Recently, we sat down with our Executive Director Margaret Della to learn more about her experiences with Kingsbridge Heights Community Center.
Margaret, please introduce yourself and give a little background about yourself including your role at KHCC.
I'm Margaret Della, the Executive Director here at Kingsbridge Heights Community Center. I have been working in the nonprofit sector for the last 10 years, primarily focusing on developing the strengths of nonprofit organizations through operations, human resources, and leadership development. I had been a part of the board for the last two years and started my new role as ED in March. Previously I had been working with corporations, nonprofits, and government entities in relation to emergency preparedness and business continuity to prevent any sort of catastrophic events and to be prepared when they do happen. I had the opportunity to work across sectors and build partnerships and relationships in events of crisis. Prior to that I worked for the federal government with a senator from Wisconsin, where I'm from. There I worked on foreign policy communication and constituent relations. So, I have a diverse background.
"WE MAKE SURE THAT FAMILIES ARE RECEIVING EDUCATION, SUPPORT, NUTRITION, THERAPY AND ALL OF THE DIFFERENT PIECES THAT OFTEN FLY UNDER THE RADAR IN TERMS OF WHAT KEEPS PEOPLE HAPPY AND HEALTHY."
How did you initially get involved with KHCC?
My husband was born and raised in the Bronx, and I currently live in the Bronx. Previously I was working with nonprofits, but focused at a different level. So, it was really at the point where I wanted to have a different degree of engagement with the people whom I served. I also wanted to be a part of a community center, so I had been looking for board roles. I was put in touch with an organization that placed board members with nonprofits, looking at what the organization needed and what I needed. Ultimately, that's how I found KHCC and I just happen to be a neighbor to the organization. It's been really meaningful to be involved in my own community as someone who is invested in the success and vibrancy of the neighborhood.
What is your most meaningful or favorite memory involving KHCC?
Quite frankly, my most meaningful memory does not paint the rosiest of pictures, yet it underscores why we're all here. In the midst of all the administrative work, I also attend leadership meetings for specific programs, where we frequently have cases of domestic violence, abuse, and things like that. In those moments the organization really is a resource to those survivors. We always take steps to make sure that family members are safe, children are safe and being taken care of. If there is a situation where a family is in a shelter or becomes homeless, we want to continue to provide services to ensure that children and families aren't lost. We want to mitigate the negatives for these families as much as possible.
WHEN THERE IS CRAZINESS GOING ON WE CAN STEP OUTSIDE AND ENJOY THE SUNSHINE IN THE GARDEN.
What do you think makes KHCC special?
We have an incredible talent here that is based on passion for the community. We are in a part of the Bronx that is under-resourced, however, it is a very deeply connected community. Beautiful families live in this area of the Bronx who really depend on KHCC for their services. KHCC can give these families a great summer experience, making sure that children aren't going on any other paths that could be detrimental, but instead making sure that children have fun, that they go on trips, make new friends, and have that sort of quintessential summer experience. Additionally, throughout the year we make sure that families are receiving education, support, nutrition, therapy and all of the different pieces that often fly under the radar in terms of what keeps people happy and healthy. Life happens. People lose their jobs. Abuse happens. KHCC is a resource that provides intervention so these types of traumatic situations don't derail people indefinitely. We make sure that they can receive whatever they need to get back on track so they can focus on the next step.
What are you excited for as you and KHCC go forward?
I'm really excited about the opportunities that we have. I absolutely love the garden. It's such a connector for participants and for community members who want to engage with us. When there is craziness going on we can step outside and enjoy the sunshine in the garden. It's just such a therapeutic space. I'm also excited about corporate engagements. We have so many leaders who are looking to volunteer, looking to be influential in the life of a child and to give back to the community. We have so many people who want to give their time or treasure or talent, so that's really exciting to see where those resources can take us. We also have a lot of space with ample need and opportunity for people to take on leadership roles. I'm excited to see how we can align ourselves as an organization. I can't wait for people to be more engaged with our community.
We are so happy to have Margaret as a part of our KHCC community! Thanks for taking the time to sit down with us and share your passion for KHCC. Stay tuned for even more interviews coming your way here on the KHCC blog!
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Author: Katharine Krchnavy | Development Intern