Sheila Brady said she was surprised and very moved to be named Kiwanian of the Year.
Over the years Brady has become known among her fellow Kiwanians as a reliable volunteer for all of the Kiwanis and Key Club activities for children. She grew up in a large family in Utica, the youngest of eleven children. She learned about helping other children while working with the poor in the Utica area as a Y Teen member at the YWCA.
She knew then that her mission was to work with children and Kiwanis is helping to fulfill that mission, she said.
But first came a move to New York City, where she enjoyed a long career with the Association of American University Presses. Brady said she served as its sales manager for a number of years before starting her own business, Thor Information Services, which compiles lists of academics for publishers.
“A lot of my clients do books about education for children and families,” she said. Continue reading
by Sheila Brady, Guest Contributor
It was the end of June I was returning from my monthly trip to New York and was waiting for my Amtrak train in Penn Station, which was filled with not only Amtrak passengers, but Long Island Railroad and New Jersey Transit commuters as well. While standing in the midst of throngs of people, I was approached by a terrified young woman who said she had traveled three days from Romania and needed to be sure she was at the right gate to get the train to Utica.
I assured her that I was going to Utica, and would see to it that she got on the right train.
That’s the first of many times she referred to me as her guardian angel.
We sat together and I learned that she was in graduate school studying Marine Law.
Although her family was opposed to her coming to America, she convinced them that she would be part of a foreign student work program, and showed them the brochure from an agency in CA that offered to arrange for a four month visa, a job, housing, and promised travel and a wonderful cultural experience, all for a $3,000 fee.
She said her family gave her the money at great sacrifice, since the average salary in Romania is $300 per month. Continue reading