Alberto Cruz is a nationally recognized youth development and non-profit professional and currently Senior Director of Youth and Family department for the YMCA of Greater New York – West Side YMCA/ Grosvenor Neighborhood House Y serving over 1500 youth yearly. With over 25 years' experience in youth development, Cruz has been an active advocate for children through his work with the New York State Afterschool Network (NYSAN) and the After-school Alliance, among others.
A trained instructor in Project Adventure initiatives and a longtime activist for peace education in the NYC public schools. Cruz is a much-sought-after consultant, instructor and manager for in-school and out-of-school programs throughout the State of New York.
A member of Community Board 7/Manhattan from 2005 to 2010, Cruz served on the Board's Steering Committee, chair of the Youth, Education and Libraries committee and chair of the Strategy and Budget committee, in which he presented several resolutions addressing after school use of public schoolyards, school overcrowding, opposition to school budget cuts in Community School District 3, and calling upon the New York State Legislature to amend the New York Public Officers Law to allow 16- and 17-year-olds to be appointed to serve on New York City community boards as full participating members. Cruz also coordinated CB7's After School program survey to study the affects of budget cuts to community school age child-care programs and neighborhood families. Cruz also served as an appointee of the Community Board 7/Manhattan chair to the Manhattan Borough President's Task Force on School Overcrowding from 2007 to 2009.
Cruz served as President of the Executive Board of AfterSchool Works NY! (Formerly the New York State School Age Care Coalition), the official state affiliate of the National Afterschool Association, and was vice-chair of the Department of Youth and Community Development's (DYCD) Neighborhood Advisory Board Bronx #8. Cruz subsequently was elected to serve on DYCD's Community Action Board representing over 240,000 residents in the western section of the Bronx where he served from 2009 to 2012.
Through his work in the community Cruz was recognized by the Washington Heights community for his volunteer service to youth through his newly formed not-for-profit organization The Washington Heights Youth Center. The nonprofit serves youth ages 14 to 21 by providing recreational, academic, and career training.
In January 2009, Cruz was honored by the Partnership for After School Education at its annual PASEsetter Awards ceremony. According to a statement from PASE announcing Cruz's selection, PASEsetter Award winners "exemplify the dedication, talent, and innovation that enables youth workers everywhere to change the lives of countless young people in New York City and beyond." In April 2009, Alberto was selected by top American Express corporate leaders to participate in the highly acclaimed American Express Nonprofit Leadership Academy. Cruz was chosen as part of a highly competitive selection process designed to find two-dozen "best and brightest" senior officers of nonprofit organizations from across the United States. In 2010, Cruz was recognized for his work on Community Board 7/Manhattan and on the Manhattan Borough President School Overcrowding Task Force receiving letters of commendation from City Council Member Gale Brewer and Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer. In September 2010, the Afterschool Alliance announced the selection of Alberto Cruz to serve as a 2010-2011 Afterschool Ambassador from New York State. Each Ambassador will continue directing or supporting a local afterschool program while also serving a one-year Afterschool Ambassador term organizing public events, communicating with policy makers, and building support for afterschool programs. Cruz's Ambassadorship was sponsored by The Robert Bowne Foundation.
In June 2011, Cruz received the Excellence in Education Award from the PS87 Afterschool Program and the Upper West Side community. The award acknowledged his commitment and dedication to the educational excellence of the children and youth of the Upper West Side, which he has served for over 20 years. In June 2012, the Department of Youth and Community Development recognized Alberto for his years of service to the Community Action Board, Neighborhood Advisory Board and the residents of the Bronx; Cruz was also recognized by the Office of the Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg receiving a Letter of Commendation for his service to the resident of New York City. Later in June 2012, Cruz received a Citation for Meritorious Service from the New York City Council for his years of service to the youth of the City of New York. In December, 2014 Alberto received the Superior Performance Award for distinguished cause driven leadership to the YMCA of Greater New York and upholding the YMCA core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Recipient of the BNY Mellon financial scholalrship and the Staff Spotlight Award from the West Side YMCA in March 2016.
Cruz holds a Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Boricua College, professional certificate from Hostos College in Nonprofit Management and is a Masters of Science candidate from Fordham University through the Gabelli School of Business and the Graduate School of Social Services.