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. After being named Executive Director in 2008, David set about improving 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 more than tripled, Major Giving has increased 10 fold, and a permanent endowment was established to support the Club’s programming. David's team has made many improvements to the Club’s physical plant which save the Club thousands of dollars annually. 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 Community Partnerships for Children & Families and 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 just this summer 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 10 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 currently serves as Volunteer 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.
This father of three 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 recently joined the Boys & Girls Club as the Curiosity Club Director. Megan has a degree in Secondary Mathematics education and has worked in Licensed School Age programs for the past 10 years. She recently moved to Newton with her husband and 11-month-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.
Director of Curiosity Club
Cassie Soller returns to Massachusetts after attending college at Indiana University earning a degree in secondary education, receiving her masters of education at Relay Graduate School of Education, and after more than 5 years of high school teaching in Indiana and Texas. Throughout her career she created new program curricula which was eventually made a permanent part of high school programing. She focused her teaching efforts with an emphasis in US history along with a concentration on the culture in which today's students are growing. She co-sponsored the largest chapter of Habitat for Humanity in Bloomington working with more than 100 student volunteers. She has served as a high school varsity soccer coach, Ski Club advisor, the Four Paws Club which is focused on community service and leadership.
Director of Education
Cassie Caccavo Soller
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 been working at the Club for 5 years now. He began his journey with the Club, coming 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 earlier this year. 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. He studies as a Human Services major at Mass Bay Community College and takes great pride in being a mentor and a positive influence to Club members.
Louise Lucchetti (Lulu) is the longest serving employee of the John M Barry Boys & Girls Club, with more than 35 years. She has been married for 43 years and has 3 children, as well as 2 grandchildren. All of her children have been active members of the club. Lulu was nominated as Volunteer of the year before starting her employment with the Club. Her son Gino won Youth of the Year in 1995, and quickly transitioned from Club kid to a staff member. Her family has been committed to the Boys & Girls Club for many decades starting with her mother Joanne (Mac) Pellegrini. Mac was the first Arts & Crafts Director of the Club and is the one that introduced girls into the Club on Friday nights. Lulu followed in her mother’s steps and continued to grow the Art Department. Lulu has instructed many art classes such as leather craft, ceramics, and general crafts. Lulu also ran the drama program at the original Club on Dalby St, along with holding tap and line dancing classes too.
After several years as a program volunteer, Amelia joined the staff in September 2018 as Girls Services Coordinator. A 2007 graduate of Newton North High School, Amelia returned to her home city in 2017. Her academic background includes studies at Landmark College in Vermont, University of Richmond in Virginia, and Framingham State University in Framingham, Massachusetts. She was active in student government, Alpha Chi Omega, and has worked as a volunteer teacher. She has tutored at-risk high schoolers who are returning to the classroom in English, science, math, and financial literacy. As the Club’s Girls Services Coordinator, Amelia creates and executes girls-only programs designed to empower girls and young women.
Girls Services Coordinator