- How long have you been connected to CORA?
On and off for 27 years! My first introduction to CORA was as a student in 8th grade at St. Matt's. I vividly remember taking a yellow school bus to CORA for career day (The Career Development Resource Program still exists today). I wanted to be a chef at that time, and my task that day was baking brownies for the group. I still love to cook and have been spending a lot of time in the kitchen during this quarantine. I was reintroduced to CORA and started working as a camp counselor for a few summers in college - such a blast! It was so much fun working with the kids every day and I made some life-long friends and memories: the infamous barn deck, playing spoons, nature walks in Pennypack, tetherball, how great the pool felt on hot days, and of course our unforgettable Camp CORA parties and talent shows!
About 6 years ago, my brother Don and his wife Mary enrolled their kids at Fox Chase Early Years. At that point we became involved with CORA as a family, attending various shows and events. My sister-in-law, Mary, was the first to join the Board and thought I would make a good addition to the Advancement committee as they planned their annual CORA for Kids Golf Classic. WMMR was locked in as a sponsor, and I had worked there after graduating from La Salle for several years. This coincidence was awesome, and in June 2016 I volunteered at the golf outing and fell in love with CORA and its mission all over again. I officially became a Board member the following December and currently chair the Advancement committee and am on the the golf committee along with my brother.
2.What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
"Meet people where they are." I do my best to understand what someone's values/needs/aspirations are and connect with them in a way that is meaningful. Just this week I read a quote reiterating that point: "We are all in the same boat. We are not all in the same storm" and it really spoke to me. We are coexisting in this world, but each of our experiences and day-to-day life can look very different. It's so important to realize that most situations are not one-size-fits-all. I definitely try to think about that and consider 'where people are' in my interactions with others.
3. What do you enjoy most about being a member of CORA's Board of Directors?
At CORA, children and families are the heart of the matter. Everything we do, every decision we make - is done with the mission in mind. I had a personal affinity for CORA from my time as a student and then as a camp counselor. When the opportunity presented itself to become more involved on a professional level, I really jumped at the chance. I saw first-hand over the years the impact CORA made on individuals and families; serving thousands and thousands in our region every year. It is incredible to play a small part in that big picture.
Image: Mary Kay's CAMP CORA ID Badge from 1998!
4. What program at CORA would you consider to be your favorite?
This is such a hard question! I'll say that I've been most closely associated with Early Years due to my nieces and nephew attending Fox Chase. Also, my full time job is in Alumni Relations at La Salle University, where there is also an Early Years program on campus, and I've visited the classrooms, met so many of the children and attended their graduations. Exemplary programs, staff and kids all around.
5. What dream or vision do you have for CORA?
CORA has an excellent reputation in Philadelphia & surrounding counties, but with our 50th anniversary coming up in 2021, I would love to see our name recognition grow even more! When I talk to people about CORA who have never heard of the organization, they are simply amazed by all of the programs offered and number of people served annually. I am happy to donate my time and money to CORA, as much as I am able. Connect with CORA - you won't regret it!