David Sellers, Jr.
As a youth at the Newton Boys & Girls Club David Sellers developed leadership skills and a management philosophy that focuses on honesty, clear expectations, teamwork, and accountability – qualities that were found in abundance in the games room and on the gym floor at 101 Dalby Street. Now in his 11th year as Executive Director, David has endeavored to improve the image and level of professionalism of this venerable organization while rebuilding its fundraising engine from the ground up. Working with a talented staff and through the support of the Club’s dedicated Board of Directors, during his tenure the Annual Fund of the Club has quadrupled, Major Giving has increased 10 fold, and a permanent endowment was established to support the Club’s programming. Many improvements were made to the Club’s physical plant which save the Club thousands of dollars annually and improve access to technology. He is proud of the high profile the Club maintains in the City of Newton when it comes to key issues effecting young people and gladly serves on the managing bodies of several key civic minded organizations including the nonprofit committee of the Charles River Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club of Newton. David has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
Frank Ponceano has spent the past 11 years in leadership roles with the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell. During that time he created and implemented Club programming; trained staff, interns, and volunteers; and was responsible for the creation, execution, oversight, and stewardship of new and pre-existing STEAM programs. Whether in science, technology, engineering, math, and/or the arts, his expertise will well serve all our programing in particular our expanding arts and technology/media programs. His youth leadership and programming work has been recognized by the national Boys & Girls Clubs of America being twice honored with the National Service to Youth Award. And as reported locally in 2018 by The Lowell Sun, Frank was recognized by the Association of Boys & Girls Professionals Yankee Chapter for his "outstanding service to the profession and the youth the clubs serve."
Thomas (Tom) Leavitt is knowledgeable, personable, and a strong communicator who has direct experience managing major gift, planned giving, and capital campaigns. His recent roles include Director of Development and Capital Campaign for Camp Avoda Inc., Major Contributions Management at the Alliance Theatre of the Woodruff Arts Centre in Atlanta, Georgia, Director of Development and Communications with JOIN for Justice, and Director of Development for GLAD. He has increased fundraising levels everywhere he has worked and built several development programs from the ground up. For several years he served as a Newton area teenage youth group advisor, overnight summer camp staff director, and high school mentor to those entering the workplace or college having served on the related boards of directors of Horizon for Youth, Camp Avoda, and Massachusetts College of Art. Tom graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts Honors Program in Amherst and named a Commonwealth Scholar.
Director of Development
Dawn Proia is the Club’s longest tenured employee having devoted a little more than 15 years to helping the Club’s young people learn and grow. She started as the Club’s Art Director in 2004 and she was named Kids Corp Director in 2007. Serving in these dual roles, Dawn has brought increased structure to the Club experience of almost 200 members while continuing to foster creativity through a wide variety of artistic endeavors. In addition to drama, chorus, beadwork, and pottery programs, she started the wildly successful Proud to Be Me Program in 2008 and has served as the advisor to our Keystone Club. Dawn has a Certificate for Child Development from Newton North High School and spent 9 years working for JoAnne’s Little Wonders Preschool prior to joining the Club’s Team.
Jacob (Jake) DeMasi-Capua is an educator focused on teaching intersectional inclusion and intentional application of STEAM topics. His skillset includes a wide range of relevant expertise in not only robust curriculum development but group therapy, crisis and behavior management, as well as counseling in a correctional setting. Jake’s roles with Out MetroWest, Partners for Youth with Disabilities Inc., Ethos Eldercare, and the Justice Resource Institute’s Pelham Academy have made him into a strong advocate in children’s’ education and compassionate educator. He holds a Bachelor of Art in Public Policy from Bentley University as well as certificates from Boston University Wheelock School of Education and Human Development. Jake likes to advocate for intersectional issues such as women’s rights, disability issues, and matters affecting the LGBT community. Outside of the club, Jake loves to spend time with his husband and three dogs, singing, cooking and baking, gaming (Pokémon especially), and talking cars. His philosophy for youth development is child driven, adapting lessons and topics to everyone’s needs. His goal is to complement their school and life experiences with relevant and entertaining lessons and activities. Jake hopes he can help members continue to grow their communication skills, knowledge, and appreciation for their world.
