Wayne Tyre, a Goddard Social Services Pioneer, Named to 50 Over 50 List 

A man in a gray suit holds a small trophy while flanked by a man and woman

Watch News 12’s story about Wayne Tyre and the power of 2-Gen!

Even when the Goddard Riverside Resource Center is swirling with clients—say, a mom and baby looking for help getting SNAP benefits, an older adult sitting down with a financial counselor, an injured laborer filing for disability—Wayne E Tyre radiates calm. If you come with a question, he and his staff will get you an answer, whether it takes 60 seconds or six months to track one down. 

Getting answers has been Tyre’s job since 2007, when he launched the Resource Center (then known as Single Stop) as its first and only director. The Center helps people get the government benefits they’re entitled to, and also assists with things like financial and legal counseling.  

“We treat people with dignity and respect, and our biggest cheerleader is our clients,” Tyre said with pride. “They tell their neighbors, their friends, their relatives to come here for help. We’ve had people tell strangers on the bus to come!” 

This month Tyre was honored with the 50 Over 50 Award by City and State Magazine, as an older person making their mark on New York. The award highlights two challenges he’s met in recent years. The first was guiding his team through the early months of the pandemic, when requests for assistance spiked. The second is pioneering a new model of social services: the Two-Generation or 2-Gen approach. It’s a national blueprint that Goddard is working toward adopting agency-wide.  

“The premise of 2-Gen is that to help someone rise from poverty you have to work with the whole family,” he explains. “And I believe in that.” 

In a pilot program run by the Resource Center, Tyre’s staff met with families and asked each member to identify a goal they wanted to achieve. “We’re working with the grandma, the parents, the sister, the sister’s kids, and everyone has the right to a goal,” he said. He added that this can be difficult for people wrestling with the challenges of poverty: “A lot of them haven’t had time to think about the bigger picture because they’re immersed in trying to put food on the table.” But in time, they come up with powerful plans to improve their education, housing, income and more. And with support, they make them happen. “They are the experts. The clients are driving, we’re just passengers,” he said. 

With the first pilot project wrapping up, Tyre looks forward to launching a second. The approach takes significant work and investment, he said, but he’s excited about the results. He’s also delighted but characteristically self-effacing about the award. 

“It’s a real privilege. It’s humbling,” he said. “Any accolades I get should go to my team. I’m steering the ship, but they’re the ones doing the work.”