Much to Be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, so this week is always pretty special in my book! I love going home to my grandparents’ house and spending Thanksgiving Eve and Thanksgiving with my cousins, aunts, uncles and family friends.

When I look back at 2012, we have so much to be thankful for at each of our Club locations, too, and the thing I am most grateful for is, as always, the wonderful staff who lead.

In Liberty AND at the Fallsburg Teen Center, we have welcomed Allyson Steinberg as a new Program Leader, and we couldn’t be happier with the job she’s done with our Club kids! As a licensed School Counselor, she’s got a unique ability to really connect with our Club kids, and it shows!

In Monticello High School, we have Chris Henry and Sasha Bello. Both brand new to the Clubs and to the Boys & Girls Clubs Movement, Sasha and Chris have taken the time to really learn everything they can about the Clubs and our philosophies, and they’re consistently leading our Monticello FACES Club teens through tons of new and eye-opening experiences!

In Monticello’s RJK Club, I want to first give thanks for Alexandra Julson, the Program Leader there who is currently serving our country in Afghanistan. She sacrifices time with her small children to protect our nation and we are humbled by her dedication. We are also grateful for Anthony Presto and Tyrus Walker, who have stepped up to lead this program in her absence.

In Circleville, we have a dynamo in Kaitlyn Cummings, who has grown her program by more than 50% this year alone! We also have Shane Merone serving as Interim Program Leader at CES, and also serving as a Boys Club Leader one day per week. His double-duty enables our Club kids to really get a higher level of care and programming.

In Pine Bush, we have our veteran staff- MaryAnne Manion and Katrina Apelles serve as Program Leaders. MaryAnne takes motherly-style care of our elementary students, while Katrina continues to push the envelope and think outside of the box with our middle schoolers.

Of course, our Unit Directors, Karen Juers, Barbi Neumann and Robyn Vernooy, who keep everything moving, ensure program safety in one breath and order snack for thousands in the next, and who make the programs’ successes their top priorities, are three women I am most grateful for. Going to work every day with such consummate and dedicated professionals makes my job so much more enjoyable!

And no conversation about stellar staff could ever take place without mentioning the Clubs’ own Girl Friday, Tara Lown. Tara is our Office Manager, which means she does anything and everything to support the Clubs’ operations, support our Club kids and their families, and support the Board and I as we lead the organization.

Thank you, thank you, thank you all for what you do for kids in Sullivan & Orange Counties- and Happy Turkey Day!