This father of four comes to the Newton Club with experience working as a Sports and Recreations Coordinator for the YMCA of Greater Boston and as the Youth Development Associate and Assistant Athletic Specialist at the Boys & Girls Club of Brockton. At both the Y and the Brockton Club, his skills were tapped to create general programming, design and execute recreational sports programming including team coaching, sports league management, and individual one-on-one teen development. He has worked with parents to create individual curricula to further develop and mature older children and teens. He has brought to kids with whom he mentored a set of values and a work ethic that are in harmony with the values of the Club.
Megan Lemmon joined the Boys & Girls Club as the Curiosity Club Director in 2018 Megan has a degree in Secondary Mathematics education and has worked in Licensed School Age programs for the past 10 years. She moved to Newton with her husband and 2 year old son from Long Island, NY. Originally from the Midwest, Megan and her family have enjoyed living on the East Coast the past few years. Some of Megan’s interests include spending time with her family, logic puzzles, and organizing. Megan brings a positive attitude and boundless energy to every project and her creativity is second to none! Under her leadership the size of the Curiosity Club program has more than doubled.
Director of Curiosity Club
Kyler was born and raised in Newton. He attended the John M Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton as a kid. He played basketball, floor hockey and was a member of the Keystone Club. After graduating from Newton North in 2018, he joined the staff as Program Aide. Later, he was promoted to Social Rec Coordinator where he oversaw the games room, including foosball, pool, air hockey, and board games. Now Kyler is the Curiosity Club Program Assistant and is fully certified by EEC. He likes to give back to the Boys & Girls Club because the staff and programs had such a large impact on him growing up. When he’s not working, Kyler likes to play video games (NBA 2K20 and Call of Duty) and basketball. Oh, and the kids call him Taco!
Curiosity Club Assistant
Rob, a Massachusetts native, has spent his professional career in youth development. After graduating from the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, Rob sharpened his youth leadership development skills by attending the National Outdoor Leadership School and participating in the BEST Initiative’s Youth Workers Supervisors Training program. His summers were spent in various leadership roles at Camp Sangamon in Vermont. While at Camp Sangamon, he co-led 24 young people, ages 15-17, in a cross cultural immersion education trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. He has worked with several Boston area nonprofits including Horizons for Homeless Children, the Youth Opportunities Program at the Appalachian Mountain Club, and more recently spent seven years with the Boys & Girls Club of Somerville serving in a number of leadership roles from Program Specialist to Club Director. Outside of the Club he enjoys the outdoors, swimming, and ceramics.
Youth Engagement Coordinator
G. Rob Fujiwara
Jordan Kithcart has 7 years of experience working for the Club. He began his journey as a consistent member his senior year of high school. That same year of 2013, he became the first member of the John M. Barry Boys and Girls Club to ever place in the top four of the Massachusetts State Youth of the Year Competition. In 2014, Jordan won the Judge Julian Yesley Young Adult Award in which “recognizes a young adult between the ages of eighteen and twenty-five who has made a significant contribution through service to or involvement with the young people of Newton”. Jordan is also a Recruiting Coordinator and Head coach for an AAU basketball program. He was able to coach his team to their first national tournament in 2019. He is part of a basketball training group called Boston Elite that has trained collegiate players from schools such as (Stanford, Princeton, Boston College, and more). Jordan received his U.S.A. Youth Development Coaching license in 2017. Jordan takes great pride in being a mentor and a positive influence to Club members.
Irene joins the staff at John M Barry Boys & Girls Club of Newton with experience in and a passion for teaching art and creativity to kids. She worked at The Chestnut Hill School’s after-school program and substitute taught at the British International School. At The Chestnut Hill School, she created a ceramics program and taught pottery. Irene also taught pottery at summer camp in Chestnut Hill from 2014-2019. Irene has a great passion for working with kids. She also likes to write creatively in her spare time. Irene loves to travel—she has traveled extensively throughout Latin America and looks forward to the day when she can travel again.