Unionville Chadds-Ford Education Foundation elects new president

Galer appointed president; new board members elected

By Suzanne Misciagna, Correspondent, UnionvilleTimes.com

Lele Galer is the new president of the Unionville-Chadds Ford Education Foundation.

EAST MARLBOROUGH – The Unionville Chadds-Ford Education Foundation (UCFEF) is commemorating the end of the school year with the election of a new president along with several new board members to serve on its Board of Directors.

The UCFEF, a non-profit charitable organization formed in 1995, is comprised of parents, professional educators, business people, and residents of the school district. The mission of the foundation is to support the education and development of children in the district.

Lele Galer was appointed president of the foundation. Galer has been actively involved in the Unionville Chadds-Ford School District for the past 12 years. Galer has held many positions including Grant Writer, Chairperson for the Unionville Art Gala, the founder of the Art in Action program for the elementary schools, and leader of the Public Art program at Unionville High School. Galer is also an artist and donates her time to many non-profit organizations and to public and private schools in Chester County.

As President, Galer hopes to take the foundation in a new direction. “Our goal is to go beyond the classroom and out into the community so we can know what the real needs are,” says Galer.

Many school districts are facing budget cuts and are eliminating students’ special classes such as physical education, science, art, and music. “Across the country, school districts turn to Education Foundations to help offset drastic cuts that often occur within the district,” says Galer. “Education Foundations can be a powerful tool not only for fundraising but also to affect change.”

“We look forward to establishing a responsible presence in the community by working with education foundations from other school districts while also responding to the educational issues that arise within our own district,” Galer adds.

Galer is joined by Co-Vice Presidents Linda Bronson and Joy Waibel, Treasurer Jeff Hunter, Secretary Kathleen Vasko, and Grant Coordinator Helen Bilinski. UCFEF board members include:  Betsy Ballard, Scott Litzenberg, Alicia Lyons, Gerry McShane, Perk Musacchio, Sharon Parker, June Roux and Becky Stillman. Each member will serve a three-year term.

“The members of our Board are a reflection of the general community.” says Galer. “The foundation is made up of a group of individuals with a broad area of expertise so we can do the most good for each child.”

The foundation is largely responsible for raising funds for educational projects within the Unionville Chadds-Ford school district that are outside of the school budget. These needs typically come to the foundation through grant requests from teachers or school administrators to support specific needs in the classroom.

For example, the UCFEF has provided funding for special speakers to visit students in the classroom. New technologies, such as iPads introduced in the classroom, are used by students as a learning aid and a research tool. In the high school, the UCFEF supported a grant to establish a Life Skills Mini Apartment for special education students. Responsibilities of apartment living such as household chores, meal preparation, and budgeting expenses are shared by the students with the goal of helping them gain the confidence and skills they need to live independently in the community.

This year, two popular events sponsored by the foundation brought in $15,000 to support the district. In January, the foundation sponsored the popular U Factor – a district-wide talent show featuring the musical talents of students at the elementary level through high school. On May 5, the UCFEF sponsored its Fourth Annual Education Foundation Yard Sale offering the community a chance to purchase or sell items ranging from furniture to household goods.

The UCFEF has granted more than $265,000 and funded over 120 projects to Unionville Chadds-Ford schools.

The foundation is working on new programs for the 2012-2013 school year. Many of these educational programs will be offered to the community. Special student events will also be planned to engage and unite all the schools within the district.

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