Though the snacks served at our Board meetings are legendary, it is more than snacks that attract talented local folks to serve on our agency’s Board. We so value our Boards’ impact on The Learning Web that we want to take time to highlight who they are and why they work on the LW’s behalf. From reading budgets to gathering auctions items for our Music Spectacular to volunteering to hold mock interviews for youth participants, these folks keep on contributing. Our continuing thanks goes out to:
Kristine M. DeLuca – BOD President
Kris’s deep background in career and leadership development is a perfect fit with The Learning Web. Having lived in the Ithaca community for the past 40 years and spending the majority of her career working with young people, Kris brings a perspective and skill set that is very valuable to the agency. Her reasons for joining the BOD illustrate why she is such a great fit for the BOD: “I have spent the majority of my professional life as an educator. In whatever capacity I’ve had the pleasure of working with young people; the overall objective has been to assist them in discovering who they are and how they’d like to impact the world. Serving on The Learning Web Board provides yet another way of assisting young people in finding their place in the world. The Learning Web provides a rich array of programs for the youth of our community that are designed to meet them where they are, yet are prepared to take them where they want to go! I am so excited to be able to support them in their mission. I believed in experiential learning. Life experience is the best educator!” Kris’s current role as director of The Cornell Commitment, a program dedicated to facilitating students’ application of service, leadership, research, and academic excellence to various communities, provides a great resource for the agency and the youth we serve.
Michelle Cannon – BOD Vice President
Michelle learned about The Learning Web when her daughter became a Learning Web apprentice with gifted gardener, Lisa Miller, at Hospicare’s beautiful gardens. After seeing the positive experience her daughter enjoyed through our agency, Michelle said yes to a request to join the Board in the fall of 2015. As Michelle remarked, “My daughter had greatly benefitted from the mentoring program and I am very impressed with the work The Learning Web does to acclimate youth into the workplace through skill development and life skills. This group is wonderful, dedicated, and fun to be around, and I am thrilled to be a part of it.” Michelle is also a career exploration host for The Web. As a Food Scientist at Covance Food Solutions Michelle has toured youth who are interested in careers in food science around the labs at Covance and set up chats with her colleagues so that the youth gets a good idea what the work involves and what path led each colleague to their career.
Joanna Dennis – BOD Treasurer
We snapped up Joanna when she first arrived in Ithaca. Joanna’s expertise in finance and her extensive experience with organizational administration were skills sets that she has brought to her work on the BOD. Asked why she accepted our invitation Joanna said, “I joined The Learning Web Board because of the opportunities it offers to at-risk youth in our community. One of the best ways for young people to learn about potential careers is by direct exposure and experience within that field. This is what The Learning Web’s apprenticeship program accomplishes. The result is engaged young people who enjoy the hands-on learning experience provided by our business partners within the community.” Having worked at M&T Bank for 20 years and currently a Regional Manager for the Southern New York branches, Joanna has graciously offered to conduct mock interviews with prospective apprentices and Youth Outreach job hunters. Youth and LW staff will meet Joanna at her office to simulate a real interview and the youth will be able to get Joanna’s feedback and advice after the “interview.”
Jon Hilton – BOD Secretary
Jon is the most veteran member of our Board, having joined the BOD in 1991! Jon was involved in The LW as a mentor and did a fabulous job with his apprentices—going above and beyond and assisting the young person in applying and being accepted to college (the first in her family to attend college). This caliber of mentor was not to be underutilized! We tapped Jon for the Board and the rest is history. Why the long tenure? Jon explained— “I joined the Board in 1991 because I was interested in providing learning opportunities to youth in order to help them make decisions and develop life skills. I like that The Web helps provide an avenue to guide youth. Youth Outreach works with at-risk youth by providing a way up and out of their current status.” Jon has given us unflagging service as our Board Secretary and is our Board historian. He also generously donates his time and his band’s time (the popular Radio London) at our annual Music Spectacular and has been instrumental in moving the agency forward over the years. Jon currently owns a recording and audio production studio (Hiltronex Sound), and teaches at Ithaca College in Media Arts Sciences and Studies (communications), and plays in a couple of rock bands (Radio London) and jazz bands.
Barbara Logan – BOD Member
We’ve known Barbara for many years as she has worked for agencies that collaborated with staff at our Youth Outreach Program and has served on our Board. Barbara was and is a champion for young people who face enormous barriers to making a positive transition towards young adulthood. Barbara currently works at the TST BOCES as a Guidance Counselor and continues to refer youth to our Community & Career Exploration Program. On joining the Board, Barbara said, “I’ve worked with a variety of youth in different settings, and The Web has always been there. I’ve stayed on the Board because the people who are part of it are strong youth advocates. They are both hard-working and fun!” Barbara has brought her great energy and creativity to the BOD and an unflagging loyalty.
Sarena Lynch – BOD Member
A self-declared “proud townie”, Sarena connected with the Learning Web’s Volunteer Service group when she was in middle school. We caught up with her again this year (she’s grown up a lot—she’s an adult!) when she served on the United Way Campaign Committee with a Learning Web staff person. Sarena brings the perspective of a past consumer, a young adult, and a development professional to the BOD. Commenting on her reason for accepting our invitation, she said, “I joined the Board of The Learning Web because I know how important they are to the community. I participated in the youth program myself when I was younger and greatly appreciated the opportunity to engage with the nonprofits around me and the ability to work with people who helped me become a productive adult. As I became more acquainted with all of the services the Learning Web had to offer, I was eager to get involved!” Sarena is currently the Director of Development for Planned Parenthood of the Southern Finger Lakes and teaches barre classes at Blackbird Studio.
We hesitate to publish this news story knowing that other agencies will want to steal these amazing folks! We realize that the quality of the people we have supporting our agency and the quality of their work on the Board are of the highest caliber. While we hope their tenure is long, if you are impatient to get those fabulous snacks, let us know and we will add you to our wait list. ☺