Celebrating Ten Years of TORCH and Hundreds of Dreams


bannerWith the winter holidays just around the corner, we are anxious to spend time with our families and friends. In the chaos of the holidays, we must not forget that our thanks is needed by more than just the people joining us at the dinner table. We lean on our communities every day for support and inspiration, and each of us would be remiss if we didn't show our support for the neighborhoods that support us. One of the ways Onboard gives back is by proudly sponsoring TORCH, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of underserved New York City public high school students. TORCH provides hands-on career focused opportunities, educational outreach, counseling, and mentoring to provide these students with the opportunities they deserve. Since limited resources prevent many high schools from including after school programming and career resources, TORCH ensures its participants have a gateway to the communications and arts careers they are interested in - whether it is in advertising, animation, communication arts, journalism, or music.

Onboard is a continued sponsor of TORCH because the talented young minds in our local high schools invigorate our communities with their passion and creativity, and serve as an inspiration to us.

Ten years ago, advertising and marketing executive Peter Drakoulias had a vision of nurturing many students' talents after mentoring underprivileged students, some of whom never saw themselves doing what TORCH enabled them to do. One of Peter's students recently said to him, "When I was younger I would always look up at the tall buildings, never thinking that one day I would actually be on the inside of those buildings looking out." We are proud to support the many vehicles Peter and his colleagues have created for these students, and in turn, the many contributions the students have made to the fabric of our communities in New York.

Onboard has worked with five TORCH interns since the company's birth. Our very own Steve Bryan, IT Associate, is a TORCH alum and has been with Onboard for over 3 years.  Steve had this to say about TORCH:

“I can honestly say that TORCH has been one of the most positive impacts of my life. I was able to acquire many career skills and professional experiences through the TORCH program. I had the tremendous opportunity of working with Forbes Magazine as well as other top rated communication and art businesses. More importantly, TORCH provides assistance and guidance with the college application process, as well as college visits for participants.

Without TORCH, I would not have had the honor of being named the First Prescott Fund Scholar. I received the Prescott Fund Scholarship through TORCH for my academic excellence and performance. I had the great opportunity to attend college because of this honor and I am currently pursuing the IT career path. TORCH has provided me with countless opportunities throughout the years, as a student and Alumni. I have had the pleasure of meeting Marc Siden, CEO of Onboard Informatics. I was offered a life changing internship with (what was then) Onboard LLC. Now I am a full time employee, IT Associate and Salesforce Administrator of this growing business.

I am a humble example of a product of TORCH. If you ask any TORCH Alumni or current participants, you will hear a similar TORCH experience in which TORCH has changed their individual lives for the better. There should definitely be more programs out there like TORCH because I don’t think I would be where I am today without that experience.”

Recently, we attended the 2009 TORCH Benefit & L.I.G.H.T. awards at Marquee, a night to celebrate the program's participants and honorees. Euro RSCG, educator Ed Grassel, broadcasters Deborah Roberts and Al Roker, and TORCH alum Jennifer Vasquez were honored for their guidance and contributions to the community.

This lasting impact of this organization on Steve and countless others was evident at the TORCH Benefit, which felt more like a gathering of lifelong friends.


If the pictures don't speak for themselves, everyone had a wonderful night and was thrilled to be a part of the TORCH family. We applaud our fellow sponsors and everyone who has devoted their time and resources to educate, guide, and inspire.

Click here to join us in supporting TORCH by hiring an intern, giving a donation, or volunteering your time.

Image Credit: Nicholas B. on Flickr.com