Foundation Events

  • Youth Leadership Recognition Dinner Wednesday, June 1, 2016
  • Leadership Dutchess Graduation Thursday, June 9, 2016
  • Scholarship Awards Breakfast Wednesday, June 15
  • The Chamber Foundation Spotlight

    2015 ATHENA Honoree Named



    Lara Litchfield-Kimber, executive director of the Mid-Hudson Children’s Museum, has been chosen by her fellow honorees by secret ballot to receive the 2015 ATHENA Award, presented by The Chamber Foundation, Inc.  She was presented this honor at the ATHENA Awards Reception on Thursday, November 19 held at The Poughkeepsie Grand Hotel in Poughkeepsie.  Litchfield-Kimber will travel to an upcoming regional ATHENA conference to represent the region. 

    Litchfield-Kimber came to the Hudson Valley in 2012 to be the executive director of the Children’s Museum, rebuilding the museum’s staff and board, raising funds, improving the building and overhauling its exhibits and programs. It is now a vibrant, hands-on learning environment where annual attendance has doubled to more than 50,000.

    “Lara’s accomplishments speak for themselves,” said Frank Castella, Jr., President and CEO of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce and The Chamber Foundation.  “She exemplifies the ATHENA model in every aspect and we are fortunate to have her here in the Hudson Valley improving the fun, family-friendly options available to our community.”

    Litchfield-Kimber also created a formal partnership with the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and developed a comprehensive school readiness initiative. The Children’s Museum created a collaborative network among Poughkeepsie’s inner-city Pre-K programs. Now, every child enrolled in a Pre-K program through Poughkeepsie Head Start, Universal Pre-K or Catharine Street Community Center visits the museum for free field trips and receives free family museum memberships.

    Under Litchfield-Kimber’s leadership, the museum has been honored by Dutchess Tourism with its 2015 Family Entertainment Award of Distinction, and was recognized as a 2015 Non-Profit Spotlight Award winner by the United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region.

    In 2015, Litchfield-Kimber received a Headliner Award for Leadership and Community from the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce.

    Litchfield-Kimber serves on the steering committee of the Dutchess County Coalition of Nonprofits and the Astor Head Start Policy Council. Litchfield-Kimber received her bachelor’s degree from Amherst College and master’s degree from Cornell University.

    Bestowed annually, the ATHENA Award is given to a member of the community who best embodies the ATHENA Leadership Model, which focuses on personal traits of strong, successful leaders. It captures the spirit and collaborative leadership style often exemplified in women leaders, while recognizing the importance of traits such as courageous acts and fierce advocacy in the pursuit of excellence.  Nominations for the 2016 ATHENA Award are now being accepted.  To submit a candidate for consideration, visit ChamberFDN.org/athena.

    The 2015 ATHENA nominees include: 

    • Dana Diorio-Casey, LNHA, LMSW, MA of The Pines at Poughkeepsie
    • Jeffery Fox, Ph.D., of Abilities First, Inc.
    • Carla Goldstein of the Omega Institute
    • Perrinella F. (Penny) Lewis
    • Lara Litchfield-Kimber of the Mid-Hudson Children's Museum
    • Gaye Mallet of Adams Fairacre Farms
    • Lori Rivenburgh of Boys & Girls Clubs of Town of Wallkill, Inc.
    • Rev. Luader Smith of House of Hope
    • Majorie Smith
    • Karen Zobel LNHA, LCSW, of The Community at Brookmeade

    The 2015 ATHENA Awards Reception was presented by Health Quest and sponsored by: Gold sponsor: MidHudson Regional Hospital; Silver sponsor: The Arc of Dutchess, Dutchess County Department of Community and Family Services, and M&T Bank; Bronze sponsor: Abilities First, KeyBank, and Omega Institute for Holistic Studies; Profile sponsor: Adams Fairacre Farms; Supporting sponsors: The Chazen Companies, Hudson Valley Fresh, Hudson Valley Office Furniture, The Pines at Poughkeepsie, and TEG Federal Credit Union; and VIP Honoree Reception sponsor: DCH Wappingers Falls Toyota, Health Quest and KeyBank.

    Foundation awarded Youth One Stop contract for two years

    The Chamber Foundation, Inc.—the fundraising branch of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce—is pleased to announce it has been awarded the Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board’s Dutchess County Youth One Stop Program for two years.

    “All of the proposals were very strong and uniquely qualified,” said Laraine Kautz, Executive Director of the Dutchess County Workforce Investment Board. “At the end of the process, the Youth One Stop Program, now at The Chamber Foundation, was selected because of the impressive program that the team has created.  They meet the young adults where they are in life and elevate them to where they can succeed in the workforce.  They did a remarkable job in the first two years, learning curve and all. It will be exciting to see how their experience and very ambitious vision grows Youth One Stop over the next two years.”

    Youth One Stop, formerly under the auspices of The Chamber, is a comprehensive education and job-training program utilizing local resources to benefit at-risk youth in Dutchess County.

    “The Youth One Stop is a great program that motivates and pushes us to work towards the goals we want for ourselves and helps us when we feel we are not where we want to be in life and are not sure how to get there,” said Tatiana Cintron, a Youth One Stop participant.

