Aileen McKinnon has retired from her 36-year career as a rehabilitation therapist, and now spends her days working to rehabilitate her East Flatbush community and the lives of young people who live there. For the past eight years, she has served as a community advocate, partnering with local legislative personnel and the community board, which seek to promote development and encourage improvements in the neighborhood, as well as in greater Brooklyn. Those who know her say McKinnon is both open to advice, and unafraid to speak her mind about what’s going on in East Flatbush.
McKinnon immigrated to the United States from Guyana in the late 1960s, studied at Brooklyn College, married, raised three sons, and through it all has been a steadfast woman of faith.
“I’ve known her over 31 years and we’ve attended the same church all those years,” says long-time friend Elverine Smartt. “Even in the church, she’s very active all around — she loves people and seeing things done in the right way.”
McKinnon was a perfect Woman of Distinction candidate, her friend said, because “she is very passionate about the needs of the people, both young and elderly, in her and other communities.”
Smartt said McKinnon seems to devote the lion’s share of her energy to the service of young people, particularly when it comes to giving them the boost they need to excel academically.
“Among the many things she does is to place herself in positions where she can help young people, encouraging them to stay focused on their studies at school, helping them obtain scholarships, going out to different [corporate] offices to find job training for youths, and helping college students find jobs to help pay off their school loans,” Smartt said. “Aileen’s passion is to see all young people gain knowledge, wisdom, and understanding so they can obtain a good education, achieve successful careers, and become an asset to their communities.”
McKinnon explains that one of her key goals “is for people in college to find balance, scholarships, and internships that will put them in jobs in areas that they’re focused on.”
When working with high-schoolers, she does whatever she can — including helping them obtain books, clothes, or other supplies.
“In the future, I want to stay focused on seeing young people achieve success in their education so that can be successful to others,” McKinnon said.
Neighborhood: East Flatbush.
Occupation: Community advocate.
Company: Brooklyn Community Board 17.
Claim to Fame: Helping the community and others.
Favorite Brooklyn Place: I love Nostrand Junction, it is very busy and has a lot of stores. I also like Downtown Brooklyn and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden.
Woman I admire: There are so many women, strong women. I admire Congresswoman Yvette Clarke and her mom, former Councilwoman Una Clarke. They gave me the courage that I have now. I also admire New York City Public Advocate Letitia James because she encouraged me. The same is true for Melba Brown and Joyce Perry (wife of Assemblyman Nick Perry).
Motto: Put God first.
©2017 Community News Group
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