HELP USA is proud of our Chairman Maria Cuomo Cole for winning the Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill award.  Making this award even more special, is the fact that Chairman Cuomo Cole’s mother, Matilda Raffa Cuomo, Former First Lady of New York and Founder of HELP USA’s Mentoring USA, won the same exact award four years ago.

On Sunday, Oct. 18, at a Ceremony and Luncheon at the Eleanor Roosevelt National Historic Site (Val-Kill) in Hyde Park, NY former State Senator Stephen Saland, who cast the deciding vote for NY’s Marriage Equality Act, Maria Cuomo Cole, Laurie Marker, Bill Strickland and Yoshiomi Tamai received the prestigious Eleanor Roosevelt Val-Kill Medal Award.

About the Award & Recipients:

Under Maria Cuomo Cole‘s leadership, HELP USA has become the largest provider of homes and services for the homeless in the United States.

As Founder and Executive Director of Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), Dr. Laurie Marker has pioneered research, established conservation models and created cooperative alliances on behalf of the cheetah that never before existed. Named a Hero for the Planet by TIME Magazine, she was featured in Smithsonian, National Geographic, Discover and The New York Times.

On June 24, 2011, then Senator Stephen M. Saland, cast the decisive vote for New York’s Marriage Equality Act, legalizing same-sex marriage in New YorkHe also reformed New York’s Domestic Violence Protection Law, revamped the way in which New York combats domestic violence and won a major victory for school children and their families when he authored legislation to protect children from abusive school employees.

As President and CEO of Pittsburgh Manchester Bidwell Corporation and its division Bidwell Training Center, William Strickland created an educational model that creates empowering educational environments for adults-in-transition, urban and at-risk youth. He is also the author of Make the Impossible Possible.

Yoshiomi Tamai has raised $1 billion US dollars to enable 95,000 orphaned students to finish higher education.  His Ashinaga Foundation educates and nurtures future leaders to contribute to society via caring attitudes, open minds, and the energy to act.

Given annually to those who have made significant contributions in areas that were the focus of Mrs. Roosevelt’s life – such as education, advocacy, social justice, public service and human rights, the ceremony raises funds to support programs including Girls’ Leadership Worldwide, which empowers girls to be socially-conscious leaders; Eleanor Roosevelt Emerging Leaders Program for community college students and other initiatives.

For information about the Eleanor Roosevelt Center at Val-Kill, please visit and contact Kathleen Durham, Executive Director, via email: or phone: 845-229-5302