Our push to provide mentors for kids in new counties means we have added more staff (again!).
Debra Keener-England and Stephanie Murphy (at right, respectively, in the photo above) are new Program Coordinators in Cherokee County. They join Gloria Dockery and Kathy Kent, at left.
A native of Cherokee County, Debra recently retired as an WNC educator after more than 34 years of service. “As a single parent, I can attest to the need for a support system and the value of strong mentors for our youth,” she said. As a teacher, she saw how being a Big nurtured empathy in high school students, as well as the yearning younger students had for mentors like them.
Stephanie recently retired after 31 years of teaching, about half of which she served in Cherokee County Schools. She’s taught the full range – from kindergarten student to high school senior. She loves music, gardening and being an active member of her church. “I want to help youth find connections with positive role models so that they can be more successful,” she said.
Erin Erickson, a new Program Coordinator at BBBS Henderson County, will be coordinating the branch’s school-based program. A former elementary school teacher, she and her husband Zach love to exercise and hang out with their dogs. “I’m very excited to continue working with the schools of Henderson County,” she said. “Youth needs less critics and more models.”
With a background in outdoor education, George Bowra is a new Program Coordinator for Buncombe County. “I am very passionate about helping children and teens navigate everyday challenges and supporting them to get out of their comfort zone,” he said. He lives in Asheville with his wife and newborn son and loves to hike, rock climb, and take his dog to the river.
Anne Asplin is BBBSWNC’s new Grants and Logistics Coordinator. She holds an accounting degree from UNC Asheville and has worked in elementary education environments for the past seven years. “I am excited to join the team at BBBSWNC,” she said, “and to be a part of an organization that helps children develop important life skills and strengthen their self confidence.”