After decades of working in drug rehabilitation, Mike Yorio was looking to give back after retirement.
For the lifelong New Yorker, Children’s Aid was the obvious choice – his late fiancée worked at our health centers as a psychiatrist, and told him about the great work staff did to keep kids healthy.
In 2019, Mike began volunteering for our Reach Out and Read program at the Bronx Health Center. He read to children in the waiting room and made them feel comfortable before their appointments.
When COVID hit, the program was paused and Mike took on a new volunteer role, booking appointments for our clients with dentists, optometrists, endocrinologists, and other specialists around New York City.
He kept coming back to the health center even after the pandemic because of the professionalism the Children’s Aid staff. For 10 years, Mike worked in direct treatment, helping to change the lives of those struggling with drug addiction. Then, he moved on to a supervisory role within his field.
At 50, Mike went to law school. Working for a state agency that has oversight responsibilities for all alcoholism and drug treatment programs in New York, his work required a lot of regulatory writing and collaboration with the agency’s Counsel’s Office. He decided that law school would provide him with additional skills to excel in his job.
No matter what role he took on, he found that community was critical to success.
“I know the value of teamwork, of different disciplines working together for a common cause to help others,” he said. “In the clinic, I have the exact same feeling of family that I had when I worked in direct treatment. The connection between the staff and how well they communicate and work together all for a common goal, it reignites what brought me into the field.”
Sandra Gordon, health center administrator, called Mike’s contributions “invaluable.” In addition to making appointments, he acts as a liaison between the health center and parents, informing them of their children’s appointments and other important medical information.
Outside of his volunteer work, Mike lives a very active life and retirement has not slowed him down. After completing his first marathon in 1984 – he completed the New York City Marathon 12 times – he never stopped running. His love for running has taken him across the country and the world where he’s run marathons from Russia to Disneyland.
Now, he exclusively runs half-marathons, averaging 8 to 12 per year. This month, he’s traveling to Nashville to participate in Rock N’ Roll Nashville, an annual running series in the city.
You may also recognize him from his three stints on Law & Order, the long running detective drama on NBC. A friend introduced him to the world of background work and he’s been successfully cast in several tv shows.
No matter where life takes him, Mike knows where he’ll be every Monday – at Bronx Health Services of Children’s Aid.
“I’m so impressed with the work of Children’s Aid,” he said. “It just amazes me how much caring goes into the work that you do. To have a well-oiled machine is not easy. It’s a very smooth operation, and I really enjoy being there.”