    The program is open to income-eligible Dutchess County youth—including youth with disabilities and youth in foster care ages 16-29—who are facing obstacles inhibiting them from completing school, finishing their High School Equivalency or gaining employment.  Participants explore career options in the community and gain practical experience through jobs and internships as well as gaining access to tutoring, mentorship and degree/certification programs.  

    “The Youth One Stop and its staff of mentors has made a name for itself as a valuable asset to the community and of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce for two years. Now, under The Chamber Foundation, can only grow and continue to contribute to the county’s economic growth by supporting employers and job seekers through its resources and services,” said Frank Castella, Jr., President and CEO of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce and President of The Chamber Foundation, Inc. “We are proud to work cooperatively with the DC WIB and the more than 30 community agencies we partner with on a regular basis to deliver exceptional mentoring to our participants.”

    The Dutchess County Youth One Stop provides access to skilled, pre-screened workers for employers as well as on-the-job and customized training opportunities. For the job seeker, career preparation and counseling, training or employment advancement opportunities and a full service resource room are also available.

    “The Youth One Stop is amazing; through all my ups and downs they [are] right there by my side. My case manager does everything in her power to find a solution to any problem that I have. They’re truly a blessing and wonderful people to have during the good and bad times of my life,” said Takeisha Smith, a Youth One Stop participant.

    For a full list of services and more information, visit the Dutchess County Youth One Stop website at www.myyos.org or call (845) 454-7629. The Dutchess County Youth One Stop is located at One Civic Center Plaza, Suite 407 in Poughkeepsie.

    The Chamber Foundation, Inc. aims toprovide educational opportunities, develop leadership skills and foster a commitment to community service for youth and the workforce. For more about the Chamber Foundation, visit www.chamberfdn.org


    Youth Leadership program helps develop skills


    The Youth Leadership program aims to help local high school students develop academic, social and life skills and provides them with out-of-the-classroom leadership experiences.  A two-year program, Youth Leadership focuses on helping students look beyond high school and providing them with tools to prepare for their futures.

    The program is open to any sophomore or junior at a public or private high school in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Selection is on a first-come, first-served basis, and sophomores are particularly encouraged to apply.  If you know of a student who could benefit from participating, click here for details or call Nick Shannon at 845-454-1700 ext. 1026 with questions. 

     

    Youth Leadership Participants Honored at Ceremony

    More than 70 student participants in The Chamber Foundation, Inc.’s Youth Leadership Program were honored at a recognition dinner held June 3 at The Villa Borghese in Wappingers Falls.

    The Youth Leadership program aims to help local high school students develop academic, social and life skills and provides them with out-of-the-classroom leadership experiences. A two-year program, Youth Leadership focuses on helping students look beyond high school and providing them with tools to prepare for their futures.

    This is accomplished in part through monthly meetings featuring local community leaders and professionals who talk to the students about a variety of leadership and life-skill topics, such as team building, communication and public speaking, money management, diversity, college planning, ethics and finance.

    “The Chamber Foundation is very proud of this year’s Youth Leadership students. We have seen growth in their confidence and ability to take on challenges both academically and personally,” said Nicholas Shannon, executive director of The Chamber Foundation, Inc. “We are confident that the lessons they have learned will benefit them well into their future.”

    The program splits the students into two tracks focusing on specific skills. Track One, the Junior Achievement Track, is typically for sophomores, and encourages the students to form their own student-based company. In the process, they learn about stock sales and product selection as well as sales and marketing techniques. Students in this track also are asked to complete 10 hours of community service.

    Track Two, the Career, Education and Life Skills Track, is geared toward juniors and focuses on preparation for life after high school, including résumé writing, interview skills, college applications and paying for college. As part of this track, students must complete 20-hour internships in their fields of interest.

    Students may also complete college-level coursework through the program. Marist College offers discounted courses to juniors and seniors participating in Dutchess Leadership through its Greystone Program. Student Billy Smart was recognized at the dinner for having taken a Marist College course through the program that earned three college credits for $200, saving him nearly $2,000.

    The program offered this year’s students a variety of experiences, including a dinner in the Marist College dining hall to give them a taste of campus life. They also went on a trip to Sharpe Reservation for a day of team building and took a Youth Leadership Tour of Dutchess County, visiting sites including Vassar Brothers Medical Center, the Trevor Zoo, Madava Farms – Home of Crown Maple Syrup and The Culinary Institute of America. The exposure to these diverse valley destinations was intended to acquaint students with a wide range of career possibilities.

    Enrollment is open for next year’s youth leadership program. The program is open to any sophomore or junior at a public or private high school in the Mid-Hudson Valley. Selection is on a first-come, first-served basis, and sophomores are particularly encouraged to apply. If you know of a student who could benefit from participating, visit www.chamberfdn.org/programs/youth-leadership for details or call Nick Shannon at 845-454-1700 ext. 1026 with questions. The application deadline has been extended to June 19.

    The Youth Leadership Program is sponsored by IBM and The Gap, Inc.; the Youth Leadership Recognition Dinner was sponsored by DCH Wappingers Falls Toyota and Health Quest.

    The Chamber Foundation, Inc., is the fundraising arm of the Dutchess County Regional Chamber of Commerce that aims to provide educational opportunities, develop leadership skills and foster a commitment to community service for youth and the workforce. For more about the Chamber Foundation, visit www.chamberfdn.org