We are pleased to announce that Helene Mattera will step in as the Interim Executive Director of the Louis August Jonas Foundation. For all of us who know Helene, we know how lucky we are that she is taking on this important role at such a critical and difficult time. For those who may not know Helene, or her background, you will see that she is eminently qualified for the complex job of running our esteemed Foundation.
Helene Mattera is a home grown leader from Camp Rising Sun. She was a camper in 1997 and a second year in 1998. From South Brooklyn, CRS expanded her world view and helped shaped her education and career goals. She attended Hampshire College where she created her own major in youth development and out of school time programs, including summer camps. During college she came back to CRS to be a counselor in 2000 and returned as a teaching artist for several summers. While away from CRS, Helene continued building her professional skills at various youth organizations. Her senior thesis incorporated LAJF learning principles and centered on building leadership skills through youth programs.
After college, Helene served as Director of Youth Services at St. Raymond community Outreach in the Bronx, New York. She grew in her role and eventually rose to be Executive Director. As the leader of SRCO, she grew fundraising two-fold and expanded programming to serve hundreds of children, teens and parents. She stayed connected with LAJF by serving on the advancement committee and Visit Team, and hosting volunteer days for CRS alumni at her community center. She also helped to organize the New York Alumni Association. Rising Sun was evident in the programs she designed; these were programs that were hailed by Foundations and the Department of Youth and Community Development as model programs.
Helene was inspired by a meeting with Judy Fox in the summer of 2009 at an alumni retreat, and felt a calling to help reopen Camp in 2010. She returned home to LAJF as Director of Programs and also served as the Camp Director. During the off-season she began to learn the operations of the Foundation.
Helene left LAJF in 2012 to pursue her graduate studies in Social Work with a focus on children, youth and families. She presented with fellow alumnus, (and recently elected Board member) Carl Manalo, at an educators conference on how to incorporate CRS learning principles in the high school classroom setting. During this time, she also helped to make more vibrant the New York Alumni Association.
In March 2015 Helene answered another call from LAJF and returned to help run the programs alongside Christina Busso. She learned more about alumni relations, fundraising and operations.
Helene is now well positioned to lead us through our next phase of growth. She brings a strong CRS background, educational training in youth and program development, more than a decade of fundraising experience and a passion for the Rising Sun alumni community.
Please join me in welcoming and supporting her in this role. She is already quite busy in planning for an excellent Summer of 2016 Camp Season, coordinating a move to the new office, devising a staffing plan that will allow us to optimally function, and working on the necessary fundraising required to sustain our operations.
Sincerely and on behalf of the Board of Directors,
Patrick G. O'Malley '80