several children focused on their school work. In that moment, I saw they all had dreams of becoming doctors, entrepreneurs, and more,” she said, making note of their desire to learn.
“The fact that I could work with a company helping children achieve their dreams is deeply satisfying.”
She is also a part of Stillman’s Leadership Development Honors Program. Her sophomore team member, Nicholas Cizin, an accounting and finance major, said, “As our Director Mike Reuter says, ‘this is God’s work,’ and that’s how I truly feel about the work we have done for Team Walker. We’re doing a job greater much greater than ourselves. It has been an honor to assist a program that transforms the youth of Jersey City.”
Service will always remain at the forefront of Salomon’s aspirations. She hopes to one day open a foundation like brothers Jerry and Jasper Walker did, especially with the help of her Stillman background in marketing and finance.
As for Team Walker, Jerry Walker explains that the program is a family tradition –he and his brother Jasper founded the company in 1996.
As his program preaches the “3-D’s” – determination, dedication, and discipline – this is a place that he and many others can call “home.” Jerry Walker is planning to expand this company further throughout the state, as he believes the program should be state sponsored.
Kristel Domingo can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.